Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Making Camo Nets

When 6pdrs were limbered, it seems they were almost always given nose caps and nets or blankets of some description over the breech. I wanted to test out a method of covering them based on my work making decorative bases for my Malifaux figures (which will feature perhaps in tomorrow's blog.)

I found a method that seems to work fairly well, and gives an accurate-enough looking camo net.

Stage 1:
First, mix up an amount of epoxy putty and stretch it as much as possible into a roughly rectangular shape. The more rectangular you get it, the better, but with what we'll be doing, it shouldn't matter too terribly. You'll notice I've moistened the board beneath the putty. I didn't find this to work 100%, so I'll have to figure out another means of preventing the putty from adhering to the cutting board.

Stage 2:
 Next, I use the smooth part of a craft knife to make certain it's good and flat, and also to spread it out. The thinner the net, the better when it gets applied.

Stage 3:
Next, use the part of the craft knife that has the nice diamond-patterning on it to thoroughly groove the surface of the putty. You will want to make these as deep as possible, because any and all handling is going to degrade the sharpness. It's also important to note that with the shape of most holders, if you try to roll successively further along the length of the blade, you'll end up obscuring earlier detail as the smoother part of the holder rolls over previously grooved surface.

Stage 4:
the next couple of stages are pretty much repeat as necessary. The orphaned blade now gets used to cut the shape of net needed based on coverage. Because the net is going to get all bent out of shape, you'll notice I'm not terribly concerned by the lack of a crisp edge at the bottom, but I have initially tried to avoid the parts that are more curved.

Stage 5:
Now, use either the orphaned blade, or in my case a sculpting tool, to carefully remove the net. It's going to warp some during this, so try to minimize it by going in gentle sweeps along the length of the net. Make sure the sculpting tool (as should any tool using Epoxy Putty) is moist.

Stage 6:
At last we've reached the fun part. Gently lay the net over whatever surface you want to apply it to, and using a pointed tool, push it into place. The advantage of using a tool with a point (dental pick, sharp sculpting tool, blade) is that you can poke in the gaps, and retain the look of the camo net. Anything broad and flat or rounded can end up 'cutting' an odd line in the net.

 Stage 7:
The edges of any piece should now be worried with a blade or sharper sculpting tool, to look frayed or edged in hessian strip. If this step is skipped, the sides will look oddly un-textured, and the effect may be ruined. It also helps to thin down the edges to give the entire piece the perception of being only the thickness of real camo netting.

I have also used the camo net on the deployed guns, but only around the barrels. For the limbered guns, both the gun barrel, and the breech area get coverings. (Historically, I claim camouflage and travel cleanliness respectively. Honestly? I didn't want to have to sculpt detailed breeches on the guns!)

And here's the full battery of 6 unlimbered, and limbered guns, all with their camo nets.

 As a bonus feature
Here's what a Firefly VC looks like with this camo net concept applied. This was the first attempt, and you can see what happens if you use a rounded tool to push the net into place (over the front hull where the machine gun was removed.)


  1. Good job with the camo nets. I will have to add these to some of my models.

  2. Nice work! Keep it up. Camouflage nets are very useful hiding precious army artillery, army vehicles, bunkers etc. From distance camouflage nets give looks of grass and plants which helps in hiding.