Friday, August 19, 2011

Realistic foliage camouflage

There are many ways to make your models look more realistic. You can weather them by adding some battle damage, dust, or ... add some foliage camouflage.

When you look at photos from WWII you will frequently see tanks that are difficult to recognize, because of the tons of leaves and branches they have on their armors. Actually, that was the idea ... let our tank looks like tree or bush, maybe it will fool our enemies.

Adding such camouflage to small tanks in 15mm scale is not an easy task. I started from a very simple approach. I used GaleForce "Summer 3 color clump folia" to add small pieces of foliage to my Barkmann's Panther. You can see it below. It looks quite convincing, however, I felt that it was not enough ;)

I wanted to have real branches with real leaves. I've seen people using laser cut leaves to create such camouflage. It looks quite nice, however, in my opinion leaves are too big, and their shapes are all the same.

I decided to create the camouflage from the scratch. The procedure takes 6 simple steps.

Step 1. Gather materials  

You will need very thin wire. I used a TV antena cable, which is perfect for that purpose in my opinion. You will need leaves - I had a bag of dark green leaves produced by Noch.  Finally, you will need paints: brown for branches, and different shades of green for the leaves.

Step 2. Create branches 

You will have to remove the protection cover from the antena cable. You will find there additional cover made from tiny wires. Cut few of them. How many? It depends how big branch you would like to achieve. For small branches 4-5 wires is enough.

You have to twist together the wires to make to root of the branch. Twist it very tight. After few millimeters you can split your wires 50/50 and repeat procedure recursively for each outgoing branch.

Step 3. Paint branches 

After you constructed the branches you will need to paint them. You will probably have to repeat the process couple of times, until you cover them with paint (you can finish painting after attaching them to minis).

Step 4. Glue leaves

The next step is to glue leaves to branches. You can use PVA glue for that purpose. First cover each of branches in glue, and then put it into the leaves (don't be afraid to put too much glue).

Step 5. Paint leaves

Your camouflage is nearly ready. However, if you have only one shade of leaves it won't give you good contrast on your minis. To make it more visible, you can paint leaves with different shades of green. Don't be afraid to use really light colors. Personally, I used the following colors (original leaves were dark green):

  • Yellow green
  • German cam. bright green
  • German cam. bright green + white

Step 6. Add camouflage to your minis

Voila! The last step is to attach the camouflage to your tanks, half-tracks, or whatever vehicles you want. I used it to enhance my revitalized StuGs.


  1. A recursive breadth-first branch-and-twist realistic foliage camouflage algorithm ;-)

  2. LOL nice one, what's the O(n) = ? complexity, if n is the number of wires used at the beginning ;)

  3. Hi, I came across your site and wasn’t able to get an email address to contact you. Would you please consider adding a link to my website on your page. Please email me back and we'll talk about it.


    Joel Houston

  4. Hi Mirek!

    I post your excellent tutorial in

    Of course with direct linking and your name in the tutorials' head.

    If you don't want it there, just let me know.

    Again, congrats for the tutorial!

    1. I'm glad you liked the tutorial :) Of course I don't mind placing it on page (btw. very good idea to create such compilation of tutorials).

      You can look also for the second part of tutorial, and other tutorials

  5. Fantastic tutorial and very well done.

  6. The last step is to attach the camouflage to your tanks, half-tracks, or whatever vehicles you want.

    # Yes but how?