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The Editor Can't Paint Green Vehicles

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Captain Pete writes:

My go to Soviet Cold War green is actually Humbrol #155 Olive Drab.
Here are three pictures of my BTR-60's that I did for Fistful of TOWs 3. These are before I based them.

I mixed the #155 with some #34 Matt White to lighten the color a bit for scale. I also used a white undercoat on these as well. The wash was #33 Matt Black diluted with artists turpentine and then I picked out a few highlights and sprayed a clear matt varnish over it.

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13 September 2010page first published

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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian writes:

This is sort of going to be an anti-Workshop article, as I thought I'd share an area of painting that I'm having trouble with.

I have lots of microscale vehicles, both WWII and post-war. I have no trouble painting them in desert colors, but when it comes to shades of green... I'm hopeless!

Let's go back to the beginning of my wargaming days. My wargaming group was planning an Eastern Europe campaign involving a dispute between former Eastern Bloc countries, and I needed to paint up some Romanian armor. (Or was it Bulgarian? I forget...).

In those days, I was strongly influenced by:

  • a view I'd bought into, that military vehicles should be painted as if they were out in the sunlight
  • a theory I'd read about, that said that the smaller the scale of model, the lighter the shade of paint you should use
  • a technique I was trying out, in which you white-primed the model and then painted mostly with washes

And so my first Soviet vehicles turned out like this:

Scotia BTR60s painted by The Editor

Yes, it's sort of a dayglo green (even though I used some company's brand of Russian Green), washed out as if it's spent 20 years in the Sahara.

I kept trying... here's a Soviet 240mm mortar, both deployed and limbered, which I painted a few years later.

Scotia Soviet 240mm mortar

This is what I'd call my "pastel" phase (sigh). Then at last, having suffered rejection at the hand of my gaming friends for so long, I tried to use more color:

Scotia Soviet T-55 tank

I think there's some signs of improvement, but I'm not clear anymore why the running gear is grey when the tank is supposed to be green. This was also during my phase of "if you paint the gun barrels real dark, maybe gamers won't bend them" (it didn't work).

And, lest you think my curse extends only to modern Russian vehicles, here's an attempt at some modern U.S. vehicles:

Scotia U.S. dump trucks

I spent a lot of time on these, highlighting and washing, and they still look like something you'd find in a post-apocalyptic desert!

Downtrodden by failure, I've avoided painting any form of green microarmor for... the last decade or so. But at last - spurred by the eBay acquisition of some WWII models from an unknown manufacturer - I decided to give it one more try.

These models were WWII U.S. M20 Greyhound light armored cars. I've always used a white primer on microarmor, but decided to try a black primer this time. I then used Howard Hues Olive Drab as a basecoat, brushed on in a way to leave black in the shadows. I applied a highlight color, and then a black ink wash.

M20 Greyhounds

And a comparison to my older "work":

Greyhound and dump truck

Well, I seem to have gone from too light to too dark. I think it's back to the workbench for me... (sigh)

M20 Greyhound (side)
M20 Greyhound (front)
M20 Greyhound (rear)

Fortunately, I can look forward to the future, because we have a Workbench coming up (not written by me) on how to paint 1:285th modern Soviets!