Thursday, June 28, 2018

Thorn Moon Crusade: Painted T-26

The Rhani of Yhanzi march next to the T-26.

A while back I posted my efforts at repurposing a 1:35 scale Russian T-26 for use by the human elements during the Thorn Moon Crusade. After some deliberation, I decided to try painting it using some scale model techniques, primarily involving various oil paints and some enamels. For one reason or another, there seems to be somewhat of a gulf between scale model (tanks, airplanes, trains, etc.) painting and miniature wargame painting. Possibly this is because GW’s line of paints are all acrylic ones, and are the easiest to find if you are already involved in the wargaming hobby. While it was quite a learning experience, I am glad to report the tank is complete, and wanted to talk a little about the painting process.

The first three stages of the painting process.

Initially, the tanks was primed grey, before airbrushing the entire surface black, followed by Dark Green RLM71 (Vallejo Model Air 71.015). Before painting it the final green, I preshaded all of the broad armor panels by lightly spraying white in the center of each panel. This helped modulate the final green color when it was applied, Russian Green 4BO (Vallejo 71.017). With the base color complete, I simulated light paint chipping by randomly stippling dark brown all over the tank, but focusing on the edges of armor panels.


The final few stages of the painting process.

Despite the preshading and chipping, I still felt the green of the tank looked a little flat, and wanted to experiment with oil paints to add more variation to it. To do this, I used a few Ammo of Mig Oilbrushers, which are pre-thinned oil paints in little vials with an applicator brush. The applicator brush makes them really easy to use, just shake the vial to mix the paint a little, and then use the little brush on the cap to apply the paint, before sealing it up again. With three different greens, I applied small amounts of oil to various parts of the tank, primarily adding dark green to areas that would be shaded and light green to more exposed areas. After applying the oils, I went back and blended them into the base green by lightly wetting a brush with odorless thinner. This blending technique takes a little getting used to, but is pretty easy with some practice. Since oil paints dry so slowly and can easily be removed by applying thinner with a brush, the process is pretty forgiving.


After airbrushing the tank green, oils were used to add definition to the color.

Next, I did a pin wash wash to pickout all of the rivets and panel lines on the tank. This technique is very similar to using a normal GW acrylic wash, but takes advantage of oil paints increased drying time and ability to be removed with thinner. For it, I took one of the brown oil paints I had and diluted it with odorless thinner. Then I applied the wash with a brush to all of the rivets and panel lines; due to the thin consistency of the wash, capillary action draws it easily into the details. After letting it dry a little, you can always go back and touch up any area, or remove excess wash, with a brush lightly wetted in thinner.


The sides and tracks of the tank were painted with a combination of pigments, enamel washes, and GW texture paints.

To start the weathering process I used a dot filter technique, which uses various oil paints to create a faint streaking effect over the tank. The process is quite simple, just putting small dots of oil paint all over the tank and then lightly blending/brushing the paint off with a brush containing a small amount if thinner. If you use too much thinner or brush to heavily, you might remove all of paint, but you can easily go back and repeat the process. After doing this, I added some more pronounced rust streaking effects on some areas of the tank I figured rust might accumulate. For this I used an enamel product, Streaking rust from Ammo of Mig. This is applied with a brush in streaks and after letting dry for a minute or two, is blended carefully with thinner, much like the oil paints. Finally I used Ammo of Mig Wet effects to simulate areas where water was running off the tank, something I figured was possible in the humid, forested areas of the Thorn Moons. It was incredibly easy to use, just brushing it on lightly and letting it dry. It has a slight glossy finish, mimicking that of water.


MiniNatur moss tufts were added to various areas on the tank to make it look like the tanks has been unused for quite some time.

I also experimented with some of GW’s texture paints and some Vallejo pigments to simulate an accumulation of dirt on the tank and along the tracks and road wheels. I started by applying a layer of Stirland Battlemire (one of GW’s texture paints with microbeads) to areas, making sure to vary the thickness, helping to create texture. I unified this all by painting over it with Martian Ironearth, another GW texture paint, but this one cracks when it dries. After all of this dried, I painted it a variety of browns, to make it look like dark woodland soil. Next I used an old brush to dab on a few different brown pigments. This was focused primarily around the side of the tank and around the wheels. To fix the pigments in place, I liberally applied Brown Wash for German Dark Yellow (Ammo of Mig). Since this is an enamel product, I was able to go back with some thinner to blend or touch up any area I was not happy with. To add some additional color, I also used a little light and dark Slimy Grime from Ammo of Mig (I used these on the skulls on the tank to give them a slight green hue). The tracks were completed in a similar way, applying pigments with a brush and fixing them with an enamel wash, this time using Ammo of Mig Track Wash. To complete the model, I added a few moss pad tufts from miniNatur (747-22 S). Unlike most static grass tufts I have worked with, they have really fine strands and look a lot more natural. A special thanks to @apoteos_miniatures for telling us about them!

I put off painting the T-26 for quite some time, apprehensive about learning how to use oils. Having completed the model, I should have started much sooner! As it turns out, oils are really fun and forgiving to use. I would encourage everyone to give them a try, particularly if you plan to paint some tanks in the near future!

- Eric Wier

12 comments:

  1. Nicely done! Really dig how it turned out, the weathering techniques look great!

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    1. Thanks! It was great to experiment with different techniques!

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  2. Really well done the weathering really takes the model up a notch and adds so much character. Great job including the type of static grass used as well. It’s always good finding a new product that better suits your needs.

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    1. Yeah, it is always great to find a new product and experiment with using it. I think I could get a lot more out of static grass.

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  3. Very nice! The accumulated muck and skulls help to bring it more into the 40k look, and the painting is great.

    Did you seal the tank in between steps? e.g. between the original airbrushing and the oils, and then the oils before you did the textures?

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    1. Thanks for the kind words. What is a 40k model without skulls!? I did not seal the model at any point. I did allow each major step to dry for a few hours though (between base coat and oils, oils and pin wash, pin wash and dot filter, etc. I think the oilbrushers dry a little quicker than traditional canvas oils due to their formulation. If you tried to do everything in rapid succession, the repeated use of thinner might distrub the previous step, but if you space it out a little it shouldn't be an issue.

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  4. Nicely done guys. I always love the look of scale models done well. And there is a tremendous range of kit now out there for helping get the best look. I followed Mike Rinaldi for a while and got a couple of his Tank Art books (out of production now I think) where he went through his process to get similar results. A lot of the oil paint rendering etc are things he got right into. Phil S from FW is another who really shows off wha you can do if you have the patience to really go to town on a kit.

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    1. I will have to look into both of them! There is certainly a lot that can be learned from the scale model side of modeling!

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  5. Replies
    1. I will be sending it off to the Thorn Moon Crusade, so you should be able to see it shortly!

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  6. Great work. This really has turned out well. I'm going to have to try some of these oils and enamels based techniques, so thanks for the links. Are those the metal tracks (did you finish them in the end?)? Also I agree that the MiniNatur products are very good, I get them from my local model railroad shop!

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    1. Both oils and enamels are really worth trying. Although they are quite different from acrylics, they are not too difficult to use. Those are not the metal tracks, I am still slowly working on assembling them for another T26. This one has the stock plastic ones.

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