by Jon "CryxJon" Baker
I really got tired of having little white (yes, white) circles getting cut out whenever we need a smoke template. Where I come from white smoke is generally called fog. Plus I got doe with my buddies entrenchments so I figured I'd get smoke templates and have markers for all his unit's special abilities. They're really pretty easy, time consuming but easy.
Pink foam (1/2")
Empty 1 gallon milk jugs
Big ol' cotton balls (I think mine were labeled as"Jumbo." Your wife/girlfriend probably already has some
Step 1: Mark And Cut Your Pink Foam
For the templates I cut two three inch diameter circles for each template, one out of thing plastic, and the other out of pink foam. I used the flat sides of the gallon milk jugs and was able to make two 3-inch circles from one milk jug. I made the other 3-inch circles out of 1/2" pink foam. Actually cutting out the circles was surprisingly easy 'cause I happened to have one milk jug with really sticky glue holding the label on so I just used that one as a template for all of the others.
Step 2: Prep Your Templates
This was a pretty quick step as far as the whole process went. To prep the plastic circles, I just sprayed both sides with Krylon brown spray paint so it had an earthy look to it. The pink foam took a bit longer. I started on the pink foam by first cutting the 1/2" circle in half widthwise, so I got roughly a 1/4" circle of pink foam. I really wanted a low profile on the template so I went back and shaved it down a little bit further from the original 1/4" wide. To make them compatible with any trenchers that may want to be entrenched AND have the smoke template right in front of them, I carved a little curve out of each one so you could slide the plastic template under the entrenchment token (see the Trenchers Dug In tutorial). After I got the shape done, I went in and beveled the edges some to ash the transition for any models that need to be IN the smoke. After I got the pink foam looking the way I wanted it, I painted the pink foam brown (Fig 2A). This took quite a while because I seemed to be laying down coats that way too thin or something.
Step 3: Glue Work
After I got all of the circles prepped, I slapped some whiteglue down on the flat side of the now brown pink foam and put it under a large butter container filled with sand. I let it sit under there overnight and when I pulled it out it seemed to be fairly well stuck together.
Step 4: Add Dirt
I used a 50/50ish whiteglue/water combo. Just slop it on and sand. I just added the sand to the pink foam figuring that if you put the plastic under an entrenchment token, it's look weird (4A). Once I added the sand and let it dry, I shellacked the heck out of it with a water/glue combo because I wanted a very solid dirt that didn't break off easily. Plus it is going on and off the table a lot so...
Step 5: Paint
I put in a wash of black just to add shadow. After the wash dried, I used a thick drybrush of brown and then added a black star-shaped pattern to the template (5A). After I got the blast pattern painted in there, I added a thick glue/water mix to the brown areas and dumped the static grass on it and left the grass all over for a few hours so the glue could dry (5B).
Step 6: Smoke
This is probably where the wife or girlfriend is going to look at you weird...and possibly question the relationship. Get however many cotton balls you will need for the smoke part of the templates, one "Jumbo" sized cotton ball per template. To make it look like smoke, just grab pieces of the cotton ball and pull them apart. For some reason, while I was doing mine,mine always seemed to look square, 'dunno why but they just keep pulling and fluffing until you get something similar to the picture (6A). After you get something similar, put it in a box or else you'll be chasing it all over with the spray adhesive, mostly to help it keep its shape. The smoke will frost up some on you,or at least it did for me, so I just went ahead and hit it again with black spray paint and it seems to look pretty good (6B).
Step 7: Assembly
Once you have your template done and your smoke made (7A), you just put a thick glue/water mix in the center of the blast zone and "smush" the smoke into the glue and let it set up for a few hours (7B). It's really kink of intimidating though when you see a row of 10 smoke templates advancing toward your position...
Jon "Cryxjon" Baker