How much wear and chipping is appropriate

I must confess that I do not have any answer to this question (which I expected) …

One comment on color interpretation from black and white…its a guess at best :slight_smile:

Just playing around with a color image & to black and white can be enlightening.

To me interpretations of color from old black & white photos are pseudo-science at best from what I’ve seen.


Not even pseudo science …

Maybe possibly if there were samples of the same film exposed under very similar light conditions and then developed by the same lab using the same chemicals.


Not a perfect system by any means, but (color)photos are the best reference we have, so we do what we can with it.

Some of the B&W photos can give us a rough idea of differences in tone; that is we can roughly gauge lighter tones from darker which is where (in the case of German armor) we guess what is the green and what is the red-brown secondary colors over the dark yellow. It’s not perfect, obviously, but it is better than nothing. But considering the arguments I’ve seen about it being blue or green panels on some P-51 Mustangs and the photos not showing enough contrast it does show the inadequacies of the old methods. Technology can be used to augment photos but even that has its limits with old film.


Well said Robin👏

More fun :crazy_face: to interpret with B&W pictures:)

However, the color pics are surprising :open_mouth:
@CMOT Darren’s pics from Here


If you are looking for realism, less (or no) chipping is better. Actual vehicles do not chip much since the paint is very durable (even in WWII) and they are not allowed by their crews to get all beat up and chip. A good NCO will keep up with his vehicle and its maintenance, including rust control, i.e. painting any chipped areas.

If you are wanting to follow the latest artistic fad of over weathering and heavy chipping, go for it. Chip away, there is no limit.


I keep it to an absolute minimum and just do it around hatches and engine compartments etc.


I would have guessed the lighter tones were some shade of yellow, whether for DAK forces or Europe would be harder to tell. Knowing something about the vehicle changes over time I knew it was likely to be one of those since the Tiger is not an early model. The other tone would be a bit harder but admittedly I would go with a shade of green since the red-brown tends to contrast more with the yellow.

I would not have guessed gray with brown secondary as the contrast was even less between those two and that scheme was dropped very early on.

One of the key elements that made paint durable in the past is the lead content. Made paint very hard and therefore difficult to scuff or chip significantly. As for chipping keep in mind that in 1/35 scale a chip/scratch 1/35 of an inch would equal to a 1 inch chip/scratch in 1/1 scale. In my opinion it is usually overdone although it seems to be a trend and many think it looks cool. For me less is more when it comes to chipping. In the end however it’s each individual’s own build and if you like it then hey, go for it.

Chipping? What chipping? I don’t see any chipping! Just having some fun here but you have to admit that these images of a knocked out Panther and those in the junk yard show little evidence of chipping. Clearly the splatter from the penetration on the Panther 302 has left a mark but that’s not what we’re talking about. Maybe a closer look would show some but these are pretty good quality pictures. Again, this might be related to the short “life scan” of these particular vehicles but the fact of the matter is that this is what they looked like at the end of their use.


The comment from Dioramartin has me a little perplexed. Is there a suggestion that there are good color photographs available from WWII that are not be used as reference? I would love to know more about how to access those pictures.

That is simply not possible. There have been long debates about AFV lifespan, none of which have much data behind them. If records exist, please share them with us.

That would be great if all the data required to be objective were available. It’s usually not, which is why we enter the realm of the subjective, and why we have these interesting discussions.

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I find these two pics to be useful references. Note the hand oils atop the turret fixtures of this M4A2. Darkening areas where elsewhere is thoroughly embedded dust everywhere else.

The second pic shows the shininess of tracks that have just run. The third shows how prevalent dust/dirt was and how crews would wear off “clean” spots.




The hand oils on grab handles are a great insight. This a place where I would typically place some chipping but I think I will try something different, and maybe more realistic, next time. Thanks Roy.

I remember reading about this, situated at the Leningrad-front during the siege of said perimeter.

Many modellers seem to think that this:

is a relevant reference for a tracked vehicle built in the middle of a war that
lasted 5 years.
A 20 year career bulldozing isn’t the same as a year or two in a war


I recall reading the Volgograd Tractor Plant in Stalingrad making T-34/76’s till the German advanced on the plant. They where said to be fighting in primer color and not traditional 4BO green.


Regarding “realistic” or “life-like”…

Long time ago, noticed the most realistic model tanks in my display bookcases were always the ones sitting at eye-level. Didn’t matter if it was a Panzer build in elementary school or last month’s IPMS award winner.

I realized, it’s totally different seeing the tank’s hull at eye-level and turret above your head. That’s the view typical of standing on the ground beside a Panther or Panzer IV or M1A1 but with models we’re typically looking down from above.

One can hold the model at eye level but that sort of spoils the effect. The Tank sitting on a shelf or display table and looking down on it basically blows “realistic” tank model out the door…at least for me.

With a shadow box and forced perspective the angles and viewing height can be addressed. That makes realistic very possible.

Otherwise even the perfect model tank on table is being viewed as if from a low flying helicopter at 75 to 100 feet of altitude…not realistic in most cases.

Basically “realistic” is impossible to achieve for a model tank regardless of paint or weathering style. It’s also necessary to have the correct viewing perspective.

The viewing and presentation angles are wrong under normal circumstances for the model tank on display to be believable by the Mark 1 eyeball.


unless you are an attack helicopter pilot …