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Armor/AFV: Braille Scale
1/72 and 1/76 Scale Armor and AFVs.
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Finishing Dragon Sd. Kfz. 260 (#7446)
tread_geek
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Posted: Wednesday, January 16, 2013 - 05:05 AM UTC
After having done a build review of this kit and in between working on two campaign builds, I decided to see what I could do in finishing this one.



Anyone interested can find the review at this LINK. There are only two painting and marking options, either basic all grey or sand with red-brown and green stripes. I will attempt to do the later scheme. The most disappointing part of this kit is the styrene anti-grenade screen superstructure. I have had some luck painting moulded on screening with the 223 version so this will be an attempt to see what I can do. It's a definite learning experience.

Before starting on the screening I wanted to try my hand at hand brushing a simulated soft-edge camouflage. This too is an experiment and was developed with help from my SWMBO and required a small #2 Filbert brush. I am using Tamiya acrylic paints for this project. I wanted to try this brush method as due to the small size of this vehicle and its extreme contours airbrushing seemed near impossible.

Here's the initial attempt to see if there is a potential.





Obviously one will have to repeat this process two or three times to achieve something that looks acceptable. The red-brown paint is mixed with a Delta Ceramcoat Glaze additive that makes the paint behave more like a water colour in that it makes it more transparent.

As the above painting seemed somewhat successful I decided to see what could be done with the screening. For the first step I used a thin or very diluted wash of a craft acrylic called "Lamp Black."





Once that was dry I floated a medium grey filter/wash over the screening to temper the black. After that dried I very lightly dry brushed the screening with the vehicle's base colour (Tamiya Dark Yellow).







One thing that I noted in doing this is that the definition of the screening is most prominent on the top and quite a bit lighter on the slanted sides. I'll see what will happen when I try to do another dry brushing of the Dark yellow.

Cheers,
Jan
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Posted: Thursday, January 17, 2013 - 07:07 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Here's the initial attempt to see if there is a potential.


I think there's potential... in fact I think it looks pretty good, and - shock, horror - you're probably freaking a few people out by employing Tamiya acrylics with a brush, and getting a subtle finish.

"Delta Ceramcoat Glaze additive" I wonder exactly what that is, and what it is intended for; I must say that Liquitex retarder also allows this paint to be manipulated in quite a subtle way, perhaps it is similar, perhaps not.

As for the mesh screen - following your review, I speculated on how this somewhat clunky moulded detail might look after painting, and I have to say that I think you have done it extremely well. The drybrushing has brought out the mesh with the dark background providing the "empty space" beneath.

As so often with braille modelling, it is the impression of a detail that is sometimes what is required, rather than, as with larger scales, trying to produce an exact scale version of the original.

Let's not forget as well that these large photos are the most unforgiving way of showing these titchy models, and in real life I expect the effect is even better.

Looking forward to seeing more completion, and hopefully your Mrs can teach you (and us) yet more special effects!
tread_geek
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Posted: Thursday, January 17, 2013 - 08:55 AM UTC
@firstcircle - Matthew,


Quoted Text

I think there's potential... in fact I think it looks pretty good, and - shock, horror - you're probably freaking a few people out by employing Tamiya acrylics with a brush, and getting a subtle finish.



The potential is only "pretty good!" Seriously though, short of spending a small fortune for an even better airbrush and then learning all it's peculiarities and for these tiny subjects, I think that this might be a winner. As for the paints, I mostly use Tamiya for the bulk of my painting but also have no aversion to Model master Acryl. Weathering is done with a mixture of these two brands as well as Delta Ceramcoat (at $2.00 for 2 US fl. oz. (79 ml)).


Quoted Text

"Delta Ceramcoat Glaze additive" I wonder exactly what that is, and what it is intended for; I must say that Liquitex retarder also allows this paint to be manipulated in quite a subtle way, perhaps it is similar, perhaps not.



