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Saturday, June 4, 2011

German Camouflage Tutorial

This Tutorial will show you how to produce the 'Dirty Jon' style of German camouflage - with no Airbrush required! By following these techniques, you can produce a table-top quality German camouflage for your Flames of War army, or adapt the techniques for your own style and army.


First of all, assemble your Tanks. When gluing together your pieces, it is best to rough up the surfaces as shown. Notice the scratch marks on both the tank and the treads. This helps adhesion.

Here are the 4 tanks all assembled and ready to go.

Now we are all primed and ready to start. I use the German Armour spray paint from Battlefront.

Get a fairly small brush and pick your first color. I am using Reflective Green first.

Make sure that you use a paper towel to wipe off most of the paint from the brush. This is called 'dry brushing'.

Here, I begin to stipple on the first section. This is where I basically jab the brush into the model. Do not use your brand new detail brush for this work! You are looking for a feathered edge for the camouflage patterns.

Here, I slide the brush to apply the paint.

Here on the front, I have a nice pattern, but the center is not as dark as I would like.

I get my detail brush and load up some paint.

I then fill in the center of the pattern until I am happy. Be careful not to destroy all of the feathered edges.

Here, I have put on too much paint and produced no feathered edges.

To fix this, I get a dry brush and spread the paint around a bit until it looks good.

Here is the result.

I continue putting on patterns until I have about 1/4 of the tank covered. The goal is to have 1/4 Green, 1/4 Brown and 1/2 Dunklegelb.

Now we are ready to move on to the turret.

For the turret, I switch to a smaller brush with a little more paint on it. I will use the stipple technique here to get the paint into and around the crevices on the model.

Here is a common pattern that I put on the turrets.

I finished up the green and completed the brown all using the same techniques described above.

Here's a picture with a white background to show the model better.

As with most model painting, one must have a bit of faith. Right now, this model looks so-so, but has none of the great blending that we want.

Our next step is to use Games Workshop's Desert Yellow to give the entire model a dry brush.

Make sure that you use a fairly large brush that is quite worn out.

Make sure to use the same dry brushing technique as above. Err on the side of too little paint, as it is easier to put more on the brush next time than to correct a 'too much paint' mistake.

Here we see the current state of the model. Overall, the dark areas are too dark and too large.

Here, I point to areas that I want to 'erase' a bit. The first is too shaded with the green and the second is simply too large.

With a very. very small amount of paint on the brush, I begin to blend the area that needs to be reduced. This techniques softens the area, but......

..... I find that I must add more paint to the brush tip and stipple the area a bit to get the result I want.

Here is the end result of the blending and fading. The camouflage area is much reduced and much more subtle. Continue this work on the entire tank.

Next, paint all the other areas of the tank. Track, tools, etc. I show the red tracks because it looks silly, but is important to achieve the rusty look I get on my treads.

The next 3 pictures are of what the tank looks like at this stage. I used some Black, Gun Metal and Black Shade to get the track right.

This shot compares what the tank looks like now and what it will look like when finished. Note that the tank is fairly bright at this point. My tanks are a bit more brown looking that some I see.

Now, go spray the tank with Gloss Varnish. That's right, Gloss Varnish. Do not skip this step. The gloss smooths out the surface and helps the shading process by preventing the water staining effect on the regular paint. The decals on the gloss also prevents the silvering when decals are put on the regular paint.

Next, get out your Brown Shade....

.... and put some in your mixing area. Add some water to the Brown Shade. You will need a ton of Brown Shade. For some reason, it does not go very far. Also, get out a big brush to spread this stuff.

Dab some on and make sure the shade flows into the recessed areas. Here, you can see that the first panel on the Schurzen is shaded. Quite a difference.

Here is the entire side complete. I use a vertical motion here in case I get some minor streaking - it makes it look like normal wear and fading.

Here you see the rear deck shaded. This produces a similar effect to black-lining like Steven does with his tanks. I find this technique a little more subtle and realistic. Both look about the same from 5', though. =)

Here you see that I have put too much shading around the area identified.

Get out your large brush. Dry it off and use capillary action to remove some shade.

This effect is much more subtle and in line with what I want. Use this technique anywhere there is more shade that you need. This can be used on the flat surfaces to prevent the whole model from getting too dark. Finish up the whole tank and let it dry.

Next, get out your Black Shade to finish up the tracks. I like to really bring out the contrast in the wheels.

The shade can be put in without being watered down, as we are going for a significant effect here. Again, use the capillary action technique to remove shade if you get too much in the wheels. Let this dry completely.

Next put on your decals. I will not be covering how to put on the decals, but simply advise the use of liquid decal film as the last step. This will help your decals conform to the uneven surfaces.

I mostly put on the decals right after the gloss and before the Brown Shade. I experimented this time and found virtually no difference in appearance. The decals are slightly brighter, having not been subject to the shading.

Lastly, cover the entire tank with a Matte Varnish to cut down the shine from the Gloss Varnish. You are now good to go!

I hope you found this useful and can adapt some of the techniques to your painting. Again, this is just one technique that I use for table-top quality painting and your mileage may vary.

UPDATE: Always thin the Vallejo paint with some water. This brand of paint tends to be VERY thick. You need very little paint on the brush to make this technique work.
- Dirty Jon

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