Life is short, break the rules. Forgive quickly, kiss slowly. Love truly, laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that makes you smile. - Samuel Longhorne Clemens (Mark Twain)

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Book Review - Painting Wargame Tanks

I'm always on the look out for new painting books. I was going to pick this one up based on a short review on another blog (and I don't remember which one now, and it might have been a youtube video) so when I needed some new pigments I went with Ammo (yet another Mig Jimenez company) so I could pick up the book as part of a combined book/pigment deal.

The book, 90 pages of painting goodness
The paint set I grabbed as part of the combo. There are three other sets that I am likely to go ahead and pickup; Early War and DAK German, Mid War German and Late War German

I was going wait and do a review until after I had finished my Tank Destroyer Company but that has come to a complete halt until I either find my US decals or I breakdown and order more. Since the initial steps were going well I figured a review didn't really need to wait.

Painting Wargame Tanks is authored by Ruben Torregrosa and Mig Jimenez (although I expect most of it was written by Ruben). Its broken up into three sections; materials, basic method and advanced method. The advanced method accounts for about 3/4 of the book. Fair warning this book is a big advertisement for Ammo products, everything in the book can be acquired from a different companies though so don't feel like you have to use Ammo products to get these results. I'm using them to paint the Tank Destroyer Company because I wanted to try them out, but if you already have your own stash of materials feel free to use them. The one thing I did find slightly irritating is that they don't even mention which company's models they are using. My guess is mostly Battlefront and Plastic Soldier company. There is definitely a bias towards the plastic kits which would lean towards these two companies.

The materials sections goes over the different types of paints used (both acrylic and enamel) as well as a basic introduction to the airbrush. Use of the airbrush is heavily featured in this book and does a reasonable job a describing some of the more advanced techniques that you might use it for. If you are new to the use of pigments these are described here as well. This section is pretty brief but there is good information here.

The book then dives into the basic painting method, which introduces a couple of techniques that you aren't likely to find on most wargame tanks; streaking and dusting with pigments. While Battlefront introduced pigments into their line a number of years ago I don't think the use really caught on with the gaming community. This book does a much better job of explaining how to use them. In the basic "way"  they paint a M4A1 Sherman, an M5 Stuart and a PzKfw VG Panther. For each vehicle they go through a step by step approach\ which really does cover everything although the descriptions of what they are doing are a bit brief and the pictures are a bit small. It does a good job of capturing what is being done, how it should be applied and what material is being used. There are a couple of small gaps but nothing that can't be figured out. The section ends with some final tips for finishing off your vehicles. You can stop here, the additional techniques are more than enough to make your tanks and other armored vehicles stand out on the table. All of the techniques are applicable to any vehicle whether its a jeep or a panther.

The meat of the book is in the advanced "way" section, which makes up the bulk of the book. The emphasis here is decidedly on German vehicles but it doesn't take a lot of intuition to be able to apply them to another other nationality's equipment. In this section they cover the following; E100 Jagdpanther, PzKfw V, PzKfw IV, PzKfw III, SdKfz 251 (could be an A, B or C), T34 and a PzKfw VIE Tiger I. As they go through the step by step process all of the basic information is still present, they don't skip any steps assuming that you know it now. I like this as it gives a full road map going from point A to point B. The first airbrush technique used is modulation, which is varying the base color of different panels on the vehicle to provide an initial base for shadows and highlights. They also introduce masking for doing hard edged camouflage (both with masking tape and putty). This process continues through the section by adding techniques like chipping and the application of mud. For the most part quite well done although, like the basic section, there are a few gaps that you might have to puzzle through.

Overall I"m quite pleased with this book. The steps and materials are clearly defined and how you apply them is reasonably explained and understandable. While they didn't introduced any techniques that were new to me it was nice to have everything consolidated into a single book for reference. There were a couple of things that annoyed me. Not giving credit to the manufacturers of the models themselves (which I actually find somewhat unusual) and a lack of description in some places where actual modeling took place. For instance the PzKfw III went through some additional modifications and it would have been nice if they had gone into some more detail there as that is the kind of thing that I enjoy doing.

I think this is an excellent reference book and I would recommend it to anyone that is looking to take a step up when they are painting their vehicles.


  1. You've convinced me I saw this when it came out and have been on the fence about it. Just added it to my Christmas List.

    Now if the family will notice. ;)

    1. Just don't be subtle about the list! If Alison makes lists then just keep adding it at the bottom. :-)