One of the noticeable changes in Military tactics by 1985 was the common use of camouflage on vehicles, especially by the Western Nations which had not adopted it on mass during WW2. From Hinds to M1s, two or even three colour camouflage patterns were common.
For instance most of the BF vehicles for the US forces have been painted in a pattern called MERDC (Mobility Equipment Research and Development Centre). While many of you will also want to mimic this style remember that the Soviets used camouflage as well. In fact the example I am going to use is based on the picture below;
In this example I have done the painting with an airbrush however there is no reason you can’t do it by hand. We will be using a mask to achieve the camo effect. Many products can be used from this however I shall be using Vallejo’s Masking fluid. As an alternative you could use blue tack which is handy if you have some lying around and fancy a quick experiment. For me proper masking fluid gives better control of the pattern and is less fiddly to apply however it can be a pain to strip off. Best bet is to try both and decide for yourselves.
Prime your tank in the normal fashion, in this case a black spray coat.
Base coat the tank in the first colour of your camouflage scheme. I would suggest starting with the colour that will be least prevalent on the finished model. In this case most of the model will be green with parts a sand colour. Therefore I start by coating the model in sand yellow. This colour is achieved by using Vallejo Model Air Dark Yellow mixed with 1/4 Life-colour Sand Grau.
Here is where you start masking. Again I am using Vallejo masking fluid but the process is the same with blue tac. The aim here is to cover all areas you want to remain sand/yellow on the model when it is finished. Just paint on the masking fluid in the pattern required (Hint follow a real life pic for your first attempt). It’s worth doing a couple of coats of the mask to ensure you have complete coverage. As it dries it will turn tacky and slightly blue, allowing you to see if you have missed any areas. Now be careful here, don’t use a expensive brush. As the fluid turns tacky it will basically destroy the brush head. I set an old brush aside purely for masking and try and clean it as much as possible every few minutes.
Now spray the model with Vallejo Russian Green all over. It will feel unnatural at first until you learn to have faith in the masking fluid!
Here is the moment of truth. It’s time to remove the mask! Getting the masking fluid off can be tricky and you will need to be slow and careful to ensure you don’t damage the model. For instance on the T72 you must be very careful of the fuel barrels and the smoke launchers.
The best way I have found to remove the mask is to submerge the model in a bowl of hot water (obviously wait until the paint is 100% dry first!). Then gently rub the model with a old toothbrush. You will find the mask starts to lift of although a bit may be left behind. Fear not once you have rubbed the model with the toothbrush let the model dry overnight. The next day the mask will be tacky again and you can just run a cloth over it lightly and you should find the rest comes off. Any mask trapped in gaps or details can be got out with tweezers. The result should look a bit like this;
What you do now is really up to you. For my model I highlighted the sand area of the model with a lighter mix of the original base colour and then applied a MIG tri-colour filter this helps to blend the camo and tones together. Next I put on a black pin wash.
The tracks were painted German grey along with the machine gun and then dry brushed with a steel metallic. Army painter strong tone was then applied to add some depth.
Next the model was dry brushed in Iraqi sand which helps to add some easy weathering. The turret had a flat brown applied to the mounting and the fuel barrels attachments were also painted the same brown. Finally I gave the whole model an Army Painter Soft Tone glaze to tie it all together before adding decals. Hopefully you end up with something like this;
Well that’s the basics of hard line camouflage. You can use the same technique on all your models (it’s a great way to do ambush camouflage on German WW2 tanks) whatever the era. Happy painting, let me know how you get on.