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2 - Osario Priming and Basic Painting

Osario 4000 Grav MBT
(pack of 5)
Product #
Suggested Retail Price


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Revision Log
10 March 2000converted to new format
18 September 1998page first published

2,949 hits since 20 Mar 2000
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
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I had a hard time coming up with exactly what I wanted to do with these tanks, but I knew this - since my other force was in desert camo, this opposing force also needed to be in something that would look right in the sand. At the same time, I didn't want the two sides to look too much alike!

prepped tanks awaiting paint

What I decided was to go with a slightly different approach. My Osarios would not be in desert tan, but in a brighter hue - yellow. I figured yellow was kind of a sandy color, and not as insane as electric blue or shocking pink. I had some idea of putting some camo over this, but it would be less functional and with more attitude than the Janus - maybe black tiger stripes?


Normally, when I paint tanks in this scale, I mount them temporarily on large nails or something so that I can more easily handle them while painting. However, these were grav tanks, and the bottoms ended in sharp angles that I didn't think would glue well to the nails - or would take so much glue that I'd lose half the paint knocking them loose when done. So I decided to leave the tanks unmounted.

Knowing that my basic color was light, I decided to go with a white primer coat. I used an inexpensive spray paint, not specially made for use with miniatures.

I used a wide, shallow box as a spray painting tray. The shallow sides would help prevent overspray (I was spraying on a balcony, and didn't want to get everything painted white), while the top could be closed while the models dried and shield them from dust. To keep the hulls and turrets from rolling around when sprayed, I laid low-tack masking tape on the bottom of the box, then placed the models on it.

I ran into my first problem as I removed the primed-and-dried figures from the painting box. It turned out that the main gun barrels had come into contact with the tape, and when I picked up the turrets, they left behind part of their paint. So I had to gently sand and touch up with white paint the ends of the barrels. The nails would have been a better approach.

Basic Yellow

Ever so often I run into a shade of paint that I find irresistable. I have several favorite shades of brown, and one favorite yellow - Sunburst Yellow, one of the few Citadel paints I use. I decided to use this as my basic tank color.

tanks in basic yellow

Because the tanks were unmounted, I couldn't paint top and bottom at the same time. Therefore, I painted the upper hulls, waited for them to dry, then came back and painted all the lower hulls. Similarly, I painted the turrets in one step, and the gun barrels in another.

Sunburst Yellow covers well over a white base, so the first coat was all that was necessary.

Accents of Yellow

My normal preference when painting vehicles is to keep to a simple procedure - wash with a darker shade, then highlight with a drybrushing of a lighter shade. But that wouldn't work well with this model. The Osario 4000 was very sleek, and didn't have the kinds of projections and recesses that would work well with my usual practice. Yet I didn't want to have an all-yellow vehicle, as I thought that would be visually boring.

What I decided to do, in the end, was to simply paint certain panels of the grav tank in a lighter shade of yellow:

tanks in two shades of yellow
  • the sloped sides
  • the rear
  • the raised panels on the lower hull
  • the raised panels on the turret sides
  • the large bulge (mantle?) where the main barrel entered the turret

This was easy to do, and I thought it worked out well. (By the way, the paint I used was another of my favorites - Pineapple, an acrylic paint in the Americana line of craft paints. It's an inexpensive paint, and covers anything in one coat.)

Details in Yellow

There were three raised panels on the rear deck, probably intended as engine grates or covers. There was a slight texture to them, so I decided to try to accentuate that texture by using a wash of yellow ink, followed by a drybrushing of light yellow.

showing the rear panels and turret cupola

Well, this turned out to be a dismal failure. On my test vehicle, I couldn't get decent results - the texture was too subtle, or I just wasn't up to it. I tried a brown ink, too, but that also failed. So I ended up painting the panels light yellow, just like all the other raised panels. But I did use a wash of yellow ink to bring out the edges where the panels met the deck.

Another area of special interest was the cupola (hatch) at the top rear of the turret. I wanted to "pop" this detail out, and here I finally had some decent recesses, so I hit it with yellow ink to darken the crevices, then highlighted with light yellow.

But I ran into a perplexing problem (not the first on this project!). Although the ink had no bubbles when I put down the wash, some of the vehicles ended up with a strange effect, as if the ink had gone frothy before it dried. Perhaps it was some odd paint/ink reaction? Fortunately, this was easily touched up.