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After-Action-Reports

Finishing a Late War T34/76 obr. 1943

Part 4 of 4

October’s edition of Military Modelcraft International is devoted to Soviet AFVs and there’s a brilliant piece on painting a 1/72 ISU-152 (these monsters are obviously flavour of the month in modelling circles…). Plenty of really useful tips here (lovin’ the idea of using table salt for ‘chipping’) and a fine example of weathering. When I’ve dullcoted the hulls and glued the tracks on, I’ll have a go at that dusty look.

ISU-52

As an aside: I’ve just been supergluing the tracks and made the following mental ‘notes to self’ for the future:

  • When preparing a tank, check the underside of the hull where the tracks will go for excess resin and remove it. I had a lump that upset the alignment of the hull with the track!
  • Be careful not to apply too much pressure when aligning the hull with the track and avoid snapping off the front venders.
  • Be careful not to apply too much pressure to the edges of the hull where the resin is thin. 1 of mine fragmented under the slightest of pressure.

T34-76-Tanks

So, there they are. With the glue still drying, they’re pretty much ready to go. I’m always suprised at how much better they look when the hulls are mounted on the tracks. All that remains is to seal the pigments after a final weathering to blend the 2 pieces together. That, and all the minor paint jobs caused during the gluing!

Pigments… I often wonder why I persist in trying to use this medium to weather AFVs. When you look at what can be achieved with paint and, say, a Tamiya weathering pen, I wonder why I’ve invested in buying a range of MIG pigments. I take consolation in the fact that, as I get more experienced in using them, so the effects I can achieve are getting better:

T34-76-Detail

These photos hide a few hours of work and quite a bit of bloood, sweat, tears and custard! I’ve found that it’s easy to wreck a paint job weathering a vehicle. Whilst there are resources out there showing you how to use pigments on 1/35th scale vehicles, there’s surprisingly little about their application on 1/100 scale minis.

T34-76-Closeup

T34-76-model

15mm-P4-Model

 

Through bitter experience, I think I’ve learnt the following:

  • Apply pigments and Tamiya weathering products after varnishing. I weathered my IS-2s and then applied a coat of varnish which soaked up most of the effect I had achieved. You can still see it, but its very, very faded.
  • If you’ve got an old model, practice any new effects on that first before applying it to your 120 hour paint job. I use an old Britainnia miniatures 1/72 P4 chassis (left)
  • Keep it subtle, don’t over apply pigments as they often obscure all the highlights and low lights you’ve worked hard to create.
  • Wet and dry applications of pigments have different effects. Mixing greater or lesser proportions of pigments with either tap water or MIG Thinner for Washes allows you to run pigments over your model like a conventional wash but, at this scale, you tend to get a quite an opaque uniform colour (see tracks above). I haven’t had much success mixing different colours whilst wet. I prefer a very diluted wash of dark colours to start with. You can always apply lighter pigments later with a brush once dry. A dry application of pigments produces quite translucent effects, like a dust over the vehicle which can be quite effective (see venders and exhausts).
  • Watch your colours, some pigments look better than others. The MIG P034 Russian Earth pigment hardly shows on a dark green base. In the examples above, I’ve found P028 Europe Dust and P033 Dark Mud have worked the best.
  • Don’t be shy to wet your thumb and run it across your models to recover lost highlights. If it all goes wrong, a liberal wash in tap water can get the worst of the pigment off, but your AFV might remain a little dull.
  • Don’t over apply MIG Pigment Fixer if you want to avoid unsightly tidal marks on your models (see front right vender above). Avoid brushing it on as this can disturb the effect you have created. Dab it on and allow the capilliary action to do the work for you.

We finally got there, nice paint job - Chris

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