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Builder Basics: How to weather tracks on an assault gun

Painting and dirtying the tracks and wheels on a a Finnish BT-42
RELATED TOPICS: ARMOR | WEATHERING
38FSMHB0320_00a
In the March 2020 issue of FSM (purchase your copy here!), I weathered the nitty-gritty on Tamiya's 1/35 scale Finnish BT-42 with dirt and dust. Here is how I painted and weathered the tracks on this World War II assault gun.


01WeatheringTamiyaFinnishBT42
The road wheels were first painted with Ammo by Mig Jimenez rubber. I used Ammo products throughout.


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When dry, I masked off the tires using a plastic round template. This type of mask is easy and quick to use and produces sharp-enough lines between the colors.


03WeatheringTamiyaFinnishBT42
I replaced the kit’s tracks with white-metal ones from Friulmodel (I do this for most of my armor builds). I first dry-fitted them to the BT-42. I left a few track pins off because I’ve found that Friulmodel tracks expand in length a little bit with heavy weathering and by then it’s impossible to remove excess pins if needed.


04WeatheringTamiyaFinnishBT42
I sprayed them with a dark rust mix of brown and black Ammo One Shot primers.


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After cleaning my airbrush thoroughly, I mixed old rust and dark rust and sprayed this in a random pattern across the entire length of track.


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Medium rust and shadow rust on a short-bristled brush were flicked over the tracks by moving my finger through the bristles. This softened the harsh look of the previous painting steps.


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A wash of old rust came next. I diluted the paint 3:1, water to paint.


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After the wash was dry, all of the raised details were picked up with a small sponge dipped in a dark rust color.


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Here are the tracks so far, before I began weathering with three different tones of pigments. I worked with dark earth, European earth, and Russian earth.


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I applied these pigments randomly around track with an old, but still soft brush. While I did work them in, I did not blend the three colors together completely.


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Enamel thinner fixed the loose pigments in place. I let drops of thinner fall from my brush to avoid touching and moving the pigments. I then let them dry.


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For a more uniform and caked-on look, I mixed loose ground with more enamel thinner and flicked it across the tracks. Again, I let this dry.


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A small spatula or toothpick helped apply wet mud down the centerline of the tracks.


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I then spread the mud across the tracks with an old brush. I let this dry overnight.


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Even with the mud and dirt, the raised areas on the tracks and where the wheels hit would still gleam metallic. To bring this out, I sanded the raised areas with sandpaper. The natural white-metal now shines through. The tracks and wheels were now ready to be attached.

Pick up the March 2020 issue here to see how I weathered the rest of my Finnish BT-42.

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