Burn them all!
I recently had a dinky T26 Kht 130 to paint for a commission and actually remembered to take some snaps of how I went along. First of all though I need to acknowledge that almost everything I do when painting WW2 armour was learned from the master Ruben Torregosa on his Heresybrush website. In fact if you want to skip the rest of this guide here is the link to Heresybrush https://www.heresybrush.com/en/
If you're still with me what I've done is to adapt all that I learned from Ruben's site and condense it so I can paint up vehicles in 15mm or 28mm to a standard which is good and worth paying for but at a speed which keeps the time/price as low as possible.
The T26 is a smallish Early war tank of which over 10,000 were built in various models and was a pretty good tank in 1939/40 though suffered from the lack of radio endemic in Soviet armour at the time. It was certainly better than the Pz Is and IIs of the early war but came a cropper against better German armour. The version I was asked for was built from the Rubicon kit which includes 10 versions! As usual the Rubicon kit was amazingly good and basically you know immediately if youre doing something wrong because the pieces don't slide into place seamlessly.
They always come with great decal sheets as well!
The Kht version here was the middle version of the flamethrower T26 of which several hundred were built and served pretty much through the war in specialist "chemical" units.
First of all the whole kit was primed with Stynlrez black with the turret off the hull. In reality its really flat black but my ancient mobile camera always refuses to acknowledge black.
First coat is Russian 4b0 shadow from mig ammo this will be left in the darkest shadow areas but generally gets covered by the rest of the modulation.
Still using Mig Ammo airbrush paints its 4b0 base green colour. You can see the start of the panel modulation if you look at the front hull.
This then continues up through the mig ammo shades of 4b0 getting successively lighter and in smaller areas until you arrive at the ridiculous looking specimen below. This is obviously too much but never fear as the next stage brings it back under control.
bove and below we have the same t26 after thinned down washes of brown for dark green - another mig ammo product. Before applying I always put a coat of satin varnish on the model as the wash is enamel based and there is a fair bit of taking off with a soft brush to get a toned down t26. How far you go with thinning the wash with white spirits is up to you depending on how much you want the modulation to be clear underneath.
The satin varnish also helps the wash drop into the recessed areas acting as a quick pinwash. Some people use a darker wash specifically for this but i'm not a great fan as it can look very deep and dark. I prefer to use this in 15mm rather than 28mm where you need more contrast.
Wheels are painted any darkish grey and i use vmc burnt umber for the tracks. Pic above shows how the wash has toned down the modulation without losing it. When doing the wheels rather counterintuitively I paint the lowere parts lighter than the upper to simulate light bouncing back up off the ground.
The rusty exhaust is vmc german dark brown, flat brown and orange brown to taste.
Chipping is initially done with a piece of packing sponge from a blister to get a nice random effect. Once dipped in the chipping colour - here vmc geman dark brown its a good plan to pad off the excess onto some tissue paper. Once the randomers are placed where you imagine might realistical take some damage then i use an old tatty fine brush to put slightly less random but still irregular chips on hinges, hatch corners etc. Its easy to go over the top here and end up with what looks like a wreck rather than a fighting tank here so unless that is your aim be restrained. you can add more but its hard to remove them from an airbrushed gradation.
Tools are then painted in using whatever colours your tools are and a lighter colour added with a good fine brush to the edges of the larger chips as you can see here below. Again less is more for me.
The tracks are drybrushed with a silvery colour and you can afford to let a little get on any of the running gear (except the dark rubber parts) as can be seen on the drive sprocket teeth.
Lastly its decals - I spray the areas where im going to attach the decals with gloss varnish and once dry use decal fix to make sure the decals blend perfectly with the paintwork. If the still sit slightly proud when dry they have to come off and be replaced as it spoils the whole effect.
And that's it for a relatively quick paint job. From here if you have the time you can add weathering effects such as rust streaks, oil spills, mud and dust as well as rust pigments on the exhaust but this is for another tank!