|MENG King Tiger work-in-progress: German WW2 three-tone camouflage (Part 1of 2)|
It all starts with the predominant hue in the three-tone camouflage i.e. a rather dull dark yellow (dunkelgelb) that was fairly common until end-1944. To be honest, the dullness of the dunkelgelb actually caught me by surprise. This was because up until then I had been more accustomed to German tank camouflage colors during 1945 which comprised a much brighter yellow hue. To my understanding, it became increasingly difficult for the German war machine to obtain supplies late into the war which may account for the camouflage color differences in 1944 and 1945.
|Basecoat of German WW2 dunkelgelb achieved using the Tamiya TS-3 Dark Yellow|
Unless you're painting by hand, masking becomes a necessary evil during the King Tiger's three-tone camouflage creation process. Specialized tools in the market such as the Camouflage Masking Putty from AMMO by Mig Jimenez supposedly make the masking process easier. But like most scale model hobbyists I'm working with a tight budget so I made do with a cheap local rubber mastic adhesive product called Dolphin Sticky Stuff. (The international equivalent is Blu Tack by Bostik.) In addition to the rubber mastic adhesive, I also used Tamiya masking tape and pieces of white copier paper.
|Materials used: Dolphin Sticky Stuff (Rubber Mastic Adhesive) and Tamiya Masking Tape|
|Pieces of paper completed the triumvirate of masking materials used in a haphazard painting process|
Both the rubber mastic adhesive (essentially a reusable adhesive putty) and the Tamiya masking tape served to protect the dunkelgelb basecoat from being painted over. Meanwhile, the pieces of copier paper functioned to shield specific sections from spray paint overspray. What I essentially did was to first spray dark green onto specfic unmasked areas of turret/hull. I then proceeded to shield those very sections from the resulting overspray when red brown patterns were in turn being sprayed onto the remaining exposed sections of the turret/hull (see photo above).
|While the pieces paper (see above) functioned largely to prevent overspray, the rubber mastic adhesive and masking tape prevented the dark yellow basecoat from being painted on|
|At this stage of the painting process, the whole turret looked liked a horrendous screw-up|
Ideally it would've been better to first wait for the dark green paint to dry, and then completely mask the dark green camouflage patterns before spraying on the red brown hues. But to speed up the three-tone camouflage painting process I had instead untidily positioned pieces of copier paper as a means to contain paint overspray. In my defense I had wanted to limit the amount of blue Dolphin Sticky Stuff being used. Even during those initial stages I could already tell that the rubber mastic adhesive wasn't going to fulfill its role as a masking material with flying colors.
|Masking process is repeated for the King Tiger's hull using the same triumvirate of materials|
|Again prior to the masking materials being removed, the hull looks like a complete mess|
As I've never worked with a proper masking putty, I can only guess at why the cheap reusable adhesive putty I used as an alternative resulted in the damages that it did. But it's highly probable the cheap putty's adhesive qualities were far too strong for masking purposes. When the putty was being removed, its inherent stickiness caused the zimmerit decals to be removed together with the putty thus exposing bare plastic as well as primer coat layer. Luckily for me, the combined red oxide and light grey hues of the former and latter closely resembled actual battle damage in a King Tiger.
|Inherent stickiness of the rubber mastic adhesive tore out a section of the zimmerit decals thus exposing the bare plastic as well as parts of the primer coat|
|More damage (sections with the red oxide plastic exposed) caused by removal of the rubber mastic adhesive|
|A momentary lapse of focus resulted in one of the exhaust pipes being snapped in two|
Its overly strong adhesive qualities also meant the cheaper putty required a bit of rough handling to remove during the unmasking process. That combined with a momentary loss of focus saw me press the rear hull towards my body with excessive pressure thus snapping one of the exhaust pipes in two (see photo above). While not ideal, this again wasn't too serious an issue as the exhaust pipe could be easily glued back on. Below then are photos of the King Tiger's three-tone camouflage pattern prior to any touch ups that'll need to be done to correct the issue of paint overspray.
|Section where the zimmerit decal tore off actually passes off as realistic battle damage|
|Rest of the King Tiger hull after the three-tone camouflage painting process|
|King Tiger turret after the three-tone camouflage painting process|
|Camouflage on the gun barrel has yet to be painted because its finer details require hand painting|
One part of the King Tiger yet to be painted with any form of camouflage is the gun barrel. Due to the fine/thin patterns involved, the three-tone camouflage in this section will have to be done by hand. Revolving around overpspray touch up efforts and camouflage painting of the gun barrel, part two will be a continuation of the chronicle of my three-tone camouflage painting process. It's been three weeks since my dad's passing and I can't bring myself to paint yet. But at least I'm writing.