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Painting the M1 Abrams?

  • Ok Ive just had a look at Doogs excellent threads on weathering and painting techniqes. A load of info for me to assimilate there. One of the first things I noticed was the info in toning down the base colour to more match the original armour. Its this that I have a question about.

    Our local model suppliers only carry the Tamiya, Humbrol and Revell paint ranges. Bearing this in mind - and that Im trying things I wouldnt have thought about doing 30 years ago - how much toning down does the paint need on average? For example. The Abrams Ive just started is to be completed in a desert colour scheme. I initially chose the Tamiya Desert Yellow for the base colour but it really does look far to dark when applied. Is the colour chose to dark to start with  - ie should I have gone for more of a buff colour? Or is it about right but just needs toning down?And if so by how much?

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  • Tamiya desert yellow is way too dark and too orange.

    Tamiya doesn't have an "out of the bottle" match, even "buff" is too dark - if you wish to stick with Tamiya, what you need is somewhere in between buff and deck tan. Lighten to fade as required.

  • Hi Antony. and welcome!

    First, Tamiya Desert Yellow is a bit dark for an Abrams in desert camo. the colour is much more washed out, tending to hints of grey.This model:

    is, I think, fairly close to the real thing. Don't ask ab0ut the penguin. It's a long story...

    There's no single way of achieving this finish,  but this method is fairly widely used. It assumes you're using an airbrush, and that you can use it to apply paint fairly precisely.

    First, look at photographs of the subject of your model, and decide what sort of colour you want it to end up as.

    Start by priming your model in medium grey, medium brown, or black.

    When this has dried ovenight, spray the model in a darker version of the base shade. You'll probably need three light coats to get a good coverage, and spraying the model panel by panel is a good idea, so that, towards the edge of each panel, the primer shows through. That's why many modellers use dark primer coats. In your case, Tamiya Dark Yellow works well as a darker version of the base colour.

    Then take your base colour and spray that, keeping just away from the edges of each panel. The idea is to make each panel look slightly lighter towards the centre than it does towards the edge.

    Repeat this with a lighter version of the base colour, again, concnetrating in the centres and away from the edges. Next, take a yet paler version of the base colour (maybe the previous colour, with about 30% pale grey or buff (Tamiya Deck Tan works well for this) amd gently spray a thin coat from above, trying to reproduce areas which have been bleached or lightened by the sun. Notice that, with all these last four stages, and assuming you're using acrylics, you only need to leave a few minutes between coats. I often do them all at one sitting. However, you need to leave the model at least overnight before the next stages

    At this stage, decals, and washes/ filters often applied. We'll pass over this stage for now, except to seay that the effect is often to make the finish darker.

    Therefore, you now apply a very light, thin, overspray of the lighter version of the base colour. Apply these coats from a distance, and check your work after each stage. the idea is to stop just before you think you've made it too light.

    As an example, conider this AFV Club Sd.Kfz.II, which is supposed to be in overall Dark Yellow. the actual colour is nowhere near as dark as the Tamiya version.

    You can see darker colours in the shaded areas, ligher ones towards the centres of panels, and even lighter ones in areas which would be particularly exposed to the sun. IN places, at the edge of panels, you can even see hints of the black base coat.

    Thing is, over time, everybody develops his own technique. Experiment - ideally on somehting cheaper than a Tamiya Abrams - and find what works for you.

    Above all, have fun, and don't obsess about it. After all, it's only a hobby, right? Big Smile [:D]

    Cheers,

    Chris.

     

    N

    Cute and cuddly, boys, cute and cuddly!
  • I agree with Phil and Chris. What was recently suggested to me is to start with a good base color. Something close to the color but does not have to be spot on. Then do some washes with the base color darkened a little then a little dry brushing with the base color lighten up some.

     

    That should bring out the detail more. Also, The Abrams my not have faded as bad as say a WWII tank but believe me it did fade. Also, things did get spilled on it. (i.e. Oil, fuel ect. Ask me how I know?Shock [:O])

     

    Good Luck on you build and don't forget to post some pics when it is done. Or even while it is in the WIP Work in Progress stage.

     

    Seeya

    Scott

     

    P.S. Chris that anti-skid coating looks just right. How did you do it?

     

     

    “Computers are like Old Testament gods; lots of rules and no mercy.”  ~ Joseph Campbell

     

  •  M1 A1 A2 Tanker wrote:
    P.S. Chris that anti-skid coating looks just right. How did you do it?

    Hi Scott,

    Chris's Abrams above appears to be the Italeri M1A2 kit. The anti-slip is moulded on in this kit.

  • P.S. Chris that anti-skid coating looks just right. How did you do it?

    Scott, this is the Italeri 1/35 M1A2. It's better than the Tamiya kit i a number of ways, of which coming with anti-slip surfaces is just one. It's also less than half the price (or it was, about four years ago, when I bought it. The Tamiya is now only 25% more than the Italeri and, in the United States, the Land of the Free and of rip-off Italeri prices, I wouldn't be surprised to find rough parity).

