Now this post is something old, something new.
To put everything into context, I have been wargaming World War II for about two decades ago. Back when I started there was not too much around. The big names were Black Tree and Artizan. My choice of miniatures, namely Victory Force Miniatures, was exotic, especially when living in Europe.
Bolt Action (not the game, but the company that would later be sold on to Warlord to form the nucleus for the game of said name) was still a twinkle in Paul Hicks eyes. Due to that vehicles were far and few in between.
You had the choice between a few small ranges from the US and Canada and the old Bandai kits in 1:48th scale. I went for the later, partly due to the fact that I was able to acquire a largish batch of both assembled (in various stages of disrepair) and unassailabled state.
Not that the choices for paints were much better. Tamiya and Vallejo both had ranges far below the size the are today and AK and Ammo were not even in existence. Same went for colour guides.
So why am I rambling like this. Well to underline that some of my choices when it came to painting things were a bit… let’s just say experimental. Some were good or OK even by today’s standards (like you will see later on), others were completely out of the park (like the one that led to the repaint of all my American tanks two years ago).
But with those that were fine… well weathering back then was usually a fine mist of dust airbrushed on around the tracks. No longer up to the standards I use today. Obviously this means a distinct visual difference between the new and the old. So those old models that will not require a complete makeover, will be brought up to date as time goes on. The plan right now is to do a few every time I work on new vehicles.
The ones I decided to start off with are the workhorses of the German armies, the Panzerkampfwagen IV. In this case the H version.
Just to give you an idea what they looked like before, here is a couple of pictures pulled from the archives:
So what do they look like now? Let’s start with turret number 311, or as it is called now… turret number 126.
As you can (hopefully) see I added chipping to the edges, scratches to the Schürzen (they often scratched against the vegetation or buildings, leading to them being ripped off or scratched), rust streaks, a wash to give it all more definition and a filter to blend the colours in a more natural way. Now all of these were applied to the other tanks (old and new) as well, so I will not repeat myself there.
So why the new turret number? To make sure the decals would not detach when working with the washes and filters, I gave all the decals two coats of varnish a couple of days before I started. I might have done so back when I originally painted these, but since I could not remember anymore, I felt better safe than sorry. And it worked on all the other tanks, but not this one. With the decals rubbing off I also had some more freedom here. The paint job (field applied Hinterhalttarnung variation) is distinctly late war (fall / winter 1944 or later), but the old turret number were more mid war. So I went full later war with white outline stencilled numbers.
Turret number 713 aka „Styx“ also has more of a late war vibe to it. Around 20 years ago I saw newsreel footage of a StuG III somewhere on the Eastern Front taken sometime during the last two or three months of the war. It featured broad brown roughly vertical bands with green lines snaking around them on the skirts. I found that camo impressive, especially since the green lines would „hide“ behind the brown on every second crossing, giving that camo forced perspective. So I decided to use it on a PzKw IV.
I will probably change the tank commander miniature later on though. While a black uniform would not be out of the question late war, the Schiffchen does not feel right.
Turret number 304 has more of a mid-1944 feel to it. So I felt this would be the perfect one to add “some” foilage against allied fighter bombers. I decided against that for the two above. After all those are for the late fall 1944 onwards period, when tanks featured no leafie braches any more (you do not find those during the cold months).
Only half of the PzKw IV were painted with rust on the exhausts. Since these would usually rust fast in real life, I wanted them all this way. And since I wanted a uniform look on all of them, I simply redid them all.
Turret number 313 had features a camo of diagonal stripes often seen during 1944 and would have been a fine candidate for foilage as well. But back then it took me a whole evening to cut the skirts to turn them into field workshop chicken wire Schürzen and I did not want foilage to distract from them.
Rounding off the PzKw IV family is a Flakpanzer Wirbelwind.
This is a New Millennium Toys model that were available for cheap in the US for a short time nearly two decades ago. The paint job was absolutely horrible and so I redid that ages ago. It received the same treatment as the others. It is still awaiting its crew. I still have a crew from Eurekas Jurassic Reich range that fits it well. But right now it’s whereabouts on the lead mountain are unknown, so until I find them, it will remain uncrewed.
Some of the details on the model are weak (or utterly wrong), but one can hardly complain for a model that cost less than 10 US$ back then.
And ending the old ones is a Raupenschlepper Ost or short RSO.
I painted this one ago based on a photo of one in a museum (most likely not an original paint job, but I liked it. Last year I decided to use it as the tow for my Fallschirmjäger PaK 40, which got a matching paint job last year.
Kicking off the new is a Styer 1500a radio truck. I absolutely love the Styer for its rounded chassis and when I saw a conversion kit for the 1:48th scale Tamiya kit it was a must have for me. The rack for the fuel canisters on the roof is scratch build.
This one will serve as the radio truck for my late war Fallschirmjäger force, so this was a good time to paint it. The keen eyed amongst you will notice, that it sports Heer and not Luftwaffe number plates. Well in the end it will also serve as the radio truck for other rosters, so I went with those plates that fit most of my forces.
Personally I think the sky reflecting in the windows will need towing down… what do you think?
And rounding things off is a StuG III to complete a unit started three years ago. It felt like a good time, since they will be required to provide some armoured support to my Fallschirmjäger when needed.
Unfortunately it turned out a little darker than the old ones. I am sure I used the same shade of Dunkelgelb as I did back then. So I can only assume I used a different wash or filter. But to be honest… a lot of vehicles even within the same platoon usuall looked quite different. This is due to the fact that most vehicles were camouflaged by their recipients and that the paints came as pastes that needed to be mixed with liquids before application. They could be mixed with virtually anything (water, fuel, fuel oil, all kinds of oils and spirits) and applied by any means (airbrushed, brushed on, rubbed on with paper, rags, bare hands,…) which led to vastly different shades. So I can live with it.
Looking at the photos I realised, that the radio truck and StuG are both missing some dust. This shall be rectified when I next break out my airbrush.
This is it for today. For all of you who noticed all the Fallschirmjäger references… stay tuned for the next post, which will be a massive one!