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Welsh Dragon Models

Heng Long T-90 repaint in Russian armor green

Postby Marc780 » Tue Sep 05, 2017 4:47 pm

After moving last year a lot of my tanks had to go as there was no room for them anymore... I only kept the Panther G from my collection. I thought I was done with the hobby actually until HL came out with the T90. Then I thought about it for a year, because what I really wanted was a T55 or at least a T72... and the Hooben T55 & T72 was far more expensive then I thought was worth it. So I waited til I saw someone's used T90 that they just didn't want anymore (It cost me $135 shipped) and got it.

The T90 comes with a pretty much authentic camo scheme right out of the box. But the Russians stopped doing camo from the factory as of 2013. The paint job on their tanks depends on the area where the tank will be deployed. T90's going to the north and other forest areas just get a solid coat of good old Soviet armor green. Those going to the deserts in the south get a tan/light yellow paint described as "khaki". The tank then gets camo scheme used by other tanks in the area, whether green over tan or the other way round (sometimes with black edge as well, sometimes not). There is not much variation in Russian armor camouflage when they even bother to apply it at all. But the camo job from the HL factory is really pretty authentic and not too much wrong with it actually.
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Factory paint scheme

Even so I decided to go for a solid green, which of course presents challenges of its own. Fortunately even with a solid color, the tank's so big it's not difficult to really make it pop, using the tried and true drybrushing and wash techniques, along with dark and white undercoats before the main green is applied.


Russian armor green is at least one shade lighter then US olive drab. You could use OD if that was all you had but then you'd need to do a lot of lightening of the paint or else it's not going to look right. I prefer to find krylon plastic paints or other rattle can paint off the shelf whenever possible, I don't mind paying extra for purpose made model paint but the cans are just too small and then you run out. One type i found that matches R.A.G. is called Italian olive so that's what I used.

One annoying thing about this model is the battery won't fit in its compartment. The recess is just too small, even to fit the battery that comes with it. So I ground away some of the plastic to make the battery fit.
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Next I painted the model with flat black, then a dusting of the green, and then flat white. All this to give a base for the section by section painting coming after.
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I was careful not to use much paint for any of this. It really doesn't take much excess paint to start obscuring all the fine details of the model, after all.
Next came the first over-all coat of the green.
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Next I started airbrushing lighter shades of the green in a random pattern, the idea being to show fading and wear. Also blacked out the engine grills and some blackening around the engine exhaust port on the left.
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After that I let the paint dry for 24 hours. Took some more pictures looking for missed spots in the painting to touch up during the last and final coat, an even lighter shade of green
I like to do most of the weathering using the airbrush by just varying the shades of paint. If you do it right the subtle variation fools the eye much more readily then any other way I've ever tried.

After all this I was still not satisfied with how the model was coming out, so I started over with the AK interactive Russian Armor Green set...
Last edited by Marc780 on Sun Oct 08, 2017 8:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Postby c.rainford73 » Tue Sep 05, 2017 4:53 pm

So much better looking now IMHO I really like the effect you have achieved with the paint modulation and the green colored Russian tank is always tops in my book!
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Postby Marc780 » Tue Sep 05, 2017 6:09 pm

It was a tough decision whether to just do a repaint of the original scheme, or find some new one the Russians or their allies are using somewhere in the world! But the standard camo scheme is just khaki tan and the green and that's about the only choice. The only other one i considered was solid yellow as used by India ,and some other nations but then the issue becomes finding the right shade of yellow.
Now the fun part will be, adding back all the stuff that broke off, one of the side plates, the MG and all that, I think i might just paint it to appear as new, since of course tanks get refitted with new parts all the time IRL, anyway.

