Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Home made stowage rolls

I like stowage on my Flames of War tanks. For me it help gives them that 'no, I have not just come out of the factory' feel. The organic softer shapes of rolled up tarps and so on helps break up and contrast against all the straight lines of tanks. However getting a hold of 15mm stowage is not cheap so I sometimes get the urge to make my own. I use Milliput. It is a 2 part modeling putty.
After cutting off two pieces roughly the same size then after rolling, stretching and folding it together I start by making small sausage shapes. I put them on my table and often give them a squash to give them a little flatness on top. First step with a finished example near by above.
The ends are shaped until they are no longer rounded. I just use a scalpel that is old and use a flat edge to push them in or just cut them off with the blade. At this stage you can make a small slice or just push the blade gently to make an end of the material along one long edge. You can do this a few times at the ends as well to give an impression of layers in the folded or rolled material.

After that I use the non blade edge to make the strap dents. Typically the tips of my scalpel blades snap of at some stage but I find them useful for this task. A dent (or perhaps imprint) is all I really find is necessary to give the illusion of straps or some sort of tie material. Paint can later complete the illusion with a darker or contrasting colour to the tarpaulin material. I hold the blade straight up and down (at a 90degree to the table top) and push gently against the milliput. I then in the same action roll it down so it is parallel with the table top. All the while giving a little push so it leaves a mark on the Milliput. I repeat this on the opposite side and carefully try to make the mark meet up. I repeat this near the other end of the roll and that is the straps done. Sure, not all straps are this tight but hey, my ones are. :)

Next I use a sculpting tool that has sort of wedge shape at its end and just push some shapes near the straps and ends. It helps give the roll the bumps and lumps that we see on rolls made by Battlefront. Gale Force Nine sculpting tool is very handy for this.

I have created some longer rolls for my Shermans and Crusaders from a Mid-War North Africa force. These tanks are the core of my collection to emulate a small part of the British 9th Brigade that was under New Zealand command for the El Alamein battle (Operation Supercharge specifically).  Images show them having very large and long rolls fixed to the sides of tanks. Prior to the massive loses they had in any case. 
Here's some examples. I put a wash on some to show the sculpting better. The large one on the Sherman is yet to have the straps painted with a different colour.

Even more examples. Some camo netting which is the same technique but instead of wrinkles they got poked full of holes. Some sacks as well (bottom left) that don't need any straps on them.

Even more examples. Sometimes I make them straight on the model. This is helpful when the tank surface is not very flat.

Cheers from Brendon (The Kiwi) and happy modeling.


  1. Nice tut indeed.. love the commentary from the grunts as well!

  2. Nicely done and inspiring. Create motivation to do my own stowage now :-)

  3. Thanks fellow gamers. Give it a go and don't give up. I had a few fails before I found a way to make it work for me.

  4. Very cool and huge thanks. WWPD has done great things for the wargaming community. I have been a reader/listener/supporter for a long while. Go check them out now if you have not done so already.