New Year Chinese!

I’ve managed to keep up momentum with painting and finishing some vehicles off that have been hanging around for a while. In this case, they’re for my 20mm WW2 Chinese army.

First up is an L3/33 tankette, an Italian vehicle bought by China in modest numbers in the 1930s. Of the two models shown in the picture, the new one is on the left (the one on the right is a Frontline Wargaming resin model). I’m never quite sure of the detail differences between the L3/33 and the later L3/35, but the new one, a 3D print from Shapeways, has a welded hull, which made it that little bit quicker to paint (less shading).

This vehicle took a few attempts to get right! I wasn’t quite sure which shade of grey-green I’d used for the basic colour on the first one, so I did some colour swatches and put the base coat on. Wrong one! Repainted it in the other shade, to find out that was worse! I then realised I’d painted it in plain Humbrol Olive Green so I repainted it and that looked right. Camouflage blotches were in Vallejo German Medium Camouflage Brown and then shading was done with a black green (in fact, all of the colours are the same as for my recently finished French AMD 35 armoured car). As with the older L3/33 model, I left it unmarked – that allows me to use it for any army when I finally get round to working on my 1930s Crimson Skies ground forces project!

Next vehicle is a tankette modified for the Chinese from a French Renault UE infantry carrier. A small number of these were sold to China, converted by the addition of a raised superstructure for the gunner, a similar conversion also being initiated for the French Army in 1940. This is either an SHQ or Early War Miniatures metal model with the superstructure heightened with plasticard and the metal head cover stuck in place on top of that. The machine gun is just plastic rod. I based the camouflage on colour illustrations I found, Humbrol Khaki Drill over Olive Green, with the edges of the camouflage outlined in black. Once again, these are colours I’ve used on other 1940 French armour.

The final vehicle is a Tatra T72 truck, a 3D print from Shapeways. This was described as a “T72 for China” so I bought it on the strength of that, since my Chinese don’t have many trucks (and Czech trucks were bought by a few countries between the wars). The arrangement of the canvas tilt suggests to me that it’s more of a personnel carrier, so I painted the sides of the tilt to represent transparent plastic window panels (they need to be flexible for when the tilt is folded down)! I’m not sure I like how I’ve painted the windows, but I had several attempts with several different base colours and this was the one I disliked the least! The truck is in overall Vallejo Brown Purple to represent Czech olive drab, althought I’d wished I’d used Humbrol Olive Drab instead, since that has a browner tint that would have looked better. I think it’s got character though!

Once again I got some scenery and troops out to clutter up the backgrounds of the pictures a bit, realising too late that I’d used 1920s Chinese rather than 1930s Chinese, but they still look the part. None of these are particularly large models but they seemed to take more time than usual and I’m pleased to get them done (particularly since they qualify for the Paint What You Got challenge).



  1. Excellent work on all three vehicles John, the brief history was enlightening and great additions to your force. I have to say the tankette’s are very small vehicles, and in modern day would probably be drones, as no one would want to be cramped up in one of those small vehicles ! LOL

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  2. Nice work! I have to agree with Mr. Stone, those are some really small fighting vehicles, I wonder if they would be more effective in a density jungle, bringing a small amount of armored protection from small arms, and some heavy machine-gun firepower.

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  3. The vehicles look great and are nicely painted, John! I hear you about matching paint. It’s a constant struggle of mine and why I’ve started investing time in making swatches of the different brands of paint I use.

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      • Lol, thanks John! Well, I was just struggling this week with matching a color. Tried two different shades, matching them against my swatches, nope. I figured I must really suck at colors, so I asked my Wife. She picked the same two (wrong) shades I did, so then I didn’t feel so bad. I have a feeling I must have used a color from another brand, no doubt to make my future self go even more crazy! πŸ˜‰

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        • I was going to trash your comment so that everyone would still think you’re the most organised paint swatch person going! πŸ˜‰ It sounds like you might have used a different brand – I have some greys by Vallejo and Humbrol (acrylics) that are very similar. When I was checking the colours for the L3/33 tankette I think that comparing the base colour against the previously painted model that was camouflaged was maybe what threw me off!

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          • Yea, a different undertone or a wash/shade will make it even harder to identify colors. I ended up painting over my mini in the end. It was close enough and since it was the base flesh coat, I don’t think anyone will ever notice by the time I’m done. Plus at my painting speed, everyone will have forgotten these comments by then!

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  4. Lovely work as always that Tankette is tiny! Brilliant camo on it though.

    Talking of Chinese new year I went to a combined Chinese new year and Burns night party, I didn’t really want to go but my mate twisted my arm!! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

    Sorry Cheers Roger.

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    • Thanks mate! πŸ™‚ If there are ideas there you can use just go ahead! My Crimson Skies ground forces project has a long history of mostly nothing happening, but it has started to pick up a bit of momentum in the background. Whereas when I originally planned it I needed to create all the forces from scratch, these days I can just add some extra elements to historic 1930s/40s armies I’ve got and I’ll be good to go (he says, like it’s going to happen tomorrow)!


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