Posted on by Metro Hobbies

Have you ever had one of those models that sat on your shelf for years or even decades without actually having been finished because you were unsatisfied with how the build went?

We often get asked about stripping down old paint and redoing paint jobs. Depending on the scenario, paint stripping isn't really as necessary as before. A good friend of the shop (who is a very good armour modeller) shares his thoughts on the process.

Sometimes, the kits that don’t really grab our attention turn out to be among the most satisfying projects we take on years later. Take for instance the Tamiya late model Panther Ausf G.

I took on the then-new Panther kit around 20 years ago. I was a big fan of the Panther, and at that time Tamiya’s new release was the best representation of the legendary cat. Crisply molded and easy to build, the kit was a Panther modeller’s dream. Unlike the Original Tamiya Panther Ausf A, the G was dimensionally accurate and though somewhat lacking in detail, those oversights could be quickly addressed with some basic photo etch and a bit of scratch building.

The kit was completed with a PE set consisting of Schurzen, hangers and engine deck screens. While happy with the build, my attempt at the challenging “disc pattern” ambush scheme failed miserably. I misinterpreted the pattern and used a circle template to very roughly spray individual circles of red brown and olive green onto a rather dark dark yellow surface. I was terribly disappointed. The kit looked nothing like what I was attempting to emulate. I did a half hearted weathering job. It soon vanished behind some other kits on my display and I forgot about it.

Fast forward 20 years and here I was looking at some built kits; I spotted it way back on the top shelf of my display cabinet, out of reach and out of sight. I figured I would repaint it. I decided I would paint it in a typical late war colour scheme of a green base (introduced in August-September 1944) with a tightly sprayed pattern of red brown and dark yellow.

I first washed down the kit with water and detergent through my airbrush at high pressure to loosen the dust that had accumulated and then proceeded to sand off some rough spots with a very fine grit sanding sponge. After it dried, I proceeded to prime it in Vallejo black acrylic primer.

The primer helps me create a three dimensional effect and shadow areas on the finished model. After drying I sprayed an olivgrun base taking care not to obscure all of the black and leave shadow areas, streaks and panel lines on the black base. A second lighter layer of olivgrun was sprayed in faint vertical streaks over that. I followed with a very tightly sprayed pattern of red brown and then several tightly sprayed patches of dark yellow. As this was a factory painted design, I took the extra effort to pencil in my pattern before spraying to avoid guesswork and overspray.

At this point, I was happy to start weathering, but opportunity struck.

A friend of mine who runs a printing press wanted to try using his plotter to cut complex masks for camouflage, and was looking for people willing to try them out. In the years since building the Panther, I had finally learned that the pattern was not created by painting circles onto the tanks but by using a template to create negative shapes of the spaces BETWEEN the circles. I had made a partially successful attempt on a Jagdpanzer IV L70 a few years back, but the pattern, while correct, was oversized.

The stickers were ready a few days later and the process began. Doing the disc pattern is a time consuming and complex process, but the masks made it less daunting. We took one side at a time, experimenting first on the turret. The pattern was a success!

I found some photos of knocked out vehicles with the paint scheme and decided on a number, taking them from old assorted sheets.

The time then came for weathering. After a lot of pin washes with Tamiya brown and black panel liner and enamel thinner, I figured I’d give the build a little extra effort and finish it with mud.

I first made a light grey/brown slurry from real fine soil, pigments, vinyl acrylic paint (Vallejo), some white glue as a binder and detergent to break surface tension. I liberally applied the slurry in vertical streaks all over the suspension with more mud towards the rear of the vehicle. Using an old toothbrush, I also carefully created mud splatters and build up on the front bottom and rear of the Panther, taking care not to overdo the splashes. I then took some of the remaining light mud mix and thoroughly watered it down to create a sort of streaking wash on the tank’s vertical surfaces taking care the the streaks were very faint and in scale.

Once that layer dried,, I applied a second march darker slurry, with some clear gloss mixed in to represent fresher mud. Again, I applied splashes with the old toothbrush. To finish I again used the Tamiya panel line washes to create grease stains on the wheel hubs, rear panel and other parts of the vehicle. Parts that needed more definition were revisited with washes.

The vehicle isn’t quite finished, (I still need to build and paint a crew) but the vehicle now sits on a place of honour in the display shelf.

Sometimes you never know when you’ll produce a piece of work you can truly be proud of, unless you take that old kit and begin!