I’ve finally started work on the vehicles for my WW2 colonial French army. These are resin and metal models by Perry Miniatures, Mad Bob Miniatures and Neucraft Models, designed to go with 28mm figures.
I’m relatively new to resin tank models. So my first problem was how to go about prepping resin kits before assembling and painting. I had read somewhere that the usual wash with soapy water that I give my metal models isn’t enough to remove the release agent used in the resin-casting process. And that to prevent paint peeling off resin, you need to use white spirits or similar.
However, asking around on several forums, I found that most people do in fact just use a soapy wash and a good scrub with a toothbrush, followed by automotive primer. In other words, the exact same technique I use for all my miniatures anyway. So that’s going to be easy!
First step was assembly. In some cases, I had to look closely at pictures of the real thing on the internet to find out how the models go together. The Perry Miniatures 75mm gun was a particular puzzle, but I think it came out OK. Full marks to Mad Bob Miniatures for having excellent assembly instructions on their website. And the Mad Bob Models were a cinch, having a minimal numbers of parts.
I added some miscellaneous baggage items onto some of the vehicles. I also added figures, using the French tank commanders set by Warlord Games. It’s a shame that one figure in this set is pretty well useless (a full figure lounging awkwardly and waving a bottle in his hand). However, the other three figures were perfect, albeit some needed cutting down to fit into the hatches of one of the Berliet VUDB armoured personnel carriers and the Laffly AM50 armoured car. Neucraft Models again get good marks for having an opening hatch on their R35 tank, in which the commander figure sits perfectly!
Once assembled, the automotive primer was applied. This needed two coats to ensure both the top and underneath of each model was completely covered. I always use black, which gives good depth to the final model. When sprayed, all the metal and resin components come together, and the models start looking complete.
The next step is one I use on all my miniatures, whether figures or vehicles. I find a straight black undercoat makes it difficult to see the detail when painting. So I dry-brush the black undercoat with light grey. This is one of favourite steps in painting miniatures, as it makes the detail really pop (click on the above photo to enlarge it and see what I mean). It also adds another level of highlighting when it is covered by the final paint colours, as the grey background is more translucent than the black.
Actually, I love the final effect of this dry-brushing so much, that I sometimes think I shouldn’t bother painting the models any further at all, they look so good! But of course, I do intend to paint them further … that’s in my next posting.