I mentally divide armor builds into three phases.
- Phase 1: Construction
- Phase 2: Painting
- Phase 3: The Fun Stuff
Now that the Panzer III has been through paint, it’s time for the fun stuff!
I chose very early on to do the eye-catching Panzer Gray and whitewash camoflage of Panzer Abteilung 502 (Pz.Abt.502) operating on the Leningrad front in late 1942.
Before applying decals, I sprayed a coat of Vallejo Gloss Varnish. Love this stuff.
The kit provides individual tank ID numbers, which is great for customizability. Unfortunately the decals, though high quality, snuggle down immediately, and tend to fold up under any attempts to adjust their position. Grr. Aside from the battle to get the numbers aligned, everything went pretty well. I especially like the massive elephant artwork on the turret box.
Drybrushing and Oil Washes
Once the decals cured and the entire tank was given a flat coat, I went to work drybrushing the tank with Panzer Schwarzgrau over the white, then Dunkelgrau over everything. This was topped with a wash of raw umber artist oil, streaked down slopes and vertical surfaces with some Aqualon Wisp brushes.
Friul Blackening Fail
As I was building up the tank, I was also building up the friul white metal tracks, link by tedious link.
On the Panzer IV, I tried chemically blackening the tracks using a solution called “Blacken-It”. It did a decent job, but missed whole swaths of track. In my postmortem, I concluded this was because I hadn’t properly cleaned the tracks, so this time around, I gave them a good soak in white vinegar, followed by a scrub with a toothbrush. This was followed by a bath in dish soap and another scrub.
The result? Exactly. The. Same.
Blacken-It? More like Suck-It.
Taking a different tack, I attacked the tracks with a mix of Vallejo Track Primer and Vallejo Black Gray. Much happier!
Next up – weathering the tracks, fun with pigments, and final details.