Creating model has been a popular hobby since the tank's creation in World War I. Military modelers often add tanks to their display pieces, and war gamers know the value of a tank against a field of unarmored vehicles and encampments. Painting your tanks gives them a realistic look and can be a point of pride for both collectors and gamers. Careful techniques may be applied to grant a realistic appearance to the tank.
Cleaning and Priming
After assembling your model, it is important to clean it by removing any bits of sprue or metal cast moulding with a hobby or sculpting knife. Use a small, fine file to round off any bits that have been manufactured with flaws such as sharp corners where none should exist. Next, prime your tank with a coat of matt black primer. Black primer is always preferable to white on tanks because it allows a natural shadowy look to be retained.
Your base colour should be that of the main metal of your tanks. For most, this will be an army green or desert yellow brushed on evenly. If you are going for a fresh or preserved look, without battle damage, it is OK to allow thinner paint to get into the crevices where the primer would otherwise show. For a more battle worn look, you can use an ink wash by diluting your paint and allowing it to flow into any recesses you accidentally painted. A mixture of equal amounts paint and water is ideal for this. The quality of your paint will determine the final look of your wash.
Drybrushing, sanding and varnishes
Dry-brushing will allow you to catch and lighten the raised surfaces of your tank such as the gun barrels and turrets, giving the illusion of light hitting a constructed object. This is accomplished by dipping a dry-brush or used hobby brush into the paint then wiping most of it off on a towel. The paint should be one or two shades lighter than your model's base coat and should be flicked on, only lightly touching the part you're working with. Using a small amount of sandpaper on the painted areas can simulate battle damage, and applying an ink wash to this using either the black or the base coat will add more realism. The final step will be applying a matt protectant or varnish. You should avoid glossy finishers as they will give a plastic look to the final product.
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