Here are ten tips to start you off.

  1. Paint some dull red areas on the tank - that sort of Chinese red used as a rust primer. When you paint the tank's main colour over the top, leave little bits of the red showing through, to look like places where the paint has scraped off to leave the primer coat showing through.

  2. Paint the main colour of the tank on, then dry-brush with a much lighter shade to pick out the detail. Some people dry brush with a few different shades, each one lighter than the last, but I find that one or two shades are usually enough for 1/72nd-scale models. The dry brushing both picks out detail and makes the paint look faded or dusty.
  3. For late WW2 German tanks, with several colours of camouflage, I dry brush with light sand. This bleaches out the stronger colours, picks up detail, and looks like the camo paint has worn through to the main coat (dunkelgelb sand). The tanks left the factory painted sand all over. If you don't dry-brush a well-camouflaged vehicle, then the model will appear to be a bit shapeless from a distance.

  4. Mix in pigment with the varnish. I use black for grey vehicles, and a mix of black and brown for other colours. The best I find is enamel paint. Acrylic gives a softer look, and ink a harsher look. The pigment will settle in the hollows and be held there by the viscosity of the varnish. This is a very quick way to get a subtle shading effect.

  5. Dry brush sharp edges/corners lightly with a metal colour, to look like places where the paint has worn off right down to the metal.

  6. Mud: mix Tetrion/plaster filler powder with very dark brown paint (it will dry much lighter than it looks when wet), a bit of PVA glue, water, and some static grass flock. Shove this under the mudguards, on wheels, tracks, and up the sides and rear of the tank to mimic splattered mud with caked-on grass.

  7. Heat a pin in a candle and poke holes in thin things like mudguards, to mimic bullet holes. Set the pin in a cork first, or be prepared for scorched fingers.

  8. Paint a different base colour where the decals will go, to look as though the vehicle has been repainted, with the old markings left as they were (so a late WW2 German tank might have grey backgrounds around the markings). You can also paint the places where markings might have been, with a base colour slightly different from the main colour, to simulate the crew having painted out conspicuous markings. Crews often painted over markings, especially those on the front of the vehicle. Areas on a vehicle painted with a slightly different main colour serve to give a vehicle the battered-and-repaired look.

  9. Paint black blobs and wiggly lines around engine access hatches etc., to look like dirty oil leaks and splatters.

  10. Paint the area of the tank next to the exhaust pipe outlet with dry-brushed black, to look like exhaust stains.

  11. Dry brush on rust colour where metal has been exposed, and on the baffle around the exhaust pipe (these almost always went rusty). A thin wash of rust colour running down from some exposed iron can look good too, to simulate where rain has washed the rust down the vehicle.

I hope these help.


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