I'd say the two products have a few similar qualities but the "retarder" is just something that makes the paint "wetter" and brush better by delaying drying time. The Glaze Base does this but also "thins" the pigments to make them more transparent (ie - the water colour paint analogy). It is a clear gel that needs to be mixed 1:1 with water before adding to your paint. The more you add, the more transparent the colouring.

Here's the product that I used.


For this model's particular experimental soft edge brush camouflage, my resident Artiste recommended the following two brushes.

The Filbert


The Goat's Hair Mop


You use them primarily by dabbing with the brush at a right angle to the surface to be painted. A light hand and not too much paint on the brush is also a necessity and took some practice.

****************************************************************************************************************

Amongst other things done today, I am now considering the screening done. I don't think that there is much more that can be achieved, short of perhaps a hi-light or two on the edges of the solid ribbing.








Quoted Text

Let's not forget as well that these large photos are the most unforgiving way of showing these titchy models, and in real life I expect the effect is even better.



Digital imaging is both a blessing and a curse. The better the camera and image, the more flaws that it will reveal. I photo my builds at numerous points during construction and finishing and view them on an 18" HD monitor for use as a guide for improvement. For every image I might post, nine more are only used for reference and are quickly deleted.

Cheers,
Jan
firstcircle
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Posted: Thursday, January 17, 2013 - 09:17 AM UTC

Quoted Text

The potential is only "pretty good!"



Oops - I think that was a bit of typical understatement from me, over here, in Understatementland...
weathering_one
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Posted: Thursday, January 17, 2013 - 03:40 PM UTC
Jan,

Somehow I missed this thread now that I found it, I am fascinated. For such a simple (in a way) subject, I am surprised what you are achieving. The brushed camouflage, its explanation and methodology are most interesting to say the least. I must say that your painting of the screening is superb! It almost appears that there are shadows or something obvious behind the screening. Was this deliberate or am I seeing something that isn't really there? Thanks for the SBS on this process.

Regards,
AJ
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Posted: Friday, January 18, 2013 - 09:06 AM UTC
@weathering_one- AJ,

Thanks for the compliments and I'm glad that you like it. Yes, it is rather simple in form and that's why I added a few extras from the unused kit parts to hopefully give it a bit more interest.


Quoted Text

...It almost appears that there are shadows or something obvious behind the screening. Was this deliberate or am I seeing something that isn't really there?



Basically what you are seeing is an illusion caused by lighting and the varying opacity of the paint. It wasn't deliberately thought out but I am quite happy with the effect.

To show that this isn't a total fluke, the SdKfz 261 was tackled to see if it could be repeated. Here are pictures of it pretty well along.







Cheers,
Jan
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Posted: Friday, January 18, 2013 - 11:21 AM UTC
Jan, if I may, from the photos, the dunkelgelb version looks a little more effective because the colour of the mesh contrasts more with the black background. Perhaps the grey used on the mesh could be highlighted a little?

I am reminded of reading Tony Greenland's description of his painstaking dry brushing method, whereby he would, presumably over a period of days, work his way incrementally from the base colour through to pure white...
Joel_W
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Posted: Friday, January 18, 2013 - 11:53 AM UTC
Jan, the 1st hand painted soft edged camo paint scheme came out perfectly. One would have to take a really long look to see if it's not air brushed, and I still can't.

As for the screening, in the grey solid scheme the screening just looks too dark.

Joel
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Posted: Saturday, January 19, 2013 - 04:24 AM UTC
@Matthew and Joel -,

Thanks for your comments, observations and suggestions and I will take each under advisement. I'll take back my comments about the completion status of both vehicles screening and see what I can come up with (especially on the grey 261).

I post these "progress" shots with the hope that I might get responses and suggestions that will help to refine the end result or perhaps show methods that might or might not work. My only problem (as a few others have commented on in the past) is to know when to stop and say that it's done (the "just one more thing" syndrome?).