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Postby wibblywobbly » Tue Sep 05, 2017 9:12 pm

A man after my own heart, they look way better in green IMHO. Well done that man! :thumbup:
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Postby c.rainford73 » Tue Sep 05, 2017 9:50 pm

wibblywobbly wrote:A man after my own heart, they look way better in green IMHO. Well done that man!
Wow that's one beautiful tank Mr Wibbly
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Postby c.rainford73 » Tue Sep 05, 2017 11:28 pm

Wibbly are those applique armour plates on the sides? Such a cool look for sure
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Postby 43rdRecceReg » Wed Sep 06, 2017 12:16 am

Both are excellent examples of what can be done with patience, and a paint pot. :thumbup: I also appreciate descriptions of techniques and colours involved, which are useful for those of us who might be less adept, or experienced, in the daubing department :) :thumbup:
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Postby HERMAN BIX » Wed Sep 06, 2017 12:55 pm

Brilliant work Mr 780
If its ok, I would like to move this into the modern section above so it gets dedicated exposure.
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Postby Marc780 » Wed Sep 06, 2017 3:39 pm

HERMAN BIX wrote:Brilliant work Mr 780
If its ok, I would like to move this into the modern section above so it gets dedicated exposure.

sure why not? I'll add in more images later, the fuel drums are still getting painted and weathered, the IR sensors (or whatever those devices are that have the red lens, on the turret) need to be painted so I'll have to research how those look IRL. And Its getting a new gearbox, and metal wheels next; it'll be fun painting and weathering the wheels and adding the metal suspension arms. I'm half-tempted to just go all the way and get the metal tracks too. But those seem to be hit or miss, on some tanks, like me T-34 and Pzkfw III, they work flawlessly but on others, like my Tiger 1 and King Tiger, you can barely drive it 50 feet before they are throwing the heavy tracks. The plastic tracks are much more trouble-free, not to mention a whole lot lighter.

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Postby Marc780 » Thu Sep 21, 2017 3:39 pm

I did some more work on the details, painted the tracks and reinforced the hull. I think the plastic is too thin and the hull flexes quite a lot. I know when you attach the top with the screws it all makes for a whole assembly that's more then rigid enough, but I'm planning to glue in some magnets to hold the hull on... and the lower hull needs to be rigid on its own - since I'm adding metal wheels as soon as they arrive from the slow boat from China.

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I painted the tracks with flat paints in rattle can. First I painted a base of primer in flat black, then a pass or two with brown, then dark green, just spot painting and not trying to get the whole tracks but about a third of them each time - until I had a nice over-all finish of indeterminate color. After looking at dozens of photos of the real T-90's I thought this would be best for the appearance. On the real thing, the tracks are always dusty and dirty, of course, but seldom could you pick out exactly what color they are! Usually they appear to be a shade of grey even when dirty. So that's the effect I tried to achieve. I like the effect, but you be the judge!
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I was looking for a scheme to paint the tank commander I bought and this is one scheme of how their camo is supposed to look. I did not paint these guys, and they are in 1/35 scale! but if anybody is looking for a reference this one comes close.
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I tried to paint my guy and just couldn't get the effect... so I painted him in green jacket. He looks very bad so I'm not posting an images!

I reinforced the hull by gluing on some plastic cut to fit. Then I used a threaded rod to pass through the hull and screw them on to give the hull some more rigidity. This image is when I glued the plastic.
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Some more small details... the machine gun and the IR lights. If you are putting together a T90 yourself and are a bit puzzled how the IR lights go together, maybe this image will help!
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Postby Marc780 » Fri Sep 22, 2017 11:19 am

I think the tank is coming out nicely. I take these photos to show on forums, and also so I can find mistakes and areas that need attention such as drybrushing something to help it blend in and parts that might look better with a light touch of Vallejo black wash.

I bought the tank used so it's had a few surprises - like loose parts that were not glued on. I had to glue the smoke launchers and a few other parts that had just been pressed on. Also I added on a lot of the small details, the IR lights, a cargo bin, and a couple other parts. I'm debating whether to glue on the machine gun at all, since it seems likely it'll be the first part broken off. Same with the fuel drums at the rear. If I think of a way to attach the drums semi-permanently I may try that.

