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1/35 Tamiya PzwIVD - Knocked out in Russian Snow

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  • Member since
    February, 2010
  • From: Berkeley CA/St. Paul MN
1/35 Tamiya PzwIVD - Knocked out in Russian Snow
Posted by EBergerud on Wednesday, November 08, 2017 11:11 PM

 Tamiya 1/35 Panzer IV D

 Paints: Golden High Flow, Vallejo Model Color, Iwata Medea Com.Art

 Weathering: Wilder and Gamblin “FastMatt” oils, Sennelier and Gamblin pigments, Vallejo acrylic washes.

Rust Modern Masters Metal Effects “Oxidizing Iron Paint”; LifeColor Matte Black, Golden Black Glaze, black & white pigments.

Base: Sculptamold on plexiglass. Pigments, Precision Ice and Snow wash and snow.

This is the final post from a “World at War: 1942” Group Build on Finescale Modeler. I was doing some proper “multi-tasking” in this project and perhaps there are some things of interest for the good citizens in the wider FS community.

Let me say just a bit about the kit. The Tamiya Panzer IVD is one of the best early Tamiya armor kits – I can see why it remains widely available – cheap. The detail, especially on the applique armor is quite respectable. It has markings for a tank in the 11th Panzer Division which was up to its neck in Barbarossa. It went from the Balkans, to the drive on Kiev with AG South, to Operation Typhoon with AG Center. During the Soviet winter counter attack the division was driven back toward Rzhev, suffering some anxious moments. There were not a lot of Panzer IVDs in Russia during 1942, but you can bet any that survived Typhoon would have been kept in the line. This timeline made the kit a good subject for an extended exercise in winter weathering and battle damage which is covered below. I might add that the base coat was a brew made from Gold High Flow acrylics sprayed over black and white Stynelrez primer. (High Flow doesn't sell specifically military colors, but it's the best water based acrylic I know of for airbrush use and, as Golden's market is in the art world, it is made to be mixed.) I did a lot of looking into the color and concluded I needed something very dark and, if not neutral, then actually a little warm – maybe just a bit of green. According to some of the war game boards I consulted, the usual “cool” blue tinted Panzer Grey isn't accurate. (I had Vallejo's Panzer Gray Primer for a sample and it is warm.) Precision wasn't absolutely required. Thomas Chory, a Czech author of a book on Wehrmacht AFV camo, commented that the Panzer Gray tanks soon oxidized, lightening the color, which amplified what he called a light gray “patina” created by rain, dust, dirt etc that created a very effective camouflage. After creating a kit that had something like that patina, I had a very good model to untidy.

Below is the description of my project for Finescale Group Build.

 

 

OK: enough dead Panzers in the snow.

 

 left by Eric Bergerud, on Flickr

 

As I feared, the overall project doesn't work. I got too ambitious. But everything was worth it anyway. I wanted to practice a number of winter effects. If you count the beans, in the Nazi-Soviet War there was a full year of winter – throw in six months of “in between.” Anyway, if one wants to do Eastern Front subjects, especially if put in dios (or “vignettes”) it's a good idea to get acquainted with winter weathering.

I'd like to briefly explain how I approach weathering. Mig Jimenez is right that it's impossible for any of us to make a small thing look like a big thing. He uses this observation to defend the use of considerable “artistic license” for armor modelers. He agrees that not many real world AFVs really looked like (to use Rinaldi's phrase) “tank art” - but argues that it's great fun to make that a goal. After all, there were thousands of AFVs in WWII alone and no doubt some did look the part of something that could be placed in a museum of modern art. (As I've found, there's a whole genre of photography and painting that specializes in rust and rusty things. And that stuff is intended for galleries.) So, if a modeler wants “wow factor” there is history to support the effort. However, I think most history supports the conclusion that war is the enemy of art. I'm a military historian by trade and have seen thousands of photos of WWII war machines of all types. I think most weapons, unless brand new or just overhauled (quite a few items really) would have shown considerable fading, lots of smudging where crew walked around and a good bucket of dust, petro stains, grime and dirt. (I do not believe that in the front line there were clean tanks, trucks, jeeps or soldiers. Same is true with ships, but if you spend six months on one model, aggressive weathering takes nerve, even if history is on your side.) In any case, I try to evoke with my efforts (humble enough) the way something might have actually looked. So no one will every describe anything I do as a treat to the eye. That certainly means I won't write any books or win any prizes – but neither would have happened anyway.