    The detail parts come, mostly, from the Tamiya Desert Storm US Army figure and accessory sets.

    Cheers,

    Chris.

    Cute and cuddly, boys, cute and cuddly!
  • Thanks guys for all the advise. As Ive said elsewhere Ive recently returned to the hobby after a gap of some 30 odd years. Last time I did any model building it was as simple as one coat of paint and job done - oh and that was mainly planes. But I have more time now and want to produce something worth looking at. Ive found the forums here very helpful. This Abrams is the Trumpeter kit which Im hoping will end up being the mine roller version - so its probably cheaper than the Tamiya one. Once Ive done the basics I shall post up some pics as I develope the painting. But dont expect it to be anything great (or even particularly good). Still it is a hobby and Im enjoying getting back into it.
  • Hi Antony,

    This is the older 1990's Dragon kit painted in straight Tamiya buff - it's not the best pic, but you can see it's a bit on the dark side, particulatly after washes. Look at the contrast between the base colour and the turret front CIP's.

    (And yes, your Trumpeter kit is probably about 1/3 the price of the Tamiya offering, and includes the mine plow and roller, I believe)

  • Personally, I like Model Master's "Modern Desert Sand", #1963, for "modern" US Army vehicles and weapon systems... It's a dead-ringer (in my eyes) for the color used, and suits my paint-weathering technique (which is paint it factory-fresh first and then start the color-shifting/fading process), and comes in a rattle-can as well as bottles... I prefer rattle-cans for the overall painting of tanks, then using the AB and bottles for weathering the paint color(s), rather than mixing shades for the initial overcoat of color...

    I've shied away from Tamiya for color coats ever since I used the Olive Drab on a P-61 and it did some goofy stuff over the plastic color "swirls" in the wings and was next to impossible to fix... I decided then & there, nothing but enamels for color coats anymore...

     

  • The best out of the bottle match for modern CARC sand is Testors Model Master Sand, FS# 33531.  If you can't get that, I have also heard Humbrol has a match by the same FS#s as well.

    For adding the anti-slip on the Tamiya Abrams, check out my Rust-Oleam spray technique. 

    Good luck.

    Gino P. Quintiliani - Field Artillery - The KING of BATTLE!!!

    Check out my Gallery: http://smg.photobuck...v231/HeavyArty/?

    "People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." -- George Orwell

  •  HeavyArty wrote:
    The best out of the bottle match for modern CARC sand is Testors Model Master Sand, FS# 33531.  If you can't get that, I have also heard Humbrol has a match by the same FS#s as well.

    According to the tables on the Humbrol website, 121 Light Stone is a match for FS 33531

  • Here is a great example of just how rough one of these Abrams can look...

     

     

    "Gott ist mit Y'all!!!"
  •  K-dawg wrote:
    Here is a great example of just how rough one of these Abrams can look...

     

     

    Yup, that is one of the USMC ones from OIF 1, the initial invasion in '03.  It is not the typical level of wear you will usually see on an Abrams though.  That is the one tank everyone posts a pic of when they are looking for an examle of a rust-bucket that is still in use.   Most get nowhere near that badly worn before they are touched up, repainted, or sent for rebuild.  Remeber, a rusty piece of equipment usually doesn't work when needed.  Soldiers and Marines usually keep their equipment in good working order, whick includes touch-up painting and general cleanliness.

    Gino P. Quintiliani - Field Artillery - The KING of BATTLE!!!

    Check out my Gallery: http://smg.photobuck...v231/HeavyArty/?

    "People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." -- George Orwell

  • So Gino,

    given that combat operations during OIF lasted barely six weeks, how on earth did that tank get in that state? In my father's Regiment, and my Squadron, anything getting anywhere near half as scruffy as that would have been sent back to brigade workshops, and maybe even shipped home for a full overhaul.

    More to the point, I thought the USMC were keen on spit and polish? How on earth did Gunny let that happen?

    Cheers,

    Chris.

    Cute and cuddly, boys, cute and cuddly!
  • More to the point, I thought the USMC were keen on spit and polish? How on earth did Gunny let that happen?

    Murhy's laws of Combat # 23: No inspection-ready unit ever passed combat. Wink [;)]

    Units in combat don't carry gallon-cans of paint on the BII list... Spot-painting is part of recovery operations.  Marines don't use anything that doesn't leak oil, cherry-juice, and fuel anyway...  

    If you really want to have models that look effed-up (but are more or less sound mechanically and electrically, most of the time, anyway), model the vehicles kept at an Army National Guard Division MATES...  During the AT periods, those vehicles are used by several different units daily for about three-four months straight and get rode hard, put up wet, and only sit still for a couple of days between units, and not until the AT cycle is over for the year, can they get all the pretties fixed by the full-time technicians there, and readied for the next cycle of beatings...

    The reason for that is that the Guard saves a lot of money by having every brigade use the same (tracked) vehicles for training...  Not at all unusual for a tank, SP howitzer, or AFV to have ten different crews assigned to it during a training year...