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Recently my brother R gave me a bunch of model kits to practice on. He's into Games Workshop's Warhammer 40,000 gaming system (universally known as '40K') which if you're not familiar with it can be summed up by its tagline IN THE GRIM DARKNESS OF THE FUTURE THERE IS ONLY WAR. From their fearsome redoubt outside Nottingham - you get a good view of it on the train - GW flog a vast ecosystem of miniatures, models, rulebooks and accessories, all defended by intellectual property lawyers only marginally less terrifying than 40K's legendary Space Marines (very definitely TM).

One of the kits was a Predator tank. I should note that armoured fighting vehicle design in 40K is low on pragmatic realism and rather higher on GUNS and RIVETS and MORE GUNS, preferably painted in rather spectacular livery. R actually has a relatively subdued scheme for his models of black with yellow highlights so I've gone with that, but I decided that this would be a chance to practice weathering techniques (i.e. making your model look dirty - see this post) so this would definitely be a tank that had quite literally been in the wars.

First step was to cut all the main parts of the sprues and check that they at least roughly fitted together. This gave me an idea how big the final model would be and whether there were going to be any bits that would need a lot of filling or cleaning up.

The Predator has a working rear ramp (it's a sort of odd tank / APC hybrid, really) so I had the choice of gluing this shut or painting the interior. I went for the latter, which meant painting the main parts first and then weathering them to simulate wear and tear before assembling them.

The floor and ramp were dirtied-up with dark washes, and then very lightly brushed with a small amount of silver paint to simulate bare metal. A bit of sponge with a trace of silver paint was used to give the appearance of chipped paint over metal on the walls (I reckon those hulking great Space Marines in their armour must play hell with the paintwork as they clamber in and out.)

The interior, once assembled.

I then built the rest of the main hull. This is still missing the turret and side weapons mounts which I assembled and painted separately. I've taped over the turret ring from the inside so as to stop paint getting onto that nice interior I've just done. I added some battle damage by poking it with the tip of a hot soldering iron to simulate shell dents. You can also see where I've needed some filler along the side seams at the top.

And now with a coat of Tamiya fine light grey primer. This is the stage at which your model starts to look like, well, a model.

I wanted to have rust showing so had another try at a technique called 'chipping'. This is where you spray one colour, then cover it with a layer of hairspray, then spray another. You then gently rub the top coat with a wet stiff brush and the idea is that the hairspray layer, being water-soluble, comes away, taking the top coat with it and revealing the colour underneath. Here I've used various LifeColor rust shades.

Jump forward a bit! I've now sprayed the Predator yellow, masked off the sides, and sprayed the main hull black. Colours were GW's own Citadel 'Yriel Yellow' (GW have such delightful names for their paint colours) and Tamiya XF-69 'NATO Black', which is actually a very dark matte grey. I've started the chipping, rubbing away the top layer around edges and dents that would in time become rusty.

All coming together now. The gun barrels and exhaust stacks have been sprayed with 'gunmetal' from the AV metallic acrylics range and raised parts have again been drybrushed with silver to simulate worn metal. I've also sprayed a lighter yellow shade on the top and the edges of the side gun mounts - such areas would look lighter in real life because of illumination from above.

Time to dirty things up. I've used Tamiya X-19 'Smoke', which is a translucent dark shade that you can gently build up to simulate dirt or soot, to darken the areas around the exhausts.

More weathering! LifeColor rust pigments (fine powders) brushed on to simulate streaking rust, and both dark pigments and washes to give the appearance of accumulated grime, especially on the lower parts. The turret underside has been sprayed with flat black, and the top with NATO Black lightened with a little white. Edges between panels and the very top of the turret have then been highlighted with very light drybrushing of silver. I've also used silver to highlight some of the shell dents; the idea was that some would look fresh, whilst others older and rusty.

I've also now added the tracks. On 'proper' realistic kits of armoured vehicles these would be a lot more detailed, maybe even made of individual links, but GM use flat strips that you glue on over simply-moulded wheels. I sprayed them black as a base colour, then rusty brown, then applied a dark wash.

It's not that obvious in the pictures, but I also applied a light wash on dark parts such as the wheels. This collects around raised parts such as flanges or bold heads and makes them stand out. I decided that this Predator would have been in a dryer environment so would end up being dusty rather than muddy.

I tried to make the 'bustle' (the bit at the back of the turret) more interesting than just plain black, which involved some fiddly use of masking tape to get the light grey panels on top and the yellow/black pattern on the rear. Pastel pencils were used to emphasise fine detail.

Soot and oil stains around what I assume are meant to be engine vents, and metallic chipping on the 'teeth' at the top of the ramp where they'd rub on the ground. It's not easy to see on these pictures, but what I took to be periscope lenses or optical sensors were painted with a mixture of green, black, and gloss varnish to simulate glass.

A worthy steed for the Emperor's Finest, but long overdue a good wash and a trip to the body shop and paint bay.
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major_clanger: Clangers (Royal Mail stamp) (Default)
Simon Bradshaw

September 2017


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