Russian Vehicle Commission III

The last steps to complete were some weathering. Although you could probably argue this started with applying the paint chipping in the previous step. Because there are so many and the tanks are so small I’ve taken a pretty simplified approach to weathering the tanks. I could have spent long and gotten more realistic results, but that said I’m pretty happy with how they’ve come out.

The first weathering step is a light coat of a brown enamel paint. I used two colours and focused on the areas that would receive more mud as the tank travelled. So the front, side skirts and rear (behind the tracks) all got more attention than the turret and top of the tank hull. I used two colours: the lighter was applied more liberally, while the darker was applied in patches and again where more mud would accumulate. You can see the results of this first step below next to an uncovered model. At this point you might well think I’ve ruined everything and just covered up all that work I’d done. Well to be honest that is part of what I’m doing. Multiple layers give a more natural look to the vehicle, but they do inevitably cover things up meaning some work disappears below a further layer never to be seen again. However, where you get multiple transparent patches where mud covers dust covers chipping, rust and paint you get a very pleasing result.

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I left this to dry for about half an hour and then using a brush moistened with enamel thinner I lightly brushed down the side skirts. The aim is to remove most of the paint from the top, and leave almost all of the paint at the bottom. By lightly brushing and varying strokes you can get a variable coverage of mud on the side of the vehicle. This brings back the lower coats of paint making all that work useful. I do the same thing on the front and rear of the hull: removing the bulk of the paint from the top and leaving the bulk at the bottom.

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I let this dry overnight and then I started with the pigments. I used two colours. First, a black around the exhaust to represent exhaust build up. Next I used a dark brown (darker than the two paints used above) in the wheels, on some parts of the tracks and heavily on the mine plows. The aim here is to give some colour as well as some depth. So while the exhaust was a dusting, the mud is piling it in and then setting it with pigment fixer. I apply the fixer by touching a loaded brush near the pigment and letting capillary action soak the powder.

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Neither of these techniques take particularly long. I finish everything off with a coat of gloss varnish and then a matt varnish. The gloss varnish helps to get a good coverage as it is easy to see where it’s sprayed and in general gloss varnishes are stronger. The matt layer, for which I use Testors Dullcote, gets rid of the gloss and lets the painting work show through.

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The colours:

  • Mud Base I (Enamel): Kursk Soil (A.MIG-1400).
  • Mud Base II (Enamel): Earth (A.MIG-1403).
  • Exhaust (Powder): Black Smoke (MIG Prod. P023).
  • Mud Buildup (Powder): Russian Earth (A.MIG-3014).
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