Thursday, October 20

Read n' Reviewed: Ammo's How to Paint 1:72 Military Vehicles

Making an AFV in 1/72nd scale is something that a lot of people would not even think of doing.  How to paint and weather it is something altogether new for even more modellers. Lucky there is a new guide out to try and educate (or maybe even convert) us from AMMO. Clayton had a read of it – let’s see what he thought…
How to Paint 1:72 Military Vehicles
Various Authors.
Published by AMMO
120 pages
In English, Spanish & French 

So, who of you out there of you armour builders, hasn’t at some stage picked up a 1/72 scale kit and added it to the collection? Chances are most of us were introduced to the genre of scale armour through the little Matchbox Diorama in a box kits, or as a child, the price point may have made the scale far more accessible than some of the larger scales.

As most of us strayed away from the scale in search of greater detail, something happened over the last few decades. Model kits got better. Manufacturing got better. We all of a sudden got more choice, more subjects and generally better models. None more so than in the braille scale of 1/72.

The scale no longer offers soft detail and inaccuracies, but offers the armour modeller a viable alternative to the larger scales, that weren’t once present. There is no doubting, the scale is growing in popularity and manufacturers and publishers are latching on to the new movement.

And so I lead into the latest offering from the team at AMMO by Mig Jimenez, and the latest, ‘special’ under the branding of The Weathering Magazine… ‘How to Paint 1:72 Military Vehicles’

So here we have a ‘how to guide’, completely dedicated to the painting and weathering of 1/72 armour. The Weathering Magazine would be familiar to most as a fantastic reference point for, not just the armour modellers, but to any modeller looking to improve their painting and weathering skills.
The opening sections of the book talk about the differences in the scales and go on to help the modeller better understand the differences in some of the mainstream 1/72 kits. Basic, through very involved kits are touched upon. It is a nice touch to those not familiar with the scale.

There is then a piece written by Ricardo Merino titled, ‘Dare to make a model in 1/72’. It is a nicely written piece outlining the history of the scale and some of Ricardo’s experiences with 1/72. It is a lovely lead in to the booklet, and is written with passion.
The index, then outlines the painting and weathering techniques across 8 different models, by 7 different modellers – There is a brief introduction here, and again, a nice little teaser to lead into the magazine.
The opening article is titled, ‘Scrapyard T-72A’ and is written by Alex Clark. The model is of an abandoned T-72A and features not only the painting tutorial, but also some additional detailing work. 
The rusty, worn out finish is very effective and a great start to the journey.
Second in line the Jan Moravik’s Panzer IV, dressed up in the colours of the Africa Corps. Jan extracts some realistic worn effects using the Washable Dust paint from AMMO as well as working in sand coloured pigment along the horizontal surfaces.
Moving on, we find the BMD-2 – ‘OBLOT BATALLION’, by the namesake of the company, Mig Jimenez. Mig combines both the airbrush and brush painting to achieve the interesting camouflage pattern on this little oddity. I found it interesting the difference a coat from the ‘Dark Green Filter’ made. Really ties the paintwork together well.  Mig then goes on to work the model over with his textbook chipping and heavy treatment of pigment.
A slight change of pace now, with a little diorama featuring an M1 Abrams with an overturned Type59, based during the Gulf War. Fabrizio Repetto has done a lovely job extracting detail out of the aftermarket Black Dog kits, and was able to achieve some really subtle, but effective scratching and chipping using a fine brush.
 The diorama setting with the two vehicles and the figure, really start to highlight the powerful, visual effect this tiny scale can have when thoughtfully worked together.
Arthur Walachowski then presents us with the infamous Tiger 1 of Michael Wittmann, as seen during the Battle of Kursk. The copy of the title page has been really beautifully written, and helps give the reader an insight into the history of this well know vehicle.
There is a great shot of the model in the modellers’ hand at the end of the article. It gives us a timely reminder of the detail and the realism that these guys are getting from such a small scale.
Again, most of the techniques are similar to those used in earlier articles. Paint, wash, chip, oils, pigments. It is just the execution that differs.  The chipping around the radio operators’ hatch in particular, is really something special.

‘3…2…1… Launch’, by Leonid Postny is the next model to grace the pages. The model is of the Toxso, Scud-D on MAZ-543 chassis. Leonid uses the putty masking technique to achieve the three-tone camouflage scheme of the vehicle. I hate to be critical, but to my eye, the paintwork, and the edges of the scheme just aren’t sharp enough, and present a little rough.
Leonid then goes on to treat the model with Washable Dust, followed by the usual suspects of enamel washes etc etc….I appreciate the weathering of the model will, to a certain extent, mask and be a little forgiving of the base paint work, but for me, this one just doesn’t cut it. Even in 1/72, this is a big model, and I felt, for a publication like this, the base paintwork needed a little more refined.  Techniques are all there, just the execution missed the mark.  But hey, who am I to judge, Leonid is in the magazine and I’m not, so maybe I am missing something. That said, it is very easy to forget we are looking at 1/72 scale models, and the way they photograph can often differ from the way they present on the table.
Leonid Postny gets the call up again with the fictitious, E-75 with an 88mm gun in the ‘ambush’ paint scheme.  Again, Leonid uses the masking putty to set the foundations for the paintwork, but again, I just don’t think the lines are sharp enough. It just feels a bit clumsy for my liking.
The model then gets the full-on weathering treatment of chipping with a fine brush and an extraordinary amount of dirt and weathering. Leonid covers some of the painting of the tracks, and manages to achieve some really interesting results using rusty tones.
Overall though, I think there is a real danger in overdoing these weathering techniques…especially on such a small scale.  In my opinion, this model suffers as it is on the wrong side of the weathering trap. It becomes more about the techniques rather than the model.

The final build in the publication is Sergey Golikov’s T-34/85.  Sergey uses the Trumpeter kit as his base, and he adds a great deal of aftermarket parts on it which really bring the small-scale model to life. You could dedicate a whole article to the work he has done with the photo-etch.  Quite amazing work on such a small scale kit.
Sergey uses the masking putty, paired with the Soviet Camouflage set from AMMO, to set the base paintwork. A third colour is then brush painted to represent the scheme really beautifully. Again, here we see how a filter can be used to tie these multiple colour schemes together. Splattered muddy pigments, washes and careful refinement and detail then bring the model to life.
Whilst the weathering on this model is heavy, it feels and looks in keeping with the subject. It did seem a shame to tone down that lovely 3-tone Russian camouflage, but Sergey manages to produce a very realistic, battle worn, T34-85.

I am a great advocate of this publication.  The tips and how to guides, offer the experienced modeller some interesting insights into ways to improve their models.  I guess there could be a criticism of the techniques and processes taking too much of a ‘cookie cutter’ approach, but really, we are all trying to make models that look realistic, and fact of the matter is, these techniques, when executed properly, do work. 

The photography and the writing is excellent. It is really easy to forget how small some of these models are. I do however think, there is a danger for the beginner with these types of magazines. I see it all too often. Beginners trying to do too much, too fast without mastering the basics.

It is great to see a mainstream publication dedicated to the techniques for weathering 1/72nd scale armour. I really like this publication. It is something that will sit on your shelf and be a book you will refer to in years to come.  The techniques and products can be used on just about any model, so even if you have never built 1/72 scale armour, I would still recommend this one for the collection.

Clayton Ockerby

Thanks to Ammo for sending this to us to read and review – you can get it now directly from the AMMO store or their Distributors...
See more of Clayton’s work at his website “Workbench Hobbies” or join him on his Facebook page