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Being a modeller for quite a few years now, I decided to explore the endless possibilities that the world (through internet) offers, and come up with a series of ways of building, modelling and painting fast (but not hastily), to create the worlds I was seeing in history books since I was little. . .If you care to join me. . . This is the place to be! And, I promise you to find the way (or ways)!!

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Explosion Markers making of - Tutorial

Hello everyone!

Hope you are all well. In one of my last posts, I asked for advice regarding the making of explosion markers for my little men and their vehicles. Jack from Australia (Jacksarge’s Wargames Ramblings), in one of his comments, he suggested me to use some metal washers and the stuffing out of pillows or old teddybears. His full comment was the following: ’’For explosion markers I use the stuffing out of pillows or old teddybears. Give it a spray with matt black, but it doesn't need to be black all over. When dry, grab a clump of the stuff and glue it to a decent sized metal washer. Once the glue dries start applying streaks of thick paint , working from the base up. Start with a dark red and then, orange/red; orange; pale orange & finish with bright yellow streaks. Paint your washer at black/ grey’’. Since I like his work and I value his opinion (same thing applies to all of you who exchange ideas for our hobby), I decided to give his method a try.

Some days ago I found in one of my closets, a small pillow my mother has made for my flats' couch a couple of years ago, and I wasn't using it for some months now. Being still single in my early thirties, I try to keep my relationship with my mother in the most optimal way I can. That means I get some food as well from her, alongside some of her homemade pillows. She cooks very well after all!
If you want to call me a mere opportunist and a cheap bastard, please be my guest. I'll take it as a compliment. 

I took my modeling knife, and then I practiced my skills as a butcher on the pillow's cover (I am very happy that she won't take notice of what I did to her pillow – she can't use a computer, so I won't hurt her feelings. It's for our hobby after all and sacrifices must be made- I trust you understand). 

So on with the operation!

Step 1.

I took some metal washers from a hardware store and some clumps of the pillow’s inner stuff.

Step 2.

I then glued these pieces (metal washers and pillow’s inner stuff – for brevity, I will now call it ‘PIS’, and not piss…) with the help of a hot glue gun. This PIS takes the glue very well and the bond with the washer became very strong.

Step 3.

After letting some minutes for the glue to dry, I wore my one-use gloves and sprayed the wannabe explosion markers with a black primer spray (Army Painter’s black). I didn’t want to get them all black, so some parts of the PIS remained with their original colour (grayish white).

Step 4.

Basically, I slept. And I let the spray paint to dry. I had a proper excuse. Next morning I took my red and yellow art acrylic paints (cheap paints from a local art store – 2 euro/1.5 quid per tube) and a medium brush and started painting these little black smoky things. From the base (thicker streaks of paint) up, to the end (lighter streaks) of them.

Step 5.

They got dry. And then I got some more red (80%) and yellow (20%), and mixed them together. This Dark Orange mix, was applied to the upper lower parts of the markers (above the red I mean in case I am talking nonsense with my English), and on the upper parts of them as well.

Step 6.

More yellow (50%) to the red (50%). And Orange it went. Further colour streaks were applied to the middle and higher parts of the washers, in order to achieve a scalable colour progression. By now, as you can see, the washers are beginning to take their final appearance.

Step 7.

Even more yellow (80%) and even less red (20%). And Light Orange applied on the ends of the PIS. A nice colour combination, which resembles- in a way at least, some decent explosion markers for my little men.

Step 8.

Pure yellow. And small/light streaks of it, on the extremities of the PIS. That step was the final one before the completion of the markers.

And that’s about it really. I know that some of you may have found this tutorial a bit too thorough for your taste, but my intention was to give a full display of each step, so as to show the feasibility of this project.

Below there is a small display of what German mortars were capable of doing when they got in use…enjoy.  :-)

Part 1.
The Americans advance.

Part 2.
The Germans bombard... 
(Forgive me for my lousy German...I had to translate the English script through Google translator. Any errors occurred weren't done on purpose.... :-) )

I hope you liked it!

Have a good rest everyone!
C&C are more than welcome! :-)



  1. They look absolutely wonderful, what a great result. Don't apologise for a picture heavy tutorial, certainly one as good as this.

    1. Thank you Michael.
      There is always this fine line, of doing more than I should to, and I'm struggling. :)

  2. Why can't I do that, those are better than the ones I bought, excellent job Thanos!

    1. Thx Fran.
      It's the end of the month, and I tend to be creative during these days! :)

  3. A great tutorial, thanks Thanos!

  4. Horrifying display of German fire power on those unfortunate yanks! Wonderful job, once again. It seems like you put a lot of work to this post, with two short "Gif"s!

    Keep it up!

    1. Doing what I always wanted since I was little: playing with my toys! :)
      Thx mate!

  5. Great job T, very effective markers.

    1. Thx Jack, I get a lot of ideas from your blog... :)

  6. Thank you for the tutorial Thanos. I can modify this and use it to make flames for a campfire which is something I plan on making soon.

    The gifs are great and I do hope this idea catches on as I really like it.

    I noticed you've started putting a signature on your photo's!!!

    1. Mr Hyde, was harassing me to become a ''show-off'' with signing my photos. :)
      Thank you for your kind words Anne! :)

  7. Great markers T, just love the Gif's. The tutorial is fine the more pics the better.

    1. Thx Greg...if I surpass this fine line of modesty, please get me back in position! :)

  8. Very good tutorial, these markers look excellent indeed...another project to add to my summer list

    1. Ohhh the project lists....I have dozens of them, you want some mate?
      Thank you for your kind words!

  9. Great post! Wonderful idea last photo: markers ready to go!

  10. Brilliant tutorial, Thanos. I did a bunch of blast markers using liquid latex and thin acrylic paint, they look great but as they took a lot of time, I have not done any more. Yours look better and are done in fewer steps. I will make a bunch! Off to the Arts and Crafts store this weekend!

    1. Thank you Thomas! Could you please send me some photos of your markers? I'd really like to see your work. :)

  11. Excellent post! The markers are fantastic.

    1. Thx Rodger! After all, fire is the final outcome of every shell! :)

  12. Well worth the effort Thanos, beautiful work all around.

  13. great tutorial I will come back to this sometime

  14. I enjoyed reading your blog post. It has been a few weeks now I also received the versatile blogger award.

    1. Thank you Paul, and welly welly done for your award! :)

  15. Great! I have some of them, too! They add a lot to every table!

  16. Wonderful tutorial. Will try to build some for our game. Your german is nearly perfect. Just say "Geben Sie die Koordinaten durch" and "Jawohl, ich weise (das Feuer) ein". Boom! ;-)

    More of this, please!

  17. Very nice tutorial Thanos, thanks for sharing!


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