Steps needed for a good smoke

October 13, 2009

Here’s how I actually made my smoke –

1 ) Gather your utensils. I used a large plastic take-away container to hold my water/paint mix. I laid down old newspapers to catch any wayward splashes or drips. I had a plastic soft-drink bottle filled with water within reach to make the paint/water mix, with plenty of leftover in case I needed to dilute the mix further. I had the paint also within reach. I had disposable rubber gloves for handling and mixing. I had a big cardboard box where the tufts could sit and dry. Lastly, I had a container for any rubbish (like the rubber gloves afterward).

2 ) Mix the paint and water in the container. My mix was about 50%-50%.

3 ) Prepare all the tufts that will become your smoke clouds. Tear them off the wad or pull them out of their container and lay them out for painting…well, submerging.

4 ) Put the gloves on and some suitable music, too.

5 ) Pick up a tuft and completely submerge it in the paint/water mix. While submerged, squeeze it, wring it, tease it apart a little. Take it out. Submerge it again. Take it out. While holding in your hand, squeeze out as much paint/water as you can. Then place it to dry.

6 ) Keep going until you’ve done all your tufts.

7 ) Pack up for today. I drained out all remaining mix (only about half was used) and stored it for another time.

8 ) Next day, put the gloves on and lay out some more newspaper.

9 ) Pick up each tuft and really squeeze it hard. If paint comes out, it needs a few more days to completely dry. If no paint comes out, tease it apart until you can get to its core. If the core is still damp, it needs another day or two to completely dry – sun dry it or place it in a very warm room.

10 ) When you think they are all dry, put on gloves and lay out old newspaper and test the cores of any suspect tufts. Those still damp need more drying (perhaps push the core to the outside of the tuft). Those that are  dry can be stored away for gaming or used right now in a game!

6 Responses to “Steps needed for a good smoke”

  1. Paul said

    Nice clear and simple directions. Sounds good…on the to do list!

    • Eastern Funker said

      It’s the squeezing and wringing out and waiting for them to dry that seemed to be so crucial.
      I’ll watch your blog to see how you go. If you come up with a better recipe, do let us all know!

  2. stuart said

    For smoke screens I just use white cotton wool “as is”, but for shell bursts, cotton wool balls sprayed brown look most realistic (I used to be an artillery observer in the army). These are mounted on the metal bases left after burning Glade scented oil candles! They provide a firm circular base with a vertical piece to glue the cotton wool on….

    Burning vehicle markers also use these ‘bases’ but the smoke and flame is made from Woodland Scenics autumn foliage clumped around the candle base and sprayed chocolate brown or black; the bright orange, red or yellow showing through simulates the flame of burning gasoline perfectly.

    • Eastern Funker said

      Thanks for your recipes! I haven’t worked my way up to proper “burning” markers/scenery/terrain yet…during Winter I bought a huge pack of Woodland Scenics autumn foliage, so I have the ingredients…I’ll give it a go during the Summer, when things will dry a bit more quickly (given we’re being told that we are in for another scorcher).

      • stuart said

        Glad you like the idea! I saw somebody on line who had done similar using regular sponge material – it looked OK but a little ‘square’ so I just developed it a stage further….
        Is there some way I can send a photo of the finished item?

  3. […] last year I wrote about how I made my own smoke puffs and smoke clouds for wargaming, here and here. Well, during the second game Peter laid down a smokescreen to cover his advancing Russians – […]

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