Monday, August 30

Build Review Pt II: 1/35th scale T-34/85 Korean War from Italeri

Andy King has finished his version of #212 Korean People's Army T-34/85 from Italeri's new Korean war theatre kit. Today he shares his painting & finishing process in an excellent build guide...

Build Review Pt I: T-34/85 Korean War
From Italeri
Kit No #6585
1/35th scale
Model Dim.: 23,5 cm
- Metal Gun Barrel
- Canvas Towing Rope
- Gluable Rubber Or Link-and-length Tracks
- Photo Etched Fret included
- Decals For 4 Versions
- Colored Instruction Sheet
Previous parts of this story:
In part 1 I covered the construction of the model and in this bit will show you how I painted and weathered it. I wanted to depict the finished model as shown on the Italeri box art.
Build Review Pt I: 1/35th scale T-34/85 Korean War from Italeri - Painting & weathering
To me the snow on the artwork suggests the first falls of the winter which I liked as I didn't want to end up with a model that had been covered in cake icing!

First of all I gave the model an undercoat of rattle can matt black (I use a brand called Hycote here in the UK) but then decided that the mudguards needed some damage adding. To do this I gently heated them with a soldering iron held away from the part then bent them to suit with tweezers, this way I avoided tearing the plastic (been there done that).
Finally satisfied with the look of the mudguards I then sprayed the model with AK Real Colour RC073 Protective 4BO. This was lightened with Tamiya XF-15 and sprayed in between various panels, turret sides etc to give a bit of tonal contrast. The last time I used AK Real Colour was a few years ago and was not that impressed with it but I believe it has been reformulated and this stuff went on beautifully, especially after thinning with Mr Hobby Self Levelling Thinner.
The model was gloss coated (I used a Mr Hobby Super Clear rattle can) and when dry I applied the decals (which took about 10 minutes as there were only 6 of them), sealed them in with another dose of gloss varnish and left it to cure for a couple of days.
I applied a pin wash to make the details pop but this time around I mixed some black oil colour paint into the Mig Productions Dark Brown wash that I usually use as for a while now I've been thinking it's not dark enough for my tastes.
The wash was applied to all the recesses, bolt heads etc using a fine brush then streaked down the turret and hull sides using a flat brush, any excess being removed with a fine brush dipped in white spirit. The wash was also applied more heavily around the filler caps on the external fuel tanks.

With the wash left for a day or so I sprayed the model with Tamiya LP-24 which is a semi-gloss varnish from their lacquer range rather than the matt Winsor and Newton acrylic varnish I usually use. The reason for this was because of a recent online discussion about whether model tanks look better with a semi-gloss finish rather than dead matt so I thought I would try it. For me the jury is still out but it might grow on me, also I wanted to try out the (new-ish) Tamiya lacquer varnish and I have to say that this range of paint is rapidly becoming a favourite of mine as I have had no issues spraying it so far. In fact it reminds me of how Tamiya paint used to be years ago when spraying it.

Anyway with the washes done and the model semi-gloss coated I could get on with the rest of the weathering and the first thing was to spray the lower hull, tracks and running gear with a mix of Tamiya XF-52 Flat Earth and XF-1 Black with the emphasis on the black.
I found this technique years ago in a book by Tony Greenland and have used it ever since, quite simply because it works for me, I like the effect and it has the added bonus of getting away with not painting the tyres. The mud was next and in the past it's been 'subtle', monotone or just plain disastrous on my models and a couple of builds have been shelved because of it. This time around I wanted to push the boat out a bit more and with the help of an excellent article by Joaquin Garcia Gazquez in issue 184 of Model Military Int'l magazine and by experimenting on a Zvezda Su-85 test mule I was able to finally get the results I have been looking for;
With applying the pigments and fixing them in place with Alclad II Pigment Fixer then using the same pigments mixed with acrylic gel, I was able to build up the mud to a level that I was satisfied with on both the hull and running gear. The track assemblies were finished off by rubbing the sprockets, rear idlers and guide horns with a paper artists stump dipped in graphite powder.
The next phase was something I've never tried on a model before and that was the application of snow and as I had none of the various products available I thought I would experiment again on my test mule. I put some bicarbonate of soda onto a small area as it looks like a suitable snowy material but after applying some pigment fixer it just became an effective paint stripper instead so don't try this at home kids! Even my girlfriend said to me “you're using WHAT???” After that I caved in and bought a couple of things to try instead, one of which was a Vallejo pigment powder (Titanium White 73.101) and after playing with that I liked it a lot so put it on the T-34/85, taking care not to overdo it.
Again this was held in place with the Alclad II Pigment Fixer. The pigment was then applied to the rest of the model and after applying some black pastel chalk around the exhausts, gluing the aerial in place and finding a clear lens for the headlight the model was done.

And complete!
I have to say that I enjoyed this build from start to finish. The kit itself was easy enough to put together and even adding some of the extra details as described in part 1 just added to it. The final stages of weathering were also good as I feel that I have stretched my abilities a bit more and learned some new weathering tricks, everyday really is a school day.

A walk around the completed tank #212 203rd Tank Regiment, 105th Tank Brigade, 2nd Tank Battalion Seoul 1950
How this kit stacks up to others out there I don't really know but to me it's OK and as I've said previously, Italeri kits are generally a good base to start from and if I can end up with a result like this then others can do even better. The fact it hasn't got thousands of parts helped too as I tend to run out of steam with them and they end up on the Shelf-of-Doom.
Good stuff and highly recommended!

Andy King

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