Dragon T-34/85 Build Log

UPDATED 12.27 – Weathering Underway

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Back before the move, I spent about a month pushing a series of tanks across the bench. Each of these was built up to the painting stage, then packed away. Now that I’ve got Bench Mk.II up and running, I can start taking these into painting and weathering.

First up, Dragon’s T-34/85.

You can read my initial impressions of the kit HERE, and follow the main construction HERE.

Before I packed it away for the move, I built the T-34/85 pretty much to completion.

Now…it’s time to make it green.

Prepping for Paint – 12.4.11

While I was priming the Tamiya Fw 190A-3, I decided to go ahead and prime the T-34 as well. The main tank was done up with Model Master enamel primer, while the tracks were primed with Rustoleum Automotive primer in a rattlecan.

Next, the tracks were attacked with Vallejo Track Primer. This is my first time using Friuls and NOT using Blacken-It. So far, not too bad, and I think these’ll look great after successive washes and pigments and whatnot.

The final step prior to throwing green – spraying the tank with Model Master Flat Black for shading. I’ve always loved this step of the armor process – tanks look absolutely mean in black.

Painting – 12.5.11

A little over a year ago, I gave White Ensign enamels a try on two Soviet VVS fighters – Zvezda’s Lavochkin La-5 and Eduard’s Yakovlev Yak-3. It was a decidedly mixed experience. The colors were absolutely amazing, especially the AMT-4 green on the La-5. But drying times were long, spray patterns were sloppier than I’d like, and the stuff doesn’t reduce anywhere near as well as Tamiya or Testors paints.

Still, I’ve decided to give it another go with another Soviet subject, since I have two tins of WEM’s 4BO Green sitting around. The paint seemed to mix up better than I remember, and is every bit as vibrant as the other shades I’ve tried.

Here’s the first coat, intentionally light and uneven.

You can also see the tracks, painted with Vallejo track primer, a dirty brown/gray that looks just about perfect.

12.13.11 Update – I’ve been dragging a bit on the T-34 the past few days, a combination of limited bench time, a preoccupation with painting the Fw 190A-3, and realizing I’ve misplaced the kit’s decal sheet. I’ve ordered some Archer dry transfers, and they should get here later this week.

In the meantime, I’ve applied a second coat of White Ensign 4BO Green, repinned the Friul tracks, and done a general test-fit:

I’m not entirely sold on WEM’s 4BO Green. It seems far too light compared to the extant pictures. And I’ve found that the tracks were  a VERY tight fight this time around. I wonder if maybe they’ve contracted with the cooler weather?

Markings – 12.25.11

It’s been a while since the last update. Between business travel, the craziness of the holiday season, and focusing on getting the Fw 190A-3 finished up, I haven’t been devoting tons of time to the T-34.

Late last week, the Archer transfers arrived, and earlier this week, they went on. T-34s carried a minimum of markings, so applying these took all of fifteen minutes. LOVE these things. For armor, they’re perfect. No carrier film, and the dry transfer process makes it easy to really burnish them down into the surface textures.

Once the transfers were on, the T-34 got a nice coat of Vallejo Matte Varnish.


Phase One – Oils

Weathering the T-34 started with a light drybrushing of Model Master Dunkelgrau, followed by a filter wash of Raw Umber artist oils to the hull, turret, tracks and wheels. This was followed up by some dot filtering and modulation using a variety of oils – green, yellow ochre, payne’s gray, raw umber, burnt sienna and transparent white.

Phase Two – Streaks and Pigments – 12.27.11

With the oil work done, I pulled out MIG’s “Rain Marks” and applied it to the turret sides, barrel and sloped hull surfaces using an Aqualon Wisp in an up-and-down streaking motion. Over a few coats, it leaves thin trails of dust and a slight gloss effect that looks like, well, rain marks.

These were followed by applying some “mud” using a mix of MIG pigments, acrylic resin, and some gritty mud scooped from the empty lot next door. This was topped with my favorite pigment, Russian Earth. The tracks and wheels were also treated to pigmentation with Dark Mud and Russian Earth.

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