Grot Tank: Dazzle
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Thread: Grot Tank: Dazzle

  1. #1

    Default Grot Tank: Dazzle

    I wanted to post some details about the Grot Tank I did for the French GD (http://www.coolminiornot.com/320968?browseid=3800737) covering the concept and the work in progress. This was originally posted over on http://www.schrodingersbox.co.uk/ but I thought it would be good to consolidate things and provide a place to ask questions if anyone has any.


    It started with the idea of using naval style “Dazzle” camouflage on a vehicle but this got me thinking about approaches to painting and the use of camouflage in general. Whatever painting technique or effect you use the general reason for using it will be to create a result with readability and focus. If painting a vehicle you can use weathering to highlight the edges of panels and reveal the detail, on a figure you can play with tone and value to make each piece of clothing distinct and provide focus on the face. Many a German soldier gets painted with oak leaf camouflage, but they don’t tend to be placed in pile of orange autumn shrubbery so you can’t actually see the figure.

    The sole purpose of dazzle camouflage is to deliberately break up the shape of the object, to prevent its easy identification, the pattern should deliberately cross the detail of the piece. In effect the pattern is directly at odds with making the figure readable. And for those more interested in the history of the effect itself some details can be found on Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dazzle_camouflage





    The first main step would be coming up with the design, but before I even got that far, I had a couple of additional ideas about the setting. Originally I was just going to do the tank with its commander but a few hours walking to work and back for a couple of weeks gives you plenty of time to think of stuff and it occurred to me that the blunderbuss like barrel I had could look quite good with another grot hanging off the end loading it. And maybe I should have another grot sitting on the back like an infantryman catching a ride. And the loader would need someone to pass him the ammo. And by the time I’d finished I needed to order ForgeWorld’s grot mechanics.

    So while constructing the base and converting the crew I worked on the design for the pattern. Some initial ideas were simply sketched out on a sheet of paper while researching various ship patterns on Google. Then I took a set of pictures of the tank from both sides, front, back and all four corners which I printed out and used to transfer the patterns onto the vehicle and work out how it would match up from one side to the other. I had thought I could then use masking tape to air brush the pattern onto the tank but the overlapping plates and rivets made it impossible so the pattern had to be applied by hand.







    Happy with the work on the basic pattern, I wanted to work out the other main colours on the piece, notably the base as these would affect the weathering. The base had been made from a couple of layers of cork tile to give it some depth with some other pieces of cork placed to give a slight upwards slope from the back right corner to the front left. This was then covered in tile adhesive because I have a large tub of the stuff from some actual DIY work and provides a very cheap way of bulking out the base as well as giving a slight texture. So if you need a cheap alternative to tubs of texture paste it is worth giving it a go although it is bit porous so a coat of diluted PVA is worthwhile. .

    I also took the opportunity to embed a couple of Imperial Guard helmets into the base at this point to add some additional points of interest. I thought about adding some barbed wire but felt I needed to place all the other elements first before doing that and I was also going to place an unexploded shell near one of the tracks but never got around to it …

    With the colours of the base decided it was then possible to work on the tracks and the initial weathering. Going for a very dark metallic for the tracks allowed the orange dirt tones to stand out and I could finally get a proper impression of the overall effect of the pattern.





  2. #2

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    This left the turret as the last main area requiring basic work. It had to be kept separate from the body of the tank because I knew it would be too unwieldy to paint easily if attached. As such it needed not just the basic colour scheme working on but all the main weathering and chipping as well. In addition I had actually left the turret out of the pattern designs so I sort of had to make it up as I went along and account for the fact that the turret itself it turned a few degrees to the left.

    I continued the basic layout of the dark/pale pattern over the edges of the turret, but left the barrel and speakers free on any significant design work. And the console itself was done in a sort of bronze metallic with a nice red button for firing the gun. At this point some chipping and scratches were also applied notably at the end of the barrel so work could progress on the grot loader without getting any dark paint sponged onto him …

    The painting of the loader actually proved quite problematic due to my poor conversion skills but careful tweaking with a new blade in the craft knife and the delicate addition of small amounts of extra putty got things into shape as the painting progressed. Meanwhile final touches were being added to the rest of the turret. The band in the middle of the barrel finally got a touch of metallic paint. A great deal more grime and wear was added in general and some Tamiya Clear Smoke used to add a hint of oil in places.






    With the work on the turret completed it would be possible to attach it to the body of the tank, match up the main colours and complete the work on the weathering (Using a sponge to add chips and scratches while having a damp brush handy to remove any unwanted marks) to the body of the tank and also matching up oil stains. Before this however it was necessary to add any transfers so they could be weathered at the same time.







    With the tank mostly finished it was time to move onto the supporting elements, the crew and terrain features. I started with the radio operator as the only one of the crew connected to both the tank and the ground. Getting him placed allowed me to work on the barbed wire fence to add extra interest to the front corner of the base, using small amounts of tile adhesive to help fix each element in place as it was added, a process repeated as each figure was added to the base, carefully matching the ground to their feet and removing any gaps.







    After fixing the crew in place I decided I should add some pigment to the tile adhesive before doing the same to the tank tracks. It wouldn’t be an exact match, but it would give a much closer base colour to work from. The paste is very easy to work with a damp brush so it was no trouble to add small lumps alongside of the tanks and then use the brush to push it into the tracks themselves.

    The paste was also used across the tops of the tracks as well as the front, back and sides of the tank itself, although I was rather sparing of the weathering on the body of the vehicle. I’d decided it was a generally dry dusty area and I didn’t really want to cover the front and sides of the tank with mud splatter.






    Last edited by PrawnPower; 12-27-2012 at 06:46 PM.

  3. #3

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    Nice one Conrad
    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v433/freak-in-a-cage/freakinacage-1.jpg

  4. #4

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    Hey beautiful work!! Congrats on the trophy!

  5. #5

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    Very nice little tank!
    "Reality, she's a mathematical bitch from hell.", MaxedOutMama
    Wanna be bored? Watch me twitter. --<>-- Still have neurons? Watch my YouTube channel on painting!
    Want to know when to fry your neurons? My painting twitter will announce the videos.
    To judge how far to follow my advice, consider this: ---<>--- Slappin' paint on minis since 2006

  6. #6

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    Im not a fan of camo, but in this case I find exception. Very cool!
    Wait!!!Before you vote, try squinting and see if it helps you to realize my artistic vision... No, well go ahead then. I didn't think you would get it anyway.


  7. #7

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    Thanks for the kind words, it was a fun experiment and certainly gave me a lot of pointers to whatever vehicle I paint next
    Last edited by PrawnPower; 12-29-2012 at 05:14 PM.

  8. #8

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    Dazzle Camo - Totally forgot about that. I hear that it actually worked, strange as that may sound. Love the little tank. You did a great job on it!
    Surrealism: You have two giraffes. The government requires you to take harmonica lessons.

  9. #9

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    Really nice. Love the write up as well

  10. #10

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    Amazingly well done! I love the sketch before you put paint on the tank. It looks like a crazy abstract art sketch. The trophy was well deserved.

  11. #11

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    Always found the idea of dazzle camo to be interesting. I hear that it was effective. Couldn't find much on it but here's a little video about it. Hope you don't mind me putting this in here.

    Surrealism: You have two giraffes. The government requires you to take harmonica lessons.

  12. #12

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    Glad you liked the write up and the sketch, trying to get the patterns to match up across the front and go from mostly light to mostly dark was hard work And I don't mind the vidoe link at all, I hadn't actually seen that so was good to watch. Thanks.

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