Trumpeter 1/35 Russian KV2: Lim Sin How

Once in a while, the need to improve a particular builds just overwhelms us and being a no stranger to having the urge to improve, Lim Sin How shows us in this article how to create and innovate in this Art we love called fine scale modelling

Sin How or affectionately known to a lot of us in KL as modeller "ahhow" has a deep love for AFVs and in the past years he has shown us that all you needed was a keen eye for details and a passion to get the most out of simple materials like water and poster colours.

The Trumpeter KV2 is an easy and accurate build and was originally finished to a fantastic degree, wearing the typical Russian Green coat with the patriotic markings.

Most of us would be proudly displaying this beast in our cabinet or shelf, but Sin How felt that it deserved a new finish, approach and experiment as he felt that the dirt, mud, rust, etc was still somehow lacking.

He firstly  stripped off the earlier coat and added a few more PE tool boxes, meshes over the engine decks, rear, replaced grab handles with wire, added wiring to the lamp, horn, antenna, straps etc.

These were knocked and shaped to good effect to represent rough use and very appropriate with the brutal look of the beast.

With his usual style, he hand paints with artist acrylic paints and added all the chipping painstakingly. A can of gloss coat was then sprayed over, followed by a coat of matt to protect the base coats for the now rather unusual paint process. As he hand paints the base coats in very fine layers, the whole work to this stage will take days with constant disciplined work. The plus side to this technique is that he gets to carry out a lot of artistic licensing to the treatment of each corner and surface of this model, coaxing out the best in every part.

The fun starts, with a layer of hair gel to bring out the white wash.

This is also hand painted on, starting at the turret and not coated at the whole model due to the hand painting process. The areas applied are very selective only at places he needs the effect to come through. Whitewash is done with acrylics mixed water colour either by brush or sponge to a consistency well suited for the next process. Before this white wash fully dries and cures on the surface, he runs the whole model under a slow tap to wash the whitewash naturally. Dependent on the chipping achieved, this process is repeated again and again until the desired effect and natural weathering and chipping look is achieved.

This 'water flow method' once completed is then layered over with a more traditional hair-gel chipping method with white acrylics or watercolour, especially in areas where he needed to touch up or dramatize. The chipping is then done with a moistened brush. Occasionally a toothpick or sandpaper will be used to get the whitewash down to the base green coat.

At areas where the contrast does not stand out too well, he hand paints further base coat or adds the white wash part by part with watercolour, acrylics or oils. A lot of finetuning is done with a fine brush or sponge. Some areas are added with white oil paints as filters or white streaks are added but subtly.  Sin How uses black or raw umber oils diluted with lighter fluids for pin washes mainly at panel lines and rivets to bring out the details.

Shading is added to the lower parts with oil paints followed by dirt and mud with pastels chalks. Thicker mud is done with soft pastels with student glue while dirt spots and splatter is pastels mixed with lighter fluid flicked or dabbed on. Accumulation of mud on the fenders is created with paper clay and with pastels as texture. Different colours and tones are used to create contrast. Dark pastel is used for damp mud and spread washed with oils.

For the final touch, more fine chipping is added to expose the metal with pencils, silver pencil or metallic paints ( especially the tracks). These areas are then weathered again with rain marks, white streaks, etc to blend the whole presentation.