Painting Dragon's Tiger I (#6252)

For coverage of Vinnie's build-up of Dragon's Tiger I (#6252 - 3 in 1 Initial Production Type) follow this link

Part Two of Building Dragonís Tiger I covers painting this big cat and final weathering.

I had left most of the major parts separate to facilitate painting. This included the turret roof, the cupola, all the hatches, hull roof, various tools and the bracket for the spare track links.

Every item was now given an all-over coat of Tamiya XF- 69 NATO Black, and allowed to harden for 24 hours. After this I used Tamiya XF-24 Dark Grey, again all over, but only a very thin coat.

Next was Tamiya XF-53 Neutral Grey, first of all in the centre of all panels and avoiding all hull fitting etc. This will result in a marked demarcation line between the very dark grey and the lighter grey, which can then be lessened, and blended in by an all over light misting of the lighter grey. I now turned to Tamiya XF-66 Light Grey to again spray an all-over coat with again, a slight emphasis on the centre of panels etc.

The tracks and tyres were next, these being brush painted, again with NATO Black in preparation for the next stage.

The decals
The decals supplied by Dragon are by Cartograf, and as such are high quality. They slide free of their backing sheet almost immediately upon contact with water so I did not hang around when applying them. As soon as I had them in place I swamped them with Micro Sol and left them to dry before gently cleaning any surplus adhesive off with a damp cotton bud. Be aware, if you choose to use Micro Sol, that although the results are fantastic, once applied, the decal cannot be touched until dry, as it does also soften the paint beneath the decal.

There must be as many different ways of weathering a model, as there are modellers out there. The method I describe here can in no way be represented as the 'correct' way. It is simply the way I choose. I only hope that by describing it, fellow modellers may see something, which can be of use to them in improving their own models.

I began by making quite a concentrated solution of burnt umber oil in white spirit. The reason for using white spirit is that it will not affect the underlying layers of acrylic paint, and if mistakes are made, then white spirit can easily be used to remove the applied wash and begin again. When I had achieved the correct consistency, I used a #30 brush to place a drop of the solution around all fittings and in all weld seams, etc. The satin coat I had earlier applied prevented this wash from spreading by capillary action, since a normal matt coat acts somewhat like a piece of blotting paper, and any liquid applied tends to spread to look like a greasy stain, an effect that can be used under different circumstances. After giving this wash some time to dry, I used cotton buds dipped in white spirit to remove all the excess.

I now turned again to the tracks and using a small stiff brush, gave them a good dusting with light brown powdered chalk pastel, rubbing it hard into all the small crevices and between the links themselves. The returning to the main hull I dry-brushed it to bring out the detail. We are all familiar with the technique of dry-brushing, but for those beginning, a clean and dry brush is loaded with paint, then with a paper towel, as much paint as possible is scrubbed off, and then the brush is lightly dusted over the surface to be dry-brushed, and if done correctly, a very subtle highlighting of the edges will appear. The hull of this Tiger was dry-brushed with Humbrol Matt Black. This gives the effect of worn metal. The classic dry-brushing technique is to use a lighter shade of the main colour. It just never looks realistic to me? Worn metal does not appear to be lighter in colour, it appears darker surely?

The parts that were not yet attached to the model were now fixed permanently in place, and an interesting problem arose. I had masked off the glass portion of the periscopes in both the driver and machine gunners hatches, and I had also painted and weathered the outside of the hatches, so I could brush paint the inside of the hatches white, but I always find white such a difficult colour to brush paint successfully, and so I wanted to spray them. Masking the grey lip around the inside of the hatches would be a problem, until I realised that it was not necessary. I just sprayed the inside white and then ran the paintbrush loaded with grey around the lip to restore the correct colour. These too were given a wash of burnt umber with the method described above.

I now added various touches of neat burnt umber oil, and with an almost dry brush, dragged them down to give the appearance of rust runs. Then a misting of Tamiya XF- 52 Flat Earth around the bottom of the hull to give the appearance of dust thrown up by the road and I was close to finishing. The only remaining task was to scrub a little powdered graphite around areas of wear to simulate bare metal, particularly on the tracks were they contact the road surface, and hatch handles etc.

End Game
There you have it - a finished Tiger, and surely the most complete, detailed and accurate kit that Dragon has produced to date. I have enjoyed myself immensely building this big cat, and with the addition of the figures from Dragon Tiger Aces (#6028) and a bit of licence painting their uniforms to represent those from a couple of years before, I hope to place it in a suitable diorama setting, to display it at its best!
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About the Author

About Vinnie Branigan (Teacher)