Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Konigstiger Tutorial Part II

If you missed Part I read it here;

Step 9 - Decals

I use to do the decals before highlighting but, the highlight seemed to catch the edges of the decal and I don't like that.  So I'm going to try it in a different order.  We'll see how it works out.

First thing, is do your own research.  You'll be sorry if you don't.  Especially if you are trying to build historical units.  For example when I started building my Panzergrenadier Halftracks the decal has unit symbols.  And it lists one of them as the 17th pzdiv and another one as the 3rd pzdiv.  Well they had the designations backwards.  So, because I wanted build 17th PzDiv halftracks, if I had not done my own research my halftracks would have had 3rd PzDiv symbols on them.

I like to use Micro Sol and Micro Set for my decals.  As I mentioned before I used to do a varnish before I did highlighting and decals.  That is because when ever I painted on a gloss varnish or the micro sol, it would wipe off the paint that was already there.  what a piss off that is.  But since the wash uses mostly future floor polish this gives your paint some protection already.

The first thing you need to do is brush the area with a Gloss varnish.  I use Tamiya X-22 Clear.  Put it on fairly thick.  What this will do is help fill in any imperfections that might ruin your decal.  We all hate that "silvering" you get with improperly applied decals.  It dries fairly quickly but its usually best to have a bunch of vehicles to do, so it gives time for the varnish to dry.

You will then need a small bowl of warm water.  Carefully cut your decals out and put them in the water 1 or 2 at a time.  NEVER put all your decals in the water.  I've read where some guys say to do this in their tutorials.  I can't stress this enough NEVER NEVER NEVER.  In my experience if you leave the decal in the water to long it will float right off the paper and good luck trying to get it out and on to your tank properly.

While your decals are soaking, brush on some Micro Set to the area where you are going to apply the decal.

With that same brush gently brush your decal in the water to see if it will slide off.  Once its ready take the decal out and dip your brush into the Micro set.  with that brush slide your decal into place and brush it with some more micro set.

Next, take a stiff Q-tip.  The reason I say stiff, is because if its too fluffy or fiber parts will stick to your decal.  I usually pull all the fibers tight, and then gently press it against the decal.  This should get all the air bubbles from behind the decal.

Then move on to your next decal.

Once you have done another decal or 2 go back to your original one.  Check to see if you can see any silvering.  If you can take a pin and poke small holes.

Whether you find any silvering or not apply some Micro Sol to the decal, and press a little harder then the first time with a new Q-tip.  I never use to think there was a difference between Micro Sol and Micro Set.  I actually always thought Micro Set worked better and I stopped using Micro Sol.  Until I did this Konigstiger.

This tank was the first tank I've painted with Zimmerit.  I was very nervous about doing decals on this stuff.  I thought it was going to look terrible.  And after adding Micro Set it looked like I was going to be right.  But then I added micro Sol, and the decal conformed right to the Zimmerit.

Do all your decals this way and they were turn out great.  This could probably be a tutorial all its own.  Maybe I will do one with pictures.

Step 10 - Detailing

Now you do all your detailing.

First I give my tracks a thick dry brush.  I used to use black, but someone mentioned using German Grey.  So, I tried that.  Then a very fine dry brush of gun metal.  This should give your tracks a very nice dirty rusty appearance, but still looking metal.  You should have rust, black in the creases from the wash, and then the gray and silver.  I find tracks make your tank, no matter how nice you paint your tank, if you just paint your tanks black or silver, it makes them look too clean. 

Next, detail everything on the tank.  Tow cables, tools, engine deck, what ever stands out on the tank.

I paint tow cables black and then do a very very small highlight of gunmetal.

Tools I'll do beige brown handles and then gunmetal on the metal parts.  Some times these can be the most painstaking.  There is almost always "handles" or something that holds the tools to the tank.  these should stay the same color as the tank so you have to be carefully to paint around them.

The engine deck (or fuel tank on Russian tanks) you can do another wash to give a grimy look.  I just starting trying to do oil and rust stains.  take a wash on a stiff brush apply it and then do a rough motion downward.  This will give a "leaky" impression.  Nothing like this on the Konigs so another tutorial for another dirty tank.

Step 11 - 1st Matt Varnish

Here I do a quick Varnish before weathering same as the main formula in step 13 below.

Step 12 - Weathering

Once you have your tank nice a beautiful after all that great highlighting and detailing....its time to dirty it up.

