Now you see me... now you don't

Colin's Sherman with Foliage

Now you see me... now you don't
Adding Foliage to your tanks

I had always been told that putting camouflage on 15mm tanks was not possible, in fact I was told that everything people had seen in the past not only looked like foam stuck onto a 15mm tank, but it was ugly and out of scale. I thought, having never tried it before, that I could give it a go.

After my first half hour at the workbench experimenting, I realized that what I had been told was perhaps quite believable.

This all started after a chat on the forum about camouflage netting and what worked and what didn’t. I was intrigued to see what could work. 

The first admission I have to make is that this is harder than it looks and to get it looking cool is tricky, but I think the results are worth the effort.

I am writing this, not as an authority on the subject, but more as a guide of what not to do. If I had shared some of my experiences and the bad language as I started this little project, I would’ve had to have the site upgraded to R16.

I started out as many of us do by deciding on a picture of a Sherman and looked at the paint scheme and the materials used for camouflage.

In my case it was a photo of a Sherman, which had a neat web effect of a lighter Khaki colour over the Heer Green. This I painted first which I was quite happy with. I am forever looking at ways to make American stuff more interesting. Lets face it there is only so much you can do with Heer Green.

I then went to one of my potplants in the apartment and found the finest twigs I could and cut them into short lengths. At Battlefront we’d received an order of Heki Trees and from the trees I unpacked was a bunch of loose foliage that had fallen off the trees enroute. 

Colin's Sherman with Foliage
Colin's Sherman with Foliage It’s a fine open weave type of foam which looked like it would create the sort of effect I was after. I reduced this into smaller pieces and applied some watered down PVA to the twigs and then rolled them around in the foam to coat the twig. I also made sure I left some parts of the twig PVA free so that it would hopefully look like branches and not just logs coated in green stuff.

Then when dry I used superglue gel dabbed on the dry foliage to stick it to the tank.

Here is where the fun began, 60% of the twigs I had were too big for the model. So I cut them down and fitted them as I could and placed small clumps of the foam material in strategic places on the tank to fill in the gaps.

Job done? Not quite…

read on...

So what not to do…

* Do not select your camouflage material without having your tank there as a size guide. It doesn’t have to be painted to look at the size of the material and its suitability i.e. where it can fit to the miniature. Try to keep twigs as small as possible.

Next: the colour issue

* It helps if you have a swatch or a painted vehicle to test the suitability of the colour of the camouflage material.

The camouflage material I had was, in hindsight, a bit too bright in fact a brown would’ve been better as a starting point.

It can be a good idea to give the foliage the impression of depth and you can do this by dry brushing various colours on to it to give it that depth and character.

Colin's Sherman with Foliage
Colin's Sherman with Foliage From the green foam I applied a darker brown as deep into the foam as I could and then another dry brush of a lighter colour over the surface. It is hard to see on the finished model but if you look at the colour of the foam on the twigs before they were applied and then the finished item I think you will see the difference in colours, or at least I hope so.

Choose your material in a coordinated manner.  I think that a better basis than twigs, which I’m  going to try next, is some of that matted rooting from plants that when dry should make for interesting patterns when flocked with the camouflage material.
Foliage from the Heki trees Foliage from the Heki trees with twigs


Foliage from the Heki trees with twigs


Until next time keep on modeling.