Cheers,
Jan
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Posted: Saturday, January 19, 2013 - 04:55 AM UTC
Jan,

Thanks for sharing and give your wife a thumbs up for helping out. I have used, and still use, Delta Ceramcoat paints for groundwork and buildings but that is about it. Now I have to get down to Michael's this weekend and grab a bottle of the glaze additive and try it out. Sure beats mowing the lawn!

Cheers,
Rick

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Posted: Saturday, January 19, 2013 - 05:13 AM UTC
@clovis899 - Rick,

Happy that I could could help and I'll let the SWMBO know about your delight. To avoid the "lawn duty" just say that you received a prescription to use the glaze and experiment with it to calm your nerves. I forgot to mention that the Glaze Base supposedly comes in two versions, one for lighter colours and one for darker. We only have the "lighter" version so I can't comment on the darker. Also, I should mention that a few other brands (Americana, Accent) also have similar additives. Definitely experiment with it and good luck!

Cheers,
Jan
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Posted: Saturday, February 16, 2013 - 05:16 AM UTC
Unless someone notices something drastically amiss, I think that I'm calling this build done! Unlike some recent builds, this one is totally OOTB. The only deviation from the instructions was the addition of an extra Jerry can on the right side and a box on the engine compartment top. The latter was necessary both for interest sake and more so because while there are hinges moulded in the area, there was no representation of the hatch/door that should be there. The base could still use a bit more work but at least this is another outstanding build complete.











As always, comments or questions welcome!

Cheers,
Jan
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Posted: Saturday, February 16, 2013 - 01:35 PM UTC
Hello Jan

the end result looks very effective.

Is it possible to do finer camo lines with your brush technique ? I'm not questioning the thickness of the cam patches on this model, they are well in scale with many period photos, I am thinking of other paint schemes where a finer camo line pattern is needed.

The treatment of the mesh screens worked very well, I use a similar method on some truck radiators or engine grilles where there is raised mesh detail.

I agree with Matthew's comment about the need to create a correct overall impression when working in such a small scale, rather than actually painting a vehicle exactly as you would in 1/1 scale. Braille Scale is so small that natural light and shadow have little opportunity to create a realistic appearance, so we as modellers have a challenge to replicate reality. The highlights you have painted on the raised detail & angled edges make the overall appearance very 3 dimensional, enhancing the realistic effect, even in a 2d picture.

I also agree that macro lens photography is our best friend and greatest enemy. It reveals every flaw in the build and paint job, but as a result also then gives us the chance to spot the flaw and remedy it.

I also take in progress shots, and when viewed on a 20" desktop PC screen Iam quite surprised at small flaws that jump out, that were undetectable by the eye, even wearing 3x magnification glasses when building and painting. What I thought was flawless is often revealed as needing more work.

And sometimes striking a balance with paint jobs & finishes can be difficult. What photographs well sometimes doesn't look as good sitting on a shelf or on a diorama, and vice versa.

cheers
Neil

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Posted: Sunday, February 17, 2013 - 04:56 AM UTC
@Korpse - Neil,

Long time no see, welcome back.


Quoted Text

Is it possible to do finer camo lines with your brush technique ? I'm not questioning the thickness of the cam patches on this model, they are well in scale with many period photos, I am thinking of other paint schemes where a finer camo line pattern is needed.



Thanks, I based the camo on several pictures that I've seen. As for your question, I can't see why it can't work with an even finer line width with an appropriately sized brush. I am presuming that you are thinking about those very thing lines (almost spider web like) that appear on some vehicles and seem most common on antitank guns. One extra hint I might offer is to use the base vehicle colour (in this case the sand) to lighten the camo colour.


Quoted Text

The treatment of the mesh screens worked very well, I use a similar method on some truck radiators or engine grilles where there is raised mesh detail.



Yes, I've used a version of it to do ventilation screens like those that appear for example the 223 vehicles.

