Rebar, Debris, Dust & Grime – Let’s Finish This Mad Max T-55

My friends, this might seem like any other
video, but it’s the first one I’m editing after that little disaster-struck moment when
I broke my leg. I hope you won’t notice any drop in quality,
so without any further ado, let’s add some dust and rubble on this Syrian T-55 and get
it done! Last week we did everything with oil paints
and acrylics, but this time we’ll be working with enamels because I still find them more
suitable for earth effects… okay, mostly with enamels.

And… we’ll start with the running gear
which is a nice place to get comfortable with the technique. Tracks in a dusty and sandy environment are
pretty easy to weather, if we have a nice rusty base coat, all we need is a thick, heavy
wash of some light earth color. Contact points are usually a little cleaner,
if not completely clean and polished, and we can easily achieve that by blending the
excess paint with enamel thinner. Wheels can usually do with just random dust
wash on the rubber parts and some subtle accumulations on the rim – we don’t want to cover up all
the previous effects such as chipping or pin washes after all. And again, contact points can be cleaned up
with enamel thinner. Now we can add some variation with darker
tones so the dust isn’t too boring. It’s better to keep these effects rather
subtle as our tank is operating in a dry environment, and if they get out of hand, the result might
start looking like mud, and that wouldn’t be cool at all.

Tracks are the trickiest because they’re
full of crevices and details, but any other part is pretty easy. A very specific weathering treat for us is
this orange, rust-like color which can be often observed on tanks in the Middle East. The effect occurs when dust gets mixed with
moisture, and it’s not hard to simulate on our models – we just have to mix a darker
earth color with a rusty enamel wash. The ratio isn’t anything special, you can
experiment on your own because the orange-ness has a ton of variation in real life. Finally, we can add some darker stains and
leaking grime. This can be achieved with a dark enamel wash
color, or we can mix it with oil paints. I’ve become a sort of oil paint fanboy lately,
so understandably, I’m trying to use them whenever possible.

Mind you, I did all of this in one evening,
so I didn’t wait for the previous layers to fully dry. However, if you’re being careful and not
too heavy-handed with your blending, you can easily pile multiple paints on top of each
other without reactivating the previous layers. And here we have them, fully weathered and
ready to be attached to the model. Gluing the entire running gear into two sub-assemblies
was a good idea – while it made the detail painting slightly more complicated, weathering
on the other hand was a total blast.

But anyway, we can now employ the same techniques
on the lower hull. This is almost the same story – I used the
same paints and did everything in one sitting. Just the application is slightly different. First of all, instead of blending the dust
in random cloudy patterns, I dragged it down. This formed nice, random streaks of dust. While I was working on it, I kept wondering
how much of it will remain visible in the end, because on most models it’s pretty
much a total waste of time… but luckily, something will be visible. If nothing else, I always consider these hidden
sections to be good training grounds. You can try some crazy things and still get
away with them because they’ll either be completely invisible or obscured by shadows
cast by the mudguards, tracks, and wheels. And if that’s the case, you’ll need as
much contrast as possible. Last but not least, as I said, it’s a nice
practice spot, so by the time you’re ready to move on to the upper hull and turret, you
should have a good understanding of everything – the paint properties, how they interact
with each other, and what does look good and what doesn’t.

As such, I could comfortably blend some dry
dust on the rear plate, which is technically connected with the lower hull, but at the
same time, it’s not part of it. But yeah, it’s the area around the drive
sprocket housing that I wanted to finish before attaching the running gear. And now we have the entire lower half of the
tank finished. It took me two evenings because I was working
at a pretty chill pace and enjoying the ride, but now it’s time for more serious stuff.

Before we start dusting the upper surfaces,
we need to add rubble and debris. My main ingredients will be stones of different
sizes, mostly 0.5 and 1 mm, and more importantly, 3D printed bricks which are available for
download on my Patreon. However, I didn’t want to use them in their
pristine condition, so I gave them a really hard time in a metal mortar. You’d be surprised how tough the resin is,
it took quite a few minutes before I had enough material.

But it’s not just about the large broken
brick pieces, it’s also the small debris that will come in very handy. Well, maybe not on this model but definitely
in the diorama. So, the application… I’ve already done this in the past on my
Syrian T-72 which is now damaged beyond repair, rest in pieces sweet prince, but anyway… I find it best to start with the largest pieces
and then continue with smaller and smaller stuff. Back in the day, I would use AK’s gravel
and sand fixer to hold everything in place, but recently I’ve become to enjoy the VMS
Ballast Freeze which has its pros and cons. The great thing is – it’s pure acrylic based
so it doesn’t attack the paint as gravel and sand fixer does. And on top of that, it’s completely resistant
against enamel thinners so once you glue your debris in place, it will stay that way no
matter how many layers of enamels you blend on top of it. The downside is that it leaves a glossy residue
when it dries.

I mean, gravel and sand fixer also does it,
but to a much smaller extent. One way to minimize this unwanted sheen is
to add a good amount of tap water on the surface, blend the concoction so to say, you can use
this opportunity to also position the debris to your liking, and then soak up the excess
with paintbrushes. The remaining residue would be probably possible
to hide with enamel dust tones, but I like to play things safe so I always like to give
it a quick spray of VMS Flat Varnish. This completely nullifies any visible remnants
and the debris looks like it’s not even glued to the model. Now we can go over the entire model with enamel
dust.

