Enter keywords or a search phrase below:

Basic help

14 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    March, 2018
Basic help
Posted by Wolby on Monday, March 26, 2018 10:43 AM


I have been building scale model ships for a long time but now I believe that it is time to try another type of modeling hobby. Ships are mostly construction with little painting.

I like WW2 history and thought that I would like to start constructing tanks. The construction part will not be too intimadating but I believe that the painting will! I have seen alot of examples while surfing the net and there are amazing! That accomplishment it seems was no easy feat! I have looked for help on finding out just what is needed to paint a tank but have had no luck. You probably have had this request before but I could not find and help browsing the topics.

I would like to know just what the basic needs are i.e. Paints,thinners,brushes,techniques,books that specifically refer how to detailing an armored vehicle.

I am a little daunted by what I have watched on video and it seems that it would be a challange to construct one even with the proper instructions!

I am looking forward to participating in this forum in the hopes that I will be on my way into a new type of modeling hobby!

Thanks to all in advance!!

  • Member since
    April, 2009
  • From: Longmont, Colorado
Posted by Cadet Chuck on Monday, March 26, 2018 11:04 AM

You'll need an airbrush for most of the work, and small paintbrushes for details, weathering, etc, and all the brown / green / tan paints you might have on hand- Also I like fine weathering powders to give it a dirty, dusty look.  Keep fiddling with it until it looks good to you.  You will get your hands dirty, using a soft cloth to rub in the powders  and blend everything together.  When you're done, give it a spray coat of flat clear lacquer.

Don't depend on finding detailed instructions, as this is the kind of project that works best when you "wing it" on your own.  I built my first tank last  year, and that's what I did.  It turned out looking quite decent.  It is not an exact science and you don't want to "color between the lines."  Remember, you can't do anything "wrong" and you can always go back and rework areas you don't like.  

Good luck and have fun!

Computer, did we bring batteries?.....Computer?

  • Member since
    November, 2008
  • From: Far Northern CA
Posted by mrmike on Monday, March 26, 2018 11:51 AM

Welcome! You probably have most of the  tools and supplies, and your ship modelling skills will transfer to armor. I prefer to have reference books on hand in addition to online tutorials or forums; just an old print guy who likes to hold things in my hands. With that in mind, I would recommend Shep Paines Armor Modeling Guide, available in the Kalmbach bookstore above. It's as good an introduction to the subject as you're likely to find. Another great source of techiques is Fine Scale Magazine which runs many articles on armor.

When you become interested in specific subjects, there's a wealth of info in print. I especially like the Osprey series of  "how to" books; they are very well written and photographed. As far as online inspiration goes, The Modelling News features new kit reviews and and build articles along with other subjects, tool and publication articles, etc., etc.

Hope this helps you!


  • Member since
    March, 2003
  • From: Western North Carolina
Posted by Tojo72 on Monday, March 26, 2018 12:28 PM
Welcome to the forum,tanks are a great start to modeling.My first armors were the Tamiya 1/48 line,some nice subjects and easy assembly.If your going right to 1/35 Tamiya also makes some nice straight forward kits.I google kit reviews for info about a particular kit.

  • Member since
    December, 2002
  • From: Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, England
Posted by Bish on Monday, March 26, 2018 2:05 PM

I would not get to hooked  all those video's. Armour modelling is still modelling. I frequently flick between aircraft, armour, Sci-Fi and the odd ship. As with many things, people build in different ways. Some assembly everything then paint, other like myself paint some parts off the kit.

As someone said, you should have most of the tools, just start simple and go from there.

'I am a Norfolk man, and i glory in being so'

On the bench: Dragon 1/72nd Ar 234B-2b

                      Airfix 1/72nd SM.79

  • Member since
    September, 2006
  • From: Bethlehem PA
Posted by the Baron on Monday, March 26, 2018 2:43 PM

Welcome to the forum!

I second Bish.  Get yourself a collection of basic tools and paints, and you'll be fine.

I'd include:


  • a Nr 11 hobby knife handle and a pack of blades (eg, X-Acto)
  • a fine razor saw and handle
  • a sprue cutter (you could also get a cuticle cutter at the drugstore, it'd work fine)
  • a couple of files in different grades of roughness
  • tweezers (again, you could get those at the drugstore)
  • some sandpaper, from 80 grit to 400 grit
  • some clamps, or even spring clothespins
  • rubber bands


For armor, I'd get a basic olive drab, a Panzer grey, a dark yellow, and a medium brown, whether in bottles or rattle cans.  I use the same OD for tanks as for airplanes, too, because my OD is just a base over which I will apply fading and weathering.  Get yourself a black, a white, a red, a blue, a yellow, and a green, too.  Oh, and a flesh color.  Don't be shy about adding a figure or two.

I don't have any favorite brand or medium.  I've got enamels and acrylics, from Tamiya, Model Master, Testor, Andrea, Vallejo, and craft store acrylics.  I also have a selection of oils.  For thinning or cleaning brushes, I use mineral spirits, with the enamels and oils; water or isopropyl, with the Andrea, Vallejo, and craft store brands; and Tamiya's proprietary acrylic thinner, with the Tamiya acrylics.  But if you just start with the basic colors, you'll be well-armed to do what you need to do.