For damaged parts, I will take 2 parts black and 1 part earth brown.  brush it on damaged parts.  then with a white pencil crayon I will highlight edges of the damage.  You have to be very careful about this.  I find that the pencil will sometimes rub paint off down to the metal.  which doesn't look to bad actually, sometimes.  I guess maybe a case for doing that middle varnish stage.

I tried adding dust to 2 of them.  I used artists chalk for this and stipple it on with a stiff brush.  I stopped doing this because the Aerosol varnishes used to turn the dust wet and it looked like crap.  It didn't even look like mud, it just looked crappy.  But I thought I would try it again now that my airbrush formula is Uber Flat.  It seemed to work ok, but I may have to try using more because it disappeared in the varnish step below.  You for sure can't see it with the camera.

Take some German gray and lightly dry brush the end of the gun barrel.  Another first on this project for me I tried doing this with an airbrush this time.  Worked out ok. 

Normally I put mud on my tanks but, I don't think I'm going to do that with these.  That may have to be a tutorial for another day.

They turned out pretty well, so I may leave them as is.

Step 13 - Varnish {only 13?  Seemed like a lot more}

Now you are almost done.  Varnish through an airbrush.  This tutorial is already long enough so I'll take some time to explain some back ground.

I had just as many problems with aerosol varnish that I did with primer.  And there was no way I was going to brush it on.  So, when I got my airbrush I was determined to varnish through that.  When I asked around, the general concession was that it wasn't possible or a good idea with out ruining your brush.  It sounded like no one did it.  After a lot of searching of the great wide web I came upon someone who did it for model airplane or something.  If I can remember where and who it was I'll post link....but:

His formula when through the airbrush alright but it didn't really work.  My models where still shinny.  So, after much refining and testing I came up with my own formula.

  • 3 parts Tamiya XF - 21 Flat Base
  • 3 parts Tamiya XF - 22 Clear Base
  • 5 parts Future Floor Polish.
The clear base gives your model the protection it needs to play with.  As does the Future.  But the Future is acts like Thinner and allows the thicker Tamiya stuff to go through your airbrush.

The key though is the Flat Base, but it is also the downfall of this formula.  The flat base takes all the shine off your model.  How ever it almost does its job to well.  So far I find you loose a lot of your highlighting and wash effects.  This could still be partly that my wash isn't dark enough and my highlight isn't light enough.  but I'm slowly working on those.  It also leaves a tiny bit of a white film, but from what I've read so do other aerosol varnishes.  Its defiantly far less then some of the aerosol varnishes I've used so I'm fine with it.

Because of these downfalls I've tried to scale back the flat base even just a little bit.  I've found even if you remove 1 part of flat base, the model is still to shinny.

But I would give it at least 2 light coats.


There you have it.  Three Konigstigers ready for battle.

I'm defiantly not the be all ends all for painting...far from it, but you can defiantly apply this to any tank.  I've found following anyone's tutorials even to the letter never works. 

When I first tried doing a wash, because I was sick of my crappy dry-brushed models I tried following this tutorial.

There is no denying how good these tanks turned out, but i'll be damned if anything he did works for me.  I followed his Wash formula to the letter.  My first try turned out almost black.

So, take what I've done with a grain of salt.  If you are a beginner looking to improve, I think I'm at that stage where a beginner could take that first step to becoming a great painter.

Hopefully as I improve on these techniques my stuff will start too look as good as the FoW community.  I've improved more in the last 6 months just following their advice and trying things then my entire life of painting.

Shoot me a message if you have any questions, want some clarification or even have ideas of how I can improve my techniques.

Happy Painting!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Konigstiger Tutorial Part I

Konigstiger...what a monster. 70 tonnes of pure scariness. Nothing instilled more fear during World War II then just mentioning the world "TIGER". The Tiger II was 5 years of tank development. Tanks evolved more during  the 5 years of WWII then in their entire history up to today. And the Tiger II was the final outcome. Some say with proper time to work out the bugs the Tiger II would still be formidable today. Only 492 were ever built.

Everyone refers to them as the King Tiger. But I've recently read that this is actually a mistranslation. It actually means Bengal or Royal Tiger. I still have a hard time not calling it a King Tiger. After all it is the King of tanks.

OK, lets get busy. This is my first tutorial so forgive me if it doesn't turn out. I took pictures as each step was completed, and I now realize I maybe should have taken pictures as to how to do each step. Oh well its a learning process for me as well.

Step 1 - Assemble your miniature.

