When Britain fielded the first tanks in 1916, they were hastily camouflaged in a wide range of bright schemes that soon got covered in the Flanders mud. So it didn't take long for a uniform "Khaki" drab to gain popularity. Opinions range as to the exact appearance of this paint, but "turd brown" is probably a fair interpretation!
Until now there hasn't been much on offer to match this colour "Out of Bottle", so AK's set is perfectly timed to go with the new crop of Mk IVs and Mk Vs coming out to commemorate the centenary of the Great War. I was sent a set with my Takom Mk IV Male review sample, so naturally I needed to put them to the test!
Inside a plastic box are three eyedropper-style bottles marked "Base", Shadow", and "Highlight". The paint itself is fairly thin, so I figured it was best airbrushed rather than hand-painted.
It took me ages to get my kit to the point where paint could flow. First I applied a neutral grey primer - Halford's grey auto primer spray - and then I added pre-shading with Tamiya matte brown along panel lines and undersides. Then I cleaned the airbrush and squeezed some Base into the paint cup, which flowed easily through the brush without needing to be thinned. I intentionally tried to use thin coats to let the pre-shade show through, so the pressure was cranked down and the needle restricted to get a nice thin application. Highlighting of panel centres followed, and then I hit the undersides and "lower reaches" with the Shadow paint. The results were very satisfying!
I did notice that heavy applications tend to show more green tint than thin layers - which I suppose is to be expected of a colour based originally on Khaki. Also, the bottles need a good shake before using, as they separate out quickly. I also tried to brush-paint them on one of the 6pdr guns, but they are very thin. I had to use several coats, and even then it was best if I let the paint get a little dry on the palette before loading up my paintbrush. But don't leave it TOO long - acrylics go from liquid to solid with little warning!
By the way, I think my 1:35 tank used about 1/3 of the Base bottle, and a lot less of the other two, so I expect to get at least three tanks done from this one set.
I like the colour this set provides. It looks nicely "brown" in the right light, but can get a bit green if put on too heavy. Add a pin-wash of raw umber on the details and it looks the business.
Highs: Ready for the airbrush, three shades allows great depth of effect, looks very WWI.Lows: Too thin to brush paint, separates out quickly so needs shaking before each use.Verdict: A very handy set for painting British armour after the initial schemes on the Somme proved unnecessary.
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