I tried to do several things on this project and each worked in its own way – just not together. First I wanted to make extensive use of oils to turn a very dark gray tank into a kind of grimy light gray – and no blue tint. Here's where I started from and ended up.

 DECals by Eric Bergerud, on Flickr

 

 diowos2 by Eric Bergerud, on Flickr

I wanted to use whitewash. But I didn't want a deep winter dio. So that meant I was looking for a whitewash that was largely worn off as opposed to one largely white with big chips. There are a number of ways to do this and I used tank mules to experiment. I finally decided to go back to my Medea Com.Art opaque white. Com.Art is wonderful paint but too fragile for straight up work on styrene. (Some day I'll put GAC 200 hardener in it – be neat if it worked because Com.Art sprays like a dream from a brush.) So I gave the tank a light brushing of white, let it dry, and carefully wore it away with a brush and water. No chipping fluid required. (AK now makes a fading white that also needs no hairspray or chipping fluid.) I should have taken a close-up before the snow dusting, the photo above shows the effect pretty well. I could have left more on, but I knew there was going to be snow on top of it eventually.

I wanted to do a knocked out tank. Knocked out tanks, judging from a blizzard of photos online, come in all varieties. I didn't have an interior for the kit (nor the time) to do a really wrecked Panzer. (Whitmann's Tiger had its turret blown off in his last fight – you get the idea.) I could have simply put a hole in it – many a dead tank looked like that. No fire, but the crew all casualties. But I wanted to try for some serious fire damage which would be rust and black dusted with white/gray soot. So I imagined a likely enough scenario. A tired Panzer IV southwest of Moscow in late February 42 runs into an ambush or is simply outflanked by Soviet tanks or anti-tank guns and takes two hits just below the turret – right where some ammunition is stored. But perhaps the shell supply is low. The tank dies but isn't blown up. And here's what I got:

 damage by Eric Bergerud, on Flickr

I did the damage with a hot knife. It's a pity the fenders weren't thinner, but I didn't see the need early. The rust is done with Metal Effects an “Oxidizing Iron Paint” from Modern Masters. I've used this before and I like it. (Craft types do too – several You Tube videos but none for models. Comes in different colors – faded bronze etc.) It does take some getting used to. It's a water based thick paint (smells bad, but cleans with water) that has real rust as its pigment. You activate the stuff with a blue liquid that comes with it. (About $12 for a life time supply.) The color varies greatly depending upon how many coats you use and how activator is put on. Originally all of the rust looked pretty much like the muffler:

 rear by Eric Bergerud, on Flickr

After rusting the damaged area I dabbed some LifeColor Matte Black around the periphery and used a Golden Black Glaze over almost everything else. (The glaze is very translucent.) Then some dabs of black pigment, and a little white pigment. Pretty happy overall.

I did want a base. I was trying to emulate a rural area with some small trees and foliage in the few weeks between winter and spring – but before the full Russian thaw or “rasputitsa” which would have called for mud galore. (I grew up in Minneapolis Minnesota which has terrain and a climate very like that of Moscow, so this is familiar stuff.) So I used Sculptamold on top of a piece of plexiglass. I mixed burnt umber paint into the first batch and then sprayed it lightly with gray and gave it a good dust of several pigments. (My pigments are from the art houses Sennelier and Gamblin – made for professional painters and cost about one quarter what something from Mig or AK would run. I have white, black, yellow ocher, sienna and umber – that will make any earth color imaginable. I have other fading colors in the very useful Tamiya weathering sets and some house brand stuff from Micro Scale. Actually pretty useful for fading green or blue.) I also put on the brilliant flock made by Scenic Express. It comes in about a thousand colors – this was forest floor mixed with a dull pasture brown. The foliage is made with Scenic Express “Super Trees” - a kind of dried lichen from the Norwegian tundra that is far better than anything you can buy or make with wire. I wanted the dark ground to have a lot of snow – the remnant of what had been a deep cover that was thawing, freezing, thawing, until you've got a lot of thin snowy areas with some revealed ground. To achieve this I added another small helping of uncolored (bright white) Sculptamold, mixed a little thin with water. When snow is in the stage I wanted, it's dirty and it freezes so I applied both a Com.Art black wash with some Vallejo gloss varnish on the white Scuulptamold. I also built up more “snow” than I wanted in the middle so it would hide the bottom of the tank tracks. It didn't help the look, but I didn't want the tank to be “glued” to the base, and without some kind of “nest” it sits on top of everything – not too realistic for a 20 ton vehicle. So here's the base without snow dusting, with a close-up of some foliage after being dusted:

 diowoS1 by Eric Bergerud, on Flickr

 foliage by Eric Bergerud, on Flickr

 

