TP-Papier-mâché

A friend of mine sent me a link to a book on modelling techniques. In this book the author mentions a (doubtless expensive or rare) product that can be used to create mud effects on vehicles. He describes the made up compound as resembling “papier-mâché”, which got me thinking and resulted in the following experiment.

Soft toilet paper becomes a soft mess as soon as any water gets on it. Suppose I wet a piece of toilet paper, pour off the excess water and then add some PVA glue to it. The result certainly looked like a shapeless mass. I broke it up a little more by mashing it with a scalpel blade and spatula and then began applying it to the wheel arches and other areas of a vehicle likely to accumulate mud. Would it stay in place and look convincing? Only time would tell so I left the model overnight so the TP-Papier-mâché could dry.

Next morning the stuff was still stuck to the model so I started painting it with Humbrol 29 Dark Earth Acrylic. While the paint was still wet I sprinkled it with a little fine sand for added texture. My mud deposits were beginning to look convincing so I applied some Tamiya Flat Earth and GW Kommando Khaki to it. Bit of interesting trivia: Wet mud on vehicles often dries from the inside out because the vehicle is warmer, hence the outer parts tend to be darker. For this vehicle I was happy with just a mass of dried mud.

Adding sand to the TP-Papier-mâché was something that occurred to me after I started. I could have added some sand before I added the glue to the Papier-mâché. A more economical approach would be to sprinkle sand over after the paper has been applied to the vehicle and while the glue is still wet.

TP-Papier-mâché has some interesting potential for modelling. As well as mud effects on vehicles it has some obvious applications for creating scenic terrain. This is not the limit of its potential, however. It can be formed into a wide variety of shapes and forms and could be used to make other items too. Interesting tip I came across was adding a little salt or oil of cloves to your Papier-mâché reduces the likelihood of mould.

For my second attempt I made a tracked vehicle. This time I applied the Papier-mâché first and then sprinkled on some sand and dried parsley. Some of the sand was a little loose when I was applying the paint so I made a dilute mix of PVA glue and dripped it onto the "mud" using a pastette. I allowed this to dry and this bound and coated any loose particles.

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