Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom!

No, this is nothing to do with Basil Brush (Brits only I suspect), or the collected works of the eminent war poet Private Baldrick and not even a "How To" but more of a "How I".

After their use attracted comments in the recent CoC game, I decided to go about making my own barrage/explosion markers. There are any number of useful tutorials on the web (I know because I looked them up), but they all use slightly differing approaches so I cherry-picked and added a bit and this is what I came up with.

All you'll ever need.....
After gathering my materials I made note of the following:
1) Don't use the best Milliput.
2) Don't worry about the colour of the clump foliage
3) Don't use good superglue (my stuff was the 5 for £1 that you can get from Super Savers etc.)
First step was to make some rough armatures by pushing bamboo skewer into the centre and varying lengths of cocktail stick into the sides of the Milliput at differing angles.

Next is the most laborious part. After the first couple I settled on a technique of skewering small clumps of clump foliage and building up rings. I deliberately left up to 5mm of the cocktail sticks at the ends as I had a plan.

Next I sprayed them thoroughly with Halfords matt black primer. When they'd dried out I dry brushed first a mid-grey tone in strokes from the top down stopping short of the lowest parts and followed with a lighter grey, again stopping even higher up.

After raiding my son's 40K paints I picked one of the thick pigment "Base" colours and wet brushed quite vigorously into the base areas of each plume and painted the ends of the cocktail sticks.

I repeated the same process with a lighter red in sparser amounts and further up the tips again.

Then I repeated the first red stage with a "Base" yellow. All the time trying where possible to keep the brush strokes vertical up the plumes.

And again with a lighter yellow.

Finally the tips of the cocktail sticks were whitened. I wanted to represent shards of white hot metal/earth or whatever projecting out of the smoke. I'd decided if the idea didn't work, I'd just go back and foliage up to the ends (but I actually think it looks OK!) 

Very soon I'd finished all ten (the tenth was out of shot for the next picture)

Very happy with the final result, I'll be more than happy to use them for vehicle explosions as well as just artillery blasts.
After putting off making them for so long, I'm likely to add a few more in the near future. Next time I'll maybe try attaching the foliage before inserting the sticks into the Milliput to see if that makes thing easier.


  1. Very effective and I love the turret being blown off.

  2. That looks excellent. Consider your ideas stolen.

    If I can be a bit pedantic (Derek being pedantic I hear them cry, that hardly ever happens) The centre of the explosion is the hottest and most energetic part and so should be the lightest in colour. White or light yellow in the middle, fade through yellow, orange and red as you go towards the outside and the black smoke. I have a whole army of Ork vehicles painted the way you've done it mind.