With the infantry out of the way the next goal in my Soviet project was starting on all the armor. I didn't fully get these guys done for our first game and their inaugural outing was without any weathering, but they are finally done! I actually got them done over a week ago, but never got around to finishing this blog post. Still here they are in all their green glory.
To get me through the first 500 point games I went for a force of 5 T-34's and some BA-64's to support my infantry. Both are from Battlefront, the T-34's being plastic while the BA-64's are resin models. Sourcing the BA-64's turned out to be quite a task as Battlefront wasn't able to supply them and they were out of stock on most online dealers. Few days of searching ultimately proved fruitful though with the required 2 blisters being found in Germany alongside some other sets that have been tricky to find.
I went for a fairly heavy colour modulation on these guys like I do with all my vehicles nowadays. This time I didn't use Vallejo like I normally do, but rather decided to try out one of AK Interactives modulation paint sets as I thought it would be a simple way to get all the required shades. This turned out to be a massive mistake as the paint was probably the worst I've ever tried. All the colours had the pigment separated as a thick sticky paste and needed a few mixing beads and extremely vigorous shaking to have them anywhere near a paintable state. And it's probably not even just this batch as I bought their white and grey basecoats at the same time which had a similar issue. And some googling turned up plenty of horror stories of their quality control.
When I'd gotten them more or less mixed up and ready for painting some more problems started to arise. The paint would dry on my airbrushes needle tip every 15-20 seconds and required constant cleaning with a cotton bud to allow for painting. And the paint seemed to separate extremely fast so I needed to mix all the paint in the cup every few minutes by backflushing it with air. All in all the process took far longer than it should have with the constant cleaning etc. Not surprisingly it didn't take long for me to go online and order new paints from another manufacturer for when I'm going to paint the next bunch.
Rest of the painting was super simple as there aren't many tools or other details on the tanks. I slapped on some decals adding a few slogans on them as well as at least propaganda pictures often seemed to have tanks with some encouragement written on their sides. With the decals and some chipping added I went for an overall brown wash with enamels, followed up by wiping most of it off with the help of thinners after it had dried. As a last touch some additional streaking was done in a couple of different tones with a thin brush.
For mud I tried a new technique. I've been tinkering with Ammo of Mig's mud products, but haven't been completely happy with them as the results seemed a bit too even on previous tries. This time I added a bit of plaster in the mix to give it more of a body and applied it from the brush with the help of my airbrush. Getting the mixture on a brush and blasting air through it helped create a nice splatter effect and with all the stuff being enamel based it was easy to clean it up from unwanted areas with thinners. I'm pretty happy with the results and this seems to be far more effective compared to stippling it on with a brush like I used to do. The only downside is the massive mess I made with a lot of the splatter going everywhere else, but the tank. Luckily I'd had the foresight to cover my painting station with a cardboard before doing this so clean up wasn't too hard. It just meant that quite a bit of the stuff went to waste.
In the last week I've been keeping busy with another 6 T-34's just missing mud. I also got started on a 82mm mortar platoon and some Katyushas. When the tanks are finished I'll have enough of them for 750 and 1000 point games and the only addition needed for 1000 points will be the mortars. However I'm trying to get ahead of schedule a bit as at 1250 points I'll be needing a further 5 T-34's, 4 Katyushkas, 2 AA trucks and other support vehicles. With the games being every second week there is no way I'm going to be able to finish all that in time so better get started now to have any hope of fielding everything in time.
As a lighter ending to this wall of text here are some pictures from last Sunday :) Our dog was used to sire some puppies and me and the missus took a trip to the kennel to check out the little fur balls. A day of playing with puppies was definitely worth the couple of hours of driving and having to forgo my painting time.