A last Ourah!: finishing off my LW Tankovy

A criticism levelled at Soviet armour is that it’s just too, well, green.  This applies as much to individual AFVs as the horde.  If you’re not in to black lining your models there can often be a lack of definition and, if painted in the same base colour, there will also be a lack of contrast.  Whilst a vast green sea of Soviet army sweeping over the grey shores of the Whermacht is no bad thing, it could be a little easier on the eye.

Over the last 2 years, I’ve painted my Soviet armour in 3 phases as my confidence and technique has developed.

When I got bored with painting my Strelkovy, I went out and bought some IS-2s.  Don’t ask me why.  They were big and impressive with a high points value which meant I could field 1500 at the local club quicker than I’d initially expected.  I painted them VMC 096 Russian Green and dry-brushed them Russian-Green mixed with white. I stuck the decals on and they were done:

When the Strelkovy were ‘finished’, I decided to paint up a Tankovy. I painted T34/76s and  85s in Russian Green and experimented by air-brushing Camouflage Light Green over the upper surfaces to try and achieve some contrast. I gloss varnshed, struck the decals on without silvering and experimented with filters. I dry-brushed Russian-Green mixed with white to highlight.  Mostly satisfied, I added a little variety by attempting to paint a rusty old warhorse:

Finally, and on the last batch, I think I’ve found a layering technique that gives me a finish similar to the effects of modulation but is easier and quicker for me to achieve at this scale.  This time, I was painting SU-100s, ISU-152s and the remaining T34/85s:

As before, I base coated with Russian Green:

Then I applied clumsily applied a thinned coat of Vallejo Air (VA006) Camouflage Light Green mixed with Russian Green over all the upper surface panels and about half-way down the chassis:

I concentrated on painting the centre of hatches, the tops of cupolas and other raised surfaces leaving the original base colour around the edges.  This gave an initial sense of depth.  When dry, I painted a thinned coat of Camo. Light Green to the centre of the areas already highlighted further enhancing the sense of definiton.  This sounds complicated, but is relatively straight forward to do and I didn’t have to be too precise (but it does help).  Finally, I airbrushed a light coat of Mud Brown (VA037) over the tracks, lower chassis and running gear.  This ended up in something resembling a sandwich of light green, dark green and brown:

To blend the colours together, I brushed over a couple of coats of MiG P245 Brown filter before gloss varnshing and applying a MiG Dark Wash pin-wash in all the fine details, groves and recesses.  Decals applied, I dry brushed VMC 082 Olive Green and then VMC 079 Golden Olive over the upper surfaces and picked out the details:

I like the final effect. It gives a pleasing variety of tone and definition and contrasts with my existing armour (perhaps a little too much – ho hum 🙂 ).  I went abit overboard on the mud on some of the SU-152s, but I’ve still to master master my airbrush after 2 years.

Just got to apply some pigments and these chaps are done.

Think I’ll try this technique on my Shermans when I get round to them.

13 Responses to “A last Ourah!: finishing off my LW Tankovy

  • For some reason i find allied armour harder to paint than German armour, maybe because of the mono-tone base colour, but the results you have achieved look really good.

    Have you got any new lists for these Tankovy from Red Bear?

    • Yes, pulled together a list the other day. Soviet Udarney Strelkjvy are now more expensive. Not unreasonably so, but noticeably. Will do a review of Red Bear soon.

      • Personally I love Red Bear and think that all the changes (even the points increases) have helped to even things up a bit. My personal favourite list is a Cossack list, but I’m going to hold off on that for a while as I’d need to buy a shed load of new models, and I have enough waiting to be painted as it is… 🙂

        I look forward to hearing about your view on RB also.

  • Looks like I’m on the right track. At least with the artist chalk i was using. I could in no way apply it before I varnished the vehicle. It will all disappear.

    The little bit of info I have found on pigments, a lot of guys talk about using thinner to apply it. But I’m not sure how. One guy brushed the thinner on his vehicle first, and then drops pigment on the thinner. Not really sure what affect this achieves.

    I always just brushed it on, and got a dirty look.

    I would love to see a video, and I’m curious what you think about using (and how) thinner to apply the pigments.


    • Hi Kage – I’ve found diluting with tap water is just as effective and runnnig it over the area you want covered. This works particularly well with tracks. The greater the opacity you want the lower the ratio of water to pigment. I then wet my thumb and run it over the tracks to ensure that the highlights come through. I’ll do a video on this topic as well as applying them dry.

  • Anonymous
    6 years ago

    Looking the part! Somewhat the way I paint although I never really put a name to it!


  • Meatball
    6 years ago

    Know this post is a tad bit old, but man, what a great set of paint jobs! I’m just getting into FoW and thinking of going with LW Soviets and your site will likely help me a good deal since I’m still new at the painting side of things as well.

    Quick question. You think I should look into getting an Airbrush, or do you think it’s possible to get similar results with plain brushes? Not sure I can justify spending the money no the airbrush right now while spending all this on books/mini’s as well.

    • Thanks meatball. To be honest this paint job was done without an airbrush. If you follow the steps outlined above, you should end up with a similar result. Send us some photos when you’re done!

  • Wasn’t there some airbrushy discussion early on? Is that still around for anyone who’s interested?

    • The T34 guiide is on the main site under tutorials, that talks abit about airbrushing. Well remembered.

      • More airbrush angst to be found in the painting&modelling blog archives.. Keep going to older posts until you find restoring 3 Tiger1s article last march.. In which Chris claimed to be not scared of them, but then went on to say his tactic was to string it out until the kids come home…

  • Lewis Kenyon
    6 years ago

    Hi there,
    Your assault guns look great!! Where did you get the large number decals etc you used on ISU-15s?

    Keep up the great work!

    • Hi Lewis – thanks for theg feedback. The decals came in the the ISU-152 boxed set. I’m not sure if you can buy them separately, sorry.

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