Painting IS(3) Easy

Today, Duncan looks the next units to hit the painting table in the #FateofFourGamers Challenge; the IS-3 and takes us through painting these monsters for the deserts of the Yom Kippur War.

Phase 0 – Proper Preparation…

All of the steps we are going to look at in this article are perfect for batch painting models. You can sit down for a wash or drybrushing session and do a dozen tanks at a time which is great for getting your sizable Egyptian force ready for a game.

The IS-3 models from Battlefront are lovely, but there are some brittle pieces on them so if you are a bit ham-fisted like yours truly be careful of the resin tracks when assembling them.

You might also find some fine dust on the resin, which I believe is the release agent to get the resin out of its mould. I always give my resin models a quick bath in warm, soapy water just to get rid of this dust as it does affect the adhesion and coverage of your paint. Let the model dry naturally for a few hours – please don’t use a hairdryer as the heat can warp the thinner resin parts.

The final step of preparation is to lay down a base coat. As these are resin and metal models I use a primer first to make sure that there is good coverage of the coloured primer which will form the base coat of the model. I use Wilko grey primer as it’s cheap and accessible and actually gives a nice solid foundation to my absolute favour spray Games Workshop (GW) Zandri Dust.

Now all that is done – I won’t bore you with images of washing up bowls of sudsy water – we can move on to the crunch of getting your Egyptians tabletop ready.

Phase 1 – Wash and Dry

After letting your models completely dry, pin wash your tanks with GW Seraphim Sepia. By pin wash I mean don’t wash the whole model, instead, take your brush and wash and carefully paint the areas that require shading and leave the large flatter areas untouched.
Again, patience is a virtue here and make sure that you give the Sepia wash ample time to dry completely – don’t be tempted to rush this as the next stage is a lot of drybrushing.

Phase 2 – Getting on the Table 

Grab your drybrush.
Grab your quilted kitchen towel.
Let’s get drybrushing!

The initial step is to drybrush your tanks Zandri Dust. Odd I know, but bear with me. You are looking to achieve here an effect that the initial basecoat of Zandri Dust has some natural shadowing and depth.

Next, grab GW Ushabti Bone. This is a lovely bleached cream colour and again dip your brush, wipe off the excess on the kitchen towel and gently dry brush over the raised areas of the tank. What you are looking to achieve here is the opposite effect of the Sepia wash; a natural highlight.

At the end of this step, you should have: Shadow > Mid-tone > Highlight.

Once you’ve knocked out this stage it’s on to the tracks and AA machine guns. A nice base coat of Vallejo Black is spot on as it really covers well and gives a wonderful flat black.

If you wanted to this would be enough to get something on the board and rolling some dice but there are some really simple techniques you can apply to take your models to the next level and really make them pop on the table top.

Phase 3 – Enhancing the Basics

First up, you can kill two birds with one stone.
Using Vallejo Black Grey, drybrush the tank tracks and AA machine guns to give you a contract between the flat black and the raised areas.

While you have the brush in the right colour you can also drybrush areas of wear with the Black Grey to simulate where the desert yellow has been worn away and abraded by the harsh sandy conditions. I love this step as it gives the vehicles life and character.

Also whilst you have the Black Grey out, paint any surface you want to be metallic – like the blade of spades.  Once this is dry you can then carefully go over it with GW Runefang Steel to give it that true metallic finish. Finally, pick out wooden handles with GW Balor Brown and give the handle a pin wash with either GW Reikland Fleshshade or Seraphim Sepia.

Phase 3a – Tank Commanders.

Looking at contemporary photos, Egyptian tank commander’s wore overalls that appear to be a similar colour to the uniform of the infantry so you can largely follow the steps from my article on painting Thunderbolt Infantry here.

Make sure that for the commander’s headgear that you paint it Vallejo Black and give it a drybrush of Black Grey to highlight as all the images I have seen seem to show them as black rather than desert-y.

Phase 4 – Decal or not to Decal

I didn’t have any decals to hand and decided to try my hand at painting on numbering in Arabic. This might seem daunting but the actual shapes are fairly straight-forward if you break them down.

I would heartily recommend thinning your Vallejo Black down for this stage – around half and half with Medium. It’s then just a little patience, a little time and steady brush.

As a decent alternative, I would consider a 0.3mm or 0.5mm Winsor & Newton Fineliner Pen.

Phase 5 – Seal the Deal

The last stage is simple; seal your model with a good matt varnish. My weapon of choice is Testors Dullcote but whatever you prefer so long as it seals in your handiwork – especially if you have used decals.
And there you have it – it’s very straight-forward to get a decent looking tank force together quickly, without an airbrush, using readily available materials.
Next  will be the turn of the T-62 and applying camouflage to the desert-y hulls of your formally Soviet tanks.

Category: A Fate of Four GamersArab-Israeli WarDesertPainting Guide

2 comments

    1. Thanks Cliff – much appreciated 🙂

      I’m hoping to do the T-62s in another article looking at adding some camo patterns to them for a bit of variety.

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Article by: Duncan Gosling