Powermonger´s BEF G3/G4 scheme painting guide

This is my first attempt at a painting guide. I´m no expert painter nor had ever a great skill at it. I took ages to paint these BEF vehicles. Also keep in mind that my objective is to get 1/72 BEF vehicles for wargaming purposes, not modelling ones.

As most of you already know, the BEF main paint schema in 1940 was a base of G3 Khaki Green with contrasting angular patches of G4, a darker green.
I did invest a lot of research time trying to figure it out how to get the “real” G3 khaki green colour. There are a lot of different & differing opinions & painting guides out there. I followed three main sources for this:
– A) The books by Mike Starmer, an authority on British vehicle paint in WW2
– B) Personal advice received by Tony Barton from AB figures to which i owe a great deal of this guide, and whom i would quote repeteadly. He helped me via the excellent guild forum (www.guildwargames.com)
– C) MIG Jimenez paints (Ammo range), for which I have great respect, have a very nice and widly detailed range of paints. And most importantly, it is easily available here in Argentina.

A) The first source (Mike Starmer) give us two formulae to obtain the G3:

– With Revell paints: 361+ 360 + 84 in ratios 12:5:7
– With Vallejo Paints: 7×921 + 1×888 + 1×822

But both mixes seem overly complex for me. There is also an additional Humbrol suggestion of enamels H155 with some H10 added. We must also take into account that for wargaming purposes, all vehicles seems to be “darker” than they really are if viewed from a distance (as in all wargames). So, always go for a “lighter” tone if possible.

B) Tony Barton, on the other hand, suggested not an exact formula, but just simply to mix 2 vallejo colours in some proportion. In Tony´s words:

“Two mixes look pretty good , using just Olive Yellow 70892 and English Uniform 70921.
If you want a greener version, try them at 2:1.
If you want it a little browner, try the mix 1:1”

I´ve found this advice very useful, flexible and straight simple. And above all, it allowed me to play with colour modulation in a much more easier way.

C) Lastly we have MIG Jimenez offer. His Ammo line of products has a ready-to-use mix, named G3 Khaki Green 113.

My choice for G3 Khaki Green would be mainly to follow Tony´s advice, and chose it to be a little “greener”. As I paint my vehicles with airbrush, my formula would be heavily thinned-down. Each time i refill my airbrush’s cup, the mix would be:

– 10 drops of VJ921 British Unifrom
– 12 drops of VJ892 Yellow Olive
– 12 drops of VJ Airbrush thinner
– 10 drops of VJ airbrush flow improver

The flow improver is there not as much to “improve” but to retard the drying process. As i would paint 8 models at the same time.

Guided by Tony again , here are two excellent colour photos, taken in 1942, showing a Crusader on exercise in Yorkshire.they seem to have been taken in early morning or early evening, in slanting light, which gives you two versions of the colour. To Tony’s mind the second confirms that it IS G3, definitely a green , but the first, because of the light, shows how khaki it can look:

So it’s up to everyone to choose what you think is convincing as G3.

STEP by STEP guide:

I would build and paint these models:
– 3x PSC A9’s
– 1 Millcast scout carrier
– 1 Millicast bren carrier
– 1 PSC universal carrier
– 2x Zvezda 2pdr AT guns w/crew

All are 1/72 scale except the millicast ones which are 1/76. Those little bastards are insanely detailed but utterly fragile. Also, there is noticeable size difference when fielded alongside the PSC 1/72 one.

BUILD:
Building these gave me no major problems besides some putty to fill gaps.

PRIMING
All were then airbrush-primed with MIG grey primer.

BASECOAT
As i said before we would use a formula of:
– 10 drops of VJ921 British Unifrom
– 12 drops of VJ892 Yellow Olive
– 12 drops of VJ Airbrush thinner
– 10 drops of VJ airbrush flow improver

As always with an airbrush, a little key factors:
– apply 2/3 thin coats
– always maintain a low pressure
– let dry thoroughly

When finished you will get a basecoat which appears to be very light green. But remember, the weathering process will tone it down a lot!

