How To Make Realistic Tarps, Blankets, etc.

by Jim Griffiths

For those of you modelers out there who are armor builders, one item that the kit manufacturers just can’t seem to make in armor kits are good bedrolls, blankets, folded tarps, etc. Somehow that thick unbending plastic piece that is supposed to look like a bedroll just doesn’t make it when it’s actually hung on the vehicle. One way around this is to use aluminum foil or the thicker metal found in toothpaste tubes. This, I know, is not new news. However, one thing I have done is to use paper towel as a central padding for the bedroll or knapsack. Merely cut a long rectangular strip of paper towel; roll it up to the thickness of your bedroll; then take your aluminum and wrap it around the toweling; use Crazy Glue or Super Glue or whatever, to hold the foil. Cut another piece of foil so that its width is larger than the roll in front of you. Wrap this piece around the bedroll; glue, then crimp in the overhang to simulate the string-tightened ends of the real bedroll. Next take a piece of string, make a loop, sling it around the bedroll and gently pull it tight. As the loop constricts around the bedroll, the aluminum pulls in to duplicate the folds of material present when the bag is tied. Remove the string; cut a thin piece of tape (to simulate a strap) or a piece of thread (to simulate rope) and place it around the mark caused by the tightened string. Once completed, you can then hang the roll on the vehicle. Should there be several rolls, knapsacks, etc. hanging in the same area, you can squeeze your just-made bedroll to a more elliptical shape to duplicate the weight of other objects lying or pressing against it. The last step is to paint and/or weather to your taste.

Original text from “Techniques: Rolling Your Own.” Plastic Novelty Items, V3,N2.