Thursday, May 28, 2015

Taco Tutorials: Oils, Weathering and Final Touches

So we are at the final installment of my painting tutorials for this round. Here we will see the TURMs get weathered by oils, pigments and have its final details finished off. Without further adieu, lets get started.

Stage 1

To prep for oils you need to give your vehicle a nice, solid gloss coat that can take some abuse from the corrosive elements of the wash. This can actually be a bit finnicky, as many gloss sprays don't seem to have the staying power needed for weathering. I've experienced many failures in this regard, which is always a little traumatising after having invested so much time and effort in a piece. I have long stood by Helmar Crystal Cote gloss Varnish, which in Australia is available at Riot Art stores for around twenty dollars a can. It went out of stock for about a year, but recently has come back online. Spying it back on the shelves I immediately bought six cans =P. Anyway, give your vehicle a nice, consistent coat and make sure the surface is completely covered on both sides. Leave to dry for 24 hours and then you are good to go.
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Stage 2

Now the fun really begins.  With your freshly shiny tank, load up the brush with your selected oil wash (in this I use AK interactive's Dark Yellow Wash, generally speaking for light vehicles you want a brownish-type shading), water around 50 percent with turps and proceed to flood the model. While many modelers prefer pin washing, I find with the subsequent cleanup that level of finesse is unneeded and exhaustive. With the gloss coat you'll find the oils tend to run into and build up in cracks and naturally shade themselves. Again, this is about finding the balance of aesthetic pleasure and laziness. Leave the wash to dry for a few hours, before returning for the next step.
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Stage 3

Cleanup time. You've made a mess, and as your mom always used to say, its your responsibility to fix it. The trick with this stage is to wipe the raised surfaces clean of the wash, to provide shading and weathering to the kit. Without gloss, this would be disastrous, as you would be wiping away your precious airbrush layers, but with the protective layer in place you can go to town without fear of damaging the model itself. Originally I used Q-tips soaped in turps as my tool of choice, but being a bit of a green freak I found these extremely wasteful. Further, Q-tips often leave annoying residual fibers on the model that require further vigilance on your part to clean up. About a year ago I discovered the wonders of the Gaianotes Finish Master tool, an absorbent bit of latex-type material that is easily cleaned in turps and lasts a very long time before needing changing. They also have the added effect of conforming to the surface they are running over, allowing greater control in cleanup and evening of particular lines you may want to affect.
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I find this particular stage of the process extremely cathartic, as its like watching your frog reform into a Sasha Grey or whatever have you.

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Cleaned up and ready to go.

Stage 4

At this point of the process if you wish to add heavy mud layering now is a good moment. For this I utilized MIG's P501 Europe Dry Mud Rough Texture, which I've found is far superior to any other texture pastes I've dealt with previously for 'gunking up' kit. Apply to where you would expect mud to build up heavily with an old brush.

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Stage 5

After the mud if dry its time to de-gloss your AFV. There has long been a debate about the best matt flat finish and personally I had long adhered to Testors Dullcote. However, in recent months I've decided its just too noxious for my tastes, even with the appropriate respiratory gear. I also found that in my new location the high air humidity makes the finish extremely unpredictable, with lots of clouding and general awfulness. I found my salvation in Vallejo's Acrylic Matt in a 50/50 mix with Italeri Thinner. While I've heard horror stories of the Valljo matt, it has performed extremely well for me and seems unaffected by the constant 80% humidity of my environs. Coat your entire model with several thin layers and leave to dry for an hour or so.
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Stage 6

With the newly matted model, its time to finish off the details. I proceeded to highlight the lenses, the canvas, ammo cans, and smoke dischargers before giving them all one more light matt coat.

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Stage 7

 We're now entering the final laps. Now its time to add the dust and mud ubiquitous throughout operating AFVs. For this I took AK Interactive's Dark Mud, European Earth and North Africa Dust and randomly applied them with a very soft, large flat brush, blending them together over the tracks and mud patched to give a generally random effect. The mixture of pigments helps prevent a dominant monotone emerge, which to me tends to ruin the effect of mud.
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With this applied I then spray the whole muddied section with AK interactive's pigment fixer using a PSI of around 15. You need to be careful here, because a high PSI will just blow away most of your pigment and ruin the effect.

Stage 8

Final stage! I haven't worried too much about proper rust on this model, but the tow cable on the front looks decidedly odd in a simple dark gunmetal finish. I coat the whole thing in a base of MIG track brown dampened with fixer, before dotting it with various lighter shades of rust also mixed with fixer.
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After these have dried, I return with a small brush wetted with fixer and proceed the blend the gaudy mess into something more resembling an actual rusty cable.

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And thats it! Glue your components together and your vehicle is done.

Finished Product

 photo TURM1.jpg photo TURM3.jpg photo TURM4.jpg photo TURM5.jpg  photo TURM6.jpg  photo TURM7.jpg  photo TURM8.jpg  photo TURM9.jpg photo TURM2.jpg
This is probably not the last of my tutorials - for instance I didn't use rainmarks on this - but it gives you a general idea of my approach to wargame mini painting. I hope it was of use!


  1. Brilliant - very useful. Thank you :)


  2. Excellent article, thank you!

  3. Outstanding stuff as always!!

  4. Great result! Many people, me included, tend to over do the weathering but you managed to walk that fine line. I was always looking for a way to apply the darn pigment fixer without it becoming a mess... I think you just solved my problem.

  5. Thanks guys, glad to be of service 8)

  6. Really useful set of tutorials. I've shied away from vehicles due to not having an airbrush but with the upcoming Team Yankee German forces looking very tempting I might have to invest in one.