Wednesday 12 October 2011

Burn Baby Burn

Scenery of the Day

There is nothing quite like a raging fire to add a sense of drama and urgency to a scene.

Tufts of cotton wool work well, so why not take it to the next step, and build a raging inferno complete with columns of black soot and smoke ?

Have a close look at some pictures of real fires with thick columns of smoke for reference before you begin carving. Note here that the smoke starts off thin and gets thicker, so there is a distinct ridge or groove between the flames and the smoke.  Google images is a good source for fire pics - and provides hours of entertaining photos for even amateur pyromaniacs. Enjoy.

Here is a another simple scenery trick that works really well, and is quick and fun to put together.
Start with a block of floral arrangement foam. The 'Dry' one is the best - its a grey colour and somewhat hardier than the green 'Wet' foam block..

Use something reasonably sharp to carve out blocks about an inch or so thick from the foam block. An old paint scraper works really well for this.
Now the fun part - use a sharp knife to carve the block into something resembling a fire. Pay attention to the corners - you want to round them all off to look more like a fire. Carve some grooves into the column of smoke. Also,
Finished product. 3 colours to be added. At the base, use a harsh red colour - slap it on pretty thick as the foam soaks it up. Lighter dabs of yellow above the red. On the grey smoke part above, paint the inside of the crevices in burnt umber. A dark brown comes up looking more the part than just using black. As a final touch, add a waft of cotton wool at the top.  In this picture, the fire has been placed on a farmyard to represent the farm burning. In the background, a fire has also engulfed the woods.

Here is a view from a French Division advancing Eastwards through Russia towards Smolensk. The Russian defenders have set fire to all of the farms ... and also the woods. A true scorched earth policy. In game terms this means that both the farms and the woods cannot be occupied by troops, or used to count as cover.  Just as well, since a detachment of Dragoons and Cossacks await in ambush ahead. The French will have to fight the Russian cavalry in the open. The use of fire stacks here has allowed the Russian player has carefully create a killing zone in the open just beyond the river.

Just hopping over to Mars for a moment - the fire markers can be used here as movable terrain features to represent 'Hills'  (or in this case simmering volcanoes)

I guess these would also make brilliant markers for 20th Century games, to place on vehicles that have been hit. Remove the turret of a tank and place one of these fire markers on the hull to represent a burning hulk once a tank has been taken out.

Have a go, and I hope you enjoy setting fire to all the lovely battlefields you play on. :)

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