Trim up all the metal parts and remove the flashing. You will more then likely have to trim some of the resin as well. I don't normally wash any of the metal, although a lot of people do. It takes me long enough to get these miniatures done. But I for sure wash up the resin pieces. There is always some resin residue that needs to be cleaned off.

Don't use dish soap. I find it leaves a white film on your resin. Use hot water and a little bit of Simple green with a toothbrush. But don't brush your teeth with that brush after.

Once everything is dry start gluing pieces.  The hardest part for me is the tracks.  To to glue them on so that tank sits flat on the table with out a wobble and still having the tank look straight.  Most tracks are pretty good, but sometimes you get those ones that just don't fit right.  I had no problems with the Konigs.  One the tracks are on and they are straight, I will add an extra line of glue underneath where the tracks meet the resin and then leave it upside down for the night.  this will allow the glue to run into the spaces between the tracks and the resin.  The tracks never fit flush.  And will make sure you tracks don't come off.

Step 2 - Prime 

I used to have a heck of a time with this step.  I could not find a good brand where it wouldn't make my model all gritty.  I don't know how many models I've stripped due to bad primer.  I actually quite painting for about a year because of this.  But now that I've discovered the airbrush, things are much easier.  And I can spray inside.

I don't own a garage and the fews from aerosol cans are so bad you can't spray inside.  I live in Saskatchewan where you only have about 2 good days out of 365 days to spray  Its either -40, +40, or 400 km/hr winds.  So, the airbrush was a god send and literally saved my FoW career.  Now I can spray all year around.

But, I've now run into another question.  Whether to prime or not.  I'm using Tamiya paints in my airbrush.  So, with the primer and the base coat being the same kind of paint, is there really any reason to prime anymore?  I'm finding no.  I can just do 2 coats of base coat and it works just as well, and leaves one less lair of paint of your model.

But for my 1st Konigs I primed it anyway.  The other 2 I did not.  At the end of this tutorial you tell me if there is a difference.  I may find a difference when I play with them if the paint comes off or not.  But with a varnish that shouldn't happen.

For Tamiya paints I use a mix of 3 parts paint and 2 parts Windex.  The Windex acts as a lubricant, and my airbrush pretty much never clogs at this mixture.  If you prime with white you will have to use thinner, because Windex will turn your white blue.  But I find thinner doesn't work as well and makes your paint to watery.

Step 3 - Add Rare Earth Magnets.

I'd been testing rare earth magnets for another game I play, and then I heard about adding these to the turrets of your tanks.  I always hated that the turrets always fell off.  Especially when trying to carry them around.  Adding earth magnets is just ingenious.

You will need a drill, green stuff,  round 2x5mm REM's, and a 13/46th drill bit.  This size of drill bit is perfect.

One of the first things I do with a stack of magnets is colour the top and bottom one with a marker.  You will glue the marked side down on both the hull and turret.  this will keep your polarities in the right direction.  Nothing worse then screwing up your polarities and have the magnet "jump" of the tank when you put it down.  Yes REM's are that strong. 

I first use a hand held drill, the one used for pinning and gun barrels, to start a small hole in the very center of the turret.  This will keep your drill from "wondering".  Or else you'll end up with a hole off center.   You want to try and match the holes up as close as you can.

Then drill your holes in the bottom of the turret and top of the hull.  Its always better to go deeper then not deep enough.  You are going to want to have the magnet sit flush.  If they stick out your turret may not sit on the take properly.

Now on both the turret and hull, add some glue to the bottom of the hole, stick in some green stuff, a bit more glue and then gently put your REM, marker side down.  Carefully push the magnet down until it sits flush.  the green stuff will dry underneath and your magnet should sit there for good.
Leave the magnets dry overnight.  If you put the turret on too soon the strength of the magnets will pull one of them out, and most likely will get glued together from excess glue.

Step 4 - Base Coat.  
This is if you didn't  base coat as your primer.
I used Tamiya XF-60 for my base coat.  With the same mixture of paint to Windex - 3:2. The airbrush is so good for getting into those nooks and crannies.  It takes way less time then a brush and the paint goes on smoother.

I guess I should add that when I'm spraying I use prescription bottles with double sided  carpet tape to hold the the tanks and turrets.  then I can hold these with out touching the tank while I spray.  the tape is strong enough to hold even a king tiger.

I will still where a rubber glove on the hand I hold the tank with.  then I can still hold the tank upside down to spray.  I will stick one finger inside the hole where the turret goes and my thumb on the bottle.  then I can spray in those underneath hard to reach places.

