There is always a good case for going back to finished models: no model is ever finished… There’s always something more, something else you can do, you can add – and in this case I definitely did not finish the tank. I was so happy with the experiment of painting the chipped paint on the armor, I somehow neglected the dust and other weathering effects. I also put the engine aside thinking that I’ll display it once “I build an appropriate jig to hold it”, but never got around to actually do it. So here was the time – I wanted to experiment with dust and streaks.
First, I used evergreen strips to make a simple holder for the engine, painted it tan, and then covered it with burned umber oil paint. After a day or two I used a stiff (very stiff) brush to remove a lot of this oil paint; this gave a nice wood-like grain. (I failed to repeat the procedure on the inside, though… kind of embarrassing.)
The engine itself received some washes with black and burned umber mixed together. I also used “engine grime” from AK Interactive diluted in Zest It (a turpentine alternative) in several layers. One thing I did not know about AK products -because I don’t really use them- is that you have to dilute them… lesson learned.
So that’s the engine taken care of.
Next the tank itself. I’ve used oils (black, burned umber, burned sienna, even yellow) to make faint stains that are running down on the side of the turret. Essentially just added some paint to a piece of cardboard and left it there for about an hour – this was enough for the linseed oil to sweep out of the paint. (It’s important because this way the oils dry matte.) After that I applied small dots on the top of the turret, and used a flat, moistened brush to pull it down, creating a streak. This was then tidied up with further downwards/sideways strokes using a clean brush. The secret is to leave just enough paint on to be visible… Takes a little time to get the hang of it, but once you get it, it’s not difficult. Patience is the key: big, ugly streaks don’t look very real. I also did it in several layers; obviously this meant at least four-five days of waiting between coats.
This same procedure was repeated on the flat surfaces as well. I used greens, yellows and some white to blend into the base coat, using a similar process. A dot of paint was added, and then blended using a moist brush. The results bring the surface to life; I was pretty happy with it.
I always see the auxiliary tanks on the T-34 depicted with serious fuel stains; using AK Interactive’s fuel stains product diluted with Zest It I gave it a try myself. (It’s probably not very realistic; this much spilled fuel would not be very safe, even taking the low flammability of diesel fuel into consideration.)
First I prepared a very diluted mixture, which was applied in a wide streak. Once it was try, I prepared a less diluted mixture, and added on top on a narrower streak, and repeated it a couple of times more. The same logic was applied to the oil stains on the engine deck: large spots were prepared using very diluted oil stains (black/brown mixture of oil paint), and progressively smaller stains were added using progressively thicker paint/Zest It mixture.
The last step was to add dust to the model. I used different mixtures of brown pigments wet (using Zest It). Once the pigments dried on the surface, I used a moist brush to remove most of them, leaving dusty spots and areas. Again, layers are the key: different shades, different subtle layers will give a more realistic result, than one heavy layer.
I have to say the results really were worth the time. I can honestly say I’ve finished the tank, mere seven years after starting it… (I remember buying it in the hobby store at Military Road in Frt Lauderdale after taking my flatmate to the dentist…)