Good News, Bad News!

For those of you reading my last post and expecting me to have bitten the bullet and painted a Finnish StuG III, it’s bad news!  For me, the fact that it prompted me to at least take the easy option and finish a generic StuG is the good news.

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So, I’ve finished one unmarked-so-can-be-used-by-just-about-any-army StuG IIIG in plain overall yellow.  This is just the Armourfast model but with spare track and side skirts from the Plastic Soldier Company kit (more details here).  Only slight variation in painting is the gun barrel in grey, which I’ve seen on Romanian and Bulgarian StuGs and which probably just represents a vehicle fitted with an older gun barrel from ordnance stores.

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I decided to finish it off because it was quick to do.  A coat of Humbrol 84 Stone (which I use for German Overall Yellow), tracks painted gunmetal, exhaust and spare track painted in Vallejo Saddle Brown and the gun barrel in Humbrol 27 grey, with the whole washed in an enamel black/brown mix cleaned off with a wet brush to leave it looking dirty/shaded.  Then a sandy mix drybrush and that’s it!

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I decided to put it next to the Hungarian StuG I painted a couple of years ago for a photo.  Which is when I noticed that the two are slightly different colours (although the photo seems to accentuate this)!  I have no idea why!  When I’ve looked at my other German vehicles, the really old ones look like the Hungarian StuG, but those painted in the last year (Tiger I, Brummbär and Helga) all look like the new generic StuG.  I might have changed the colours I use for the wash, mixed up Humbrol 83 and 84 (which would be stupid), changed primer colours, changed varnish, I have no idea (Humbrol may also have changed the shade slightly).  Fortunately, and it’s taken me years to learn this lesson, I don’t care!  The difference is not that much under normal light at a distance.

As far as the Finnish StuG is concerned, I think I’ve sorted out the colours I need to paint the Finnish three-tone camouflage used in 1944.  Whenever I get round to it I think I’d better do all the tanks at the same time to avoid any more mismatched colour hiccups!

19 comments

  1. Very nice John and I think you are right not to care about the colours not being identical. I’m no tank or military vehicle expert but my logic says that much of it would have been painted in a rush and using the paint available. If that wasn’t enough to justify a colour shift then age and weathering would certainly have done. At my club the guys build tanks and planes that look perfect. In reality I doubt that any of them ever looked that good. You often here stories from those that drove/flew them that this and that was missing.

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  2. Colours look different but in reality they probably would anyway due to paint coming from different factories and even being mixed at different levels at the tank painting stage. Either way they both look great 👍

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks Pat! I wanted a wash that sort of combined shading with giving a dirty look to things, so it’s maybe more than a wash. I’ve never been able to get this to work with acrylics on vehicles so rely on matt enamels to do the job. In this case I’ve mixed Humbrol matt black and chocolate to give a very dark brown and then thinned it with turpentine/white spirit so that it’s thin enough to flow into detail but thick enough to cover well (if that makes sense). I then dampen a large brush with turps and wipe it across the surface to leave it around the detail. This also tends to leave enough on the flat surfaces to make them look dirty. You have to keep cleaning the brush and dampening it and repeating. I used to let the brown become almost dry first, but I don’t bother with that now (although you have to bear that in mind if trying this method on big items). Any shading that gets missed because it’s fine can get added by brush later or just left to a drybrush highlight to pick up.

      You also have to think about colours – too black and it shades great but the dirty look is wrong, too brown and it doesn’t shade well enough. I usually use this method on multi-tone camouflage vehicles because it’s quick, but I don’t always use it depending on the base colours of the vehicle. So I’ve mentioned Finnish camouflage colours (which are light grey, green and brown) but I think I’ll line in the detail on them because the wash won’t look right. I’ve used it on these monotone StuGs because they fit in with other multi-tone camouflage vehicles I’ve got.

      Over the decades I’ve found that thinned enamel can weaken plastic kits so that small bits or wheels can come adrift. Any plastic tanks I paint these days tend to be quick builds like Armourfast so the small bits are minimised and tracks and running gear tend to come in single pieces and be resistant to breaking. To get round this way back in time I used to strengthen things like truck axles with extra plasticard pieces and then daub some Humbrol gloss enamel over weak spots to seal them. Metal and resin models don’t seem to be affected. If you try this method on scratchbuilt card or wood models you need to be aware that the wash tends to dry much quicker and almost soak in (even though they’ve been painted first). And I’ve used this wash over acrylic base coats before and it’s fine.

      Bit long-winded, but hope that helps! If I had IRO’s confidence I’d do a video but it’d probbly all go horribly wrong!

      Liked by 3 people

      • No mate, no video required I’m an old guy and much prefer the written word ,that way if I forget I can go back and read it again ! .Thanks for the information it has come at the right time as I’m doing something a little different for a change, due to our friend Mark and yourself and your use’s of tanks I’m going to try doing a small dio which includes a favourite one of mine .I have a few old tanks from long ago to practice your technique on to see wether I’m up using it on the new one , it’s interesting that bit about thinned enamel, but I can’t see it being a problem with a dio as no one handles them .Cheers mate thanks again for you time .

        Liked by 2 people

  3. As someone who believes tanks and AFV’S should look real – I like them both. One can easily imagine the supply of paint being interrupted or just the camo schemes. These will work great. Not as great as your Sturmi will be, but great nonetheless. 🇫🇮🇫🇮🇫🇮🇫🇮🇫🇮

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I like the decal on the old one too. However, w.r.t. paint…… if Dulux can’t get their bl00dy batches matching, I can’t see how you’re expected to. I’ve had to go and repaint windows before because the frame was done with a different tin – annoying.

    Liked by 1 person

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