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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Bolt Action - Painting Hungarian Tanks

Welcome to the third article in my series on modelling and painting the mighty Royal Hungarian Army. This time around we are talking tanks. During the second world war, Hungary produced many of it's own unique AFV's as well as being supplied with some German Panzers. In Bolt Action the armoured vehicles really are what gives the Hungarian list it's unique flavour, and you'll be sure to include at least a few of them in your reinforced platoon. So lets get painting!

Zrinyii Assault Howitzer (left), Toldi light tank mk I and IIa (right)

Mad Bob Miniatures

My miniatures come from the extensive and high quality range of 1/56th scale Hungarian tanks by Mad Bob Miniatures. I was lucky enough to back his kickstarter and have 15 or so AFV's on the way. But never fear, Bob will make the range available sometime after the kickstarter orders are delievered in April 2015. Bob was nice enough to even send me these early castings to paint up. I have here two versions of the Toldi light tank as well as the Zrinyii II Assault Howitzer.  

First a quick review of the miniatures. You can tell these miniatures have been designed by a wargamer for wargamers. They come with a minimum of parts, so assembly time is quick. That doesn't mean you don't have options. All the hatches for instance are separate, so you can have them open for putting crew in. They are robust. The resin is very high quality and not brittle at all. The detail is well defined and not delicate. You can tell Bob has durability in mind when he's designed his miniatures, these tanks will survive with the most ham fisted gamers. Because the masters have been designed with 3D software and printed, the pieces fit together easily and precisely. Hardly any clean up was required at all. I am very happy with these miniatures, 4.5 out of 5 for me (they lose .5 for not having the crew and decals available yet, but that won't be the case in the future).

Colour schemes and markings

There isn't much reference material out there on Hungarian AFV's but I did find this little gem online, 'Magyar Steel'. It is invaluable for reference on camo schemes and markings from early through to late war. The Zrinyii Assault Howitzer will have a fairly typical late war scheme of straight green, featuring the late war Hungarian national symbol of a white cross on black. For the two Toldi tanks I am opting for a typical early war scheme of hard edged three tome camo and the more gaudy (and awesome!) Hungarian Balkenkreuz, which is bright red, white and green. Ok, on with the painting!

Step by Step painting

1) Assemble your resin vehicles with super glue, cleaning up any flash first. Undercoat black with an acrylic primer. Make sure this goes into every crevice as it will form the shading later. Next spray your tanks with a green primer over this. I use Army Painter 'Angel Green'

2) Drybrush an initial highlight of 50/50% VJ894 Russian Green and VJ819 Iraqi Sand over the entire vehicle.

3) Apply the camo. I don't have an airbrush so just block painted the camo in two stages in random shapes based off what I found in reference photo's. The colours I used are VJ847 Dark Sand and VJ984 Flat Brown.

Hungarian decals are by 'Bison Decals'
4) Apply decals. Mad Bob miniatures will be releasing a set of 1/56th scale Hungarian tank decals soon but at this early stage I had to track down an alternative. I ended up using Bison decals, both 1/35th and 1/72 scale. You can pick these up on ebay fairly cheap, and I found them very good qaulity.

Once again I used Magyar Steel as reference on what decals went where on the tanks. Before you put the decals on, it's a good idea to paint on some gloss varnish in the area they will be, then repeat this process again after the decal is placed, sealing it in with gloss varnish. This will mean it applies without wrinkles and is protected from rubbing off later.
5) Paint any other base colours needed on tracks, weapons and stowage. Don't bother doing any shading, because the oils paints and weathering powders will do that for us.

The oil paints and weathering powders need white spirit to be applied. White spirit strips acrylic paint, so you now need to apply a layer of gloss varnish to protect the paint underneath. Apply generously and let it dry overnight. Make sure it gets everywhere because any spots you miss will be stripped of paint once you start applying the oil paints.

On the left there you will see a collection of what you require for shading and weathering these tanks. Artists White Spirit, basic oil paints (a dark brown and a black) are all from an art supply store. I also collected some make up removal sticks and a small plastic cup to mix up the oil paints. Lastly, you can get yourself some weathering powders to simulate dust and mud. These are essentially powdered paint. There are now many companies making these and I chose Secret Weapon Miniatures for mine.

6) Make a mixture of roughly 4:1 Brown and Black oil paint. You don't need much, just a small blob. We are making a wash, using the white spirit instead of water we would normally use. Appply this wash over the entire vehicle, don't worry that you are seemingly covering up the decals, we'll be removing much of this in the next step. Remember when using oils to wash your brushes out afterwards in the white spirit, water won't work here.

7) After leaving the wash to dry (this could take an hour or a day depending on the weather) it's time to remove some of it to create the shading. Don't wait more than 24 hours to do this or it will be difficult to get the oil wash off.

The idea is that the heavy dark oil wash we applied previously can now be 'rubbed off' in places to reveal the lighter painter areas underneath. This will both create the shading and a feeling of dirt and weathering in a natural looking way as we aren't painting it on with a brush.
Wearing a rubber glove, (it get's messy!) I dip my make remover stick in a small amount of white spirit and simply start rubbing back the wash on the raised areas. Don't use too much spirit (you'll be suprised how strong this is) and keep a rag handy to dab your makeup stick on as you take off the paint. In the end they should now look like the pic above.

8) For some highlights and to simulate paint chipping I now take a piece of blister pack foam and sponge on some VJ924 Russian Uniform. You can see the result in the picture here on the left.
9) This stage is very optional and in the end the final varnish coat rendered the effort almost unnoticeable but weathering powders did add some extra 'grittiness' in the end. Just like the previous oil wash, make a mixture of white spirit and a small amount of the powder. Wash this into the areas that are appropriate for what you are doing. EG: Mud and earth around the tracks, black powder around exhausts and the end of weapons.

Once dry the white spirit will have evaporated leaving just the powder, it's a very natural looking effect. You can easily adjust the effect and remove some if you went to hard, like I did with this first attempt. Just use more spirit and rub it off like before.

10) Lastly, seal all your hard work in with a good spray of matte varnish. This is essential as the weathering powders will just rub off otherwise. I always use Testors Dullcote. You can see how the varnish has darkened and reduced the effect of the weathering powders, which I didn't mind to much, but it's something to be aware of.

I like to base my vehicles, I think it helps tie the army all together visually. You can see how I am basing my army in the original tutorial here.

If you have any questions on painting tanks or Hungarian armoured fighting vehicles, just join me on the forum.

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