HIGHLIGHT
Then, once totally dry, we would highlight the exposed parts and some panels with MIG G3 Khaki Green, which, being lighter and “Khakier” would give a fine contrast and highlight to the basecoat.

G4 Dark Green Disrupting Camo:

The G4 would be represented by 2 layers:

– One basecoat of VMC 979 German Camo Dark Green
– A Highlight of VMC 888 Olive Grey over the dark green basecoat

To make the correct camo disrupting pattern we MUST follow the AWESOME graphics in Starmer´s Book, which comes even with an original painting instruction from 1940.

To airbrush the disruptive pattern we would use the help of MIG masking putty. It would seem like a John Carpenter´s film, but is a really useful product.




It takes practice to put the putty, and can take a lot of time. But the results are worthwhile.

DECALS:
I bought 3 different sets of excellent BEF decal sets from:

– ALERAN decals
– Mike Starmer decals
– Dan Taylor decals

For the tanks it would be a straight on work. Just remember to follow the steps:
– Gloss varnish on the surface. Let it dry.
– apply decals with Micro Set product. Let it dry only for 3 minutes
– smooth decals over surface with Micro Sol product

For the flimsy carriers we have first to make little AoS (Arm of Service) plaques with plasticard.

and then attach them to the carriers

SATIN VARNISH:
This is an EXTREMELY important step. As all the weathering would be enamel-based, we need some firm base on which to work. The satin varnish would provide a better surface to work than a matt one.
I´ll prefer MIG Satin Varnish, 1 coat is ok.

CHIPPING & FILTER:
From now on, all weathering would be enamel-based. I´m no expert here. It is my first experience with them. The only REAL advantage i saw using enamels is that you can correct everything using white spirit afterwards, so it´s very comfortable to work with. Also the MIG white spirit is completely odourless. The products i would use are:

First we make some “chipping” with a pencil and a sponge. I used VMC German Camo Black Brown for this.

Then we apply “MIG filter for green vehicles”. This is not a wash. A filter is just applied gently with a wet brush all over the vehicle. There are zillions of tutorials about how to apply a filter in hte web. The results are almost imperceptible, but believe me, there they are. The base colour changes, and the camouflage edges gets smoothed. A filter makes the model improve a lot by gaining chromatic richness.

PIN WASH & CREW:
Using MIG “Dark Brown for Green Vehicles” Wash nr 1005. We would apply the wash with a small brush, and only in the recesses and small details. You can clean any excess with a brush loaded with white spirit.

Now to some “streaking”. I used MIG “streaking grime”. These BEF tanks, particularly the one from 3rd RTR fought in Calais only for 4-5 days since disembarkation. So, they would not have suffered much weathering. So i tried to go gently on this.

I also added some crew (the ones that come with the PSC box, they are pretty good!)

TRACKS:
The tracks are first painted with Panzer Aces Track primer. Then are washed with MIG track wash. Finally a drybrush of Citadel Necron Compound on the edges

DETAILS:
Details like tools (wood & gunmetal), wheels (panzer aces dark rubber), weapons (gunmetal) are painted. I put zero stowage on these A9´s. They were just disembarked in Calais and straight into combast.

The exhausts were painted first with track primer. Then a succession of panzer aces Dark, light & yellowish oxide was applied. Afterwards MIG Light Rust wash. Finally a drybrush with citadel Ryza Rust (wonderful product!)

PIGMENTS:
Also my first experience with pigments. I went too strong on these and almost waste all my previous work. The first result was messy. But, as they are enamel-based also i was saved by some heavy white spirit cleaning afterwards.
I have learned now. With pigments always start gently an use little quantity. Less is more.

MATT VARNISH:
Finally I applied 2 coats of MIG matt varnish. These models are going to see heavy wargaming and i want them to be well protected.

THE END RESULT

Hope you enjoyed the read!
Lastly, i would like to thank Tony Barton again to enlighten me about the “right” G3/G4 formula.

Best Regards,

Diego

2 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *