Once i had bought and assembled the units (a very enjoyable experience i must say - the Baneblade really is one of the best kits ive ever put together), i undercoated each Baneblade with several coats of Chaos Black undercoat.
In total each model have around four or five coats on each part (two lascannon mountings, turret, Hull Heavy Bolter and main hull). I then left each Baneblade to dry for approximately 24 hours.
Next each Baneblade has Vallejo "Wolf Grey" lightly airbrushed over each panel, concentrating on the center of each panel
By the time i had finished the third tank, the first was dry, and i then applied a second light coat of wolf grey, covering mostly the same areas. If you havent tried using an airbrush on a tank before, i highly recommend it. The finish that can be achieved in far superior to brush painting, and other effects are easy to learn. Whilst there is some initial outlay (i use a Spray Master kit that i got on Ebay for about £70) the differnce it will make to your vehicles i vast. However, i digress....
After the second pass of "Wolf Grey" each tank then had a mix of "Wolf Grey" and "Stonewall Grey" airbrushed in to the very center of each panel, lightly. Sorry about the photo above - it came out a lot bluer than the actual tank is. Later photos show this more clearly.
One question that friends tend to ask me, is about the consistency of my paint when airbrushing - although this depends on the colour and the effect that you are after, normally i work at a 1:1 paint / water ratio. The paint ideally should be about the same thickness as semi skimmed milk. This is similar to the ratio of water and paint that i would use when brush painting, so i guess its habit more than anything.
Once the "Wolf Grey" basecoat was complete on all 3 tanks i gave each one a light dry brush using "Stonewall Grey" and "Bone White" mixed together, in varying amounts. Initially i focussed on wide areas using a high concentration of "Stonewall Grey" and then as i added more and more "Bone White" i concentrated more on the absolute hard edges
Painting the tracks and other metallic areas was next - I like to paint these in a mid grey to start with, as a good flat backing fot the mettallics and then work in the metal with the weathering and mud (shown in a future post!). The first thing i did here was to mask off any areas that could potentially catch the overspray from any parts. Main areas that i concentrated on were the tracks and the gun points
Once the areas had been masked off the exposed areas were given several light coats via airbrush of Vallejo "Cold Grey". Once this was dry, the masking tape was carefully peeled away
Once the Grey on the tracks was dry they were given a watered down coat of MIG Pigments "Standard Rust" pigment mixed with a lot of water. You can see the combination in the photos below
If you havent used MIG Pigments before, i highly suggest that you get hold of some. They are basically artists pastels ground up to a fine powder. You can make you own by rubbing a pastel on a piece of fine sand paper (this is something that i use later on in this tutorial, for "soot" effects on gun barrells etc). If you are using the pastel method, make sure that you dont buy oil based pastels as these are no good and will simply smear on your nicely airbrushed tank.
The mixture of pigment and water was then liberally splashed all over the tracks.
Once this first coat had dried a second coat was applied, using the same wash. You will notice that the pigment stains in a way very different from inks / washes. One thing that is very cool is that you can use a wet brush to move the particles of the pigment around, even after the wash has dried!
Once dry this gave a nice rusted effect to the tracks, as seen in the image below. Although not much of this rust effect will be visible once the mud and other debris has been added, it non the less gives a more "used" look to the tank where the tracks are visible
The next stage was to add mud effects to the track areas of the tanks. This was acomplished in several simple steps -
A mix was then made of Vallejo "Plastic Putty", Vallejo "Charred Brown", Vallejo "Earth" and MIG Pigments "Basic Earth". I also mixed in a large handful of "Burned Earth" static grass. This was then liberally applied to the base, tracks and skirts, covering roughly the same area as the airbrushed in step 1, but leaving some of the base colour to show through. The Plastic Putty means that the mixture remains malleable for a good while (I usually find that the working time is about 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the exact ratios). This is usually more than enough time to get the mud down. I try to avoid key areas that would avoid mud in real life (If you look at real tracks, mud doesnt generally collect on the actual face plate of the tread, because it is constantly moving) and also try to avoid splashing mud too high up the side of the skirts - in real life, this is what the skirts help to do; prevent mud from getting in to the drive mechanism!
Once the mud has dried it gives a very realistic effect, as can be seen in the photos below. The static grass especially give an extra dimension to this effect, and especially if you move the grass whilst the Putty is still wet you can achieve really great results!
To be continued...