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Little and Large

Not a blog about 1980s comedians but instead about a 1940s comedic double act, The T35 and T38 Tanks, here represented by Trenchworx resin beauties. These models are simply fantastic, cleanly cast with no warping and fitting together sweetly. Very little cleanup and metal parts also well cast.

Here are the two tanks in their factory state, the black bits are a hard plastic which you do need to take a little care removing from their "sprue"

The two tanks represent a point in time when nobody was quite sure what the tank was for or what a good tank should look like. The USSR had two tank series in the T26 and BT series which were in mass production but were also experimenting with other more specialist vehicles such as the two above.

The T38 was designed as a scout tank for reconnaissance and was a development of an earlier tank. It was amphibious as river crossing was thought to be a useful feature. It was also anticipated that it might be air portable and usable by paratroop divisions. Quite a lot were built and they saw service in Finland and at the start of Barbarossa in 1941 however it did have a number of problems, firstly its amphibious capability came at the price of not being very bulletproof...obviously not ideal for a tank but for a scout tank not a killer defect. More damaging was that as a reconnaissance tank it did not have a radio..... Having forded rivers and snuck around gathering vital intelligence presumably they had to find a post office and send a letter. Maybe they waited for somebody going in the right direction and gave them a note to pass on? Maybe just shouted really loudly? In any event a scout who cant report back is not a useful scout. For myself I imagine that the nature of the Soviet planned economy suggests that tanks such as this were built in the 'build tanks' part of the plan with the expectation that radios could be retrofitted once the 'build radios' part of the plan went into operation.

The T35 exists at the other end of the tank scale as a true land battleship and is well known to most wargamers despite its paltry combat history. With a crew of 10 and weight of nearly 50 tons its anybody's guess why these were built. Only about 60 were built and seem mainly to have been used in parades as their huge weight meant that once off road they broke down very quickly. As the Soviet union was not renowned for a highly developed road network this again seems to have been a foreseeable flaw. I suspect they were built purely for propaganda purposes as the Soviets were not stupid and must have known they were useless in actual battle. This seems to be confirmed by their not being used in Finland (even less roads) and their just being thrown away in 1941 near Kiev as a speed bump.


As always first up is priming with matt black. I also have primed the metal bits with enamel primer before this stage as can rub off on the metal.

Then a coat of Soviet 4BO with a bit of black added as the shadow coat. Some people put the mid shade on first and then the shadow but with green tanks I always just spray on the shadow. With an airbrush you wont obscure any detail and for me makes the process a tad more straightforward.

Then it 4bBO and you can see that I'm already laying in the modulation here with the front top surfaces of the turrets being slightly lighter than the backs.

This process continues with a lighter version of 4BO until you get to the frankly ridiculous versions you see below.

This is over the top but is necessary as the filters and washes and weathering to be applied will dim the effect considerably. Also note that it is in reality a tad less harsh than this which is photographed under my painting light which ups the contrast in photographs.

Some people worry a great deal about getting the colours absolutely right however I am not one of them and refer colour fascists to the picture below which seems to show a number of bmp vehicles in Russian green! I have also found that even just painting minis colours with the same name from the same manufacturer can be slightly different over time, and this is in the age of computer controlled mixing!

Next its gloss varnish time to make the decals better and to allow the enamel washes and filters a better base for me to work from. The last thing you want at this stage is damage to the airbrush work.

At this point I as usual became so engrossed I forgot to take snaps at every point but as a catch up the photo below shows the after effects of a filter of brown which you can see has gathered around the rivets nicely. I have also painted the tracks in burnt umber and dry brushed with silver. The rubber tyres are painted German grey then highlighted around the edges.

Chipping was also done at this point as can be seen above and below. As the T35 was mainly parade ground before its brief and pointless deployment to Kiev I did minimal chipping mainly concentrating on where I imagine daily humdrum use might cause wear and tear e.g. hatches, getting in and out etc rather than any hint of battle damage. I use the Heresybrush method shown by Ruben Torregosa on his site with sponge chips which are then 'improved' by brush.

Tools and exhausts are next in line. Exhausts i paint dark brown then reddish brown then orange brown in decreasing patch size. A final wash of a darker browny black calms it all down again.

At this point I also did a bit of panel lining on the side plates as below and decking. On a smaller model i would wash around all the details with enamel Nato dark wash to get a bit of contrast but the T35 is so big this is unnecessary, which is why I also didn't feel the need to edge highlight.

At this point they are complete apart from the weathering and the matt varnish.which itself calms down some of the contrast.

Weathering was simple spraying on of 3 colours, firstly deck tan to represent light dust, next desert yellow which is a warmer dust and finally flat earth as a darker soily element. These are sprayed in random patches around the underprats, tracks and side panels in a thinned down consistency to get a natural look.

I hope you have enjoyed reading this rambling and if you want to see more finished pictures I suggest a brief visit here which is another page on the site!


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