With the release of the new Bulge American a couple of people… well one, but I’m taking it, have asked how I paint the whitewash on my Soviet tanks in order to make their olive drab American more suitable for the Ardennes in the winter of 1944.
Now, I felt a bit strange showing the method for this on a Soviet green vehicle but fortunately, I know that the Soviets tended not to repaint those vehicles that they received under the lend-lease program so I have a rifle through the #PileOfShame to see what I could find…
From Drab to Fab: ZSU-17 AKA M16
So this is cheating in a way but it is a new shiny plastic kit and it definitely fits the bill when it comes to giving a good example of how to create this look on an American vehicle.
Step 1 – Creating a Base
To get the best effect you need to give yourself the best chance for success and that begins with a nice smooth undercoat. I prefer to give everything (metal, resin, plastic etc.) a base coat of primer to make sure that when I grab my coloured primer I have a good solid foundational surface to allow the paint to adhere to. I favour a cheap grey primer from Wilko here in the UK as it is easy to get hold of seems to lay down a nice flat primer coat the first time.
Not owning an airbrush I rely a lot on coloured primers to get me started on most models. For this whitewash effect I grabbed a trusty can of Games Workshop Corax White spray – again I like GW spray primers, I know they are pricey but they are readily available and very consistent. This gives us the base below.
Step 2 – White Lines
Next, grab a pot of GW Apothecary White Contrast Paint. We are going to use this like a wash to panel line or pin wash the model. What this means is we are just going to paint the recesses on the model and where there would be a shadow to break up the large areas of white. You don’t need to paint the interior, we will come on to that in a bit.
DO NOT paint contrast paint over the whole model – it will streak on the flat areas and you will be using more paint than you need to achieve a lesser effect.
Here is the effect once dry.
Step 3 – White Light
Next, we want to compliment our shade with a highlight and tidy up. If you are in a rush you don’t need to complete this stage but I think it is worth the time and effort to do it. I like the GW Dry paint range – for certain things – and in this instance, I used Praxeti White Dry Paint to dry brush over the whole model.
This gives you a subtle highlight to the raised areas on the vehicle and also tidies up the contrast layer that was laid down previously.
Step 4 – Extra Virgin Olive Drab
I mentioned earlier that you don’t need to use the contrast or drybrush white layers on the interior – the reason for this is that I don’t think that the crew would bother to whitewash the interior and it gives us a really nice contrast on the tabletop.
For this US Olive Drab I use Vallejo Model Colour 887 and for the seats, I used GW Ushabti Bone.
You really don’t need to be neat here as we are going to tie this all together in a bit.
Once the Olive Drab paint is completely dry block in the cream coloured seats.
Step 5 – Olive Oil
Next, we are going to add some definitions to the interior. I like to use GW Agrax Earthshade but GW Nuln Oil would work well too – I just think that the brown wash gives a more natural shade to the olive and cream here.
Step 6 – Green Fingers
Now we have built our base colours up it is time to start tieing the interior and exterior together and weather that lovely whitewash we have on the outside. Going back to our Vallejo Model Colour 887 US Olive Drab get some on a medium-sized rounded head brush – I like to use cheap makeup brushes now as they are designed to transfer powdered pigment to another surface. They are pretty inexpensive compared to wrecking other brushes with this pretty intensive activity.
Using some kitchen roll move the brushing in a round motion until most of the paint is wiped off onto the paper.
The next step is a little unusual. Turn your model upside down and brush from top to bottom in an up and down motion. What you are looking for is essentially a reverse highlight – the areas that are picking up paint are those raised areas that would see a lot of wear and tear in real life.
You can experiment with this too – using a circular motion to create an area where the crew has exposed an area to add a vehicle marking, scrubbing up the doors and footplates where people get into and out of the vehicle showing areas of high traffic etc. etc.
Step 7 – Casting Shade
Now that we have our weathered effect we have unfortunately lost our shaded areas so we need to go and correct that now. Going back to the Agrax Earthshade and very carefully pick out the lower level details where you have significant areas of Olive Drab – if you go on to some of the white areas too it looks nice and grimy and dirty so don’t get fixated on the areas of Olive Green too much.
Step 8 – Everything Else
This is a bit of a cheat but I’m not going to go over how to paint tyres, jerry cans and shovels – I’m sure everyone can handle those how they normally do. But, if you would like to see how I do my mud effect you can check out the article on that separately here; Faces, Bases, Something, Something; Mud. That’s it. Mud.
And that’s it – the ZSU-17 are off to join the Forward Detachment hurtling towards Warfare 2021, I hope that this helps get those Jumbos done for the Ardennes.
Until next time…