Colour Brushulation: A Guide to Slow and Inefficient Brush Painting of Tiny Tanks (part 1)
Small scale (for example 1/100) model tanks can be painted very quickly. Usually they don't have that much surface or detail to take care of, and a couple of easy steps can result in a nice looking vehicle.
Tiny tanks can also provide concentrated scale modelling experience full of rewarding experiments and exciting transformations. Their size makes the process forgiving and, in the worst case, the result won't be that hard to hide somewhere.
In this series of posts I invite you to take it slow and see what kind of scale modelling fun tiny tanks have to offer. Today we are doing colour modulation with a brush.
|Pic. 1 Three 1/100 model tanks on a palm. Hours of fun and tons of discoveries behind each of them.|
I already have a somewhat established process of painting small scale soviet armour, and for this reason a 1/100 SU-100 from Zvezda is a perfect demonstration model. Of course, with some alterations in the paints used, the techniques discussed below are applicable to tanks of any nation and even time period... and frankly to almost anything. Finally, what I show here is just my findings, you are more than welcome to experiment, swap, skip and alter the steps, let me know how it went if you do!
Now on to the business, let's start with the motivation.
What Makes a Model Look Good?
Surely there is no one universal answer to this question, but, in order to make justified choices while painting our models, it's better to have some considerations about what is a good/bad looking model tank.
If we paint our tank using only one plain shade of green (as it was usually done in real life) we'll soon find out that it loses definition way to quickly when looked at from increasing distance. Meaning it becomes hard to make out the detail or even identify the vehicle. I don't like when this happens, that's why my first consideration is that the model's shape should be easily recognisable and distinguishable.
A model is a representation of a real object. While making a model of something, we usually want it to resemble the original as closely as possible, for example by recreating it up to the last rivet. But it is not the only way to get an impression of a real thing from your model. In general large number of small details makes us perceive things bigger and more complex than they actually are. I personally go with what ever feels right: even if a detail (or a technique) is not mechanically or historically accurate, but it adds to the overall impression of a lived in vehicle - I consider adding it. This way my second consideration is that small details make big impression, it's worth making sure they are visible.
It is a rule of thumb to have three rules in every list, but I think we are good with just two:
- emphasise the shape of the vehicle;
- keep all the details, even the smallest, visible;
Turn On the Light
Painting - Shape
- Model Air 71.043 - US Olive Drab
- Panzer Aces 326 - Russian Tankcrew 2
- Model Color 70.821 - German C. Beige (~)
- Panzer Aces 332 - Highlight Japan Tkcr. (~)
- Making uneven borders between colours, for example through hatching (see the image of the flat side of the cylinder on Pic. 3);
- Painting intermediate layers between colours. Mix the two neighbouring colours in different proportions (one, two, ... as many transitional tones as you are comfortable with) and apply them one after another between the two main ones. Make sure your paint is thin and the areas of the main colours correspond to your expectations;
- Using transparent paint and applying every new colour in multiple very thin see through layers;
|Pic. 5 All four tones applied, the approximate borders between them are shown with the dotted lines. Use this picture as a reference if you need some inspiration, but feel free to adapt the technique as you please.|
Painting - Details
Let's Have a Break
- Lighting Styles in 15mm Tanks by Ruben Torregrosa from HeresyBrush.com;
- Colour Modulation in 15mm by Ruben Torregrosa from HeresyBrush.com;
- Painting 1/100 IS-2 by Martin Kovac from NightShift on YouTube;