Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Painting by Numbers Panther

Not quite a full tutorial, as I didn't plan on doing it, the camera just happened to be handy.

Anyway; I paint a fair bit of 20mm armour, as well as larger and smaller scales, and I have a fairly standard technique for it, I've probably mentioned before. In a nutshell it's all about the layering.

Here I've started with a Hat Armorfast Panther tank.

The Base coat was German Buff darkened with a touch of red brown and then liberally applied. Many wargames modeller's favour a black undercoat and heavy drybrushing techniques; I'm not one of those.

Rather this model is overbrushed with natural German Buff, then drybrushed with a mix of Buff and Beige. A final layer of highlights with more Beige in the mix were limited to the edges and detailing of the model.

Next I did all the fiddly stuff. Here is my patent technique for German camouflage in minutes, get a dense stubby brush (I favour a size 6+ Humbrol Red brush with shortened bristles) and dip into a little of your camouflage colour; dry most of the paint off the brush, so it's just moister than a standard drybrush technique.

Lightly dab the brush repeatedly against the model to build up a layer of tiny speckles of paint. Do not stroke the model! And don't worry about mess What you may see rather critically in detail will vanish after the next stage anyway, or at least at a distance on the table...

Having built up the patterning, light or heavy, as you see fit; it's time for a highlight layer, applied with a smaller stippling brush. Just add a enough of a lighter shade to make it apparent, and don't try to obliterate all the base layer!

Then add your markings. Some gamers skip these, but I like to add basic ones at least; I used to have piles of transfers spare for jobs like this, but with a steady hand it is as easy to do them by hand.

Incidentally always work from the outer layer in with numbers and crosses and so on. It is far easier! (Teaching granny to suck eggs?)

The tracks are a rust-brown base, drybrushed with gun metal and then a little natural steel.

Having got the tank all factory fresh, it's time for the filth. Firstly drybrush, gun metal where scratches and worn paint would build up. Note that tanks are camouflaged with matt paint, and not varnished! Therefore the paint rubs and scratches easily. You may want to opt for a rusty finish, but most of my models go for a summer look, so I stick with shiny metal.

Next, I like to get a good layer of dust on there, and build it up in several layers, just as I would for the base colours.

Here is was a Desert Sand with a touch of red-brown in it to begin with; focusing mainly on the bottom half of the tank. This is overbrushed with that large stippling brush. Next plain Desert Sand is drybrushed over the whole model, making sure that large flat surfaces are covered too, not just raised details. Finally Desert Sand plus increasing amounts of Beige is applied to the upper levels of the model, where dry, sun bleached dust would accumulate.

And that's it. It may sound like a lot of effort, but it's actually pretty quick, drybrushing is the majority of the work and this is a really fast method.

And the results; hopefully speak for themselves.


  1. Like the idea for the camo. I'll have to try that technique. I paint 15mm models so a bit smaller.

  2. Works the same, some of my 15mm moderns use the same technique. Just use smaller (but nice and dense) brushes!