Wednesday, June 5

Painting & Weathering Guide Pt II: 1/35th scale T-34/85 Zavod 183 Mod.44 from Italeri

Clayton has finished his version of a 35th scale Finnish T-34/85 Zavod 183 Mod.44 in Finnish colours. The kit has been an interesting ride for Clayton - and a few of you will be more than interested to see him finish this off so very well as he has done in part II of his guide...

Construction Guide Pt 1: T-34/85 Zavod 183 Mod.44 
From: Italeri
1/35th scale
Plastic Injection kit with Photo-Etch included

Previously in this series:
Construction Guide Pt 1:1/35th scale T-34/85 Zavod 183 Mod.44 from Italeri

With the interior all painted and weathered and the construction now complete, this is where the fun part of the build begins, (well at least that’s the part I enjoy the most), the painting and weathering.  At the build stage, I was a little unsure what scheme I was going to be doing for this T-34, but I was fortunate enough to stumble on a couple of really interesting schemes of vehicles captured vehicles used by the Finnish forces of WWII. So, I set my sights on representing one of these captured units. 
When you last saw the build, the model had received an all over coat of 4BO Protective Green. Although the camouflage scheme I would be painting featured the 4BO, I needed to attack the scheme from a slightly different angle. 

There is some debate as to the actual colours used in this scheme, so with the information I had, I picked the best colours I could to best represent the vehicle. 

Here the model is sprayed in XF-12 (JN Grey). A basic mask is made using tin foil to protect the running gear from overspray. 
The basic shapes of the sandy grey colour are now masked using a masking putty. 
Russian Tan from the Ammo range of acrylics is now applied.
A further layer of masking is attached to the model to cover where the Tan colour was sprayed. A mix of Russian green and black was now applied to the model. I wanted to make sure there was some contrast between the green and the tan, so I made the decision to make the green a little darker using the black. 
The masking putty is now removed to reveal the pattern. It’s not perfect but it at least sets the foundations to build on. 
Given the paintwork on the actual vehicle would have been applied with a brush, I made an attempt to represent that by making some of the edges of the scheme a little more ragged than others.
To help unite the colours on the model, a gloss varnish with a tiny drop of the 4BO is now sprayed over the model. This also prepares the model for the decals.
The after-market Finnish decals are now applied to the model and are sealed with another coat of acrylic varnish.
Superficial chipping and wear are now simulated by dabbing a dark grey colour to areas of logical wear using an old sponge. This technique is very easy to over-do, so take the time to review your work as you go. 
Streaking and staining is now achieved with various colours from the AMMO range of streaking effects. Fine lines are painted from the top of the model in a downward motion and then muted using a flat brush moistened with white spirit, again dragging in a downward motion)
To further enhance the shades and the depth of the model, a highly thinned mix of Rotbraun and smoke lacquers and pre-shaded over the model. Again, this is very easy to over-do…so remember, take time to review your work as you go. It’s easy to add more, but near impossible to take it away. 
The underside of the tank is now treated with pigments and enamel washes. Splattered effects are created simply by flicking a brush loaded with enamel paint and pigment at the model. It takes practice but you can achieve some really interesting and realistic results with pigments. It is just very messy work…kind of like the real thing, I guess.
Probably one thing I neglected in the build review was the tracks. The kit comes with the option of rubber band tracks as well as link and length with a pre-formed sag. The rubber band tracks will appeal to the entry level modeller where-as the link and lengths look to be a pretty reasonable option for the more advanced modeller.  That said I wouldn’t be using either.
Being the T34 is one of my all-time favourite tanks, I really felt I wanted to go all-out with this one. I couldn’t help but hand over some of the hard-earned money for a set of metal tracks for this one. The tracks were treated with a burnishing fluid and then weathered prior to being fitted to the model with pigments and enamel washes. Look great don’t they!
The tracks are now attached to the model. The worn edges on the tracks were achieved simply by sanding them with some sandpaper. This exposes the metal of the track. Again, just like the real thing. 
The weight in the tracks gives them a realistic sag and is well worth the upgrade if you can afford them. That said, the kit supplied link and length tracks look to be an acceptable option if you didn’t want to go down the after-market path.
To tie the wheels and the tracks visually together, the wheels are now treated with a mix of pigments and set in place with enamel washes. 
Maintenance hatches are now attached and weathered. Leading edges were caught using the edge of a lead pencil to help simulate a metallic look. (I would later drill some holes in the transmission hatch to better represent the actual vehicle – you will see them in the finished pictures. I feel this was a little bit of an oversight by Italeri, but it is very easy to correct.)
Attaching native foliage in an attempt to camouflage the vehicle was commonplace during WW2. The vehicle I am trying to represent can be seen in historical images with such camouflage, so I set about representing that by using lead wire and some railroad foliage I had in the stash. The organic nature of the foliage gave the model life and was the finishing look I was looking for. 

I really must confess; this model has turned out to be a bit of a surprise package for me. When I first opened the box, I had some concerns about some elements in the kit, but once I started to build it, it became clear that most of my fears were unwarranted. Then, once I started to add my own individual stamp on the model, I really started to enjoy the process and I started to understand the angle Italeri have taken with this release. 

Some close-in details of the model that caught catch your eye...
As I mentioned in part 1 of this review, this kit is very simple in nature and will appeal to just about any modeller interested in the subject, juniors included. There will be some who are looking for a little more of a challenge with the construction side of things, but for me, that was one of the highlights of the kit.

The kit by itself in a walk-around
Adding a figure brings life and scale to the kit
The addition of an earthen and grass filled base finishes the kit and the scene off...
I didn’t get lost in the building and I was able to get to the painting reasonably quickly.  With very little effort this kit can be brought up to a reasonably high standard and should satisfy most fans of World War II armour.

Very enjoyable indeed!

Clayton Ockerby

The new T-34/85 is available from Italeri directly from their website or many distributors worldwide
See more of Clayton's work on his excellent website Workbench Hobbies.