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I did some dry brushing and another spot wash of a few areas. You can't tell exactly how it will look until the wash is dry. I just used the method of drop it on, spread it with a Q-tip and wipe off the excess. This is hit-or-miss, for me anyway. Sometimes it comes out perfect and sometimes not so much. Any excess wash is easily covered by dry brushing, which I've been doing sparingly on the rest of the tank, using the original Rssian armor green, lightened with a few drops of white..
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Since i posted this I took a long hard look at what i'd done so far and felt i didn't like how it looked. Something missing. The difference between how real tanks look and how a model tank should look, at least to me, is something i'd never really noticed in the abstract way you need to, to make a model that looks right to the eye! The real thing looks one way and the model should look a different way, I feel, since trying to emulate the real item too closely is perhaps not always desirable. We like what we like, and what's pleasing to the eye may not be exactly how the real thing would look if say you took one and shrank it down to scale?! If that makes sense. This is why i am loathe to dirty my tanks up - it may be realistic but not necessarily pleasing or create the effect you desire. So I just started over...
Last edited by Marc780 on Fri Oct 06, 2017 9:17 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Postby Marc780 » Thu Oct 05, 2017 6:16 am

I have redone the tank since the last images i posted... from the photos I took and comparing them with other Russian armor models that I wished to emulate, I was not satisfied with how it was coming out. I got this AK interactive set of acrylics and decided to give it a try.
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this cost about $30 on ebay.

With the kit it is possible to create single-color armor models that look like this (It's not mine BTW)
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I studied a few YT videos on using these kind of kits (Vallejo makes another similar kit) and started working the procedure they recommended: Priming (I did it with rattle can enamel primer). Shading, dark base, base, light base, highlight ,then "shine" (basically an off white, I never did find adequate ideas on how to use it). These paints are acrylics, the previous paint was enamel. There was no problem spraying the acrylic over the enamel but you should not do it the other way around, it will craze the paint, unless you seal it with some other product first.
I did not attempt to strip off the old paint, all i did was sand the open areas with some 1000 grit and clean it off with windex.

The "shadow" is used to highlight panel edges, creases, indentations, grilles and other high spots. They recommend you do the shading first. The idea is to build up the paint to create the effect you want, but i found the dark base then the base obliterated the shading and so it had to be done again. The light base is what really makes the model stand out, and mostly used for areas exposed to the sun (at least thats how i kept it straight while spraying to know where to put most of the paint). I think the model is about as good as I am going to make it... Master class ready, unfortunately no! But they are the quality of models i always aim for and will never stop trying to create.

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Still not good enough, fortunately, the acrylics go on so thin (I can still see the grey primer underneath in the right light) it allows for many do-overs in the quest for the best-model-I-can-make story.
Last edited by Marc780 on Sun Oct 08, 2017 9:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Soeren » Thu Oct 05, 2017 9:26 am

Wow. Just wow. I have to say, I like both your attempts. Both are very effective but much different in the approach. I guess the washes and dry brushing are what get these to looke alive after this modulation. Didn't try it myself yet. One note, if you are not yet used to oil paints, "dry brushing" with those opens.up the next level. They are ao smooth and allow a much more realistic finish compared to acrylics for dry brushing. Also you can erase all your mistakes easily.
How would you rate the t90 kit overall?

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Postby Marc780 » Fri Oct 06, 2017 9:28 am

Soeren wrote:Wow. Just wow. I have to say, I like both your attempts. Both are very effective but much different in the approach. I guess the washes and dry brushing are what get these to looke alive after this modulation. Didn't try it myself yet. One note, if you are not yet used to oil paints, "dry brushing" with those opens.up the next level. They are ao smooth and allow a much more realistic finish compared to acrylics for dry brushing. Also you can erase all your mistakes easily.
How would you rate the t90 kit overall?

thanks for your complements! I saw a YT vid where he used some oils for streaks and stains and I might try that. For this color green what colors of the oils would you recommend? Any particular brand? I had been thinking about trying the oils for weathering but never used them before... I'd need to test them first on some painted surface to see what effects i get since I don't know the first thing about using them.

