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Honey Stuarts with dust clouds Making Desert Dust Clouds

You may have noticed the dust clouds in many of the photos in Afrika and wondered how you can have some for your desert force. If you follow these simple steps you too can have dust clouds.

But why? Well in the desert large clouds of dust are created when any vehicle travels above anything other than a crawl. This has an effect on Flames of War desert battles.

Treat flat, hard desert as Roads for movement. Place a 2”/5cm ball of cotton (or a dust cloud marker) behind each vehicle for every 12”/30cm or part thereof it moved in the Movement Step. If the vehicle moves later in the turn, the dust cloud moves with it staying on the same side of the vehicle, even if it changes direction (you can't hide in your own dust!). Vehicles moving 4”/10cm or less do not create dust clouds. Remove all dust clouds from your vehicles at the start of your turn. Troops behind a dust cloud count as Concealed.
You will need some yellow-brown paint, medium bases, basing materials and cloud material.

For the clouds there are three options that spring to mind (you may think of more). You could either use cotton wool (available in any supermarket/grocery store), un-spun wool or Dacron. Both Dacron and un-spun wool should be available from dress-making/craft hobby stores.

I’ve used Dacron; this is the synthetic wool like material used to fill pillows and quilts (see Photo right).

Step 2 Colouring the clouds

Step 1

First rip off a patch of cloud about 2”/5cm square. By ripping it you will get a more irregular shape than if you cut it with a knife or scissors.

Step 2

Now we have to change its colour, to give it a dustier look. I did this by mixing some paint and water. I mixed 1 part paint to 3 parts water in an old platoon blister packet.

I then dropped the cloud in the mixture and allowed the colour to soak through.

I then squeezed out the liquid with my hand and some paper towels (this is a bit messy so make sure you have plenty of newspaper scattered around).

Once the liquid paint was squeezed out I fluffed the cloud up again and left it to dry.

Step 2 after colouring
Step 3 Making the base Step 3

While you are waiting for the cloud (or clouds) to dry you can make your base. Simply base a blank medium base (50mm x 32mm) to match your terrain or army. I just glued some grit to the base, painted it and drybrushed for effect.

Step 4

Once both the base and cloud are dry glue the cloud to the base, with the length of the cloud running along the base long edge. I just used standard PVA (white wood glue).

Step 4 completed

Step 4 attaching the dust cloud
Step 5 darker dry brush Step 5

When the glue has dried the final step is to drybrush the bottom half of the cloud with a darker colour.

I used an earth brown colour, the same one I used for the base coat of the base.

And then you have a dust cloud. It would probable pay to make one for each of your tanks and a few extras to cover trucks and other vehicles.

Tip: When making bulk terrain and basing don’t use your good model paints, go to the local hardware or paint store and buy some test pots of the colours you want to use. Often these will be much cheaper and in greater volumes than the model ranges, and most modern acrylic paints are perfectly adequate for terrain purposes. It’s quite amazing what colours some people are prepared to paint their houses.

Below: Here are a few examples of the originals made by Damien Reid for Desert Rats

Dust cloud
Dust clouds

Last Updated On Wednesday, September 19, 2007 by Wayne at Battlefront