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Friday, February 28, 2014

My New Painting Technique- "Bang for the Buck" Pt I

A recent IS-2 I finished.
I wanted to call this post "Learn these weird tricks to make painting easier- professional painters HATE him" but decided against it.

Alright, so as a few of you may have noticed, my painting style has changed quite a bit since moving here, thanks to being surrounded by a ton of great painters.  Now, make no mistake- my techniques will never win awards.  What they'll do, however, is get your models on the table without embarrassing you!  See my previous technique here: DAK Panzer IVs.

I've found that most model painting tutorials err on the two extremes: painting tips to make your toys look amazing, and those that get them painted as quickly as possible.  With the technique I will illustrate below, you'll find that I aim for value.  I want my tanks to as good as I can in as little time as possible.  Queue Eric Riha, I'm sure there's some formula explaining this!

I have broken it down into every single tiny step, and while it may seem exhausting, most of the steps take mere minutes.  My normal rule of thumb is that I should be able to take a company of tanks (say 10 or so) from box to tabletop in one week.
Another quick example
To illustrate my technique I'll be using a boat load of Soviet Tank Hunters.  When I first arrived here, I hoarded a few boxes of the old metal and resin kits (which mercifully had the new T-34 plastic tracks!).  When I started this build, I also grabbed a plastic box giving me 10 Soviet SU-100s, and 6 SU-85Ms.  With the leftovers, I decided to do 3 German SU-85s, and 1 German SU-100 out of Desperate Measures.

Anyhow, without further ado:
Note: My technique does use an Airbrush, but there's no reason you couldn't do this without!

STEP ONE: Assembly.
Nothing too surprising to say here.  I clean up the models, and if possible leave the tracks off.  Some vehicles (like most German Panzers) have hull parts attached to the tracks, so this isn't as much of an option.
I LOVE these plastic tracks.  I leave them on the sprue until the very end.

Before adding the plastics, the horde takes shape.
Step Two: Undercoat
I undercoat the tracks black.

I know this is biased, but I LOVE this plastic kit.

Plastics all done!  This should be part of Step 1, but they came late to the party!
Here's where I break the airbrush out.  This Vallejo Surface Primer is *AWESOME*.  I spray it on, then let it cure over night.  Goes on smooth, no need to thin it, and it looks great.  Highly recommended!

The end of night one.  Assembly and spray coating!
Step Three: Drybrush

I highlight Russian Green (as well as my US Olive Drab) with Green Grey.  I dryrbsuh very liberally, you'll notice it looks a bit chalky here, but I find that the subsequent steps will really tone that down.

The results of the drybrush.

Step Four: The Wash
I really only apply this to some areas, on these specifically, I apply it to the engine deck and grates.

Y'all have heard of this stuff!

Gah, these plastics!  The engine deck detail is nice and deep and takes the wash really well!

Step Five: Detail base
This is probably unnecessary, but it just takes a few minutes and I like it.  You could honestly probably skip it.  I take either black or Panzer Grey and paint all of the "accessories" on the tanks.  Chains, tools, and even crew members.

Side Quest Step 1
Because I wanted to paint the captured German armour as well, I figured I may as well show you that too.  Ignore the Side Quest steps if you'd like! (Editor: Is there good loot?)
The primary colours I use for German vehicles right now.  The Dark Yellow on the left is the same stuff as the Surface primer above, and totally rules!  The two on the right are Tamiya.  

I'm still debating whether I like XF-9 or 10 better for camo.  9 is a bit more "reddish" than 10, but both look pretty close.

See?  9 on the left, 10 on the right.

Side Quest Step 2
This is a trick I learned from the BF Studio dudes.  Over most colors, a light drybrush of Iraqi Sand looks fantastic.

After the drybrush.

Step Six- Painting the Details
This step goes quickly.  Hull Red for the exhaust.  I also apply hull red for the Soviet tanker helmet.

Beige brown for tool handles.  I also apply this as a base coat for my flesh tones.

For the logs I use flat earth, beige brown, and a thinned wash.

Keeping on the details!  These go quickly.

Khaki for the Soviet uniforms (dark blue would do too!), German Camo Beige for ropes and stowage, Flat Flesh for... flesh, and Fieldgrey WWII for German uniforms.

Most of those colours are probably wrong, but I have a limited supply on hand right now, so I'm going for "close enough".

Step Seven- Gloss!
Although I am using the Micro Gloss pictured below, my preference for this step is Vallejo's excellent Polyurethane Gloss.

I thin the gloss down a bit with water (about 70/30), and liberally spray it on through the airbrush.  You can paint this on as well with a soft brush, but be careful of it bubbling.

All glossed up no place to go!

Check back in part 2 and I'll show you the oil wash, weathering, and decals to finish these guys off.


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