M45 Pershing
105mm Howitzer Medium Close Support Tank
"HELEN"

Tamiya #35254 M26 Pershing Medium Tank
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© 2002, Jim Lewis/GunTruck Studios
All Rights Reserved Worldwide

Page Five

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Awards & Honors


At the last minute I decided to combine a lacquer-based gloss coat over the Future Floor Finish coats I used working with the dry-transfers. No rhyme or reason here. I masked off the tracks and running gear before doing so, as I wanted to keep the metallic sheen on the track shoes during weathering the lower portion of the model. Sometimes the lacquer coats change the appearance of the metallic paints - causing them to look rather like - paint. I haven't tried Future to protect a metallic paint before, and didn't want to experiment at this late stage of completing the model. I'd practice on some scrap plastic instead.

The paper masks to protect the tracks and running gear is nothing more that extended skirts made from paper. A quick and cheap expedient that does the job. I'm sure it goes without saying that you get better coverage by treating the Turret separate of the Hull when applying gloss or dull coats. Note the markings on the glacis plate - the layers of Future Floor Finish, though thin, have been built up and over the thickness of the dry-transfers. When the dull cote goes on, these dry-transfers will appear like they've been painted on the model. You can even spray a light coat of lacquer Gloss Cote over the acrylic Future once you've let it set - just like any other acrylic-based finish. I let the Future setup at least 8 hours before doing this, and have never encountered a problem. Pictured here is the end result of a combination of Future work with the decals, and an overall coat of lacquer Gloss.

It's too bad that by July 1955, all of the remaining M45 Pershings in US Army inventory had been converted into M46 Patton Medium Tanks. The M45 Pershing would have looked nice in a semi-gloss finish, like some US tank crews maintained their mounts during the Cold War 1950's. Future doesn't take a long time to setup, but I let my model sit for several hours anyway. It lays down so smooth and thin, if the shine wasn't present, you wouldn't know it's there at all. I wish they produced a Future 'flat" Finish.

Though it still looks glossy, I sprayed a thinned and light coat of lacquer Dull Cote all over the model. This gives a seat for the pastels to hold onto. I do it this way to keep the overall thickness of the paint down. As I go through layers of weathering, I apply thin mists of Dull Cote between each session. Here, I have brought out details by selective dry pastel applications to contours and crevices on my tank model. This is very light use of black and brown pastel colors and adds subtle depth to specific areas of the miniature. It best calls attention to the areas of the model that naturally reflect the most light - by slightly deepening the shadows. The tonal differences between colors were done with the airbrush beforehand, and the inaccurate technique of drybrushing is not necessary here. The pastels are softer than a "wash" technique, and as such appear different in other lighting conditions - like shadows would. The changes in the next three photos are very subtle - more apparent in different lighting conditions. These effects are more like filters for the tones underneath.

I sprayed the underside and running gear of my miniature with Tamiya XF-57 and oversprayed with my home-brewed "Grimy Track Mixture" (equal parts of Tamiya XF-1 Flat Black, XF-10 Flat Brown, X-19 Smoke, and XF-69 NATO Black - the whole thinned 50% with Lacquer Thinner and applied at a low airbrush setting of 16 PSI). This, coupled with painting the lower hull and running gear a darker color than the upper portions of the model, aided in weathering effects. Before moving on, I'd seal the model one more time - with another home-brewed concoction I call "Dust Cote".

The Dust Cote both flattens the sheen on the model and lays down a really thin layer of "dust" where applied - if you were reduced in size to 1:35th scale, this would look like a tank that had been run down the road for awhile. My Dust Cote is made from 10 drops of color (equal parts of Tamiya XF-57 Buff and XF-19 Sky Grey) mixed into Lacquer Dull Cote - one to one and one-half ounces. I thin the whole mixture 50% with Lacquer Thinner. My digital camera might not convey the way the filter layer changes the tone of the colors underneath very well - but your eye will register it quite clearly when you apply the technique. Compare the last three photos here with the Turret Photo at the top of this page to see the difference. The more times you do this - the more the effect becomes pronounced. It stops being a filter for the color tones underneath and becomes another paint color layer. For replicating a worn wintercoat, like for a M46 "Tiger" Patton in the late winter/early spring in Korea, this would be a good use of the filter. Replace the Buff with Flat White - the Sky Grey will prevent the mix from being too intense of a white, and apply multiple coats over the tank model's basic finish.

I decided to go easy on the worn paint and areas of rust - again wanting to render a well-maintained vehicle. Though it was service in the opening of the Korean War, not a lot of this vehicle's use is recorded through to the end of the war. I believe they were used to support the M4A3E8 105mm Howitzer Close Support Tanks in the indirect fire role most of the time. Lots of crew use would be likely present, but little in the way of "battle damage" a vehicle would get in direct fire missions. I thus chose to model full fenders and skirts too - as these are a quick indicator of how much use and abuse a tank in the field can get due to their thin sheet metal construction. To rust and paint chip the heck out of my miniature with a nice and new-looking set of fenders and skirts would look odd to say the least.

The worn paint I opted to apply is located around areas of heaviest use, and rendered with Tamiya XF-69 NATO Black. Minor rust streaks are done with brown and orange pastels, and from the distance I'm shooting the picture of the model, should be barely visible. Below, the right side showing worn and chipped paint - the left side hasn't been done yet.


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