While tidying up my hard drive a couple days ago, I discovered some 'work in progress' pictures I took of the T-72 that featured in my last post. This is the first 15mm tank I have ever painted. I had planned to give it a run-of-the-mill green colour scheme but, after seeing the amazing beasties here and here, I was inspired to try something different. So, for the benefit of the humble Shogun Tora Kamikaze, here is what I did:
First, I slapped some base colours on to it. I use several different brands of acrylic, so I'll describe the colours generically rather that use branded paint names. Hopefully, then anybody wanting to do something similar to this will be able to find reasonable matches among their own collection of paints. The wheels are burnt umber; the tracks, parts of the side skirts and the area under the engine exhaust are gunmetal grey; the mantlet and the base is leather brown; and the rest of the tank is a mid-green. In the end I didn't like the green. Since I painted this I acquired a nice olive green paint, and that's what I shall be using on the next batch of tanks. There are some patches of yellow showing; this is where the paint coverage is a little thin and the sand-coloured undercoat is showing through.
Next, I added some weathering because I wanted the tank to look rusty and muddy. I also like to weather things as much as possible because it makes a virtue of my sloppy painting. The rust is a vivid orange applied thinly with a very small brush to areas where I wanted to bring out some of the detail. I painted various kinds of earthy colours onto the front, back, wheels and tracks of the tank, starting with burnt umber and then lightly drybrushing grey and fawn shades over the top. I drybrushed the base with the same light colours and then gave it a diluted wash of raw umber.
I usually use Windsor & Newton inks and, because they aren't waterproof, I highlight things first and apply a wash of ink last. However, this time I ended up experimenting with thinned paint. I used FolkArt's Dark Grey craft paint. I'm naming this paint in particular by brand because I highly recommend it for weathering. It's somehow brown and grey at the same time, making it the perfect colour to depict dirt and grime. Here's the tank after I tidied up the rust with a re-application of the base colours, and with a wash of diluted Dark Grey:
At this stage I wasn't very happy with the tank. It didn't look muddy enough. I wanted it to look like it was caked with the stuff, so I decided to glue some sand to the front and back of the hull and to some of the tracks. Before painting it, I sealed the sand with a layer of thinned PVA to stop it coming off the tank and clogging up the paintbrush. This seemed to work, so I pressed on and added a wash of raw umber to the mantlet and turret stowage to shade and emphasis them.
The next stage was to make it look like a Chechen tank. I painted the turret and barrel in much the same way the real tanks would have been painted, with an off-white dragged quite thickly over the green. I slapped a bit on the hull as well, as if somebody had spilled some paint while working.
The final stage was to add some small details. I applied a small amount of thinned orange over the white for a little more rustiness, and painted the optics and grenade launchers. I very subtly drybrushed some of the tank's edges and raised panel lines to emphasise them and applied some very thin, very dark brown outlines around some of the panels where the casting was a bit soft.
At the last minute, I decided that the base also needed to look more muddy so I added a second layer of more coarse sand to build it up at the front and back.
Here's the finished tank: