Because full modulation colors don't exist for the NVA late 1980's camouflage scheme, I decided early on to go with the Black and White technique using Ammo of Mig paints. This is in effect a pre-shading technique using their proprietary thinner which makes the colored paints semi-transparent better preserving the pre-shading. I started with the T-72's and the BMP's because they were fairly numerous (15 of each), but even at that I think they only represent about half of the force or a little less.
|BMP and T-72 tanks with the black and white applied|
After assembling and priming the miniatures, you begin adding shading and shadow effects using matte black and white paints. Ideally, these areas will show through on the final product creating modulation effects. I'm using a mixture of panel and light source modulations as this ends up looking fairly reasonable to my eye once complete. That being said, the difficulty level is amped up a notch because I'm doing a three tone camouflage scheme - Black and White technique is easiest to use for solid colors (my Israelis for Fate of a Nation will likely use this method).
|T-72 turrets and tracks ready for real colors!|
Overall I had pretty good luck getting all of the base coats of black and white down. The miniatures themselves were primed a gray color which made shading a cinch overall - if a little tedious. The only glitch I ran into was I accidentally broke the tip on my Iwata Custom Micron, so I had to go with the standard brush. I'm still waiting on parts to recommission the ultra fine airbrush, but I expect it will serve me well as I finish up this project.
Once I had the black and white down, I tried to put down the lightest color first, but seeing as that was a light gray, it was impossible to see, so I decided to put down the green first. In retrospect, I should have stuck with the gray, but we all live and learn. I used Panzer Putty for the masking. Ammo of Mig has a masking putty that looks suspiciously similar, and may be the same thing license sold through the webstore.
|NVA truck from the late 1980s|
The goal is to replicate as closely as possible the late 1980's NVA three tone scheme consisting of a base green, a light gray, and a dark gray (almost black). Depending on the source of the photo I've seen the green look more blue or look more yellow. The actual tones are contained in the table below:
The olivgrün is allegedly very similar to a late World War II resedagrün RAL 6011. I ended up going with Reseda Green opt. B - A.MIG-004, though based on the photo above, the A.MIG-003 RAL 6011 Resedagrün may be a little closer. For the dark gray, I'm using Grey Shadow, A.MIG-906, and for the light gray I'm usingFS 26373 Silver Grey A.MIG-212.
|Green down on some of the vehicles|
Once the green was down, I tried to use a liquid mask to more easily add the subsequent camouflage areas, but the liquid mask was too difficult to get clean results with over the complex surfaces of the tanks. I'll save it for projects involving canopies and other clear parts in the future (this is not the cryptic hint you're looking for...). I therefore went back to the Panzer Putty and ran one vehicle at a time.
|Best... Christmas... Present... EVER!|
One of the biggest problems I've had airbrushing is I had to do it in odd areas of the house, because even though I'm running acrylics, there are alcohol fumes involved. My wife, however, came to the rescue and bought me a portable airbrush station with active ventilation, viewed above, that means I can airbrush in the comfort of my workshop!
|Camouflage base coats down on all the T-72's|
I was able to finish up the camouflage on the T-72's, and it ended up coming out pretty well. However, the colors remain a bit more brash than I'd like, so started working on the weathering. This time around I'm using artist oils based on some of the Weathering Magazine's techniques. So far the weathering is going well, and I've been able to get more subtle effects than I have in the past. The only problem I've encountered is the Battlefront NVA decals appear to disintegrate rather than transfer to the model. I'm following up with Battlefront to see what's up.
Below is the first pass at some of the oil weathering on the T-72. It really tones down the brashness of the base coats and gives it a far more realistic look. Unfortunately the camera on my phone completely fails to capture the subject, and the quality of the photos leave a lot to be desired. I'll be pulling out my DSLR and taking some real photos in the near future.
The rear 3/4 view above is a little blurry, but the weathering is at least somewhat visible. I've done black lining on key details and then tone weathering on the rest. Unfortunately no national insignia this time because I'm still fighting with the Battlefront Decals.
Front 3/4 view came out a bit better, and I managed to get this decal on - it only split in half. The weathering and shading with the oils made a big difference. I'm still experimenting with the technique. I have another T-72 I've hit with a glosscote that I'm going to then try the weathering on top of to see if it matters.
In conclusion, though I have "miles to go before I sleep" on this project, it is very heartening to see actual paint on the miniatures and to see them coming out pretty well overall. The BMPs are also in progress, and they'll be the next ones to get the full treatment. After that, there is the T-55 unit and all of the ancillary vehicles to go.