And I wanted snow. This was a good chance to use Precision Ice and Snow's very impressive Krycell artificial snow. Here's where things kind of went off. I wanted a nice fresh dusting of light white snow. As expected this pretty much covered any remnant of the faded whitewash – or most of the weathering actually. What impressed me about Krycell in the past was its crystal like texture and scale effect that it has. However, even this stuff is not fine enough for a light dusting of powder to look like a light dusting of snow. That meant I had to lay off the damaged areas or that would have been lost too: not a price worth paying. So, it's a little like two dios at once: one with a snow dusting and one without. We could say that the snowfall came right before the tank was hit and some was melted – so we will. But that's not what things would have looked like. (Soot etc would have been evident over most of the tank and there would have been zones of ice or water between what remained of the snow and what was melted.) Should add that Precision makes a “Snow Effects” wash that is terrific. (It would have made a great white wash because it comes off easily.) It's on the front of the tracks, and would work very well for a vehicle that had been snowed but had mostly melted. Check YouTube – all of the videos from Precision are super. It would have worked nicely if I would have used it on an identical dio without damage on the tank and evenly applied. It would have worked even better if I used a lot more of it to show a tank with a proper snow fall on it. In retrospect I could have built up more snow on the right side at an angle to emulate a wind driven snow. And in retrospect I should also have gone in and done a final pin wash on the wheels. But frankly, it was time to stop. I've been thinking about my next project (maybe a Tamiya Wildcat dress for the dance at Guadalcanal?) and when that happens it's time to finish. And so I have. Here are some more pics of “Wrecked Tank in Russian Snow.”

Eric

 right-r by Eric Bergerud, on Flickr

 lft-ft by Eric Bergerud, on Flickr

 front by Eric Bergerud, on Flickr

 left by Eric Bergerud, on Flickr

 right-r by Eric Bergerud, on Flickr

 right by Eric Bergerud, on Flickr

 

 

A model boat is much cheaper than a real one and won't sink with you in it.

  • Member since
    May, 2009
  • From: Poland
Posted by Pawel on Thursday, November 09, 2017 4:46 AM

Hello Eric!

Thanks for sharing and writing everything up so nicely and in detail. If I ever do a witer dio this will be a great resource. I'm not sure why you write that the dio "doesn't work" - it looks quite good to me. One thing that I don't like is the way the track behaves on the "blown up" side - I thin you should have shown the weight and the physics of the individual links of the track (and it wasn't a "live" track) better. The links hould be hanging down, dangling under their massive weight. Other than that I like it a lot - the dio conveys a feeling of hopelessness, emptiness and cold, and IMO it does that realy good!

Have a nice day

Paweł

All comments and critique welcomed. Thanks for your honest opinions!

www.vietnam.net.pl

  • Member since
    March, 2003
  • From: Northern New Jersey
Posted by Tojo72 on Thursday, November 09, 2017 5:06 AM
Very impressive work,thanks for sharing.

  • Member since
    September, 2013
Posted by Marcus McBean on Thursday, November 09, 2017 7:16 AM

Eric,

Very impressive work.  Really like how you did the hit on the tank and the damaged it caused.  Well thought out dio.  You set the bar.

  • Member since
    September, 2016
  • From: Albany, New York
Posted by ManCityFan on Thursday, November 09, 2017 8:43 AM

Hey Eric, I think that dio looks excellent. I appreciate the explanation of your thought process.  I have not attempted a dio yet, so this is helpful when I get there.  Thank you for mentioning the products you use, as this is very helpful as well.

I know this did not come out the way you were hoping, but as someone who doesn't have the picture of what you were shooting for in my head, I think this dio works.  That said, I have posted finished models where I got lots of compliments, but when I look at it, I know what I could have done better, and it bothers me, so I know where you are coming from.  I think we all share this, where a build or dio looks really good to others, but we are not satisfied ourselves.  "Occupational hazard"?

I am impressed with both your technique and thought process.  Hats off for trying something so ambitious.  I think you pulled it off quite well.

D

Dwayne or Dman or just D.  All comments are welcome on my builds. 

