As mentioned in December’s article, my plan for the first three months of 2021 was to paint:
- 1985 Army Air Corps (six AH Mk.1)
- 1980’s Afghansty (6 SU-25, 12 Mi-24E Hinds*, one full strength Afghansty Company with all the trimmings)
- 1980’s Soviet Support assets
I already had one lynx and eight Hinds (all Battlefront) so I decided to paint those first, along with the five remaining Lynx built. The Academy SU-25 and four Revell Hinds would follow later.
To save this article getting too bloated, I have split the Hinds off into their own article that will follow later in the month.
The first decision to make was how to paint the Lynx. The problem here was that I really wanted the Lynx to serve two masters, providing rotary AT support to both my ’85 BOAR and my ’91 Op Granby force. These presented two radically different looks:
The Lynx originally starts off in service with a green and black colour scheme but migrates to a grey and green scheme some time in the late eighties/early nineties. For the Gulf, these Lynx were given a two-tone desert colour scheme (not sure if its two separate paints or one thin overpaint looking different on the green and grey base scheme).
So, the green and black scheme would look odd in the desert whilst the desert scheme would look odd in the Gulf. As such, I decided to go with the grey and green scheme which at least would look only a little odd in 1985 and would be period correct but theatre incorrect for the Gulf.
As noted, one Lynx was already assembled from when I originally reviewed the kit. I quickly set about building the remainder which proved straight forward. I briefly considered magnetising the TOW launchers so they could serve in the utility role but decided against it. Similarly, leaving them separate for painting seemed more trouble than just putting them on.
To help with painting, I fitted the base magnet and then placed each Lynx on a clump nail with a couple of magnets on itself to make an improvised handle.
I decided to open the painting by getting the rotor heads painted. I sprayed them Vallejo Surface Primer (VSP) “Black”, then sprayed Vallejo Model Air (VMA) “White” on the tips, fading out towards the centre to pre-shade. I thinned down VMA “Panzer Dark Grey” and sprayed that on, allowing the pre-shade to show through.
I then painted the rotor head Vallejo Model Colour (VMC) “London Grey” with a VMC “Sky Grey” highlight.
In hindsight, whilst this worked for the main rotor, I would probably have been better off painting the tail rotor red as there was very little grey showing by the time I had painted the red and white banding on!
As it was, the tail rotors were also painted VMA “Dark Panzer Grey”, then 3/4 left unmasked and painted VMA “White” before a 1/4 strip was left masked (see below) and the other two quarters painted Vallejo Game Air “Bloody Red”. A lot more work for little gain!
Pre-shade and Camo
I had had some good feedback on the pre-shading technique I had used on the tanks so decided to use that on the Lynx and Hinds. I spent an evening undercoating all the helicopters in VSP “Black”, before switching to a 0.2 needle and carefully adding the white pre-shade, leaving the black in the recesses and other areas of shadow.
From this point on, I put the Hinds to the side and concentrated on the Lynx as the airbrush struggled with clogging doing so much paint without a clean. I switched back to a .4 needle and laid down a thin coat of VMA “USAF Medium Grey” over the top. This worked very nicely but I was now concerned that the following green would not benefit from the pre-shade. I decided that I would mask off the different camo areas on the Hinds (this created its own issues but that is for the next episode to discuss).
I used the masking putty to blank off the grey areas, using period photos to replicate the pattern, at least roughly. I then sprayed on VMA Camo Green (as I use with my soviet tanks). Sure enough, the pre-shade was all but obliterated so I switched back to a 0.2 needle, added some white to the green and added so rough and ready colour moderation to the centre of panels to try and give some extra definition.
Markings and Other Detailing
I didn’t want to go too crazy on the markings but I did want to capture the rather distinctive markings that adorn the Lynx’s roof (presumably safe step regions for the ground crew working on the roof) and engine pods (extinguisher inlets).
I first blocked out the area with Citadel “Yreil Yellow”. Gee-dub may give their paints silly names these days but I still find that they have their uses, especially their more vibrant colours like the yellows.
Next, I carefully painted within the yellow region with “VMC Black”, leaving a thin line of yellow showing at the edge. I also blacked out the canopy and cabin windows, the exhaust, the aerials and the skids.
Next up, I picked out the aerials and skids in VMC “Black Grey” with a VMC “London Grey” highlight.
I painted the TOW tubes VMC Olive Drab (I think this has recently been renamed Olive Brown), leaving the launcher elements, such as the efflux extensions, in the Camo Green base coat. As with all the missile tubes I’ve painted in this project I painted on Citadel “Yriel Yellow” warhead markings and VMC “Beige Brown” motor markings on the tubes.
Next, I used VMC flat red to paint on the extinguisher port markings on the engine cowlings. I then painted the glazed areas in VMC “Luftwaffe Uniform”, trying to leave a thin black line at the edge.
Finally, I added some light chipping to the leading edges and the doors, trying not to make the Lynx look like it was in an unserviceable state, but had seen some heavy use. I first dabbed on little spots of a lighter colour (VMC Yellow Green for the green areas, VMC Sky Grey for the grey areas), then VMC Black Grey in the centre of some of the larger spots.
I applied a gloss coat to the model to seal the surface for transfers and pin-washing, using Vallejo Mecha Gloss via the airbrush and left it to dry overnight.
The transfers were… painful. Despite using the prescribed “dunk and sit” method for the transfers (where you dunk the transfer in water then leave it sitting on the desktop, rather than in the water itself) I still suffered at least one disintegrating transfer per chopper. This wasn’t too much of an issue on the “XZ” registration numbers as there are duplicates over the three sheets I had, but the little “danger” symbols (which suffered the most from the issue), roundels and “Army” markings had a habit of breaking into two or three pieces requiring gentle coaxing the get the pieces into place. This turned a job I expected to take an hour into another evening job.
I used Citadel “Nuln Oil Gloss” to pin wash the panel recesses and, once dry, applied Vallejo Mecha Matt Varnish to take the shine off. I then applied Vallejo Gloss varnish by brush on the glazing to restore the shine, making a mental note to try the liquid mask on the Hinds. Finally, I stippled on some black paint behind the exhausts for carbon depositing.
This bought the first part of my January painting to a conclusion.
Lynx AH Mk.1
Onwards and Upwards
That’s the first part of January’s progress documented. Join me later in the month as we look at the Soviet counterpart!