Everything that you mention about the boons and banes of digital photography should be gospel to all builders. This scale provides some very unique challenges. I try to strike a balance between the subject photographing well but at the same time being pleasing and an effective representation to the naked eye. A few people in my local model club. while liking the results I am achieving somewhat, feel that the result is more illusion than reality! From personal observation at last years model shows I've seen some builds that looked fantastic in photographs posted (on other competitive sites to this one) that have been rather disappointing when viewed with the Mk 1 eyeball. I find conquering these challenges (while frustrating at times) to be in this scale a great reward.

Cheers,
Jan

P.S.- Hope that you can join us more often with your unique builds, especially those MASSIVE armoured trains that you were previously working on.
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Posted: Sunday, February 17, 2013 - 09:43 PM UTC
Hi Jan

I think we are on the same page with the challenges and issues of getting the best out of braille scale finishes.

And its nice to see the same friendly and familiar names around too.

Some armoured train work has been undertaken last year. Problem with the trains is when finished they need a base even more than a standard braille scale military vehicle, and being quite long, they require a relatively long base too. I could post the most recently completed (half) armoured train, though it doesn't have a completed base yet, and the base will take some time to get finished.

I have a few other (non train) builds underway at present too.

cheers
Neil

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Posted: Monday, February 18, 2013 - 09:40 AM UTC

Quoted Text

I think we are on the same page with the challenges and issues of getting the best out of braille scale finishes.



From your work that I've seen in the past I can now appreciate how I wasn't quite heading in the same direction. At least at this point, I think that my understanding of working in this scale has clarified a bit. My SWMBO has been saying for some time that she thought that because of the small scale that I should "exaggerate" certain things and being an accomplished painter herself she has taken the time to teach me a few "tricks."

I don't know if you ever dropped into any of my Blogs from early last year but I also give credit to the Alex Clark book (Small Scale Armour Modelling) for several techniques that I am currently employing. As necessary I've changed or adapted the concepts to suit my needs.


Quoted Text

And its nice to see the same friendly and familiar names around too.



Yes, there are a few regulars that have kept things hopping in this forum. Things quiet a bit from time to time and then there's an avalanche of activity and postings. Currently there's a score of regulars that are concentrating on the huge number of campaigns currently in progress (including a new Matchbox one, a Beyond Braille Campaign and of course an Airfix Nostalgia one).


Quoted Text

I have a few other (non train) builds underway at present too.



It would be a welcome treat for us to see some of your different builds and conversions gracing this forum. Again, thanks for dropping in and sharing your thoughts.

Cheers,
Jan
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Posted: Monday, February 18, 2013 - 06:09 PM UTC
I can't believe how this one has turned out! I eat my words from before when I wrote that I thought this kit was rather plain or dull. What you've achieved is an inspiration to many of us. In some of the pictures of the finished version it really looks like the mesh screen is PE and there is the impression that you can see through it! The camouflage and weathering look fabulous! So, are you using the acrylic craft paint for all the weathering, shadows and hilights? And, after viewing this on my tablet, the details of this kit look super, especially what you did with the Jerrycans. This is truly a step up from the 223 version. Thanks for sharing.

Regards,
AJ
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Posted: Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - 06:06 AM UTC
AJ,

I'm glad that you like the results and trust me, I'm as surprised as you with the way it turned out! Technically this build is OOTB as I only used parts that came with the 260 kit. The extra Jerrycan and a few extra small storage boxes here and there I felt would add to the overall effect.

As to your question, the majority of the "weathering" (and highlight and shadow) painting was done with the craft paints, mostly Delta Ceramcoat but also recently a brand called Americana (the LHS is phasing out the Delta product). Both are very similar with the Americana being a bit thinner. Unlike my regular Tamiya colours, these craft paints are somewhat transparent (not as opaque as the model paints). I've mixed other model acrylics with the craft ones and seen no adverse effects.

