In Part 3, I took the airbrush to the T-80BV for its distinctive camoflage.
Now it’s time to cover off on markings, weathering, and final touches.
One nice thing about armor builds is the veritable lack of decals. In the case of the T-80, I only had to work with three.
After a coat of Vallejo Gloss Varnish (which seems to work really well on armor and not on aircraft…), I applied the decals to the turret sides. They went down just fine with no silvering or other shenanigans.
Once the decals were on, I moved on to filters, starting with a general, very light Raw Umber filter done with artist oils and Mona Lisa Odorless Thinner.
Next came subtle dot filtering with a few various shades of blues, browns, olives and transparent white.
Streaks, Oil & Grease Stains
Once the filters had a bit of time to cure, I came back to do some streaking and staining. The streaks were done by dotting a small amount of oil paint onto the surface, then quickly “swiping” it down with a broad, flat brush. I continue to find this method far more convincing than the various prepared enamel streaking products on the market, but it may be a case of me not knowing how to use those properly.
Despite my general inclination to the contrary, I decided to use a light hand with the weathering on the BV. For the most part these tanks were/are well maintained, after all, and most of the fighting the T-80BV in particular has been involved in has been in urban or at least settled environments. So I opted for some light dust and some light spatter from road/roadside movement.
To achieve this spattering, I brushed some Vallejo Dark Gray Wash onto a piece of dense black packing foam (like what comes with various Aires or Eduard resin sets). I then dabbed most of the wash off and “dry sponged” the tank. The tiny amounts of wash that transferred pulled off the look rather nicely.
To add some fine layer of dust to the wheels and lower hull, I turned to my trusty Tamiya drawer, and mixed up some color using Flat Earth, Light Gray and Khaki Drab. I thinned the snot out of this mixture, then sprayed.
One aspect of armor builds that can either be satisfying or frustrating is dealing with the various lights and lenses. When these are well-defined, everything is brilliant. When they’re not, it can easily look like a bag of crap. The Trumpeter kit provided clear lenses for the various lights, but I decided to go a step further with a set of SKP PE lenses. This particular set was designed for the Xact T-80UD, but a few parts were useable. The cool thing about the SKP stuff is that it’s photo-etch coated with acrylic resin. It looks very, very good compared to just painted plastic.
Everything was knocked flat with a coat of Vallejo Matt Varnish. The tracks’ raised areas were highlighted with a #2 pencil. The lights were installed. And with that, this project is done. All told, it only took 50 days on the bench, which is far faster than anything I’ve managed in the last six months.
Thanks for following along, and be sure to visit the Completed Builds section for more finished pics!