Painting the Initial Tiger
I am demonstrating these painting techniques on DML/Dragons 3-in-1 kit #6252 the Initial Tiger. First I must say that very little if any of the techniques I use are completely original, they have been picked up from other modelers that I know or have read their works. The techniques are modified to suit a particular paint job. I believe that modeling especially the painting process should be fluid and not limit ourselves to finishing every build the same way because thatís what works... It should be an evolution. Getting complacent leads to a loss of the creative spark that started us in modeling to begin with. Enough theory; lets get to the fun part...
*Unless otherwise noted all paints are acrylics
The Tiger has been sprayed with a German gray color mixed from black, white and a touch of Model Master French Blue over a base coat of primer red from a rattle can. I don't buy into the pre-shade practice. Color studies class in college taught me the value of base colors and top colors and how they affect one another and since German armor in WWII was primed in red brown primer thatís become my standard practice. When in Rome..
Filters have become commonplace in most modelerís vocabulary after being pioneered by such renowned painters as Miguel Jimenez and Mirko Bayerl. I picked up this particular technique for filtering from Bernhard Lustig. Colors vary depending on the base colors and the effects youíre looking for. For this one I set out some Black, White, Blue, Green and a couple of earth brown tones. I like to use oils because of the fineness of the pigments, variety of colors and long working time.
The Tiger has been sprayed with a semi-gloss clear coat to facilitate the blending of the oil paints. The decals are already applied and faded to some degree with a soft overspray of the base gray. Flat paints tend to absorb the oils too fast and a glossy finish is hard to get the brush strokes out of, so a nice semi gloss is best for filtering. As the turpentine and oils dry the paint will take on a dull sheen that looks very much like steel. Care must be taken not to add too much paint. You can always repeat the process once the first colors are dry. Using a medium size brush thatís very soft that is damp with turpentine. [Editor's Note: There are aqueous oils (water soluable) on the market that work just as well if you wish to avoid organic solvents] Wisk and blend the colors together until there isn't any trace of the individual dots remaining. What youíre looking for is a soft patina of color that slightly changes the base paint and adds subtle hue variations over the surface of the model.
Too much color; dark or light, will be difficult to blend away and will drastically alter the base color. The idea is to balance and create a neutral filter. For this example I wanted to model a very new tank on its way to the front, or perhaps a crew doing a shakedown drives so I kept the paint discolorations to a minimum. You won't know the full effect of the filter until itís completely dry so be patient.
The exhaust was masked off and base painted with Testors Rust then while this was still wet various shades of rust colored pastel powders was stippled onto the surface.
Onto the tools now. The metal heads of the shovel, axe and sledge hammer were metalized with a rubdown of Iron Oxide pottery glaze over the base panzer gray. Iron oxide glaze is literally powdered rust and when buffed it turns a wonderful steel color with a hint of rust color.
I carved a pencil eraser to a wedge shape to apply the powder. A paint brush is too soft for this, but the rubber eraser is perfect for burnishing the powder into the paint.
After base coating the tool handles in a mixture of Tamiya Dark Yellow and Model Master Wood I once again turned to the oil paints. Mixing up some various shades with Raw Umber, Burnt Sienna and Yellow Ochre I added the subtle wood hues using basically a filter method. After this dried I made up some dark reddish brown color from Burnt Sienna and Raw Umber and painted it into the cracks and corners letting it fade out to the middle of the tool handle. I let the frazzled end of an old brush add the wood grain without trying to paint it specifically. I was quite pleased with the effect since it doesn't over emphasize the grain but only suggest it. Silver was painted onto the ends of the barrel cleaning rods and weathered slightly with black and brown washes.
I picked up a set of Fruilmodel Early/Mid workable tracks. I began by spraying them blackish brown then attacked them with the same Iron Oxide powder that was used on the tools. After all this set I washed the tracks with pigments mixed in a water/rubbing alcohol.
Again, I wanted a fairly clean tank for this build and so opted for a light coat of dust to suggest a road march rather than a mud bath. MIG pigments are another common item these days in modeling and I have nothing but high praise for them. A couple of shades of pigments including Europe Dust and Light Dust were mixed and matched on the road wheels and the lower hull to give it a nice dusty covering.
The final step was to add some black pigments to the rubber portions of the road wheels that contact the track and then fit the tracks in place.
And there she is; a factory fresh example of the first run of Tiger tanks to see action. Rest assured they didn't stay this way long.