Cheers,
Jan
Braille
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Posted: Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - 09:02 PM UTC
@tread_geek Ė Jan,

Impressive! This is one I will most certainly add to the stash. With the exception of perhaps replacing the antenna with a thinner more to scale piece as well as the fender width indicator rods itís a well detailed kit OOTB. Looks real good sitting on its base adorned with the few items you added. I like the weathering and dried mud around the wheels as well as the highlights on the raised areas on the model. My favorite part of your build is the sprayed on camouflage paint scheme via your paintbrush technique, it looks to scale, faded and realistic.

Iíve meant to post a message here after seeing your earlier posting but have kept getting side tracked. I think youíve stumbled across a good paint technique so Iím currently trying a similar paint effect but with oils on the small Japanese light tank ĎKe-Nuí. I went and decided on a hand painted hard edge camouflage scheme using Winsor & Newton oils, they are rather translucent but do provide a long working time and the paint lays down flat with no brush marks. Iíve allowed the paint to dry for a couple of days and once dry will go over those areas with Model Master enamels all of course via your paintbrush technique. I will post the results on my build log, would have posted a teaser here but havenít gotten around to taking any photographs.

~ Eddy
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Posted: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - 01:14 AM UTC
Jan, yes, I think I agree with you that

Quoted Text

at least this is another outstanding build complete.



Now that you have done whatever your finishing technique is on top of the hand painted camo, it has brought it all together and actually made the camo colours a bit more vivid. Reflecting again on what has been said about the acrylics additive you've used, it doesn't sound so much like retarder, it seems more like using Liquin with oils - increasing flow and transparency. I will look into this once I can locate another decent artist supplier, sadly the big hobby / craft type shop not too far away has closed down so that the retail park owner can allow another giant supermarket to be built instead. (Like, we really needed another one, you know... like a hole in their pumpkin heads.)
tread_geek
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Posted: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - 08:42 AM UTC
@Braille - Eddy,

Glad that you like this and its different type of finish and thanks for commenting. About the two points you mention, while the width markers look rather tall (that was my impression also) they are the kit parts and I do have a few pictures that show them extending from the fenders to just short of the top of the drivers compartment roof. As for the antenna (also a kit part) the ones on this vehicle were a rigid, tapered type as opposed to the more ubiquitous wire-like whip antennas.

My purpose for not correcting these items was so that the model could optionally be entered in the OOTB or Armoured Wheeled categories at shows. Most shows are quite strict as to what modifications, if any, can be made to a kit in the OOTB category. Similarly, the frame or strapping for the Jerry-cans was painted on as opposed to making it from PE or styrene.

I wish you good luck with using the oil paints for the hard edge camo. The nice thing about these craft paints is that even with the additives added, drying time can be measured in minutes. As with all things in this hobby, we use what we are most comfortable with as anything else can require quite a bit of experimenting to get it the way we want it.

@firstcircle - Matthew,


Quoted Text

Reflecting again on what has been said about the acrylics additive you've used, it doesn't sound so much like retarder, it seems more like using Liquin with oils - increasing flow and transparency.



As I'm not that familiar with oil paints I can't really comment about them. I believe that I've commented on the "glaze base" above and despite nomenclature (retarder vs extender) issues, it possesses that property as well as making the paints more transparent. Perhaps the greatest tertiary feature is that it makes the Tamiya paints brush out very smoothly. Hopefully there is some other craft/hobby store in your city that has some form of craft acrylics.

Thanks for the compliment and be forewarned that I may be trying the technique again shortly.

Cheers,
Jan
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Posted: Wednesday, March 06, 2013 - 06:19 AM UTC
After a frenzied period of activity on this and several other builds, I am going to call this little guy complete. As with a few of my recent builds, some artistic license was used in the choice of colours that were used to enhance the look to the naked eye. Here is an image from the model show in which it was entered this past Sunday.



Obviously the lighting conditions, camera settings and general situation were not conducive to photography. Next up are the pictures of the260 prior to the show. These were taken with macro filters.










After seeing the finished results of this build I must say that this kit, while not without faults, can produce a very nice representation of this vehicle. Comments and questions welcomed.

Cheers,
Jan