BGK - Clash of Reconnaissance: Airbrushing Good/Bad News

Here is my third try at airbrushing. My subjects are the T-34 and T-70 tanks for the scenario "Clash of Reconnaissance" in the Battlegroup Kursk rulebook. I started with a black primer coat courtesy of Armoury's Black Primer.


As before I used a 50-50 mix of Tamiya paint and Tamiya thinner blown at 20PSI.


My first color was Tamiya Dark Green XF-61. This deep brown/green was sprayed liberally over the model... heavier on upper panels and where light would hit... lighter coverage in the recesses and shadowed area.


Next up was Tamiya NATO Green XF-67. This lighter green was sprayed in the middle of the panels and upper surfaces in an attempt to make those areas brighter. I did a pretty good job of leaving some of the Dark Green showing around the edges and for the most part I put the NATO Green where I wanted it to go. As I was spraying I could see a shiny wet spot where the new paint was hitting the model and that helped me aim better and also gauge the amount of paint that was being sprayed. The XF-61 and XF-67 look great together! 

HOWEVER...

That said, my color choices are too dark. Under a bright window and the midday sun the colors looked dark and rich. As the hours ticked past and the light became less bright, the colors faded and the tanks now look almost black. That isn't going to work. 1/72nd is a smaller scale than 1/35th and therefore requires lighter colors (and more defined contrasts) to make the model stand out. 

The pictures above were taken in almost perfect light which was streaming through a noonday window. Games will be played at night, in garages, under incandescents, etc. and a brighter color would be better. A respray is required. 

Live and learn, right? I saw this model online and it has a lighter, yellowy green finish that looks good. It uses XF-58 Olive Green and XF-4 Yellow Green. Interesting!

Comments

  1. Bad luck! I haven't progressed to an airbrush yet, I still use spray cans. That does cause problems because you never quite get the right shade of green you want. Because I wok in 1/72 I am just experimenting with Humbrols 'Grass Green' as a base colour for Soviet AFVs - it's a bit bright but with some washes over the top will hopefully get that yellow/green you mention.

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    1. You should use russian green from vallejo or vallejo air, if you decide to buy an airbrush😉

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    2. That's good advice, Korwin. When I was doing these models Vallejo Model Air wasn't as easily available in my area. Since then many of my favorite hobby shops carry it. However, I still have a great affinity for Tamiya paints; they spray so well!

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  2. Stephen - It was some bad luck. But that is okay. This is a new scale, new paint, new airbrush and new subject matter. There are bound to be some bumps on this road. But, the good news is that I have an idea of a lighter color combination that ought to improve the situation. I'll see if I can implement the new plan and spray this weekend.

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  3. Dear Squadpainter, Thank you for your informative write ups on your project progress on your blog. As a person trying to teach myself about painting military miniatures in my spare time, I find your blog extremely handy when deciding what techniques to try. I am working on the same basic area that you have described in your blog, WWII German/Soviet armies at Kursk in 20mm for wargaming. My knowledge of wargaming is nil, and my painting skills are at a novice level. I've already picked up some great tips from your blog like: 50/50 ratio for airbrushing Tamiya paint, Basing on pennies, and I think I'm going to try army painter dip. I'm looking forward to your solving of dark soviet tank issue, because all my soviet tanks are way too dark. This is why I enjoy your blog and your descriptions of your BGK progress so much. I discovered your blog from reading post on The Guild which I'm a member, but I'm intimidated at this time to chime in. I've learned a lot from Viewing posts on The Guild, however at this time I find the info on your blog more to the point on the issues I'm dealing with. Again I like to thank you for sharing your modeling adventures and please keep it up. If you ever need help with your BGK goals from a novice ( I live in the San Diego area) let me know via my Blog http://tanktaco.blogspot.com/ in the comments. Thanks again!
    Tank Taco

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  4. Tank Taco - Thank you for your kind words. I appreciate them! The Dip is a lot of fun and I use it for my "Game Standard" painting level. A dipped figure with some judicious highlights can beat 85% of the figures on a local game store's tables any day. Not only that, but when you dip you can really crank them out in quantity! I would say that a dipped figure takes 1/4 as much time as my "Top Standard" Foundry-style painted figure.

    The Guild is great and even though I have only been on there for a few weeks I have made some friends and have learned a lot after I started posting. Shoot... even Piers came over here and posted on my blog! That was pretty neat!

    Best of luck on your endeavors. Even though it is raining here this weekend, I am going to have another go with that airbrush! Wish me luck!

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  5. Jeff

    I think the airbrushed vehicles look great and I prefer the darker shade. Wouldn't a lighter highlight solve the problem (not that I think there is a problem)? I hope I can persuade you to demo a vehicle for the upcoming Craft Weekend. I may buy an AFV just in case....

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  6. Good luck with the airbrushing this weekend. I'm testing out brushing on some primer and trying out some discount paints from Derivan. I spray outside, so I'll wait for Santa Ana (or SOSA) to give that 50/50 Tamiya Mix a try. I have a Aztec (cheap) airbrush for now with a bunch of clogged tips, so I have only been using Vallejo Model Air, which I have had very good luck with. Which shade of army painter do you use and were do you purchase it, if I may ask? Thanks for all the info!

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  7. Michael - In real life the colors are a LOT darker than the above pictures. The good news is that I successfully lightened them on Saturday and I am already past the pin-wash stage and have applied the decals! Next up is edge highlights and then grime and weathering!

    I would be more than happy to demo some airbrushing on Craft Weekend! I'll have some tanks ready for it.

    - Jeff

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  8. Tank Taco - I have heard lots of good things about VMAir, so I'm sure that you are in good hands with it.

    I am finding with my Tamiya mix and using their pink-lidded airbrush cleaner afterwards is enabling me to avoid all clogging issues so far.

    I use Army Painter Dip - Medium Tone. I think that Game Empire in San Diego has a pot of it, but you'll pay for the convenience. Call ahead to see if they still have it in stock. If you wanted to go online to get it, try either Michigan Toy Soldier or The WarStore. Both of them are nice to work with.

    - Jeff

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  9. Thanks again, I just learned about the Game Empire Shop the other week and have been meaning to stop in just to check it out, and now I have a reason. The VMAir got me airbrushing and I love the stuff, but I have a bunch of Tamiya colors & Gunze paints ( which i guess is a lot like tamiya paints) that I would like to shoot through the Airbrush. Looking forward to seeing progess on your soviet armor .

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  10. Tank Taco - Game Empire definitely leans towards the gaming end of the spectrum. I normally go there for Citadel paints, brushes and Vallejo Color paints and mediums and varnishes. Less than half a mile away is Discount Hobbies. Although they are more of an RC shop, they have a great selection of 1/72 scale model kits, Tamiya paints and thinners and cleaners, Vallejo Model Air paints, and glues. Between the two I can normally find the supplies that I am looking for in a pinch.

    - Jeff

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