1⁄35Post-War Finnish T-34/85
Painting & decalsNow came the fun part, trying to determine a suitable color for the tank. Wartime colors are well documented as is the field green adopted in 1959. But the green armor exterior color adopted after the war ended and used until 1959 is an informational black hole. No documentation of the color has been discovered yet as I was told on IPMS Finland’s forum. The only thing known is that museum vehicles are all painted in more or less inaccurate colors. With no better references, I decided to use my primary reference as the guideline for the color to come. After looking around my paint selection, I settled on Xtracrylics’ British interior green. While the color was quite light straight from the bottle, using a black primer and making the first coats with paint mixed with black would hold back the lightness. After an overall black primer coat, I kicked off the painting stage by laying down the first coat of green darkened with black. A word of announcement: The following photos onwards from the painting stage show quite an array of colors, because the pics where taken at two different spots with different lights, and while testing out different camera settings to get the colors reproduced as realistically as possible. After the first green coat, I brushed a thin black wash (lifecolors’ “oil” weathering fluid, straight from the bottle, I know, I’m lazy…) to corners, recesses and other details I wanted to accent. When that was dry, I mixed a still darkened but lighter green and sprayed it over everything, trying to keep the wash-treated spots darker. The mix could have been even lighter, thinking about it later, but that didn’t matter much, because after that I sprayed on pure interior green, misting it on to avoid a monotone look that’s easy to end up with subjects wearing monochromatic camo schemes. With the green done, I jumped back to assembly for a moment and painted and mounted the tracks. I had put these together during the first building, making sure the ends would connect. Or so I recalled… Having glued the idler wheels mounts in place, I had been forced to make the tracks a little saggier than I wanted because removing the minimum of two links resulted in a too short track. Dry-fitting the tracks now, the left side was OK, but the right was a couple of millimeters too short. But thanks to the upper length’s droopiness, I could put clamps on it, straightening them to gain length. With the ends meeting, I painted the tracks. Over the black primer, I applied a thickish dark brown wash, followed by dry-brushing with a dark metallic mixture. After that, I glued on the tracks using earplugs to keep the tracks in place over the wheels. After the glue had dried, I touched up the joints in the tracks with the same steps I used before (black, brown wash, metallic dry-brushing). To prepare for the decals, I brushed a couple of coats of Microscale's’s gloss where the decals would go. The registry numbers had to be assembled several cut-up decals, since the sheet didn’t feature T-34/85’s. Following my references, I cut off the periods from the codes and modified number 2’s (I needed “open” styled, the ones in the sheet were ones with a “looped” top). Number 3’s weren’t 100% right, but I left them as they were since I would have had to repaint them otherwise. The turret roundels went on perfectly, but the registry numbers on the hull proved troublesome. Apparently my gloss coat wasn’t gloss enough for them and they silvered quite badly. Several applications of micro-sol helped a little though. When I sprayed a flat coat over the decals, the silvering looked even worse. With no way to remove the decals without destroying the paint job underneath, I bit the bullet and decided to paint over the silvering with a small brush. With an out-of-the-bottle color it would have been easy, but this one had several mixes sprayed over each other to create the look. Starting from a dark mixture of green and black (2:1 ratio), I lightened the mix one drop of green at a time, painting a sample from each step on a piece of cardboard. The mix started to look right at 5:1 ratio, to which I stopped. After waiting for the sample to dry, I compared it to the paint near the decals and decided it was close enough. With a small brush (5/0) I touched-up the silvering on the registry codes, making a few corrections at the same time as well, the most visible being the “erased” horizontal line extending behind number 4’s, and the refined number 2’s. With the silvering gone, I gave them a flat coat.
Finishing & weatheringI kicked off the final phase by gluing the small separately painted storage box mount on the left fender and painted the hull machine gun. For the MG barrel, I used the same dark paint mixture as on the tracks. As this was built as a peacetime vehicle, I didn’t apply tons of mud. I made it appear to have roamed the countryside, but not soaked-in. Two different shades of pigments were brushed on first and, after they looked quite stark and blotchy, I brushed the whole model with distilled water, taking care not to allow the pigments to run and pool in. The exhausts being still green from the previous stages, I first gave them a black wash of Lifecolors’ “oil” weathering fluid, basically a pre-thinned wash. After that two other washes followed, a dark and lighter brown one. The latter made it a little too light so toned down the color with another careful black wash. Ground up black pastel was used to blacken the exhausts and stain the hull right under the pipes. With weathering done, I slipped the ‘fruit crate’ stowage rack in place and called it done.
Copyright ©2020 by Eetu Tahvonen. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. The views and opinions expressed herein are solely the views and opinions of the authors and/or contributors to this Web site and do not necessarily represent the views and/or opinions of AeroScale, KitMaker Network, or Silver Star Enterrpises. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved. Originally published on: 2007-11-16 00:00:00. Unique Reads: 21202