WW2 colonial French ‘Dodge Tanake’


The latest addition to my WW2 colonial French army is a Dodge Tanake, seen here leading an unlikely column along a road somewhere in North Africa (‘unlikely’, as some of these vehicles never saw concurrent service with each other in real-life).

The Perry Miniatures model is delightful, bringing to life this curious vehicle. It went together well, with all parts fitting superbly.

I painted my Tanake as a French Foreign Legion vehicle, using this amazing radio control model (albeit somewhat larger scale) as a painting-guide.

I didn’t have any French Foreign Legion decals, but managed to produce the ace of spades door insignia by applying two different Gaso-Line decals on top of each other. I then dry-brushed them with sand colour to tone them into the battered paintwork.

You’ll see that after I took the header picture for this article, I realised the white outlining didn’t stand out against the sand background colour. So I added some light pencil outlines around the white, as seen in the picture below.


In terms of my painting, this one has probably turned out my least favourite so far of the four vehicles I’ve completed. The camouflage was quite fiddly, and in the end I don’t think I have done it justice.

The weathering and dust effect didn’t carry off as well as my other vehicles. I feel that it looks more like a rather badly painted and battered model, than a real vehicle that has been weathered by sand and sun. Still, being only the fourth WW2 model  I’ve ever painted, I can’t expect expert results immediately!


Edit (following day): I was really bothered by the way the paint-job turned out, so today I made some adjustments.  I narrowed the white lines, changed the sand colour to a slightly darker ‘milky coffee’ hue, and added some black marks to indicate chipping.  I’m much happier with it now (see the pic below):


Anyway, four vehicles down – just the R35 tank and the 75mm artillery-piece to go, then I’ll start on the Legionnaires themselves. This will include the three crew and the driver of the Tanake, who should really bring this strange vehicle to life.


4 thoughts on “WW2 colonial French ‘Dodge Tanake’

  1. I reckon it looks really good. One of the reasons you might not like it as much is because some of the detail is difficult to see in the block colours.

    Sneaky modellers get round this by doing ‘pin washes’ – essentially a localised wash that just goes into the detail, and not across the whole surface. There are various ways to do this, with the most complex being to gloss varnish the vehicle, then use thinned oil paint, which is rubbed off outside panel lines/hinges and so on. (the vehicle gets a matt varnish afterwards of course..) The cheats way is to grab a Citadel ink and then just carefully apply a small drop to hinges etc.

    Depending on the age of the vehicle. you might also want rust streaks (not so much in the desert), but also dust build up. The cheapest nastiest way to do this is to grate a pastel crayon to get some dust, apply varnish where you want it to go, then gently sprinkle over the spots. Make sure to seal afterwards. There are a ton of weathering products on the market, but most of them can be reproduced pretty easily and cheaply.

    Most of the pictures I have seen of desert vehicles that have been there for any length of time show very significant paint chipping and abrasions, I can only imagine from all the rocks, sand-storms etc. Done carefully, this can look really really good. One suggestion would be to buy a really cheap plastic kit, and then experiment on it before you try anything fancy with rather expensive castings.

I hope I've given you something to think about - please do leave a comment with your thoughts or reactions.

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