2 x Pz.Kpfw.IV ausf. D #05
Every modeller has certain tools that they could not do without, and for me one of them is the airbrush. In the beginning I used aerosol cans for the base colour and hand painted the rest. Although it got the job done, I never managed to get the effects I seen other modellers accomplish. After asking for advice at a local IPMS club meeting, the majority of responses promted the purcahse of an “Evolution” airbrush from Harder & Steenbeck.
It took some time to learn control, but with practise it became easier and allowed for more free-hand painting, as well as making the whole painting process quite enjoyable. For the majority of airbrushing work, I use Tamiya paints thinned with T-röd (red-coloured ethanol). They are available locally and easy to clean up, also using T-röd.
When using non-workable individual tracks, I prefer to assemble them on the model before painting. I like to have as much built as possible before painting begins. I use a shaft that screws into a pre-drilled hole in the hull bottom for holding the vehicle itself, and an empty toilet-roll tube cut to fit inside the turret. As the Tamiya model has a basic turret interior with basket, I couldn’t insert the toilet roll tube, so I taped it to the outside instead … both to hold and to protect the already painted interior.
I don’t normally prime models, but as the Tamiya kit had so many different coloured plastic and etch pieces, I gave it a light spray with an aerosol hobby primer from Biltema. This is as good as any of the much more expensive options from the popular paint manufacturers. Then I spray the whole bottom hull, running gear and exhaust with an earth-brown Tamiya mix. It is very important to get good coverage with this first coat. No plastic should remain visible. Less care is needed later and any misses will show this colour and it will appear to be dirt. The airbrush will be able to spray into every crevice and hard to see spot that would be visible.
The next stage is to prime the rest of the model with a hull-red primer mix. Between the road-wheels and the turrets are also sprayed with the same hull-red colour. I don’t worry too much about exact colours and don’t have any recipes for mixes. I just mix some colours until I get something that feels right. The side door has been left off the Tamiya model to paint separately as it will be left open to show the interior. The late cupola has also been kept separate to paint separately, to show it as a different hue of grey and hopefully give it the appearance of a replaced cupola.
The next stage is to paint the tyres. Keeping the air brush as close as possible to them, this works pretty well. I use each front tyre as a mask to spray the back tyre and not on the primer colour between them. Over spray is not a problem here as the hull will be painted grey afterwards and the tracks can be touched up with a brush.
Finally the panzer grey is sprayed on. The Hulls and turrets are completely covered, as are the wheel centres. When this has dried, I lighten this colour with some white and also thin it some more, and spray in the middle of all panels to fade them some. This allows the contours and details of the model to stand out and also give them some depth. This stage is repeated once or twice more until a nice pre-shading effect is achieved.