It’s the same approach we employed on the
lower portions, the only difference, in this case, is blending. Since these are horizontal surfaces, we need
to blend it in an uneven cloudy pattern. Another important detail is the amount – I
was never happy when I covered up all the previous weathering effects with a thick,
unremovable layer of dust. That used to happen when I was still using
dry pigments, but enamels are very easy to control and you have plenty of time to remove
them if you overdid the amount.

In other places, such as on the front plate,
we can again employ the downward streaking motion. The main reason why I still prefer enamels
over oils when it comes to earth effects is that these paints from Ammo’s Splashes and
Heavy Mud range have a very fine grainy texture, which makes them look like actual scaled down
dirt, not just dirt colored paint. They also blend in a very distinctive way. Unlike oil paints, the blended paint is more…
gnarly might be the best way to describe it.

It doesn’t blend into perfectly smooth color
transitions, which leads to more authentic results. And if you’re not happy with that, you can
blend it even further with a dry brush right after the thinner evaporates. So anyway, here’s the completely dusted
tank, I actually consider this as a blending stage, because it was mainly about blending
the rubble with the tank. Speaking of rubble, it’s all very boring
and dull… let’s give it some life. Ah, yes, the oh-so-therapeutic individual
stone painting. I know it might seem daunting and time-consuming,
but it actually goes by pretty quickly and it’s really calming.

You can easily wind down during this stage
and listen to a podcast or something… but let’s put that aside because it was right
after this step – I finished painting the rubble on Friday night – and the next day,
on Saturday, I had a gnarly crash on my bike and broke both of my shin bones. Now, I already talked about that on this channel,
but there’s something else to it. You see, after my injury, I didn’t get back
to my workbench for 3 weeks. And let me tell you, there’s nothing worse
than leaving your model at your “peak performance” so to say – when your mojo is maxed out, you
know exactly what you’re doing, you’re getting lots of bench time every day, and
then suddenly, boom. 3 weeks of not even touching the model. The fact this model was about 90% finished
didn’t help either because it’s always these finishing techniques that determine
how is your model going to look – if it’s gonna be a great model, or there will be something
really wrong with it.

Needless to say, I spent about an hour sitting
at the workbench, looking at the model and contemplating if I should even try to finish
it because, after all that time, I didn’t even remember what I was planning to do with
it. In fact, I still don’t remember as I'm narrating
this video – I know I had something cool planned, but nobody will ever know what it was. But hey, at least I remembered which paints
did I use, in what order were they applied, and what each effect represents… and it
wasn’t too long before I had my mojo back. Now, of course, the discomfort of a full leg
cast makes things less fun and more complicated, but it felt really, really good to be back
and doing something productive again. Before I knew it I was applying grime and
spilled oil effects which are usually one of the finishing touches, and there were only
two more things to do.

One of them is probably the most boring finishing
technique ever – polishing worn metal edges with a pencil. It’s bizarre because I really don’t enjoy
this technique at all – it feels uncreative and it’s like time slows down when I’m
at it. But at the same time, it adds so much authenticity
to a model, it’s the final touch that makes a tank look like it’s made from metal…
so, I guess as long as I keep making armor models I’m stuck with this technique. And the final missing detail was the antenna. This is the usual string that I made from
heated up stretched sprue, and as such, it needs to be glued with superglue. Regular modeling cement would soften the styrene
and your antenna would curl up and break. Then I quickly painted it with a dark grey
color, and that was pretty much it. Hey hey hey, check it out, it’s another
finished model! It was supposed to be a quick fun project,
but the rebar cage filled with sandbags and bricks turned the painting process into a
chore.

Luckily I took care of those right at the
beginning and the rest was really enjoyable. It would be even more fun if I didn’t injure
myself so badly, but hey, I guess it was bound to happen sooner or later. Anyway, this project isn’t completely over,
I’m going to make an urban diorama for it, but unfortunately… not now. Because for at least two more weeks my movement
is very limited and I can only work with stuff which I can comfortably reach from my chair
– in other words, I can only work with paints. Building a diorama employs way too many materials
and methods that simply make it impossible for me right now – for example, when I'm cutting
a huge slab of styrofoam, I have to do it on the floor. If I sat on the floor now, I wouldn’t be
able to get up… You get the picture… So, next week I’m gonna paint another model,
and by the time it’s finished, I’m guessing in 4 episodes, I should be pretty okay…
so who knows, by then we’ll be stuck with 2 models waiting for a scenic base and a diorama…
that sounds pretty fun, right? But hey, before we even get there, I want
to thank you for watching this video and also for being patient during those few weeks when
I wasn’t able to upload new videos, it really means the world to me.

And also, thank you to my wonderful Patrons
who are the official sponsors of this channel and they also had a lot of patience. I keep uploading additional content on my
Patreon page all the time, even when I was bed-ridden. Most of the time it’s almost daily photo
updates from all my projects, but when I wasn’t able to model, I uploaded several detailed
step-by-step guides from my pre-youtube models, so you can find some of my classics there
such as the 3-inch gun carrier, IS-7, D-9 bulldozer and so on. Then there are, of course, one week early
ad-free videos so you could watch the next project right now, super nice studio photos
such as these which you can download in full resolution, dm’s so we can get in touch
and other small bits like downloadable 3D models and accessories which you can make
yourself if you have a 3D printer, and some real-life reference pictures as well. Anyway, that’s all I’ve got for you my
friends, so until next Friday stay safe, stay awesome, keep building models, don’t just
collect them, and I’ll see you again in the next one, cheers!

As found on YouTube

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