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7 - Painting Janus

Janus Mk VII
Product #
Janus Mk VII
Suggested Retail Price


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10 March 2000page first published
31 December 1997more photos added
22 December 1997page first published

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First, I primed the vehicle white.

Priming the parts

Next, I tried an experiment. I knew that I wanted some shading on the vehicle to help the details stand out, but adding shadowing after having painted a camo scheme seemed like too much work. Meanwhile, I had heard of a technique of painting the shadowing before everything else, so I decided to give this a try.

So I took some black ink (using Citadel's Shadow Black) and a fine brush (00), and "painted on" shadows in all of the crevices (gun barrels, vents, hull scribing). I also painted a black line around raised structures such as hatches. I made no attempt to soften the lines or blend them in, just harsh black lines over the white prime coat. Some of the treads had incompletely cast, so I in some places "painted in" lines where scribe marks should have been. I also "inked" the radar grid, and the ends of the rocket pods.

inked parts

Again being unconventional, I decided to paint some of the detail items next. The anti-grav emitters I decided would look good in a bright red, so I painted them so, being careful not to carry too much paint on my brush (so that I didn't slop paint into the scribing where the black ink was). Similarly, I painted the treads gunmetal. The three "windows" on the turrets were painted dark brown. I decided the "mine roller" on the front was medium grey.

Tank bottom, after painting

Now came the main coat. For my desert paint scheme, I decided to start with a light desert tan. Using acrylic paint - which I added a slight bit of water to on my palette, to make it apply smoothly but not so runny that I couldn't control it - I painted the entire tank, except those details which I had already painted, and in some places not painting over my shadow lines. Because I was using slightly watered paint, I hoped that the shadowing would show through...and it did.

Again using the desert tan, I dry-brushed the ends of the rocket pods to bring out the detail of the rockets in the pod.

[At this point, my painting was interrupted for a few months as I relocated from one side of the North American continent to the other...]

Looking over my unfinished paint job, I wasn't too impressed. All I had was a light tan tank, a bit blotchy due to the watered paint, with some shadowing that was a bit strong. I was almost discouraged from continuing. (But tanks often look like this halfway through the camo job!)

The next step with the desert paint scheme was to paint bands of medium brown paint on the vehicle. I chose to go with a "toffee" color, and again watered the paint (so that it would look sun-bleached, and be easy to work with). My intent was to do broad bands of color with complex "ripple" edges, but I abandoned that when I found I'd made my paint too runny (more like a wash) - I opted for wide, gently curving bands of color. I painted the hull first, then placed the turrets on and painted them to match (and then removed the turrets again).

The last touch I wanted to add was something I had seen on modern military desert schemes - very fine black lines, applied in real-life by spray cans, often in three-armed "stars." I didn't want to make the lines truly black, since the color would look too dark for this scale. Pencil might have worked, but I decided to use a fine brush and a dark grey paint (Charcoal Grey).

Small turret in camo scheme

My original intention was just to add a few black lines in the spaces between the darker color stripes, but then I had a thought - maybe I should try something similar to the dazzle paint schemes of ships in WWII! Perhaps I should use these lines, not necessarily to make the tank difficult to see, but to obscure the detail on the tank, so that (for instance) an enemy gunner couldn't make out exactly where the turrets were. Therefore, feeling inspired, I gave the entire vehicle a fairly dense coat of "spider marks."

Hull top, without turrets

When everything was dry, I used two-part epoxy to glue the radar and rocket pods to the turret. The radar didn't fit between the hatch and the spine, probably due to the thickness of the paint (it fit fine before I primed and painted the parts!), but the difference was barely perceptible (and still better than it would have been to try painting the grid after gluing it in place).

The rocket pods fit snugly on their pins, and I carefully aligned them to be parallel with each other and with their turret. I had originally intended to make them fit flush with the turret, but later realized that the manufacturer's photo (on the bag label) showed the pods slightly spaced from the turret (similar to pods on a variety of modern vehicles). After everything was dry, I noticed that my right pod was very slightly pointing off to the right - oh well, I don't think it's all that noticeable.

Main turret, all parts attached, in camo scheme

I gave the new parts a day to dry (I'm always generous when waiting for epoxy to dry), then painted camo to match the turret. I chose to leave the "inside" of the radar array plain, to emphasize the grillwork.

Then I went back to do touch-ups: fixing a few ink lines which had been slopped over with paint, and putting a dab of grey on the mine roller where some brown had somehow ended up.

To seal the paint job, I put several coats of a flat clear paint (Dullcote) over the hull and turrets. I wanted to give the model lots of protection, since I intended to leave the turrets moveable, and knew that would tend to wear down the paint.

As a final touch, I brushed on a clear gloss over the windows and anti-grav units, as I thought they looked better this way.


OK, I'll admit that not everyone likes my paint job (as one buddy said, "why did you put all those X's all over your tank?"), but I'm rather fond of how the Janus VII turned out.