Have a look in the tips & techniques forums here in FineScale, too.  Shep Paine was mentioned.  His books are very good for modelers starting out to move beyond just building a model, to doing something a little more sophisticated.  He intended them to be.

Hope that helps!



The bigger the government, the smaller the citizen.



  • Member since
    September, 2003
  • From: AandF in the Badger State
Posted by checkmateking02 on Monday, March 26, 2018 3:04 PM

Welcome to the Forums!  


Alifero tollitur axe ceres




  • Member since
    September, 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Monday, March 26, 2018 3:42 PM

Welcome! I'm kind of lined up with you on modeling preferences, but tanks do have a "way cool" factor. I'll get one every now and then. I try not to over think it too much.

Not an armor modeler, but as a fellow ship modeler, here's a few comments.

I really like the upgrade track sets. Some tank models come with decent tracks, some don't. You've got the modeling patience to put together an individual link set, and the results are really nice.

I like models with a lot of detail parts. Again, patience is a virtue.

  • Member since
    January, 2007
  • From: Narvon, Pa.
Posted by fox on Monday, March 26, 2018 4:04 PM

Welcome to the Forums! Glad to have you aboard.

I'm a WWI & WWII plane fan followed by sailing ships as you can see by my avatar. The info in the posts above is all some of the best you're going to get. The members here are very knowledgeable and ready to help you with any questions/problems that you might have. Check out the "Armor" sction of these forums and ask your questions there. You'll get more specific answers there.


Jim  Captain

 Main WIP: 

   On the Bench:  Revell 1/96 USS Kearsarge - 70% 

I keep hitting "escape", but I'm still here.

  • Member since
    March, 2015
  • From: Streetsboro, Ohio
Posted by Toshi on Monday, March 26, 2018 8:43 PM

Welcome to FSM Forums!

Your friend, Toshi

On The Bench: Revell 1/48 B-25 Mitchell


Married to the most caring, loving, understanding, and beautiful wife in the world.  Mrs. Toshi



  • Member since
    July, 2014
  • From: Currently in the Dallas area
Posted by modelcrazy on Monday, March 26, 2018 11:06 PM

Welcome to the forums,

To me, armor is more of a feel than technical. Ships, like you noted, are more technical in the straight lines of color, the only thing you can really do to enhance is some rusting, chipping and maybe oil canning if you’re brave enough.

All that was previously said is right on. One thing I have learned in armor is color variation and layering is key. Do not be afraid to use pastels, oils and washes as well as acrylics, enamels and lacquers. All of these will give different results and increase your builds look 10-fold. Armor, like planes and sci fi require different techniques, but like Bish said, it’s all modeling and basically the same.




1/72 Airfix Bristol Blenheim Mk.IV
1/72 Revell Eurofighter Typhoon Twin Seater
1/72 Revell MiG 29 UB Fulcrum
1/48 Tamiya Mk.1 Swordfish
1/350 Tamiya Prince of Wales

Yes, it's a lot!

In Que

1/72 Airfix Dakota Mk. IV

  • Member since
    September, 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Monday, March 26, 2018 11:32 PM

Hey MC. I hope you are recovering well. My PT from my strokes is making me a new man.

I would guess that when you get back on your feet you'll hold your head high and just get in the groove again modeling.

Makes you love life, love your wife, love your pet and want to go to church.

Best to you my friend.

  • Member since
    July, 2014
  • From: Currently in the Dallas area
Posted by modelcrazy on Monday, March 26, 2018 11:58 PM

Thank you for the kind words GM



1/72 Airfix Bristol Blenheim Mk.IV
1/72 Revell Eurofighter Typhoon Twin Seater
1/72 Revell MiG 29 UB Fulcrum
1/48 Tamiya Mk.1 Swordfish
1/350 Tamiya Prince of Wales

Yes, it's a lot!

In Que

1/72 Airfix Dakota Mk. IV

  • Member since
    July, 2012
  • From: Douglas AZ
Posted by littletimmy on Sunday, April 01, 2018 8:11 PM

Howdy !

The other's have given "Sound Advice" , so I wont repeat my 2 cent's here.

But, I WILL recommend getting a "Pin Vice" . Drilling hole's in stuff is something you never "thought" you would need to do .... and then ..."Suddenly" ... your doing it all the time !

( since your a ship builder, I'm probably "preaching to the choir" on this one.)

Anyway's... Welcome to the FSM forum's.

 Dont worry about the thumbprint, paint it Rust , and call it "Battle Damage".




  • Member since
    September, 2017
Posted by Sailing_Dutchman on Sunday, April 01, 2018 10:17 PM

Hello and welcome to the forums. When I first started armor about two years ago I discovered the YouTube channel Andy's Hobby Headquarters. He runs a hobby store in AZ and primarily makes videos about building tanks with an emphasis on painting. I found his videos to be quite helpful when I was first starting.



Our community is FREE to join. To participate you must either login or register for an account.


By signing up you may also receive reader surveys and occasional special offers. We do not sell, rent or trade our email lists. View our Privacy Policy.