Painting glass viewports etc

Being new to this, my thinking is to paint the back side (?) where color is required i.e rangefinders, viewports & etc… then mask the clear front side where no paint is wanted… Then paint the cupola, rangefinder, etc. I use liquid latex for all masking requirements. Masking any areas which will be glue surfaced.

Any thoughts or on this subject will be more than welcome to this new builder.


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My favorite technique is to mask both the exterior and interior lens portions of the parts.

I then airbrush the parts with the brightest silver paint I have on-hand. I follow this with flat black, and if the parts will be viewed with the interior, the correct interior periscope or sight colors.

Remove the masks after all weathering and other final finish steps are complete.

The effect of depth with the clear parts is, IMO, well worth the effort. Bonus is when you get a glimpse of light reflecting from the inside while viewing the outside. Very realistic!

The effect is hard to photograph (trying to backlight the periscope while still keeping the foreground lit), but here are some examples of clear periscope or sights finished this way:


Final Test Fit (11)


I basically mask off the front of the lens and then airbrush a suitable colour, either Tamiya clear blue or Mig Ammo Periscope Green on the back of the transparancy.

Works a treat.

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I’m not really a tank guy, but I second painting the back . On other projects, it makes the front look clean and it’s a great effect, whether you do clear blue (excellent idea) or black, etc.

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Thank you all. Suspicions complete: mask front, paint back.

Thanks again

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I do them like @SdAufKla, and I absolutely hate the whole blue, clear blue, royal blue effect, to me it’s just wrong. That would be like building a model car and painting the windows blue.


Appreciate the feedback!

This method gives, IMO, a very nice see-through effect when you can catch the parts backlit. Shine a penlight into the hatch or turret area and the interior light will show through the periscopes or gun sights.

It also gives the parts a lot of depth that painted lenses just can’t compare with.


I can’t full agree - a car window isn’t an AFV’s periscope…

I suppose it all repends on the era too. Clear is probably best for WWII AFVs, for modern AFVs, I tend to find blue isn’t necessarally right, periscope green is much more realistic. But I can confirm that i’ve operated AFVs that used periscopes that had blue and greenish tints to them. And then, there’s IR reflective lenses like the IDF use which are different colours depending on what angle you view them from - blue and green included.