Covered Wagons – #2 Tarp’ Test

The covered wagons need tarpaulins, but I’d no idea how to model a tarpaulin. Some testing was required.

I took four small wooden blocks and tried different methods of creating a tarp.

  1. Thick card
  2. Thick card, soaked in diluted PVA
  3. A ‘colour catcher’
  4. A ‘colour catcher’, soaked in diluted PVA

Colour catchers are small pieces of fabric that you add to your clothes wash. They are designed to ‘catch’ the dyes that may run out of coloured clothes and stop the white clothes going pink, blue or a horrible combination of both(!). As I was taking one out of the washing machine it occurred to me that it might make a good tarpaulin.

I painted the test pieces with diluted grey acrylic paint, let that dry then gave the tarps a wash in diluted black or diluted dark green.

The card didn’t work that well for me. I like the colour of test number 2 but both tarpaulins look a little to square or ‘rigid’.

The colour catchers seem to have worked a little better. The texture of the fabric has become visible in number 3, and tarpaulins aren’t textured. The colour catcher soaked in PVA looks more convincing.

Somtime I use a dark green wash on the roofs of buildings and that works quite well. Here, the green wash looks all wrong, and the black wash is better.

So it’s decided. I’ll make the tarps from colour catchers, soaked in PVA, and paint them grey with a black wash.

Now I need to do some washing to get another colour catcher 🙂



  1. Looks good Stephen. I like to see the tarp take on the shape of the goods beneath so different height boxes , drums or crates add to the interest and the tarp will form creases and dips where the strapping tightens

    looking forward to more photos as the build continues


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