 

  • Member since
    July, 2016
  • From: NYC
Posted by Johnny1000 on Thursday, November 09, 2017 1:39 PM

ManCityFan

I am impressed with both your technique and thought process.  Hats off for trying something so ambitious.  I think you pulled it off quite well.

I'm with ManCityFan here—the overall effect is quite convincing. You might quibble with details or elements that aren't quite what you had imagined, but it looks really good.

And I think Pawel touches on an important point, which is that the emotional hits (hopelessness, emptiness and cold) are clearly coming across, and that's really the most important part of a diorama, especially if you aren't trying to tell a more involved story. (I'll politely disagree about the treads on versimilitude grounds—there's a lot of knocked out tank shots with torn up treads that look like that.)

There's some really nuanced stuff happening there with both the tank and groundwork--the various rusts, the different frosts and snow. Well done.

-J

  • Member since
    February, 2010
  • From: Berkeley CA/St. Paul MN
Posted by EBergerud on Thursday, November 09, 2017 4:04 PM
Pawel: Thanks for the kind words. I'm not sure that I agree about the tracks. I looked at hundreds of knocked out tank photos - lots of hundreds. The forensics are all over the map. From one small hole (dead crew probably) and no other damage, to complete annihilation. There's a Weathering Magazine issue about "KO'd Armor" and one article displays the work of a Japanese master builder that specializes in "blown to smithereens armor" - it's incredible stuff and above my level. (As noted in my text there are genres in both photography and painting dealing with rust. Try a Google on "Rust caused by Fire.") That said, there were certainly photo examples that were pretty close indeed to what I have - one end of the track end sort of drooping. Had the whole link system been knocked off, we would have been looking at considerably more damage: and even some burned out hulks had their tracks in order. Maybe tanks that were abandoned and set afire with gasoline? (I didn't mention it, but I cut down the tires on three of the road wheels to emulate burned-off rubber.) The tracks have weight okay, but they're also stuck together pretty tightly - if they weren't tanks wouldn't work. You'll note that I didn't have a photo that I was trying to recreate simply because there wasn't one. Americans were the real shutterbugs (cameras were not encouraged for common soldiers and were bulky anyway - Vietnam was a huge change) and they only had one real winter campaign. So my scene was a mental collage of dozens of photos. My regret is that I really think that new snow would have covered the whole vehicle evenly - but using snow even at the level I did would have largely obscured all of the battle damage - not a price worth paying. As is often the case there are lots of roads - some just have better pavement.

 

A model boat is much cheaper than a real one and won't sink with you in it.

  • Member since
    December, 2012
Posted by RX7850 on Thursday, November 09, 2017 4:45 PM

Your dio came out nice and I appreciate how you took the time to describe how you arrived at the finished product. Yes

  • Member since
    July, 2012
  • From: Douglas AZ
Posted by littletimmy on Thursday, November 09, 2017 7:12 PM

 I thought you did a "FINE" job !!!

The only thing I thought could be improved on would be the "depth of the hole the shell made.....  but that's just me. I'm use to making "battle damage" with firecracker's so I may not have a firm grasp on what an actual shell hit look's like.

Overall, the winter scene look's great !

The tank look's just right ! 

Sometime's we are our own worst critic's.

 

                      Dont worry about the thumbprint... paint it rust and call it "Battle damage" !

  • Member since
    February, 2010
  • From: Berkeley CA/St. Paul MN
Posted by EBergerud on Thursday, November 09, 2017 9:31 PM
Actually I looked closely at the size of penetration holes - and they're smaller than you'd think - or smaller than I thought. (Even an 88mm is about 3 inches. And I'd think of a 76mm round doing the deed here - although from the side, I'd guess a 40mm would have penetrated.) But there's something else at work. The pic that is supposed to illustrate the damage appears to show both a smaller hole, but only one. Now if you double click on the pic about two down, shows the damage but there's no snow, you can clearly see both holes and they look a tad larger. As noted forensics are all over the map. if there was a major explosion that lit up whole ammo supply, there'd be a gaping hole, but from the explosion, not the penetration. I was tempted to give it a kind of "sunrise" effect with streaks coming out of the center which is found on a lot of models and is neat. But I couldn't really find it in photos. Eric

 

A model boat is much cheaper than a real one and won't sink with you in it.

