Hessian undergarments...

Completed Cromwell with Hessian camouflage Hessian undergarments...
Adding Hessian Camouflage to British Tanks

Wwwwaaaaayyyyyyyy back when I was painting for the Villers Bocage book (we’re working months ahead of the book releases) I’d quite often peruse through our library of books, looking at the untold pictures of Cromwell’s and Sherman’s jetting about the French countryside with gay abandon.

The one thing I noticed was that pretty much all the tankers had festooned their vehicles with camouflage of some sort – straw and mud, Hessian strips tied to camouflage netting and the like. So, having a lot of Cromwell’s and Fireflies to paint for the book project I decided that I’d make one platoon a bit different than the rest by adding some extra detail. 

Of all the various ideas I had the following two examples seemed the easiest and fastest.

7th Armoured Cromwell
Heavily camouflaged Sherman

The two different methods achieve roughly the same effect. One uses modelling putty and the other uses PVA and tissue paper.

Method One: Using modelling putty

Roll a strip of putty long enough to ring the top of the turret. Fix it in place by creating likely anchor points such as bolt heads and other protruding items on the side of the turret. Then carefully start dragging the putty downwards until you get the rough coverage you’re happy with. 

Step 1 Step 1
Next, carefully cut lines downwards – this gives the impression of Hessian strips, or straw. I used a micro-driver (tiny screwdriver) to achieve the grooves.

For a bit of added detail, you can carefully apply a light sandpaper to ‘rough’ it up that little bit more.

Step 2
Step 2
Method Two: Using PVA/Tissue

This is easier then using modelling putty, but more time consuming. I first dabbed on watered down glue (about a 50/50 PVA/water ratio) on the areas I wanted the paper ‘Hessian’ to go.

Step 1 Step 1
Step 1 Step 1
After this had dried a little, I laid another layer on, followed by a few layers of pre-cut tissue.
Step 2 Step 2
Step 2 Step 2
After the paper had dried, using a craft knife, I cut more lines into the strips to make it appear more uneven.
Step 3 Step 3
Step 3
Step 3

Finally you may like to add some suitable foliage once you have painted your tank.

Note: It’s much harder to use modelling putty on the barrels of guns, because there’s no support for you to ‘push’ the putty. It is easier to use the paper and glue method.

Next time I’ll look at how I painted the Cromwells in Villers-Bocage.


Cromwell turret