Notes on Painting the M113 in Snow w/Trees MERDC

Hello all,

I haven’t done a step-by-step as it’s a lot of work and I want to get these done before 2016.  However I will make some notes about it for posterity.

Firstly the pattern, as threatened on the podcast I’ve plumbed for one of the winter MERDC schemes, namely “Snow w/Trees”.  Cybermodeler provides an amazing resource for paint schemes, in case you’ve not checked them out before here’s a handy link.

Cybermodeler not only provides some pattern guides but also some paint choices, including scale fade.  In case you don’t know what scale fade is i’ll attempt a brief explanation.  If you were to paint a scale model tank with the exact same colour as the real thing, it would look wrong.  Compared to the size of your eye a real life tank is orders of magnitude bigger, whereas a model tank is by its very nature smalller.  More light bounces off the real life tank and enters your eye, with a model tank significantly less light bounces off the surface area and into your eye…even i you hold it really really close.  So, what does that mean…simply put we should paint our models lighter than the real thing in order for it to look the same…this is scale fade.  If you read the blurb on Mig Jimenez’s website you’ll see that his paints are scale faded to match and I’m sure other manufacturers do the same (actually this is a question I meant to ask James Brown and completely forgot)

Okay, so after my terrible attempt at explaining scale fade, there is of course an exception.  White…you can’t scale fade white, it’s white.  Well in this humble painter’s opinion, you shouldn’t be painting white anyway.  You can probably live without white in your paint box/rack/pot/shelf as it should be used in rare circumstances.  As I type this I can think of one application for pure white and that’s the dot you add to lenses to make them look super shiny.

So, how did I do white?  As I’m modulating, I started with a shade colour 50:50 German Cam Beige WWII : Deck Tan all over the model.  Then I used pure Deck Tan diagonally on the sides towards the top back, on front/top/back towards the front.  Then I highlighted this with a 50:50 Deck Tan : Ivory mix.


When I’m doing camo schemes, I tend to keep the modulation subtle.  Otherwise it’ll look messy and confusing to the eye.  If i’m doing a plain colour like Russian Green, then I go nuts with the modulation, really dark green through to a very light green.

Blu-tacking…this is far tougher than people care to admit to or realise.  Getting a good looking pattern should take you a long time.  I spent at least 2 hours (probably more) blu-tacking these 8 M113s.  As you can see, about half turned out well and half less well.  MERDC is forgiving as schemes go, so we can improve any crappy bits with the beige and black bits.

When spraying the green I followed the established modulation pattern.  I started with 1:5 Ger Cam Dark Green:Olive Grey (my tie in colour), added Yellow Green to the mix, then added Ivory as a highlight.  Again, the modulation is subtle.

So, now I’m going to use a paint brush to apply the beige (Panzer Aces – US Tank Crew Highlight) and Black (50:50 Black : Black Grey).  If I’m careful I can adjust the ratio of green to white, in order to even up the APCs.

With Christmas and family and having to sacrifice my painting studio for a stupid boring bedroom, things had to be packed away.  So I’ve no move WIP photos to show you…straight to the finished product.

IMG_0529 IMG_0531 IMG_0530

I made quite a few mistakes along the way, which i’m not too ashamed to admit to.

  • Too heavy handed when applying green, this created tiny ridges where it dried next to the blu-tac mask
  • Blu-tac left behind residue, I might try liquid mask or buy some panzer putty
  • Pre-black lining varnish dried blotchy
  • Brown filter turned the “white” colour beige

Anyway, they’re done.  At this rate I think I’ll be playing my first game of Team Yankee in June!  I think it would be best to construct and prime the rest of the army so I can play some games, as the painting lags behind.

Hopefully my next set of vehicles will be better.

Thanks for reading


2 thoughts on “Notes on Painting the M113 in Snow w/Trees MERDC

  1. Actually, MERDC is not forgiving at all. Most vehicles including the M113 had a set pattern that they were to be painted in. The colors would change based on which scheme was in use, but the pattern stays consistent. You’ve painted more of a pseudo MERDC, the colors are right but it doesn’t follow the approved pattern. The only vehicles that would be correct for are ones that never got a standard pattern approved because they were introduced during the transition from MERDC to European 3-color. The M1 Abrams and Humvee, and maybe the M2/M3 Bradley are the only ones I can think of off the top of my head.

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