A Pun about Fifty Shades

Recently I have been painting my early war German army for Flames of War. About a month ago I had the army list planned out, and I had ordered the models for it. Meantime I was gathering some reference material for the project, and I happened to found a great article about painting dunkelgrau using a different color modulation technique I was used to. I had to get me some panzer right away to try that out. I went through a few retailers in Helsinki, and managed to gather totally five 1/100 Panzer II’s from Zvezda. A full tank platoon, for under 20€. Not bad.

The painting article, “Fifty Shades of Grau: a new approach to colour” was from Military Illustrated Modeller -magazine, October 2012 issue (from the time when the joke was funny). I didn’t repeat the process step by step, but I took the main idea: Doing a color modulation on tank by first painting it with black and white, and then applying a thin layer of the main color. Normally when I paint vehicles and use a color modulation technique, I do start with the black and white stage, but I consider that to be more like sketching what I’m bout to do with different tones of the main color:

Now the idea was that the pre-modulation, if you will, with black and white would do the job. I really enjoy painting mono colored vehicles, because it really challenges you to do stuff in order to make the vehicle’s surfaces look interesting. With camouflage you got little less options, I think, because you don’t want that there are too many things going on, in this scale anyway. So in the article the author did some washing and chipping/weathering before the main color. I used a blue toned wash, and dark brown for chipping. After that, just a few minutes job to paint a light coat of gray.

The base color done, it was time to tell a story with decals and weathering. The army I’m working on is from Balkan campaign -41, when the German forces invaded Greece. I learned that 2nd Panzer Division was part of the invasion force, and since my last army was 2nd Panzer Division in -45, it was obvious that I had to do early war panzers of the same division. I had to improvise a bit with the decals, since these are pretty damn small tanks.

When I studied about German 39-41 tank markings, I learned that early on some panzers had a white rectangle painted on the back of the hull for air recognition. I do not know how common that was, but I thought it was a cool detail so I painted a few of those. I used chipping fluid to give them a worn look, since I understood that it was really done around 39-40.

Shadows were added with a brown enamel wash, and highlights were done with various artistic oils. I also used some enamel products to add dust and dirt, mainly on the track guards.

I hope you enjoyed and got something out of this.

– Immo

P.S. Don’t hold your breath for the finished king tiger, that went south after the main color.

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