3 days from shrinkwrapped kit box to this petite representation of the Churchill tank? Including weathering? Yup, you can bet the stash on it! Come on in and check how our editor managed to finish this model in a weekend… sorta.
By Jose Teixido from Buenos Aires, Argentina
In my eyes the early Churchill tank is one of those designs that are not particularly aesthetic, but whose brutish yet purposeful looks make it quite interesting. With the rather small turret on an oversized hull with tracks openly running around the top, it almost looks like what would’ve come out if Nigel, the Male WWI tank, had an affair with Eloise, the french FT-17…
Enough nonsense, back on to the hobby. After a year or so working on my “Come and pray Ivan” Panther in the church model, I was more than ready for a break on something more relaxing and quicker.
“Quicker”, the proverbial conundrum every advanced modeller has faced every now and then. Should I settle for less? Should I sacrifice weathering or detailing? Will it be strictly OOTB?
The answers would be different for each of you, but in my case I wanted something that wouldn’t look misplaced among my other, more detailed projects, so I took the bullet and decided to build something rather easy with a simple paint scheme, sticking as much to OOTB (Out Of The Box) as possible, in order to focus on weathering.
Enter Hasegawa’s 1/72 Infantry Tank Churchill MkI
The kit was perfect for this project. Low parts count, simple one color schemes and the weathering possibilities were endless. I took it out of the stash, broke the wrapping and off I went armed only with Osprey’s old booklet, some magazines and pictures from the Web!
The assembly was super quick, I decided to do an MkII. Hasegawa markets this as an MkI but the parts for the front MG that replaces the hull gun are provided. I’m sure there is much more that makes an MkII but for the scope of this project that would’ve to suffice!
The only edition this far was adding some stowage in the back (later I decided to take it off as I found it to be too distracting) and a tarp at the back of the turret over the hull.
The tarp was created using “Green stuff” two component putty. Rolling it over a glass or plastic surface using a metal rod, and baby powder (yeah you read that right) to avoid it getting stuck to the rod or the surface, would leave you with an almost paper thin layer of putty that is super easy to work with. It does however need some time to fully cure so after I was done with it, I set it apart.
Last but not least weld marks and cast texture was added to the turret, as the references I had showed it to be quite rough. Using stretched sprue and diluted Revell Plasto putty I could accomplish the finish I wanted in minutes.
The only other work done to the kit was drilling the main gun, the coaxial MG, and the exhaust pipe. Also added some detail to the inside of the turret hatch. Another detail I added are some British helmets on the back of the turret. I made a short how-to here on how to do them from scratch, it is really simple! Check it out!
Painting the Churchill
Process started with a pre-shade of Tamiya black right over the plastic. Trying to make it darker on the lower areas of those that would get dirtier, like below the tracks.
Looking at photos it seems like the greens on the early Churchills varied a lot from a darkish blue green to an almost brownish olive drab.
With little to no time to go out and get the exact jar of paint I went with the trusty eyeball MkI and mixed my own shade using:
- Tamiya Khaki Drab XF-51 – 50%
- Tamiya Dark Green XF-61 – 50%
After the model was covered with that, trying to let some of the black pre-shading visible, I added Tamiya J.N. Grey XF-12 in increments (all the way to almost 30%) to light shade the higher areas of the model and give it some interest.
At the same time, the tracks got a coat of straight:
- Tamiya Red Brown XF-64 – 60%
- Tamiya Dark Yellow XF-60 – 30%
- Tamiya Flat Black XF-1 – 10%
This gave the soft rubber tracks a brownish almost rusty look that was a perfect base for weathering.
The last touch, some modulation.
Already did a little while highlighting with the airbrush, but decided to turn it up an extra notch. Using Vallejo model Air’s 71012 Dark Green and Flat Flesh I mixed a light green that was a perfect match for the base color.
I encourage you to NEVER, EVER, under ANY circumstances light colors with plain white. It is too harsh and unnatural. Flat flesh or light yellow give a much natural and warmly saturated look. If you are working on a colder scheme you can always try a very light blue, or blue-ish light grey.
