1:72 SdKfz. 181 Jagdpanzer VI "Keiler"; 2nd Company, Panzerjägerabteilung 512, Ruhrgebiet region, February 1945 (Whif/Trumpeter kit conversion) - WiP
Painting and markings:
I wanted something simple, and went for a winter camouflage – seen on a Tiger I. The scheme consists of a base in Sandgelb (I used RAL 8000, today Grünbraun, which is a bit darker and actually a German WWII desert color, Gelbbraun, used 1941 in North Africa) over which simple white horizontal stripes were painted manually. The basic tone was applied from a rattle can, the stripes painted with a brush.
On top of that a dark brown acrylic weathering wash (an irregular mix of black and Raw Sienna) was applied, the few decals added and protected with matt varnish, and then a coat of snow was applied.
As a side note: the black white rings on the gun barrel are a detail taken over from German Tiger I crews: these are kill markers, created from decals that are original intended to be wrapped around USN arrester hooks… ;)
Simulating snow is always tricky, esp. at small scales. If you use paint, it just looks like that, because the snow coat’s depth is missing. You also have to make sure that the coat primarily covers the upper/horizontal surfaces, and you need a certain “unevenness” for a good impression.
My favorite method and material is white tile grout. It is water-based, fade-resistant (plaster turns yellow over time) and can be applied just like real snow flakes. Furthermore you can mix it with water for a more or less stable slush that can be applied to mudguards, wheels or other sections that accumulate snow and slobber.
Application is easy: at first I stained the lower hull and the chassis section with tile grout slush. After thorough drying the kit was wetted with low surface tension water, gently sprayed onto it. The dry tile grout is then dusted onto the kit with the help of an improvised “shaker”: a glass covered with a nylon stocking. This “tool” offers a fine mesh that even can be adjusted, depending how tight you span it over the glass – the less tension, the finer the tile grout flakes are, and the less material you rinse over the object. It also prevents lumps and clusters of tile grout from landing on the kit.
I tried to apply the flakes evenly all over the kit directly from above, until a closed blanket of snow covered the upper hull. I also made sure that enough tile grout flakes would end on the sloped side walls. An uneven “smeared” or slumped look was welcome – actually, the whole snow coat was created through gravity with no manual interference. You can easily over-do and –manipulate the finish.
While still wet (some of the dark brown wash became liquid again, mixing with the white tile grout and creating a muddy, if not rusty look in certain areas) the snow was stabilized with hair spray. While wet, the engine’s cooling openings were emphasized with a little bit if black ink. Later, when everything had dried thoroughly, a coat of acrylic matt varnish from the rattle can fixed the coat of fake snow further. Actually, only little of the original paint scheme can be made out, but I kept the finish just the way it turned out.