Training a cat to attack it's owner
- Bathing, gluing, undercoat, painting and washes
Well, my Communist Kitty has finally arrived and I must admit I’m really looking forward to getting started. It’s a nice kit with lots of options: side skirts (which I plan to cut up an attach pieces thereof), open and closed turrets and even a spare road wheel. There’s not to much flash so I should be up and started by the weekend:
Well, 24 hours later and she’s all glued together and in need of a washing-up liquid bath before priming. It’s been a pleasure to work on. I decided to cut the side skirts and fit single pieces like those depicted in the photos and drawing above. I had to work a little with the file to get a neat fit between the tracks and the hull. I’m a little troubled by the large gap the absent skirt reveals but, looking at the wartime photos, I’m consoled by the fact that this really was the case:
I’ve undercoated the turret, hull and tracks black and then sprayed Vallejo Model Air 71017 Russian Green over the turret and 71025 over the hull and tracks. Over the Russian Green I sprayed a light coat of 71006 Camouflage Light Green. I think I’ve cracked the problem of my (admittedly relatively cheap) airbrush spraying in spits and spots: thinned paint. When I thinned the Light Green using 061 Thinner I was able to get a nice smooth coat across the Panther’s turret.
This must be compared with the finish on the T34/85s. In some cases, spits and posts don’t look too bad and give a smooth surface some texture, but it’s something I’d like not to see on future AFVs I paint. Finally, I’ve applied MIG filter P242 TAN for tri-tonal camouflage to the turret, hull and tracks. I’m hoping that, despite the two different colours, the filter might help the two separate colours work more effectively together.
Next step is to dry brush the turret with a 50:50 mix of Vallejo 096 Russian Green and 001 White and wash in MIG Dark Wash:
Whilst the MIG wash looked OK on the turret, I was stuggling to like the finish on the hull, particularly around the zimmerit. Here, the dark brown of the wash is very stark against the yellow of the hull. To get over this, without reverting to a re-spray, I dry-brush a 50:50 mix of White and Middlestone over the hull, varying the quantity of the white where greater highlights are needed. Over this, I wash MIG P245 Brown and P242 Tan filters to try and soften the effect. Whilst I’m not altogether happy, the effect is acceptable if a little dirty looking:
Part of me yearns to be able to paint the wonderfully smooth finishes you see on some of the AFV photographed on the Flames of War forum. You know the type. Wonderfully airbrushed, subtley shaded and neatly darklined. But that other part of me, the dark, grubby side, likes the fact that my tanks look lived in