Camo madness

First of all I have to say thanks (or scream obscenities) to my coworker Iiro, a bank of Soviet stuff knowledge and the benevolent dictator of Presaleztan. As I had been pondering about my early camo pattern thoughts out loud at the office in the lines of "I should check how those Green Men invading Ukraine are camouflaged so I could make this look like their equipment". He suggested a digicamo and in all its insanity it sounded interesting enough for my brain to get locked into the idea.

Before I started anything mad I glued the doors into their places, so the cabin interior was just about sealed now. The doors fit in perfectly, like mushroom clouds in the horizon, thanks to my previous and well-planned dry-fitting method with multiple chekups.

A pixel at a time

I decided to utilize my both Tamiya masking tape rolls (10mm and 18mm) and cut off some squares with the aid of my cutting mat. Because the 18mm tape and the 10mm grid didn't always align perfectly I just cut 2mm off every other end of the squares (that is, the external ends of the bigger pixels were cut along the gridlines and the near ends so that I ended up with a ~4mm strip between them). Out of these 4mm bands I then cut some smaller pixels to provide more variety to the whole show.

It looked pretty weird at this kind of an early stage but thought that I'd try a few more pieces. And if that didn't work, it wasn't going to be a catastrophe.

Session 1

After about half an hour I had achieved this. I also noticed that the wheel centers had to be pixelated too, but I just didn't get to do more than the spare wheel yet. At this point I was a bit amused by the whole idea. This was slow, slow work.

I kept on building up my pixel mask slowly, piece by piece. While playing with the tape it occurred to me that maybe it'd been better to start masking off the parts that were not going to be green instead of saving the greenery. So keeping that in mind, you shouldn't consider the mid-results in the photos below as anything definite. It was going to take quite a few more tape pieces so there was plenty of space to maneuver still, especially the rear end was completely "open" as in I didn't have a proper plan for it. The rocket launcher, on the other hand, was clear as day to me. I blame that on the shape of the truck, they just didn't inspire me with camo ideas.

Session 2

In the early next evening I spent about an hour cutting and placing more tape pixels. At some point I decided that I was done. Of course I wished that I didn't need to fix any of the painting but I was still mentally prepared for that, being something of a pessimist with my experiments.

Checking the results

I airbrushed the truck and the launcher separately with a sandy colour (VMA 71122 desert tan 686). The shade wasn't maybe the most authentic representative of what Ivan uses but I have never been hysterically anal about those details. My only concern was the possibility of the result being too "loud".

Peeling off the tape pieces took a ridiculous amount of time. The result was pretty neat, I liked it. I had earlier envisioned a three-tone pattern but maybe that wasn't going to be needed after all. I'd have to think a bit about this.

As my first and totally random attempt at making a digicamo this felt succesful. The general look would be a bit calmer after I had airbrushed a gentle layer of "dirt" (just like in the IS-2 project) to filter and bring some more dirtiness. Just like the name suggests.

I changed my mind after all

Hah! I decided, after all, to utilize a third colour in the camo, a dark brown. To help me in choosing the approach I for reference pictures and the example in this photo felt like the smartest way to do it in this project. I wouldn't be adding a third large pixelset but some individuals and/or miniclusters here and there.

Just like before, I sliced masking tape into strips and squares to create shapes for the larger pixels and then I put them into certain key points. As usual I went with the gut feeling and tried to make the whole look more random (which is an issue with the human mind, pure randomness is so difficult). For the doors I cut off some stuff off from the center of a square cut out of a 18mm-tape. That was something I thought to be quick and an easy way to add those simple pixels into somewhat narrow places.

I was slightly concerned that I was going with a bit too few pixels, but on the other hand, it'd be easier to do more than to remove excess ones. Just like it'd be easier to undo a few instead of three dozen bad ideas. Still I trusted in the future good results and that I wouldn't have to be undoing anything later on. Just like the Americans love to say: no guts, no glory.

As my third camouflage colour I chose the darkest of the three browns I was looking at (VMA 71040 burnt umber) and then I airbrushed that carefully but with decent coverage. There wasn't much to paint so this phase was completed pleasantly quickly. After an unusually short paint-drying break I tore the masks off and took some photos, this time remembering the rear side as well. I was still pleased with how it looked like and I had even avoided any happy accidents.

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