Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Project: 1/48 Panzer III Ausf.M Progress III

The Panzer IIIM is nearing completion. Here not only have I applied the basecoat of paint, but also the camouflage scheme. This was done using the fine tip and needle in my Paasche VLS double action airbrush. With thinned Tamiya Olive Green XF-58 paint (the basecoat was again Tamiya Dark Yellow XF-60). With the needle pulled back only slightly, and with the paint thinned to a skim milk-like consistency, it is possible to get pencil thin lines with some skill and precision. Unfortunately, I think I needed to thin the paint a bit more, as there was a slight bit of splatter, but given these tanks were painted by the crew with whatever skills they were able to bring, neatness was not always the norm either.

The Echelon Fine Decals have been applied, and these are definitely some of the finest on the market. The decals were silk screened, rather than printed via a lithograph process or on a color printer. This means they are not only very rich and dense in colors (such as they are, here only 2 -- black and white), but also a pleasure to work with. They are also very thin, meaning there is less work I need to do to make them look like something other than a decal! I used my standard process for applying these decals: the model was first airbrushed in Future Floor Acrylic Finish (using the coarse tip and needle, and the Future unthinned), then the decals applied with a little Solvaset to make sure they snuggle down onto the model. Afterward, a second coat of Future seals the work.

The suspension components on the tracks have also been painted, again using the fine tip in my airbrush. This can be a tedious process, but the results speak for themselves. I still need to paint the front half of the road wheels and return rollers, but so far I am pleased with how they came out. Interestingly, when highly thinned, Tamiya paints take on a semi-gloss aspect. Not that it really matters all that much...

The next step in this process is to allow the clearcoat to dry thoroughly (usually a process of several days; for Future I use the old technique of waiting until it doesn't smell of Future anymore!), and a dullcoat likely using Polly Scale Acrylic clear flat, with a little Tamiya Flat Base X-21 mixed in (note: it always bears repeating that X-21 is not a clear flat, but a paint additive to make dull paints!).

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