Advice needed on small scale tarp

I’m nearly finished with the details I’ll be adding to my 1/72 scale M1A2 build. One of the prominent details on the prototype tank I’m basing my build on is a large tarp stowed in the rear stowage rack. Of all the parts of the build, this is the detail that most concerns me as far as getting it to look right.

Any of you folks have any thoughts on what material/technique might look best for this? Which technique would be best for 1/72 scale?

Here’s a photo of the tank I’m basing my build on showing the tarp.

And here’s my build.



I’ve used plain white tissue paper soaked in white PVA glue water mix and then when it’s close to drying moulded to the required shape, then paint. When molding the shape, I used kitchen cling film on the area to mold so you don’t get any of the glue residue on the kit. I’m sure others will have other ideas :+1:

1 Like

Tissue paper works, use it as above. Also aluminum foil.


I like the metal foil for this. I’ve used lead foil and whatever lead-free foil is made of. Add some texture so it looks like fabric rather than plastic or metal.

1 Like

Something I’ve seen and want to try is a tarp made from nitrile gloves, saw it on a Russian hobby site. Cut a section out of the glove, roll it up, and stuff in place.

Edit: here is the link

As you can see it results in a really nice looking rolled up or folded tarp but may not work too well if the edges are left free.

Test your paint on it first. Also… nitrile glove material has some memory to it. It might not behave and stay in place. It certainly won’t maintain wrinkles and will fight folds.

The secret to getting a good tissue paper tarp is the kind of tissue paper you use. Don’t use toilet paper or facial tissue, you’ll just wind up with a gloppy mess. Buy white gift wrapping tissue, the kind you put in a gift bag or a shirt box. It’s much finer and stronger than toilet paper and makes wonderful tarps. Much easier to cut into shapes, too.


Thanks for the suggestions and feedback guys. I found a sheet of thin led foil in my stash (I barely remembered I had it!), so I’ll give that a go first. And thanks for the clarification on what tissue to use SSGToms.

I think I’ll build a mock up of the rack, and practice before I actually start doing this on the model. It’s better on my nerves that way. Haha.

Thanks again,

1 Like

You can use also milliput or a similar epoxy putty, which can be extended to very thin sheets and adapted to any shape.

The tarp on this 1/35 model was made this way:


Fold it into shape and then prime it. Make sure to wash your hands after or wear surgical type gloves.

As stated above, I use the tissue/pva set-up and think it works quite well. Something else you might consider if you are looking for a camo net is to get either medical gauze 2x2 or 4x4’s. They are made just like the tarps & when painted look pretty decent.

1 Like

Just adding my .2 cents here with what I feel is/was my most successful effort.

Hand painted textured wine bottle foil tarp:

Some of the individual serving pet food containers also use this pebbled textured foil.

1 Like

When I use the tissue for tarp, I put the tissue in place, and then, using a paint brush, I apply the pva/water mixture to model it. If you soak it first, the tissue might tear or indeed become a lump…

There is also the latex method of making tarps. Start with a good paper napkin (but no embossed floral designs!). Tape it down to a flat surface, and brush with liquid latex (modelling and craft liquid latex contains ammonia, so it will be a bit smelly!). Leave it to cure a couple of days, then it will be ready for cutting for use. Once painted and folded, it looks very convincingly as a well-used tarp.
:grinning: :canada:

Good idea… I think the method you describe is usefull for plastic or plastified tarps, while the PVA one is more for the canvas type of tarps…

At this scale the difficulty is getting a crumpled fabric look with the right scale creases and folds, and also suitably thin edges, if any are visible. Sculpting from putty is viable if it’s fairly flat or neatly folded. I found tissue just really hard to handle.

The rubber glove looks good, although that example looks even bigger than 1/35 (or am I imagining that?) but it shows the principle of using something with scale thickness and crumpleability.

I tried using ordinary cling film before, because it produces small wrinkles and is easy to keep reshaping. You might be able to just wedge it in place.

On reflection this might just look more like a dried up old cigar, but then again at least it doesn’t look like a sausage which was what my first attempt with putty looked like.

1 Like