How to Paint The Huntsman Tank - From Our Dieselpunk Collection
This tutorial has been written by our professional miniature painter, Marc.
The focus of this tutorial is on painting the Hunstman Tank, but the techniques discussed can be used to work on the other armoured vehicles included in this month’s collection, including The Goliath Combat Robot.
When it comes to painting tanks, I know many wargamers find the process to be a challenge. Talking to friends, it seems that this problem probably stems from the fact that many of the techniques used for painting tanks and armoured fighting vehicles are distinct from those used for painting infantry. But this is not an issue of ability, it's simply one of not yet knowing the correct skills required to get the most from your miniatures.
Therefore in this tutorial, we'll look at how painting a vehicle is different to painting soldiers. You can then use the structure and techniques to paint your own tank, even if you decide to go with a different colour scheme. In the guide, I'll refer to the paint name but at the end, I'll include a full list in case you have those colours in your own collection.
When mixing colours I've noted how many drops of each I used, and how many drops of water I thinned it down with. This may be different with your own paints, but it gives you a general idea.
If you'd like to support us in the work that we do each month, as well as get hold of the Huntsman Tank, you can subscribe on the Print Minis patreon page. The Huntsman is actually part of the Welcome Pack as soon as you sign up!
1. Start by making a mix comprised of 1 drop of Black with 3 drops of Bone White, and thinned sufficiently so that it will flow through your airbrush and produce a nice opaque finish (not a glaze, for example). Use this to spray most of your tank, leaving the deepest recesses, such as the vents, underneath the tank, and the recesses of the armour.
2. Now, take Bone White and thin as necessary to use with your airbrush. Using this, target the upper aspects of the hull. You'll want to cover approximately 60% of the hull with this layer.
3. For the final pre-shading layer, mix 1 drop of bone white with 1 drop of Dead White. Once again, thin as necessary for your airbrush. Use this to target the most exposed aspects of the hull, where light will most readily hit.
Painting The Armour
As mentioned, this tutorial makes heavy use of an airbrush. If you don't own an airbrush, I would recommend simply painting the tank using the grey tone shade of your choice, on which you can then apply the washes and the weathering techniques.
4. Using an airbrush, apply an even coat of Grey Dark Base over the entire tank. The covering should be wonderfully smooth. Apply additional coats, if necessary.
5. Now, pop some Grey base in your airbrush and thin as necessary. Cover 80-90% of the surface of the tank, leaving the previous coat visible in the recesses.
6. Continuing to develop the highlights, place some Grey Light Base in your airbrush and thin as required. You will cover approximately 60% of the hull with this mix, leaving the previous coats visible closer towards the shadows. Looking at the images, you can see that the top of the hull was targeted, but I highlighted along the bottom of the armoured skirts, leaving the top of the skirts darker.
7. For the penultimate grey coat, take Grey Highlight in your airbrush and thin as necessary. Develop the highlights that you previously established, covering approximately 30% of the surface this time.
8. For the final highlight, use a ratio of 1 drop of Grey Highlight mixed with 1 drop of Wolf Grey. Target the most extreme parts of the hull, where light will most readily hit the tank.
Using Enamel Washes For Shadows
9. Start by thinning 1 drop of Blue for Panzer Grey enamel wash with 1 drop of thinner. Take a fine pointed synthetic brush loaded with this, and carefully touch the tip into the recesses of the armour panels, and around the rivets. A small drop of enamel wash will be deposited, immediately flowing into the recesses (it's like magic, and saves so much time and effort!). Also, if you make a mistake, simply take a cotton bud loaded with thinner and wipe it away.
10. For the final shade step, we're going to apply a Black Wash enamel wash. Again, thin 1 drop of the enamel wash with 1 drop of thinner. Apply this using your fine pointed synthetic brush, but this time only apply to the deepest recesses. You don't need to apply this around the individual rivets. Leave it to fully dry before moving on to the weathering steps.
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Weathering Your Tank - Streaking
With weathering, you can go as light or as heavy as your imagination takes you. For example, you may want your tank to look almost factory fresh, with only a little worn metal showing around the hatch. Or it might be your preference to have the tank looking very world worn and used.
You don't have to follow my example; these steps simply act as a guide to enable you to weather your vehicle.
11. Out in the open, a tank will find itself subjected to the full force of the weather. Being exposed to rainwater will have the effect of slightly bleaching the colour of the hull paint. Therefore, the first weathering step that we're going to follow is creating the effect of water stains on the hull.
To achieve this we're going to use an oil paint (Abteilung Dust), a thinner, and a synthetic saw brush (sniper brushes and other synthetic brushes can be used, but the effect is easier and faster using the saw brush).
As shown in the image, apply small dots of Dust oil paint over the hull of the tank. The more oil you apply, the lighter and more stained an area will appear.
12. The next step is to transform these dots of oil paint into semi-transparent streaks that appear to be lightened parts of the hull.
