It only seemed right to end the year as it began, painting.
This time it’s one of the PSC’s Cromwells I undercoated with Model Grandad a couple of months back. Now that I’ve got the bulk of my British and Commonwealth armour primed I wanted to have a go at developing a viable speed painting technique that could achieve a decent wargaming standard quickly. Airbrushing seemed to be the way to go and it would give me a chance to have another crack at modulation after my last abortive attempt earlier in the year as well as trying out some of the weathering techniques I’d read about and watched throughout 2013.
Here’s what I came up with:
Learnt a lot with this one:
Modulation: I basecoated the Cromwell with PSC’s British Armour spray and then airbrushed on Life Color’s Lusterless Olive Drab (UA220 – great title!) followed by the equally inspiring Olive Drab Faded Type 1 in accordance with the principles of Zenithal Light (!) usefully illustrated by the talented Snr. Torregrosa below:
Horrified by the luminescent green outcome I put my trust in The Force (read Mig Jimenez) who reminds you not to bottle it because by the time you’ve added the filters, washes and weathering you’ll be hard pressed to argue if it’s drab enough to be SCC No. 15! Initially, I worked panel by panel with Tamiya masking tape but this was very time consuming. As I got more confident, I found I could get the paint in to enough of right areas to convince myself that I knew what I was doing with just a few simple masks (read post-it notes) and blobs of blu-tac :) Now, with the benefit of hindsight, I would increase the amount of contrast in the basecoat and try substituting Olive Drab Faded Type 2.
To blend the modulated layers together I applied 2 layers of MIG P245 Brown filter for Dark Green but should have really done this after I’d applied decals. Next time, I’ll try putting on the decals between coats. Finally, I lightly drybrushed the upper surfaces twice with a straight and then 50:50 mix of Life Color UA224 Olive Drab and Olive Drab and white to pick out the details.
Insurance: After each and every stage in the paint-job I airbrushed on a layer of gloss varnish. This ensured that I could remove any acrylic errors with a quick dab of thinner ( – thanks Ruben!) and remove an enamel weathering wash/plaster mix nightmare with turpentine after I tried spraying a ‘mud mix’ over the lower hull (doh!). The chance to roll-back to saved me no end of angst, frustration and time and encouraged me to be more experimental.
Panel Lines: MIG enamel Dark Wash was pin-washed in to all the nooks and crannies and cleaned up white spirit. Mental note: don’t be shy, run in several layers and avoid upper surfaces wherever possible.
Tracks & Road Wheels: One of the only bits to get a regular brushing. VMC 863 gun-metal was washed over with layers of the excellent AK Interactive AK721 Rusty Tracks and AK722 Dark Tracks acryllics with the road wheels edged in, unsurprisingly, AK 720 for the rubberised road wheels. This was followed by an airbrushing of Earth and then Dust enamel effects on the tracks and lower hull. I’ve overdone the dust a little but I’m content with the outcome. A quick rub down with a cotton bud dampened with white spirit followed by a run around with a 6B graphite stick finished the job.
Chipping & Weathering: I used the sponge technique and AK chipping colour to paint the chipping and then brushed down streaks of their Rust Wash and Streaking Grime for dark vehicles from the same points and/or to highlight different areas. This was softened and blended using a gentle vertical action with a soft round brush.
I pushed the (over applied) enamel Dust wash around on the horizontal panels using a brush dampened with white spirit to position it around the hinges and raised surfaces to make it look a little more convincing and reveal more of the green.
Almost by accident I discovered that I really liked the effect the point of a sharp graphite stick when applied over the dark red of the chipping and along the edges of the turret and storage bins. Crikey, this heap is beginning to look past its sell-by date!
Bit of soot and dry mud pigment finished it off. Better get the other 40 done in 2014!