Step 5 - Add Camouflage Pattern 

There were lots of different camouflage patterns in WWII.  These Konigs will belong to the 501st Scwhere Panzer Division.  From what I can tell on the eastern front these tanks had the standard 3 tone pattern.

I really wanted to do one of them in the assault pattern, but I don't think they had those on the eastern front.  At least not the Konigs anyway.

For the green I used Tamiya XF-58 Olive Green.  Same mixture with Windex 3:2

Then for the brown I used Tamiya XF-64 Red Brown.  Same mixture with Windex 3:2
I have one cheap airbrush and then another not as cheap airbrush.  I use the super cheap one for base coating and the duel action one for camo.  It has a 3.5mm nozzle.  Still a bit big for this kind of job.  My lines came out a bit thicker then I would have licked but I'm still happy with it.

I have recently ordered a 2cm nozzle and 3cm nozzle.  so my next camo tanks should be a lot better.

Step 6 - Paint Tracks 

Paint the tracks a rust colour.  I use 4 parts Reaper rust, and 2 parts Vallejo brown.  Still maybe a bit light but it darkens up after a wash.
Don't worry to much if you get some of this colour on the wheels and such.  It will mostly likely be covered up by weathering later on anyway.

You can also paint the exhaust ports this colour.
And, don't forget the tracks on the turret.

Step 7 - Wash 

This step I still need to work at.  I'm using a GW black ink.  my mixture is in the range of 1 part ink and around 50-60 parts future floor polish.  For the Konigs I used about 1:53.

I find that this wash formula works really well but it stains.  So, you have to do sections at a time being careful not to overlap.  Otherwise parts will stain darker.  If you do have a section and wait to long to do the other half, you will get a dark line in the middle where you overlapped.  I'll have to test if this line goes away with the varnish.

I find more works better then very little.  you just have to be careful to clean up any "pools" that form on flat parts of the tank.  I may have to see if I can do some kind of pin wash.  but I think you would have to be extra careful if you got any not in the crease it would stain.

Do the whole tank including the tracks. 

For the next step I used to add a layer of varnish here.  but now that I varnish through an airbrush, I don't think I need to.  My varnish mixture is mostly future floor polish, and so is the wash.  So, with the Konigs I decided to skip that step and see what happens.

Step 8 - Highlighting

I decided to go with a stronger highlight with these.  Every time I varnish my highlight disappears.  So I went with a 2:1 mixture.  That is 2 parts base colour (XF-60) and 1 part white.   Normally I would use 3:1.

If you normally add water to your paint, add half as much as you normally would.  I find that if the paint is too wet, it will still catch on parts you don't want the highlight to be on.  In fact, now that I'm writing this I forgot that I used Vallejo paint for the dry-brush, even though I used Tamiya for the base coat.  Vallejo is thicker and works way better for a dry brush.

Once you have your paint, take a larger flat brush and add some paint on the flats.  On a paper towel whip as much paint off as you can.  I usually wipe it off until no more paint shows up on the paper towel.

 I usually dry-brush the wheels first.  These get the most weathering in end so it helps to get any excess paint still left on the brush off.

Now to do the body and the turret of the tank (separately) take your flat brush and run it (along the flat part) at perpendicular angles do the edges of your tank.  Once you are satisfied doing the tank and turret separately, put the turret on the tank and do the highlight again.  this will make sure that your turret highlight matches your hull.  this probably doesn't matter to much, but its peace of mind for me.

{Part II will be posted shortly. }

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Bergepanther Part I

I decided I wanted to make a quick post about my Bergepanther.  I already thought it was going turn out super cool and I wanted to show some pics.

A Bergepanther was a German Panther tank converted to be a recovery vehicle for other vehicles that broke or bogged down. 

The whole time I've been working on this thing I kept thinking how cool it would be to have pulleys and chains.  I know I had seen others do this to their Bergepanthers.  Doing a quick search on the FoW forum I found 2 in particular that were very good.

One by Tommy_monaghan.  His had pulleys on it, and I couldn't fathom where he would get pulleys that small.  After reading through the post for a bit, sure enough someone asked him where he got his pulleys.  He said from the 88mm box set...I thought to myself...."Self, I have one of those".  So, I went and looked and sure enough 6 little pulleys.  I was super stoked.  I had pulleys...now I need a chain.