Start by taking your brush and dipping it in the thinner. Remove any excess on kitchen paper (the brush should still be wet with thinner, but not heavily loaded).
Now use this brush, making quick but gentle swiping actions, over the surface of the tank. The bristles of the brush should be only just touching the surface of the vehicle. The brush strokes should be directed in the direction the rainwater would have flowed. Therefore, from the top of the hull towards the bottom. Gently brush an area until the dots have all become streaks, and until the streaks appear as they do in the image above.
If you do this too heavily, you'll remove all the oil paint, If this happens, simply apply more dots and try again. One of the joys of working with oil paints is that you can more readily correct your mistakes than you can with acrylic paints.
Oil paints have quite a long drying time, so you must be patient.
WEATHERING YOUR TANK - CHIPPING
13. We're now going to start to make the tank armour look increasingly aged and worn.
First, we'll start by making the hull paint appear chipped. One of the easiest (and I think most entertaining ways) to do this is using a piece of sponge. Sponging is a really great and accessible technique that ensures you retain some control as to where the chips will appear, whilst still producing a naturally random finish.
To make the sponging tool, simply take an old sponge (sponge from miniature packaging is often great for this), cut off a small section, and then make the edge a little rough by tearing away small bits.
For our miniature, dab the sponge in Burnt Umber. Remove any excess on a piece of kitchen paper. Now, dab the sponge around the edges of the armour, and anywhere else where you want the tank to appear worn. I always do this around hatches and hinges; paint is very unlikely to remain intact where there are moving metal on metal components.
14. There may be a few aspects that you wanted to appear chipped, but you couldn't effectively target them using the sponge. Therefore, use a brush to get these spots, again using Burnt Umber.
WEATHERING YOUR TANK - RUST
15. We've already determined that our vehicle has been exposed to weather, and I imagine that the exposed metal components would very quickly start to rust. As a result, we're going to have to apply a rust effect. A really great tool for creating rust effects is through the use of weathering pencils. AK Interactive Light Rust is perfect for the job. Simply take the pencil, dip it in water, and then apply dots of rust around to the areas where you've created the exposed metal effect.
16. The next step is to make the rust appear as if it's streaking down the hull of the tank. To achieve this, follow exact the same approach as you did to create the water streaks, but instead of using thinner, simply use water. Again, the saw brush is perfect for this technique, but a sniper brush might prove useful and give you tighter control (still using the gentle swiping technique).
Run your brush through the dots of paint applied by the weathering pencil to create a small streak.
17. We've now made the hull of the tank look aged and weathered, but there will be aspects of the tank where the bare metal has only just been uncovered, or gets knocked so frequently that rust does not have time to sufficiently develop. Therefore, the metal will still be nice and metallic, and we need to represent this on our vehicle.
To achieve this effect we're going to use possibly my favourite technique for weathering metal vehicles: using a soft graphite pencil (I used a 5B)! Simply take the side of the pencil tip and rub this over the raised edges of the hull.
When using the pencil, do not rub on the paint too vigorously, as you do not want to damage the paint beneath.
Professional Tip: You may want to make some areas look highly metallic (the rungs of the access ladder, for example). To do this, you can simply make your own graphite powder by scraping a knife along the side of the graphite pencil tip (always be careful when using a knife, and shave away from your yourself). Then take this powder on your fingertip, and rub your fingertip over the area that you want to make appear highly metallic.
Finally, seal in all of your hard work weathering using a varnish. I used a satin varnish, as this is the finish I wanted on the hull.
PAINTING THE METAL COMPONENTS
18. Paint the piping, grills, hinges, exhausts and any other bare metal component using One Coat Silver. Thin 4 drops with 1 drop of water. Make sure you get a smooth, opaque finish.
19. To make the pipes look greasy, dirty and used, we're now going to apply washes using inks.
Make a thick glaze by mixing 1 drop of Neutral Grey with 3 drops of Transparent Burnt Umber and 4 drops of Matte Medium (you can thin with water, but the consistency of the wash will be much thinner). The thickness of this glaze means you'll have great control over where it goes, and that that you spread it around on the miniature.
When applying this, I recommend applying near the source of a pipe (where it emerges from the hull). Do this relatively thickly, and then use a clean damp brush to feather out the glaze over the rest of the metal piping. This will produce an effect where it appears that most dirt and grime has collected near the source of the pipe.
Don't worry about being neat and tidy; dirt and grim is deposited in a random fashion anyway. It's even fine if your brush strokes spread this glaze onto the hull, as it will simply appear as if diesel or grease has spilled out. This is something very evidently done in relation to the legs/supports, where I painted oil dribbles down the side of the hull. My brush strokes were uneven and jagged, to make the spillages appear natural.
PAINTING THE VENTS
20. The aim here is to make it appear as if the vents have deposited filth along the side of the hull of the tank. This will look more effective if the deposit has a natural smooth transition, with it being more intense in appearance closer to the vent opening.
