I have been experimenting with the Masking Fluid by Vallejo recently and was rather pleased with the results. There are a number of methods and products you can use to help delineate between colours for camouflage when painting, such as using masking tape or a popular one is the easy to find blu tack, but for me I found the masking fluid easy to use with great results.
Before we start the products I will be using are shown in the photo above.
First off I should say that I use an airbrush when painting tanks. Please don't switch off however if you don't use one, as similar effects can be achieved through spray cans such as Army Painter, just without the modulation steps. If you are interested in modulation check out 'Modulations and Light Techniques' by Javier Soler of the Mig Jiminez brand of books.
We will go through the preparation phase, as I get asked about that a fair bit. Firstly, I prime the tank using an AK black primer (AK178) and then use an AK white primer (AK177) to highlight the areas that will get the most light. When I put the other colours down this will effect the modulation making the lighter colours lighter and darker colours darker.
Next up I apply the masking fluid (Vallejo 28.851) in a random pattern, to do this I pour some out onto a tray and use a paint brush to apply it to the tank. It will retain its liquid form for 5-10 minutes before starting to harden, depending on environmental conditions, so you have enough time to paint it on in a pattern of your choosing. It will sometimes dry a clear colour in parts and this is where you will have to have a close look and see if it covering the area you want it to, if in doubt apply another dab or two. I then set the tank aside for about 20 minutes or so just to make sure the masking fluid has completely dried into a rubbery type of consistency.
Once dry I apply the next colour of the camouflage pattern, in this case I am using the Olivgrun shadow/base and light from the AK German Camouflage series (AK1171, AK1172 and AK1173). I will apply it going from darker to light and try and match what I have done with the Dunkelgelb base coat. I spray the entire tank as the masking fluid will protect the areas I do not want paint on.
When the last coat of Olivgrun light is dry you can remove the masking fluid by gentle rubbing your thumb or fingers over the areas it has been painted on. You will notice the paint start to lift up. It is an easy process then to remove the rest of the rubbery type mask, leaving a clean edge where the olivgrun has been applied. In areas where it is not easy to get your fingers or thumb you can gently use a cotton bud (or Q-tip) or even a hobby knife, being careful not to scratch the paint underneath. At this point all the airbrushing of paint has been done so we can paint the accessories and tracks, I use Rusty Tracks by AK (AK721) and just brush it on and it gives a nice contrast to the rest of the tank. Once finished give it another coat of varnish to protect everything.
Now comes the pin wash with AK enamel, Dark Wash (AK045) for Green vehicles, this is where I use a brush and put the wash basically everywhere there is a join or recess etc. No need to be careful as once the wash is on we go over it with a cotton bud dipped in solvent to clean it up. When dry I apply the decals and do some chipping effects. For the chipping effects I use a light Dunkelgelb colour and a sponge to hit the exposed areas like edges to show some wear and tear.
So now I have Panther 123 and 124 in the same scheme ready for the tabletop in just a short time. Hopefully you can see how simple this is and how easy it is to pump out a good looking tank for the tabletop. I do have a few more things I want to do with these two to finish them off but for the purpose of this article they are ready for game day!