One Away! Rapier Missile Trail (Tutorial)

One Away! Rapier Missile Trail (Tutorial)

I have always wanted to give my models a more cinematic feel so when I got my Rapiers built for my Team Yankee British Army of the Rhine from the Iron Maiden Book, I immediately thought that it would add a lot of visual appeal to have the missile flying out with a smoke trail.


I had once read an article online about using pipe cleaners to create the smoke trails of nebelwerfers.  

Smoke Trail

Taking a piece of pipe cleaner, I cut a short section off.

I trimmed one end with a pair of scissors so that it had a taper and pulled some fibres off the other end so I can use it to pin into the launcher.

Placing the pipe cleaner into a piece of tubing (this was from a bottle of Armourall glass cleaner) I proceeded to give the tapered end a few short burst of yellow with my airbrush.  Pushing the pipe cleaner further into the tubing, I then gave it another few short bursts of orange.

  Inverting the pipe cleaner into the tubing, I now give it a good coating of flat white.

Rapier Missile

As the missile, was designed to be mounted inside the launch housing, the original metal piece had no details. I found some rapier missile diagrams and proceeded to approximate the dimensions for 1:100 scale.

Using a piece of 2mm dia. Evergreen Polystyrene rod, I cut out a piece measuring 23mm. 

I roughly sharpened the front of the rod to the shape of the missile using a piece of fine sandpaper.

Then using a 0.4mm bit, I drilled a small pilot hole before using a 0.9mm bit to drill the hole to fit a smoke trail.

From a piece of 1mm styrene strip, I cut the tail fins of the missile. I did not measure exactly but just estimated the size and angles by eye.

Using styrene glue I carefully added the fins to the missile.

I repeated the process for the forward fins. Again estimating it by eye.

And here is the completed Rapier missile.

Lastly, give the missiles a quick spray of primer and Vallejo Brown Violet 70.887 and it is ready to be glued to the smoke trail with CA glue. 

To mount it to the tracked vehicle, I cut one of the missiles off and drilled a 1mm hole where the missile used to be.  This will give a snug fit to the pipe cleaner. I then glued the missile assembly to the mounting then just pushed the missile and smoke trail into the pin hole. It is easily removed for storage and adds a whole lot to the visual impact of the model.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial.  Just drop your comments or questions and I will try to answer them as best as I can.  

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