This is the first time I used acrylics on models and I the good things about them are they drys fast, clean up easy, don't stink; but the coverage is maybe 1/2 as much as enamel, i.e. the acrylic paints go on much thinner. And you can paint acrylic over enamel but not the reverse, you need some kind of varnish to seal the acrylic if you are going to put enamel over acrylic. I tried Vallejo Acrylic satin paint varnish", shook the bottle for a while and it came out too thick somehow and promptly clogged the airbrush... - meanwhile i just got a bottle of Mig Jimenez "brown for dark green filter" because a guy in a YT video showed how to use it, but it's an enamel and I just used acrylics.. argh.

Anyway the T90 is a good kit, everything fits, the top hull to bottom hull fit is the best I ever saw (I used to own 5 other HL tanks). There are a lot of extra parts to fit, especially on the turret. I mean A LOT of parts: two storage bins, a bunch of reactive armor pieces, an antenna, two external fuel drums plus the hoses, the machine gun and its bins, etc., etc. I used super glue on these. The only grumble i have with that is having to handle the model like eggs since one false move and a part breaks off...The kit is well designed but the plastic of the hull seems much thinner then the other HL tanks. I know it's designed for the top and bottom to screw together and make a relatively rigid model, kind of like a shoe box is bendy unless you were to tape the lid on. Even so i added a thin piece of threaded rod, using a bunch of couplers for adjusting, and drilled a hole in the hull for the screws - to make it a bit more rigid without adding too much weight. I am getting the metal wheels and tracks so I thought some stiffening of the hull would be a good plan. Fortunately when you put the top hull on, the fender skirts hide the screw heads (for the reinforcement rod) completely.
Last edited by Marc780 on Fri Oct 06, 2017 11:34 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Soeren » Fri Oct 06, 2017 10:45 am

Thanks for the info.

The filter being Enamel is no problem. It wont hurt the acrylic paint when it dried completely for about 24h.

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Postby Marc780 » Sat Oct 07, 2017 11:04 am

Finally the wheels arrived, and the set was (almost) complete. It comes with 12 metal wheels, 12 outer bearings, the screws, the metal axles, and even 6 metal track rollers to replace the plastic ones. I painted the wheels first thing. I really should have sanded them some and cleaned them off but I was too eager to get to the painting after waiting all this time for them to arrive! A coat of primer, then some rattle can italian olive. Then some satin clear.

Installing these wheels is not difficult, and once you get the trick of installing the control arm onto the spring, the rest of them go on very quickly. Just make sure the spring has its bent end installed in the tiny hole in the hull, start the screw, and push down on the control arm until you feel it grab the spring. Then just twist it past the molded stop as you tighten the bolt.

Except for the inevitable small headaches that arise. It came with what seemed to be one bearing extra as it was sized the same as the wheel bearings. I figured it must go on the new metal idler wheel I installed, and so it did, it fit right over the axle. Problem, now i am one bearing short for the other side. Argg. I guess the idler will function without the second bearing, until I figure out where to get one.
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These make the model much heavier, of course. When I add the metal tracks it'll be heavier still. At least it'll move in a tank-like manner, with all that metal.

I found an easy mod to make the hull much stiffer, in order to handle all that heavy metal... while I'm waiting for more parts to arrive, naturally I'm fiddling about with the tank as I really don't want this project to end! But I thought gluing in some metal pieces on the bottom of the hull might make the hull stiffer and less flexy (and perhaps avoid cracks in the hull later). So I glued in some metal bits from the hardware store with JB weld... I used a new clamping method since I had no clamps that would fit here. I found some of those super strong magnets (the kind you need a hammer and chisel to pry apart). I just placed a stack of those under the hull where the metal bars were being glued. INot ideal, but better then no clamps at all. (The front of the hull is to the left, in this image.)
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It does make the hull noticeably more stiff. So much so I could probably dispense with that ugly rebar if only I'd thought of it first.
Last edited by Marc780 on Tue Oct 10, 2017 4:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Marc780 » Sun Oct 08, 2017 9:09 pm

A bit more like it. Neither too overdone nor too sparse... the whole idea of creating a piece of rolling art is not an easy quest at times.
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I added more of the Russian armor green light base on top. Lightened some of the dark shadowing that seemed too overmuch and overpainted the excess that had been made when I did the latest pin wash.