  • Member since
    December, 2010
  • From: Salem, Oregon
Posted by 1943Mike on Thursday, November 09, 2017 10:03 PM

One of the most impressive dioramas I've seen. Lots of interesting and helpful/useful information here.

Thanks for the write up and posting your fine work.

Mike

"Le temps est un grand maître, mais malheureusement, il tue tous ses élèves."

Hector Berlioz

  • Member since
    May, 2009
  • From: Poland
Posted by Pawel on Friday, November 10, 2017 5:31 AM

Eric - what I meant about the track is that there's no way the fractured end of the track is somehow hanging mid-air, and the track tension a few roller away somehow is still there. I have checked it up and have a few reference photos to back my point:

Here the track completely unraveled itself from the drive sprocket under its weight:

Other tank type, but a hit very similar to yours - look what happened to the track:

Once the track is broken it completely loses tension under its own weight:

I hope you see my point a little clearer now. Again - thanks for sharing and have a nice day

Paweł

All comments and critique welcomed. Thanks for your honest opinions!

www.vietnam.net.pl

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: SW Virginia
Posted by Gamera on Saturday, November 11, 2017 4:29 PM

Nice work! It really does give a cold, frozen, desolate, feel. I love what you've pulled off here.

"Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children that dragons can be killed." -G.K. Chesterton

 

  • Member since
    April, 2015
Posted by Mopar Madness on Saturday, November 11, 2017 10:39 PM

I think this project was quite productive.  A smart looking tank and a quiet yet cold looking diorama.  I like what you’ve done here! Beer

Chad

God, Family, Models...

At the plate: 1/35 Tamiya Nashorn

On deck: 1/48 Hobby Boss Me 262

In the hole: Probably something in 1/35 scale!

 

  • Member since
    February, 2010
  • From: Berkeley CA/St. Paul MN
Posted by EBergerud on Sunday, November 12, 2017 1:37 AM

Pawel,

 

I don't have time to get into a pic war. But here are a few that show ko'd tanks that have tracks disturbed but partially in order. It would have been easy to find pics of tanks badly burned out with tracks intact. I just think knocked out tanks came in a lot of flavors.

Eric

 Panthtrk by Eric Bergerud, on Flickr

 JpnTrk by Eric Bergerud, on Flickr

 tigertrk by Eric Bergerud, on Flickr

 panttrk2 by Eric Bergerud, on Flickr

 

A model boat is much cheaper than a real one and won't sink with you in it.

  • Member since
    May, 2009
  • From: Poland
Posted by Pawel on Sunday, November 12, 2017 4:14 AM

Hello Eric!

I'm not interested in war - I mean not in fighting one, especially with you! I admire your work and I'm just trying to help. But I think some reference pictures only add to this thread. I agree that when the track run is continuous, it looks pretty much the same even if the whole tank is burned out or baly mutilated in its other parts.

I just wanted to point out to other modellers who would like to do a similar dio to yours, that if you show the tank track as broken you have to take into account the immense weight of those track links and they are VERY heavy.

This photo is especially funny:

What is it? Some kind of decoy or something like that?

Good luck with your modelling projects and have a nice day

Paweł

All comments and critique welcomed. Thanks for your honest opinions!

www.vietnam.net.pl

  • Member since
    April, 2015
Posted by Mopar Madness on Sunday, November 12, 2017 1:14 PM

Love that bent barrel! 

Chad

God, Family, Models...

At the plate: 1/35 Tamiya Nashorn

On deck: 1/48 Hobby Boss Me 262

In the hole: Probably something in 1/35 scale!

 

  • Member since
    February, 2010
  • From: Berkeley CA/St. Paul MN
Posted by EBergerud on Sunday, November 12, 2017 3:41 PM
Pawel, No offense taken at all. Normally I get a kick out of examining details - things like what's the right color for a German tank, or a Japanese Zero or a early war Wildcat (there are long standing arguments on all of those subjects.) Right now, the real world is interfering with modeling which means my priorities are wrong. But there you go. Actually I gave a lot of thought of what to do with the tracks. I had intended to let the top rear track run to kind of drop off onto the ground behind the tank. But the base wasn't long enough. So I did the best I could and put a few toasted spare tracks on the ground next to the tank. You're certainly right about the tracks - whether they have rubber or not, they're mostly metal. There are a lot of pics of field upkeep with crews changing the tracks - which was not rare - and it makes my back sore looking at it. War is for the young. Eric

 

A model boat is much cheaper than a real one and won't sink with you in it.

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