To add some more visual interest to the buildings on the table, here is a way to get some good smoke and flame effects. These can really add to the PaperTerrain houses or any other buildings or vehicles that have been wrecked.
I found a Halloween wig (some kind of witch, I think) on clearance that had red streaks in the black hair. It was cheap, so i bought one to try this idea out. It turns out that the red and black hair are in separate rows attached to a mesh skullcap. A length of black and red hair can be cut from the skullcap and rolled together to form a column of smoke and flame. It can trimmed to whatever length you want the flames and smoke to be.
If you roll it with the red inside, you get a column of smoke with flames inside it. Conversely, if you roll it with red outside you get flames around a column of smoke. You can also take only red or only black to have fire or smoke only.
Here is tripod in trouble using this method:
This is still an evolving concept. I temporarily stapled the bundles, but I think white glue can added at the bottom of the hair to bond it. Then, the remainder of the skullcap can be cut away and it can be based on plasiticard pieces. Cheap hairspray will let you "style" and shape the columns to suit and then dry pretty rigidly.
Flames are very interesting and can be a bit difficult to re-create.
Blue-white-yellow-orange-red is the range of colors of flame and hot metal from hottest to "coolest." Very few items become blue hot before they melt, and very few more items become white hot before they melt. Gasses burn at different colors. Welding and smithing find the relationship between color and temperature useful. Alcohol has a colorless nearly invisible flame. Some gasses have eerie green colored flame. There is a lot of reference material on the colors in a flame, but rather few people use it. You can research flame color related to material in combustion and either use it to create authentic flame or find combinations you think are appealing.
The use of artificial hair to make flame is very good. Keep an eye out at thrift stores and such for odd colored wigs. I prefer to use cotton and polyester batting because I have a ton, but I will now keep an eye out for wigs.
You are correct for real heated articles, but for theatricals red, orange or yellow flames are about as serious as you need.
Basically smoke is in pretty much two colors. Gray or white smoke is pretty much "natural" smoke - leaves, wood and such. Smoke from manmade stuff is usually black: burning petroleum products, paint, plastic and such.
Now that I know the method works, I will look for more sources. I think places like Party City may have the wigs year-around.
Update: I went to PartyCity and found that they have "hair extensions" in all the colors that wigs come in. Red, black, yellow, white, green, purple... These come in a skein of fibers that is about 1 inch wide and about 2 feet long. Best news--They only cost about $1 US So, they are way cheaper than a wig and you don't have to dissect it. You can also cut the fibers to the length you want and not waste a bunch from a wig.