After a coat of Tamiya Clear the model was left to rest in preparation for…
The model decals were LONG gone, and by that I mean totally yellowish and cracky. We all know how sucky Hasegawa decals can be so I won’t beat a dead horse. Rather I jumped on my decal spare box and took an old set for 1/72 Argentine Air Force F-86 Sabre decals.
You are probably wondering if I had too much fumes doing the painting, but that sheet had two things I needed:
White lettering with Fuerza AeREa ArGENTina = REGENT
And also red numbers and a red circle… perfect!
All I used from the kit was the tiny “serial” numbers that I holded together with a thin coat of Tamiya Clear.
Pristine and with new car smell won’t cut it gentlemen!
As of late I have been going back to the old oil filtering technique, kind of against the current trend of weathering using acrylics (which I love) and pigments. There is something in the controllability of oils that you can’t just get with acrylics, enamels or pigments+fixers.
There is one big thing against oils and that is curing time. They take their time to fully settle and that can totally throw our “quick and dirty” agenda off the hook. So I found out I could accelerate drying time by removing as much “oil” from the oils as I could before putting the in the model. What I use is kitchen paper towels, a tack of them, and then I place a dab of white, black, burnt sienna and ocre oils on it. A couple of hours before application is perfect as the paper will soak in the oils leaving the pigments on the dabs.
For thinning I use a vegetal artist oil that doesn’t attack acrylics. Try on the lowers of the hull first if you are not sure as I have almost trashed a model trying to use a mineral one that peeled my Tamiya straight off the plastic!
My oil weathering usually goes like:
- 1st. Layer: Dark, black and burnt sienna pin wash.
- 2nd Layer: Burnt sienna straight very diluted as a filter (ie, not only on crevices, but also on the flat surfaces)
- 3rd Layer: While the previous is still wet I put my brush straight on a mix of white and ochre (almost sand coloured) mix of oil (non diluted) and touch the surface of the model in tiny spots irregularly.
- 4th Layer: I clean my brush, soak it on the thinner and “soak in” all the spots I added in step 3. This will “melt” the sand coloured dots to the surface of the model…
You can try #4 with different variations of the sand colour, darker or lighter, and then melt them back into the model surface.
Last, once the model is dry you can add vertical rainmarks using the same mix of sand, and pure ochre in spots. Same for rust streaks. This is the time for those!
Chips and fish… well, not fish, but chips a plenty!
Chipping was done in layers:
- Layer 1, largest areas: Vallejo Model Air Dark Green lightened with a bit of Vallejo Model Color Light Yellow.
- Layer 2: Reduced areas, mostly within the 1st layer areas, with a mix of Vallejo Model Air Red Brown and Model Color Panzer Grey.
- Layer 3: Sharp lead pencil scrub over hatches borders, handles and other areas prone to scrubbing/handling.
Finally, pigments, set your filthy ON!
Pigments were mixed in two basic colors, a sandy color and a more reddish darked sand color. Both received Vallejo Acrylic putty and Vallejo Matt Varnish to a rather heavy paint consistency.
Using an old brush and the airbrush I “blew” this mixture on to the model, using the lighter shade first, then a darker version. Trying to focus on the lowers of the model where mud and dirt were more likely to hit the hull.
The tracks received the same mixture but thinned with water to an almost wash consistency. This let the pigments run into the tracks crevices.
After this was done, I dry brushed the tracks using Revell Aqua Steel to bring back the shine on the cleats.
The model was then finished with some oil streaks on the rear tank, and some of the running gear.
The exhaust was painted with a reddish brown color using Vallejo acrylics and then was scrubbed with red oxide pigments using a cotton swab.
The helmets and the tarp were painted using Vallejo Model Color acrylics, and the antennas were made from stretched sprue with a drop of CA in the ends.
Well there you go, 3 days went by and the model is finished. Quite a change from the 1 year it took me to build the Panther tank!. And it is something that can seat proudly in between more expensive and way more intensive projects too. It can’t get any better than that.
I hope you enjoyed this as much as I did building it, and hope it encourage you to go pick something from that ever growing stash and built it!!!