Therefore, this approach requires an airbrush. Take 3 drops of Neutral Grey Aero Color ink and thin with 2 drops of isopropyl alcohol. Carefully apply this on and around the underside of the vent opening, applying more ink new the vent.
Do not rush this process. Wait for it to dry and apply additional coats if you want to intensify the effect.
21. To add more depth to the colour on the side of the hull, spray 2 drops of Transparent Burnt Umber ink thinned with 2 drops of isopropyl alcohol. Again, do not rush this, leave it to dry and apply additional layers if you want to intensify the colour.
22. To make the deposit have a more matte finish, and to intensify the effect immediately around the vent opening, apply Old Grease pigment powder using an old brush.
If you don't have an old brush, you could simply dab Old Grease pigment powder around the vent opening with your fingertips, spreading it out and down towards the bottom of the armour plate.
PAINTING THE THRUSTERS
25. Sponge on Silver, targeting the raised aspects. As before, the sponging technique is used as it hits some of the raised aspects in an ad hoc and natural manner.
26. To create a hot and charred effect at the thruster opening, we're going to take an airbrush to apply some weathering. For the charred effect, take Carbon black, 1 drop thinned with 2 drops of isopropyl alcohol, and carefully target around the thruster opening. Once dry, apply additional Carbon Black if necessary.
To create the impression of heat damage, spray on and around the Carbon Black a Muted Violet Ink. If you don't own an airbrush, you can apply these inks as glazes, building up the layers to create a similar effect. Try to feather the edges of the glaze layer to create a smooth transition.
PAINTING THE LENSES
27. To pain the lenses, apply a foundation coat using Wolf Grey, thinning 4 drops with 1 drop of water. Your foundation should be perfectly smooth and opaque, and several coats may be required. Be careful when applying this layer, as you do not want to spoil your nicely painted tank! To make the painting of the lenses easier, I didn't glue the hatch into place until after it was painted.
28. Once dry, start to develop the reflections. Mix 2 drops of Wolf Grey with 2 drops of Ice Storm, and thin with 2 drops of water. Paint an edge highlight around the edges of the lens, whilst also painting a line diagonally from top to bottom.
29. Develop the reflection further. Take 2 drops of Ice Storm thinned with 1 drop of water and apply this where you highlighted earlier. However, leave some of the previous stage visible around it.
30. Again, follow the same approach, this time mixing 1 drop of Ice Storm with1 drop of white and thinning with a drop of water.
31. Finish with pure white. Thin 1 drop of white with 1 drop of water, and apply a thin line along the middle of the diagonal line. You can smooth the transitions by applying a glaze made from 1 drop of Wolf Grey, 1 drop of Ice Storm, and thinned with 6 drops of water. Apply this glaze over the whole of the lens. You may want to retouch the white aspects after applying this.
Finally, you can finish off your tank with a matte varnish to protect all your hard work.
PAINTING THE weapons
With our Huntsman, you'll find over 8 different weapon options to choose from to go in the front and back! You can use this guide for painting the hull of the tank, including the weathering, for painting the weapons.
For guns, focus your highlights on the mid point of the barrel.
The key to making a gun look effective is to weather the muzzle. This can be done using an airbrush, but I find pigment powders produce a more natural effect. Simply load up a large brush with gun powder colour pigment (I used Old Grease, from Wilder), and dab it over the end of the muzzle. You'll want to create a faded effect, where the pigment is applied more intensely towards the end of the muzzle. I fixed this in place by giving the whole gun a spray with a satin varnish.
The Finished Tank
We hope you enjoyed this tutorial! Please post pictures of your printed and painted tanks on social media using #printminis 🙂
The Paints I Used
- Grey Dark Base, Ammo Mig
- Grey Base, Ammo Mig
- Grey Light Base, Ammo Mig
- Grey High Light, Ammo Mig
- Wolf Grey, Vallejo Game Air
- Black, Vallejo Game Air
- Bonewhite, Vallejo Game Air
- Dead White, Vallejo Game Air
- Blue for Dark Grey Filter, Ammo Mig
- Blue for Panzer Grey enamel wash, Ammo Mig
- Black Wash enamel wash, Ammo Mig
- Odorless Thinner, AK Interactive (enamel thinner);
- Vallejo Gloss Varnish
- Vallejo Satin Varnish
- Dust oil, Abteilung
- Oil Expert Enhancing Medium, Vantage Model Solutions (oil thinner);
- Burnt Umber, Model Color
- Light Rust weathering pencil, AK Interactive
- 5B graphite pencil
- Silver One Coat, Warcolour
- Neutral Grey Acrylic Ink, Aero Color
- Transparent Burnt Umber Acrylic Ink, Liquitex
- Matte Medium, Liquitex
- Old Grease Pigment, Wilder
- Carbon Black Acrylic Ink, Liquitex
- Muted Violet Acrylic Ink, Liquitex
- Wolf Grey, The Army Painter Warpaints
- Ice Storm, The Army Painter Warpaints
- White acrylic paint