Book Review
SBS Finishing Guide T-34/76
Step-by-step Vol 15, Finishing Russian Armor – T-34/76 Model 1941 Eastern Front
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by: Tom Cromwell [ BARKINGDIGGER ]


Glenn Bartolotti has been writing a series of step-by-step guides with each aimed at a specific vehicle. These are available as cheap downloads from his website, and seem aimed at the modeller who is progressing from simple finishes to something more applicable to modelling contests.

At this point I must point out that I reviewed an earlier SBS guide (Vol 10, Tiger I) a while back and was unhappy about its general lack of detail given the audience. I offered to review this new one with some trepidation, but I am glad I did.

Content & technical

Glenn’s finishing guides fall into a standard format of a PDF file in landscape layout. This one is 15 pages long with 2 pages for titles, 1 page on materials, 1 page of vehicle history, 1 page regarding the build, a 1-page advert at the end, and 9 pages dedicated to painting and weathering the model. The “meat” is laid out with two stages in the process per page, each with a photo of the model on the left and a paragraph of descriptive text on the right. Key words are highlighted with purple text, but these are not hyperlinks as I would normally expect in a digital document. The pages can be printed for convenience, and with this document I found I could zoom images to nearly 200% before they became noticeably pixellated.


Once past the introductory pages this guide settles into a logical description of painting and weathering stages. I was less than pleased with the earlier Tiger SBS volume since it covered so many things but offered limited space to explain it all, but this one seems to get the balance just about right. The build is covered in only one page, the vehicle is a single colour, and the result is much more space left to cover the painting & weathering sequence.

Painting takes the well-rehearsed format of priming, pre-shading, base colour, and then highlights. There are no real surprises here except that the base colour starts out looking a bit green for Soviet stuff, but the highlight and rusty washes really do tie it all up nicely by the end. I was also surprised with the way a simple thinned brown coat sprayed on the already-installed tracks really set them off – I normally paint them off the model and probably put too much effort into adding lots of colours!

Weathering includes washes, chipping, and copious amounts of rust made from home-ground pigments. The in-progress photos are quite good, illustrating the cumulative effects of each step.

Criticisms can still be made. Glenn doesn’t talk about the choices of colour for Soviet armour, and he sticks to Model Master enamels so those of us using acrylics have to find our own alternatives. He also talks of oil paints in his weathering while the picture of materials shows these same colours as enamels. I know the difference, but it could be confusing for his target audience of beginning to intermediate modellers looking to learn new “secrets of the hobby”. However, even with these issues the whole document reads well and offers a good guide to the steps that transform a plastic kit into a realistic model.


Over all this is a decent primer on basic painting and weathering. Unlike the earlier Tiger volume, I feel Glenn Bartolotti has produced a focused and well-balanced booklet that I’d be happy to keep handy on the paint bench or hand out to novices wanting to learn.

My thanks to the author (and Armorama) for the review sample.
Highs: A good coherent painting sequence, decent illustrations of effects.
Lows: No discussion of base colour choices, no mention of “alternative” paint types.
Verdict: A good weathering guide, well worth the modest cost as a bench reference.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: Other
  Mfg. ID: SBS 15
  Suggested Retail: 1.95 USD
  PUBLISHED: Dec 05, 2010

Our Thanks to Armor Models by Glenn Bartolotti!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Tom Cromwell (barkingdigger)

A Yank living overseas on a long-term basis, I've been building tanks since the early '70s. I relish the challenges of older kits (remember when Tamiya was "new"?...) because I love to scratch-build.

Copyright ©2021 text by Tom Cromwell [ BARKINGDIGGER ]. All rights reserved.


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