Monday, January 18, 2016

Team Yankee Test Model - M1 Abrams

M1 Abrams in 15mm from Battlefront
I finished off a test model for my "Team Yankee" US forces.  This is a plastic M1 Abrams from Battlefront's US boxed set "Bannon's Boys".  I haven't painted modern stuff in a while, and I've never painted US stuff in this setting at all, so I wanted to practice a bit.  In particular I wanted to see if I could manage the US camouflage of the period in question, which I think is known as "MERDC".

Bit of a blurry view from the rear aspect
This is where the real hobby guys will crack out their airbrush, but I generally avoid those things, and gave it my best shot with my boring old regular paint brushes. Battlefront is great for tutorials and tips, and this was no exception with a nice little section at the back of the "Team Yankee" rule book offering helpful step-by-step guides on painting US and Soviet kit.

I tried to "pop" the lenses a bit, just to add some life to the otherwise slightly bland (if menacing) overall appearance
The results? Well, a solid "meh".  It's funny how rusty I felt painting this up, and I'm not sure I quite matched the brown correctly.  At first I tried a brown craft paint ("Chocolate Brown", from the Americana range), but the pigment in that is too thin and the green base coat was bleeding through.  So I switched over to GW's (stupidly named) "XV88".  That paint has a nice, strong pigment and covered very well.

And an airbrush would surely give a nicer results, but I don't feel like confronting the hassle of an airbrush for this project. The tank started to look better after I weathered it up a bit. It will do well enough for a fight on the table.

"Gunner - target, Soviet T-72...."
I kind of regret opting for the attempted MERDC now - maybe I should have gone with a straight green tank, representing a reinforcing National Guard unit, or perhaps just a replacement from the divisional depot which had been waiting for new camouflage.  But now that I've done the one tank, I think I'm kind of stuck with it for now...there are six M1s in the "Bannon's Boys" box, and from I can tell in the "Team Yankee" rules, that seems like plenty.   I think I can manage five more of these...then on to the Cobra helicopters!
UPDATE - January 19, 2016 - many thanks to Tacobat for (politely) pointing out that I had messed with the turret MGs, mounting two .50 cal MGs on the turret, when in fact the MG over the loader's hatch is an M240 MG, not the .50 cal.  What can I say? I looked like the .50 cal on the instructions...

Corrected MGs on the turret
Anyway, fortunately I hadn't thrown the plastic sprues away, so last night I was able to replace the errant .50 cal with the proper MG.  And now I will do it for the other five tanks I built *cough*.

M240 over the loader's hatch
While I was "at the store", I recalled how Tacobat had also noted, in a series of helpful turorials, that little dabbed lines of contrast colour can offer a helpful "chipped" look on some edges of a big slab of armour like the M1 Abrams, so I tried a little bit of that too.  The effect is subtle - probably doesn't show in the photos much - but I like it and I'm glad I remembered that. 

Ready to roll...for real this time...
Thanks to Tacobat - and be sure to check out his blog, "Modern Warfare" - the painting skill on display will blow your mind. 


Stuart S said...

Great start interested in seeing how these rules play out, just hope it's not wall to wall tanks.

Don M said...

Hey it looks good to me, and I painted real military vehicles in the US Army from 78, to 98
fact of the matter is that the crews painted most of their own stuff because it came out of depot in solid forest green, so there was always a bit of variance....)

tacobat said...

Two 50s? :P

Greg B said...

Tacobat - really aggressive defence posture? Sounds better than "I messed that up"...

tacobat said...

Maximum anti-air shootiness.

Greg B said...

Hope I didn't throw the sprues away yet...

Disgruntled Fusilier said...

Great work here with the camouflage! Honestly, the airbrush vrs hand brush won't make a big difference because the black or tan disruption lines kind of mask the edges of the camouflage anyways. So that "feathered edge" you get with an airbrush is literally painted over in many spots by the black or tan lines.

I think it looks first class.


Curt said...

Excellent work Greg! This will make great T-72/Hind bait. ;)