Welcome to the Main Event
The T-80BV has been a slog of a build up to this point. Not a bad kit, by any means. Far from it, in fact. But still, the complexity and the high parts count make it rather…involving.
Now, the building is (mostly) done, and it’s time for the fun.
When we last left the T-80BV, it was ready for paint.
First thing’s first. Masking the tracks. This was done by fixing Tamiya tape along the inner face of the side skirts, and taping more tape to that. Easy.
Since the turret had already been primed and painted, I left it alone.
AMMO Green Khaki
My mind is still not made up about Mig’s new AMMO paints. They’re nice – for water-based acrylics. But I’ve always had trouble getting water-based acrylics to spray in tight, fine lines, or to spray in the highly-thinned way I prefer. Thin them too much, and they go all runny and separate. But leave them thicker, and you get tip clogging and overspray.
Still, for a base coat they are perfectly acceptable, and so that’s what I’ve used them for here.
With the Green Khaki down, I turned my attention to the second camoflage color – black. Here I decided to jump ship and use my Tamiya paints, since I CAN get them to spray how I want. Rather than straight black, I opted for a 2:1 mix of XF-1 Flat Black and XF-69 NATO Black, which is a very dark black-green.
Thinned around 2.5:1 with Mr. Leveling Thinner, I loaded this into my trust detail brush, an Iwata HP-C+, and went to work. Blacks always seem to do an excellent job with thin, freehand spraying. That was the case here as well.
The gray that comes in Mig’s Modern Russian set is very, very light, almost white. But all of the real-world images I’ve found of T-80BVs show a dark blue-gray, a bit lighter and grayer than the Intermediate Blue the US Navy used in World War II, but relatively similar. I mixed my own from my Tamiya paints – particularly Light Gray, Light Blue and White.
This proved a lot more challenging than the Almost-Black. Despite heavy thinning, the lighter color seemed to “stick” in the airbrush more, or run when sprayed. But patience I did finally manage to get it all down.
Once the paint was down, I faced some quick fixes before moving on.
First…the fuel drums. These sat weird for me, but on taking a second look, I could not find a single shot of a real T-80BV actually carrying fuel drums, so I elected to leave them off. This necessitated removing the mounting tabs from the drum mounts on the back of the tank. I cut the tabs with sprue cutters and then used a drum sander on my Dremel to smooth out the inside radius of the arms.
Second…some minor installs. Out back, I mounted some spare tracks and the unditching log (which completely hides said tracks), as well as the rear mud flaps.
Up front, I installed the front skirts. I’d actually painted the wrong side of these, so I had to break out the airbrush and quickly camoflage them. These are very haphazardly painted in the field, as though they’re swapped out, so I opted for a pattern that wasn’t uniform across them.
And…a deep breath of relief! The camoflage is done…next up, markings and weathering.