Finishing and detailing ……
Base colours are completed on the halftracks. All are subtle variations of the late factory scheme although evidence for the use of the dot or Hinterhelt scheme on 251’s seems scant. The 251/9 Stummel is a bit artistic licence and just to provide some colour relief and the AA halftracks got older style single colour disruptive camouflage.
The actual colours I used are hand mixed and although hard to tell there are actually 2 different shades of olive-green (Olivgrun) and 2 shades of red-brown ( Rotbraun also sometimes called Schokoladenbraun) on the 251s. I’ve had a few criticisms in various fora on my choice of shades for German camouflage, particularly the brightness of the olive-green I tend to favour. Apart from the massive variations in shade and density to be found due to the different effects of application, thinning medium used (everything from thinners, to petrol, sump oil and water) and effects of weather, I often chose my colour shades based purely on the final look and whether it’s pleasing to the eye or not.
I also have an extensive collection of book scanned and web sourced pictures, as I’m always on the look out for new information and interesting tones and camouflages. Included below (I believe from the collection of Mr Mirko Bayerl and posted here for discussion purposes only) is a genuine surviving Panther side skirt plate. Of particular interest are the shades of the three colous in evidence and alos the vibrancy of the olive-green.
And back to the builds. After laying on the base colours which takes several coats with acyrlics, I lighten the camo by adding a little cream to the colour and drybrush/stipple into the centre of the solid colour. This lightens the middle areas and leaves the edges darker, all to help build up colour variations and add interest to the final look.
Ref from Duel in the Mist (copyright here for discussion only)
The next stages start with blocking in any details, tools, the interior seating and any stowage/weapons. Then pin washing (lining) the edges and hatches. I used oils for this (Van Dyke Brown cut with a little Raw Umber). Next the first round of streaking is applied. Usually I do 1 pass with white/cream, let that dry then one pass with browns. I use very thinned paint for the first passes as the plan is to build up the effect by layering rather than a few harsh streaks.
Everything is then sealed with matt varnish (Testors Dullcoat rattlecan). Decals go on next. I apply a small amount of satin varnish only onto the area where the decal is going to be positioned. I prefer this to clear-coating the whole vehicle and then trying to matt the finish down again.
With the base weathering, detailing and decals complete the halftracks are ready for the final stages of weathering (not shown here, finished pics will be posted in the next instalment). Here pigments and some dust is applied to the lower hulls and running gear. The decals are blended into the finish with a little thinned Desert Yellow and a final round of streaking is applied. Another varnish and they are complete.
And with the haftracks finished the tanks get their final finishing. I applied a light pea green filter to the yellow – Dunkelgelb areas on the TigerII purely to get a slightly different finish to the Panthers (read artistic faffing about).
The first stage weathering on the tanks involves a subtle blending of the camouflage with a very light and careful drybrush. You don’t want to introduce any uncontrolled streaks at this stage so it’s important that the brush is very dry. You should see a “clouding” of the camouflage finish and nothing more.
From here the process follows the same steps as with the halftracks. The tanks get alternate white/cream (I use acrylics for this) and tan/brown (oils) streaking, allowing each pass to dry before making another and building up the finish. Note at in these pics the detailing of the tools etc has not been done. Usually I would have completed that earlier but as you can see there’s some flexibility in that it they can be blocked in at any stage prior to the very last round round of pigment weathering.
Here the Panthers are ready for decaling and final pigment weathering. Note the tools and details have also now been completed !
An AB Miniatures figure was selected to command Panther 151. I chose it for the resemblance to the famous picture of Sturmbannführer Werner Pöetschke during the battle of Stoumont, where he dismounted from his Befehls Panther to “encourage” his troops during the stalled attack. The possibly apocryphal version told by Joachim Peiper after the war was that Poetschke threatened to fire a Panzerfaust at his own stalled Panthers! Maybe it was even the one he is seen running to retrieve in this picture ……