The new metal wheels make the tank much heavier, of course, and now the whole model is so heavy I thought it'd be a good idea to glue in some more reinforcing plastic inside the front of the hull. I don't know if this will stiffen the hull much or not but the plastic is so thing, I figured it couldn't hurt. I used .040 styrene and just cut two pieces from the same pattern, then glued them inside the hull making a double thickness. .040 is ideal for me since you can cut it with scissors easily, then make whatever thickness you want just by doubling or tripling the plastic. The plastic on the hull is so thin it could really benefit from one of those steel floorplates like the Taigen hulls have. But nobody seems to be making those yet.

Next parts to come are an ultimate gearbox, for which I already got the metal motor plate from Mato outlet; and the metal tracks. I sent away for Brownell's Alumahyde II, normally used for gun refinishing, to paint the tracks. As a matter of fact I have used this finish for 5 of my guns (yes I confess it, I am a gun owning yank! It's another hobby of mine) and this is how i know about this stuff. It costs about $25-30 a can, and it is like spray paint on steroids. Super, super tough, sticks with fiendish tenacity, and resists scratches better then any spray paint. The only drawback, it takes t wo weeks to airdry...but the trick to fix that is bake it in the oven for 5 hours at 190 degrees F then it's ready to use. I got it in "dark parkerizing grey", since this is the closest color they make it in, that most resembled the tracks; of the dozens of images of T90 tanks I looked at. Then in the crevices will be Testor's rust. After that I'm thinking of starting an M1 Abrams project, or maybe a Pershing...

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Postby Soeren » Thu Oct 12, 2017 12:44 pm

Great stuff :D
So from the outside you only changed wheels and tracks and everything else is stock?

I saw that I missed your question on the oil paints. Well, I am in Europe so Abtl 502 is my choice as it is reasonably priced and readily available also they have a good reputation. Until now I have are colors that I actually need. Basically several browns, white and black, as well as the basic colors would be great, then you would be able to mix and blend into everything needed. I have to learn more about actually mixing this products to extend their range of colors. It is cheaper than to buy a special product.
You might see my attempts in the Japgdpanther static and the Panther G build. The good thing about oil paints: You are not limited to streaking. You can also do filters, washes, dot filters, streaks, grime buildup or discoloration all with one kind of product.

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Postby Marc780 » Sat Oct 14, 2017 9:25 am

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I painted the tracks red Testor's enamel rust, touched up a few small areas, and I believe this tank is probably about as perfect as I can make it. Also I got some Russian tow cables from Imax. Every photo I could find of modern Russian tow cables, the very few I could find, showed the cables being finished very light grey, almost white. the shackles being painted the tank base color - all the ones I found were painted green. So I finished the cables in grey primer with the ends in green. Haven't installed them yet, and as soon as my model grille material gets here I'll put those on too. Mostly small bits to be done now - unfortunately I doubt I'll ever be master class skilled but with every model I try to get a little closer.
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As this model approaches completion, I'm already getting ready for my next projects: HL M1 abrams that cost me $120 and was too much of a bargain to pass up - and I even sent away for the tank i have been lusting for years, a Hooben T90! From DKLM it cost me $360 for the basic R/C (not the RTR model, but the one that just comes with the motors)... It'll be probably the biggest challenge I ever have undertaken in 50 years of doing the hobby. Especially those dodgy electrics, if only Heng long made some kind of crossover kit but they tell me the motors in the turret are different somehow? Otherwise I see nothing wrong with using the HL/Taigen 2.4 ghz radio, but I don't know if it's even possible. For all that, right now I feel very happy that I finally pulled the pin and bought this interesting tank. It'll be a lot of work, and hopefully a lot of fun too!
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Postby nexusys » Sun Oct 22, 2017 6:05 pm

Nicely done! i personally prefer T90 in Green. Planning to get mine in future, and this is exactly what i'm going to do! :thumbup:

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