Before the exterior could get started, the interior of the driver’s compartment needed some color as it would be almost damn near impossible to paint it after the top of the vehicle was assembled. I squirted some of Vallejo’s Black Primer (70.602) down first. A thin layer of primer is all that is needed, it also dries and subsequently cures faster this way as well. The dark color allows for shading when applying the top colors. I chose Vallejo’s Aged White (71.132) for my base color. The interiors of the Shilka were painted a number of different colors depending on what field of operational theater they existed in. Once the base was down, it was only a matter of picking out some of the details inside. This was accomplished with a combination of a few different Vallejo Model Color and Model Air paints applied by brush. Everything received a couple of acrylic washes to make the details pop and add a bit of wear to the interior. My only concern at this point would be with the thought of having the driver’s hatch open, I had to make sure I didn’t paint the interior all over again while painting the exterior of the tank. Some simple masking eliminates this. Between tape and Vallejo’s Masking Fluid, everything was protected.
Moving onto the exterior, now that the interior was complete and the top of the vehicle glued in place, it was time to add the base coloring to the burnt areas of the tank. Since I had already applied the primer when the interior was done, that part was done and ready to go. The process of adding a burnt look to any vehicle is a combination of learning how fire propagates when burning, how different metals react to heat and fire, and in the end, there is some randomness that needs to be applied so not to make things too structured look-wise. The learning part can be fun and only a matter of spending some time looking through pictures of burnt materials; noticing patterns and coloring. With that out of the way, base coloring was applied. I wanted to start things off with dark and medium rust tones. The first application was with Camo Black Brown (71.042) and Camo Medium Brown (71.038) from Vallejo. An area slightly larger than what I thought would be the actual burnt area was painted. Being early on, this is not too critical as adjustments can be made along the way.
Immediately following the base tones of rust, I applied various lighter rust tones that are associated with bunt metals. The colors are typical to what you would think, Rust, Light Rust and Orange Rust; however, there are some wildcard colors that work excellent to tie everything together. Skin Tone (71.076) and Aged White (71.132) work well for the extreme lighter tones seen where the leading edge of the flames were present. While the medium rust tones were applied to my liking using only the airbrush, when I applied the lighter tones, I wanted to break up the application into a somewhat mottled look. For this I used part of a scrubby kitchen sponge. The green souring pad was removed from the sponge, pulled slightly apart. Holding the modified souring pad in place, I layered the lighter colors on; this gives a random-like appearance to the brunt edges. This was repeated several times until I achieved what I thought was good color tones to the burnt section.
With the burnt section more or less completed, it was time to add the vehicle’s base color. In this case, I went with desert tones as seen in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. For this color range, I chose to use several colors from Vallejo’s Desert War Zenith Transformation Set (71153). My approach utilized the black primer base coloring for shadows. As part of the application, I needed to chip back some of the top color to reveal some of the burnt effects. For this, Chipping Medium (73.214) was used. Sprayed mainly on the areas near where the burnt sections and vehicle color sections meet, a couple of light layers were airbrushed down and allowed to dry to the touch; after which, the top colors were applied. Once the colors were dry to the touch, removal of the paint was as simple as running a brush damp with water over the fresh paint, allowing a few seconds for the water to break the bond of the paint and then lightly rubbing a flat brush to remove paint making a chipped effect and revealing the burnt sections below.