Rants about Wargames, Photography and whatever else strikes my fancy

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Putting the Steam in Steampowered: A lazy man's guide to smoke plumes

Have you ever looked at any Warmachine artwork and noticed the smoke plumes on the 'jacks, only to look back at your minis and notice they are not the steambelching monstrosities you imagined?
Fear not, with a little work you can turn your Jack into a smokespewing Juggernaut! (Any similiarities to actual Khadoran Juggernauts coincidental)

Step I: Materials

  • A volunteer, in this case my Black Ivan
  • Super Glue, I like the gel type
  • a Paper Clip
  • a Piece of Cork
  • Hedge and Bush foliage, I use Javis Countryside Scenics, look for big roughcut pieces
  • (not shown) a drill for pinning
  • (not shown) Black Primer (P3, Army Painter, GW, pick yours)
  • (not shown) Grey Primer

Step II: Prepping the model

Drill two holes into the smokestack. These will hold our pins, to which the smoke plume is later attached. Since the standard Khadoran Juggernaut Chassis has only one big smokestack it is easier on this one. Other chassis may require less or more holes drilled.

Step III: Prepping the Plume

Find a piece of foliage that looks like a smoke plume. You can easily tear it into shape by hand. Plumes bent backwards can make your 'jack look like it is running forward.

Step IV: Pinning the plume

Cut the paper clip into two long, straight parts (from now on to be referred to as pins). Put one of the parts into the hole in the smokestack. Do not glue it in, yet. Put the foliage onto the pin in a Position you like. Remove the foliage again. The pin will leave a hole. Now cover the upper end of the pin in super glue and glue the foliage to the pin.

Step V: Priming

Use the pin to attach your smoke plume to the cork. Give it a good spray of black paint. Let it dry. Repeat till the plume is black and no green or brown shows (left). Then spray with grey primer. Focus on the top of the plume to give it a more realistic look. You can also add yellow and red to the plume's underside to get a furnace glow effect.

Final Step:

Now glue the second pin into it's hole and cut it to size. Cover it with super glue and slide the smokeplume on, aligning the first pin with the other hole. Depending on the smokestack on the model you might want to put some superglue there, too. Whatever you choose to do, you should get something like this: 


I did not glue Black Ivan's smoke plume on yet, because he obviously has to be painted first. Also, I missed a spot while spraying, but I think you get the picture. This is obviously only the bare bones of the method and much more can be done while painting the smokeplume. I suggest looking at 'jack artworks and photos of steampowered locomotives for inspiration. Oh, and I do realize the smoke coming from a Warjack's furnace would look different in reality. This is strictly rule of cool stuff.

I hope I could help you to get some steam into your hobby.


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