While painting the latest addition to my Royal Hungarian army forces, a Panzer IV, I decided to record the process to share how I have painted the model and in particular the 'Panzer Grey'. Read on as I show you step by step how I painted this vehicle.
This Panzer IV is one of the excellent Rubicon Models plastic 1:56 scale kits. With the addition of my own converted tank commander to help give it a Hungarian look.
1) Spray primer and base coatI began by using a black spray primer. Over this I sprayed a coat of Tamiya 'German Grey' acrylic. You should be able to find this range of small cans in most hobby stores.
2) Drybrush highlight and transfersNext I highlight the grey by drybrushing the entire model with Vallejo 886 Green Grey. It's a good idea to do this stage now so you don't get this grey all over the other colours that come next. At this stage I also apply my decals. I have brushed a little gloss varnish onto the decal areas before, let that dry and then put the transfers on top. The gloss varnish gives a great smooth surface for the decals. I apply a second coat of gloss varnish back over the decals once that is dry (it's usually pretty quick). This seals and protects the decals.
3) Finish off the base coloursNow, finish off the basic colours on the tank. The tracks are Vallejo 984 Flat Brown, rubber on the road wheels is Vallejo 995 German Grey and the wooden handles on the tools is Vallejo 983 Flat Earth. The tool heads and hull machine gun are painted silver. Also drybrush the tracks with the same silver (not pictured).
4) ChippingUsing a torn up piece of foam, I dab some Vallejo 995 German Grey onto the areas of the hull I think would be chipped. The foam gives a random pattern, so is very organic. Be sure to not use too much paint when you do this.
5) Gloss varnishCoat your entire tank in a layer of gloss varnish. I am going to weather the vehicle using a mixture of oil and enamel products so need to provide a protective layer over the acrylic paints so they do not get stripped off by the harsh solvents used in this next stage.
6) Apply a washUsing an old brush I 'pin wash' the areas of the hull that I want to darken up using the AK Interactive dark brown wash for green vehicles (works fine on grey ones too!). Not the entire model, just the recesses, but you don't have to be super precise. I also painted on some crude streaks using this wash as you can see in the images below, especially on the top of the turret. This is the wash before I clean it up using some white spirit.
7) Clean up the washNext I use some white spirit to soften or even remove areas of the wash, First I take a make up stick dampened in white spirit (but not much) to rub off any wash that is on a raised area. Next I take the old brush and dampen it slightly in white spirit also. This I drag down the streaks and soften them in the process. drag the brush in the direction of the streaking. See the pics below for a better idea.
After cleaning up the wash, your tank should now look like the one above.
8) Dust and dirtThis stage is very optional, but is pretty fun and does add something to the look of the tank. I have chosen some dry pigment products from Secret Weapon, the Dark Earth and Burning Sands.
Take a little of the powdered pigment and mix it with some white spirit to form a 'wash', then paint this onto the areas of the tank were dust or dirt would gather. At the time you paint this stuff on it will be a lot darker then how it will actually dry, so be aware of this. The white spirit will eventually evaporate completely and simply leave behind the powder.
Here is how the powered dust and dirt pigments turned out on my Panzer IV. I mixed some of the earth and sand pigments together as I guessed the sand and earth would be to dark or light by themselves on the grey hull.
9) Matt varnish and final detailsYou really need to protect all this work with a good coat of matt varnish. This will remove the glossy look of the previous varnish layer and also seal in those powdered pigments. I also glued in my separately painted tank commander and added flock to my completely optional base.
Here is another example of this painting process on a Panzer 38(t).
My Royal Hungarian army now has some serious early war armoured support. Give it a try, there are a few steps but it actually doesn't take all that long to paint the tank, apart from some stages requiring it to be left to dry.
If you have any questions on what I have done here, just leave a comment below!