Having painted my 15mm WWII figures, it’s time for me to add some armour. I started off with a nice easy paint scheme – my T-34s.
The vehicles went together OK, but the 85mm turrets are a bit gappy where the top and bottom halves of the turret fit together; nothing that Tamiya putty couldn’t handle. There is also a gap at the top of the mantlet on the 85mm turret, but I followed an example on another blog and added plastic card to beef up the plate which should have covered that gap.
It’s difficult to model these tanks with the hatches open. First of all, the hatches are modelled as if they were closed, so you have to cut the T-34/85 turrets off at the hinge line. Secondly there is nothing much to glue the open hatches onto, so it’s a fragile butt join. And thirdly the commanders don’t fit into the hatches, so surgery is required, and more surgery is required because they don’t fit well behind the hatches. I only modelled the platoon and company commander’s vehicles with the hatch open. There is only one pose for the commander, and a fairly lame one at that, but I modified a few with a bit of arm surgery, and I used some commanders from the PSC T-70s that I also have.
I made both the 76mm and 85mm turrets, and sparingly added the drum-type extra fuel tanks, which were a later war thing, so less common on 76mm tanks. Actually they were non-existent at Kursk, which is what I plan to game a fair bit, but they add variety. I have a few (from a Flames of War SU-85 box) of the irregular box shaped fuel tanks that you see on the rear of T-34/76 M1942s, but I’ve chosen not to use them as you never see a T-34/85 with one. Twigs (for logs that were carried sometimes for traction in case the tank go bogged) come from the dead gum tree in front of my place.
So that I could hold these tiny things, I hot-glued the components onto bottle tops and $2 shop dolly pegs. I started by painting the tanks with a black or dark grey undercoat (I used up a couple of nearly empty rattle cans), airbrushed on Gunze Sangyo Khaki Green (no science there, I just happen to have two bottles of the stuff and it’s a good dark green), followed by a lighter coat of Tamiya NATO green. I then gave everything a coat of Pledge One Go to protect it, and applied a filter of watered down Vallejo Dark Green wash. The brightness of the NATO Green might make you freak out a bit, but 4BO, the colour that Soviet army equipment was painted was actually a light-medium green. The dark green filter toned down the brightness, maybe too much, but it modulated things nicely. Vallejo Russian Green is intended to be a base colour that you then brighten with highlights by the way.
I have both the Plastic Soldier Company and the Battlefront/Flames of War decal sets. I was disappointed when I got around to do the decalling to find that the PSC set is way over scale, closer to 1/35 in some cases, so I was only able to use a couple of their decals.
I added a pin wash of a mix of black and burnt umber oil paints, mixed with lots of thinners, over the engine grilles and around the hatches, and as an exhaust stain. I started off by painting the tracks a brown-grey colour, but then I decided that Vallejo Black-brown would be better. I then weathered the tanks with a brown wash over the tracks followed by some Humbrol Sand wash, so they look a bit like this. Finally I went over the raised parts of the tracks with a silver pencil.
All that took me a week or so, and I’m pretty please with the results. Next time I might drybrush on a lighter colour after I do the filter.