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Sunday, July 1, 2012

Tale of 2 Cities (Week Three): Tom's PzG Lehr

Tom's Panzergrenadier Lehr

Week Three: The Tanks

Next up, my armor.  Tanks are the biggest models, and hence carry the most detail, so they reward extra attention.   (I'll leave the half-tracks for the last week.)

I need three Panthers and three Jagdpanzer IVs.

The Jadgpanzers come only in blisters, so the hardest part is making sure I actually purchase the right model.  That's Jadgpanzer IV, NOT Jagdpanther, and NOT Jagdpanzer IV/70.

I have more choice for the Panthers.  BF makes a box of five sculpts sold together.  There's Barkmann, and there's the Panzer Kannonen sculpt too.  Plus, there are Panther blisters.  The best move is probably to buy the platoon box -- I'll want more Panthers eventually as my army grows over time.

My first step is to clean all the parts with a knife or a set of shears. The resin may need filing.  Assembly is pretty straight-forward.  Just don't glue the turret into place.  It needs to turn for FoW.

I spray everything black with a primer, then undercoat in a chocolate-brown.  Then I take my base color (usually Vallejo's Dark Yellow, although you may prefer Middlestone) and drybrush it over the model, leaving the chocolate-brown in the treads and the lines of the armor.

Many people prefer to do camo with an airbrush, but I don't trust the hissing, spitting things.  I paint everything by hand.  (See Dirty Jon's Tutorial Here).  I take a dark brown, with a little red mixed in, and a darkish green, and paint blobs or swirls or lines onto the yellow base-coat.  You can find many good books on German camo patterns (including FoW's invaluable Art of War #2).  But often the camo was painted on in the field, with whatever was available.  (And probably by the lowest-ranking tanker available.)  So there's no "correct" pattern.  I find that on 15mm models, bigger areas of camo look less "busy" than thin lines.

I usually paint the treads and the machine-gun with a dark metal color.  I then slop a mix of brown and black ink all over the model, so that it settles into the cracks and details.

Then I do highlighting. I take a 10/0 brush, and I mix up three lighter versions of the yellow, the brown and the green, by adding white.  I trace the outlines of each area of color, along with the lines of the tank armor plates and other raised areas. 

An example of Tom's Technique
Last up are any details.  I do any crew, stowage, or whatever, and paint on a German cross.  I have a loathing of decals -- they always seem to stick to my brushes.  So I usually skip them.  I can paint a decent cross free-hand.  I don't mark my platoons or add divisional signs -- I want to use my models for as many different lists as possible.

German three-color vehicles are already quite busy, so I don't weather them.  I leave weathering and mud for single-color schemes, like US or Soviet Armor or German Grey, where they can add a little contrast.

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