The 2nd Great Bergepanther was by Sentinal.  He has a fantastic chain on his.  I sent him a message to find out where he got it from.  In the meantime I showed my wife his Bergepanther.  She left uninterested but then came back a few minutes later were a handful of necklaces.  Sentinel got back to me this morning and said that he got his chains from a train store.  I had thought of this but dismissed it.  I didn't think they would carry something that small.  So, i'll go check it out.  If not i'll use the necklace.  I think they will work just fine.

I hope my Bergepanther turns out half as well as these guys.  But, I'm super happy with it so far.  I'm more excited about finishing this then my Konigs'.

These are before any wash, weathering, or modifications.  I just had to show it so far because its going to be kool.

Although, I did make one modification so far.  In the game the Bergepanther is armed with an AA MG.  But the model doesn't actually come with one.   In a lot of pictures of Bergepanthers they mount the AA MG on the front, so I've added an AA MG from a bunch of half tracks that I have.  I don't know if its the same AA MG its suppose to have but statistically its the same in the game, so it will work just fine.

Enjoy...and look forward to Bergepanther part II....dun dun dunnnnnnn....is Stalin really Hitlers step dad, or will he be consumed by the dark side of the force?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Whats to come?

I'm about half done a bunch of projects, so I thought I would post some picks of what I'm working on.  Don't know if you can see but this is almost everything I have on the go right now.

I was originally going to stick my Russian Infantry, but now a tournament is coming up ("near") where I live. And its going to be an Official Battlefront tournament, where the top 2 will be eligible for nationals. I have to go to this. And the only way I'm going to get a fully painted army is if I go with a tank army. I'm not sure what yet, but I've pulled out some German vehicles and started painting them. If they turn out good, I will figure out what army I will take from there.

One thing I've been working on is a step by step Konigstiger tutorial. here is a couple of pic's of how the Tiger II's look so far.  Its really the first time I will use all the new airbrush techniques along with doing camo with the airbrush.

I'm also painting some Sk Kfz 7/1 half-tracks. Thought it might be cool to show a couple of pic's of before and after a wash.

One of my favorite things that I'm working on right now is a BergePanther. For those that don't know, this is a Panther converted to a recovery vehicle. Its so cool. It was one of those things that is so cool, I was going to leave it until one of the last things I paint...but I couldn't wait any longer. I don't have any pictures of it yet, but it's almost done. I think its going to turn out pretty good.

Then there is everything else I need to do. All this infantry I already started. Soviet Anit-tank company, Soviet Artillary Company, and a Strelkovy Company. The Strelkovy company should be cool when its done. I decided to mix naval, grey coats, and regular Soviet infantry into one mixed Strelkovy Company.

And i'll leave you with a few pictures of everything I still need to paint. I have cupboards of assembled infantry, guns and tanks, and a whole shelf of unopened stuff. This doesn't even show the Panzer Lehr, and Italians that are in my flames of war bag unpainted.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Always Be Learning

I finished my Soviet Regimental Gun Company and my Anti-Tank Gun Company. I thought I would write this post comparing some of my old work to my new work. I believe in never doing anything unless you are always continually striving to get better. I've done a lot of trial and error of techniques over the last year, and I think things are getting a lot better, easier, and faster.

First, as embarrassing as it will be, I will show old pictures and compare then to similar units. This first picture was the first infantry I ever painted. The command team was a bit better because I discovered static grass instead of flock. I also found a different brown for the ground. You can clearly see in the back 2 I didn't even cover the figs bases. This was long before I discovered an airbrush. I was terrified to even try a wash, and I was having all kinds of trouble with aerosol primer and varnish. I actually stopped painting for a while because I was so fed up with shitty primer and varnish.

These are my Kommissar's. (* On a side note, I have no idea why we spell Commissar with a "C". From what I remember when I was trying to learn russian, it has no "C". A "K" is a "K" sound and an "S" is an "S" sound. So, I always spell it with a "K") Anyway these are my 1st try, 2nd try, and 3rd try. And the then 3 together. Big Difference. The last one is with an airbrush and wash.

These are 76mm anti-tank guns before and after I learned how to use an airbrush.

Same thing with Heavy Machine Gun.

As I said before I'm still not totally sold on the highlighting. It is a lot of extra work. You let me know what you think, of this batch of highlighting.
Edit* One thing I wanted to add, is that the down fall to all of this is that none of my army looks the same. Especially since I'm so slow at painting infantry. Hopefully i'll speed up and I can start painting separate armies.
Here are the rest of the pictures from this batch.