Friday, April 17

Nobody puts Matilda in the Caunter - Clayton shades his tank in odd new hues from AK…

The not so well known but often imitated Caunter scheme for British vehicles in the desert and Mediterranean is the subject of one of AK Interactive’s recent release, Clayton always wanted to make the Tamiya 48th scale Matilda in this scheme so what better way to test this new paint set? Let’s see what he came up with in this dual review
The Caunter Scheme (1940-41)
– Africa and Mediterranean     
    
AK4030
Six X 17ml paints in one set
RRP:
13,20 €
Website Link.

If there is one paint scheme I have always been drawn to, but never gotten around to doing, it is the Caunter Scheme. 

When I saw this new release set from AK Interactive I felt I had no more excuses and had to set the plans in motion to make an attempt at this interesting paint scheme. 
The Caunter Scheme was a series of camouflage paints and patterns used on British and Commonwealth vehicles in Africa and the Mediterranean through 1940 to 41. The scheme was devised by Col. Caunter of the 4th Armoured Brigade. The scheme would later become known as the Caunter scheme, although this was not the case at the time it was used. The scheme essentially used three prominent colours, Light Stone, Silver Grey and Slate in a horizontal splinter pattern.'
I don’t think there has been a paint scheme to ever have caused such a stir as this scheme has.  There are so many models and museum exhibits showing a blue colour in the scheme, but it would seem that blue was never actually part of this colour scheme.  Some suggest that the error of using blue has been compounding ever since 1960 where it has been suggested that the World famous Bovington Tank Museum got it wrong when repainting one of their Matildas. It has been suggested that the fading of the Silver Grey when paired with dust and weathering may explain as to why some may has misinterpreted the colour as being blue.
Since then it has been a matter of modellers copying modellers.

For those of you who are interested have a look for material compiled by Mike Starmer. Mike has dedicated years of his life to researching the scheme and is regarded as the ‘go to guy’ for all things British Camouflage in the Second World War.  
The Caunter Scheme paint set by AK Interactive is a set of six acrylic paints. The paints are formulated for both brush and airbrush use, and they are soluble in water. The true acrylic paint is less aggressive and doesn’t have the solvent-based fumes that some other paints have. AK Interactive claims their formula prevents problems with paint drying in the airbrush, causing potential blockages.


The six colours in the set include Portland Stone, Silver Grey, Slate, Light Stone, Khaki Green No.3, and Purple Brown. The set is nicely packaged and includes a profile guide printed on the backside of the box. It is interesting to note that only 4 of the 6 colours are represented in the colour profiles, so a little more research may be required on the variations of the scheme.
 
I have had the 1/48 Tamiya Matilda in my sights for some time, so the pairing of this new paint set and this model seemed to be a match made in Heaven.  That said the instructions do call out for a blue paint mix…. so I will be ignoring that and sticking with the silver grey.

Before I started the paintjob, I quickly sprayed some samples on a piece of white styrene I had. This gave me a reasonable indication of what to expect from the colours.
With basic construction complete a base of AK4031 Portland Stone was applied.  I held off fitting some of the smaller parts around the model as I wanted to make the masking job I had ahead of me a little easier.  I would apply these later after the colours and shapes were laid down.
The initial mask was set in place using offcuts of self-adhesive vinyl. The straight edges of this scheme made placing the mask reasonably easy, but a little tricky in the fact that any areas where the mask wasn’t sitting flush would potentially come out fuzzy.
AK4032 Silver Grey was now sprayed. Various tones of this colour, both dark and light were mixed through and sprayed during this stage. I felt the colour out of the bottle lacked a little bit of contract to the Portland Stone, so I wanted to be a little on the heavier side of the colour.  This had no historic basis, it was purely visual for me.

Further masking took place to define the dark areas. AK4033 Slate was now sprayed.  Again, I tweaked the colour to err a little on the dark side.
Masks removed.  A little touch up is required, but I am happy with the basic shapes and the way the colour work together.
Some chipping was hand painted with a fine brush and even finer detail was added using the sponge technique. AK722 Dark Tracks was used to achieve this colour and effect.
An all over gloss coat was then applied and the decals were fitted to the model. I had major issues with the normally bulletproof Tamiya decals. My Microsol softener turned them almost instantly to mush, so great care was needed to salvage them.
AK722 Dark Tracks was now heavily thinned and was used to stark adding darker tones around panel lines and around natural shadow areas.

A dark brown wash was now added to the model. An old bottle of AK300 thinned with white spirit was used.  The wash helps bring to life the recessed areas and detail in the model.
Using a mix of other AK weathering products the Matilda was dirtied up even more. Special attention was given to building up a layer or dirty, dusty toned pigments around the running gear and side skirts. These desert-based tanks took a beating during their service and I wanted this model to reflect that.
AK084 Engine Oil was used around the fuel tank and engine deck to simulate spills, wear and tear.

An all over Matte varnish and I was calling this one done. Here she is in total for a walk around...
Conclusion
Like I said earlier, I love this colour scheme. It has an aura about it, something that almost defies logic. AK Interactive has made it very easy and very accessible to paint this scheme with this new set of paints.  I really can’t comment about the accuracy of the colours coming out of the bottles compared to the actual paints used during the war, because clearly this scheme has been riddled with inaccuracies for decades. For me it was more about the visual look of the paint on the model and the way the colours worked together.  This set provided a great starting point to base my colours off. By the nature of the way I paint, I rarely use one straight colour. I am forever spraying shadows and highlights all based around a mid-point. This set made this build and painting this scheme a real joy and I am grateful to AK Interactive for meeting the market with this interesting little set.

And in closer detail - remember this is a 1/48th scale tank...
If you have ever been interested in this scheme, now is the perfect time to dive in and give it a go. No more excuses, all of the guesswork has been done for you.

Clayton Ockerby

Thanks to AK Interactive for sending this paint for Clayton to test out on his Matilda
You can see Clayton's models here or on his excellent modelling site www.theworkbench.com.au or on facebook at  https://www.facebook.com/workbenchhobbies