Painting The Brave: Polish Armoured Train

Polish Armoured Train (PBX05)

Painting The Brave: Polish Armoured Train
by Victor Pesch

At first the new Polish armoured train can seem like quite a daunting task to assemble and paint, but really it’s just like painting four giant Polish tanks.

Learn more about the Flames Of War Polish Armoured Train here...

Learn more about Polish Armoured Trains in World War Two here...

I’ll take you through the steps I’ve used to tackle this train, but keep in mind it’s all just a guide and handy tips; it’s all open to your own experimentation. Find what works for you and most importantly, have fun!

All colours used are from the Flames Of War Vallejo and War Paint ranges.

Check out the Flames Of War paint range in the online store here...

Assembly
The train goes together in a similar way to most Flames Of War tank kits. The first thing you’ll want to do is clean up the metal components with a file and a sharp knife. This can be time-consuming but really pays off in the end.

With the resin, test-fitting the pieces together is a good idea to see if any areas need to be filed down slightly to ensure a flush fit.

The Polish Train
The resin can sometimes be quite dusty or powdery, which won’t help when it comes to applying the undercoat. To remove this you can wash the resin in slightly soapy warm water.

Wait until the resin is completely dry again before assembling. One way to help the superglue bond the resin together is to score the two joining edges with a sharp knife as shown.


I’ve also chosen to pin the radio aerials to the assault car to make them more sturdy, and I’ve used rare earth magnets (included with the kit) to hold the turrets.

Scoring the resin
The rare earth magnets Pinning the radio aerials
Green Base
Green Base
The black undercoat Black Undercoat
For my undercoat I chose to use Black (950) watered down to about 1:1. Watering it down a bit more would work fine too, it’s just important that the undercoat isn’t too thick as we don’t want to lose any detail. You can be quite sloppy with the brush, just take extra care to cover the recesses thoroughly in case the spray paint doesn’t get them.

Spray and Wash
Next, I’ve used Soviet Armour (SP02) spray. You’ll want to give a nice even coat, but you can also come back and touch up any missed areas once the first coat is dry.

Learn more about the Soviet Armour and the other War Paint Spray cans here...

Then I’ve given the whole train a black wash to define the details and break up the panels. I’ve used watered-down Black Shade (201).

The spray and wash
The spray and wash Drybrush
To finish off this green base, I’ve used successive drybrushes of Reflective Green (890). This helps to tone down the intensity of colour from the spray, and
add a little depth to the model. You can pay extra attention to edges and surfaces that would catch the most light.

The technique of Drybrushing is described in The Art Of War, Learn more about The Art Of War here...
Camouflage
The camouflage

The most important thing with camo of this nature is to get the right amount of coverage with each colour. From looking at the few black and white photos and artists impressions, it seems each colour takes up about a third of the train, with green maybe being slightly more. I’ve found that it is a lot easier to plan out where the camo patches will go before applying it. Using the reference images I found, I came up with this drawing below to base my camo on.

Download a PDF version of this diagram including the colour guide here...

For more inspiration, check out this website which offers more history and photos of Polish Armoured Trains...

The camouflage diagram
1. Brown Camo Base
I’ve decided to start with the brown camo first. You’ll want to lay down a good base coat, getting the edge of the patches nice a crisp. Thinning your paint is a good idea as you don’t want a thick coat and only the recesses will be visible by the end.

2. Ochre Camo Base
Next I used the same method with the ochre patches. Being a lighter colour, it can come out quite splotchy looking. This is fine as we’ll do the work with the next colour to fix this. Again, just keep the patch edges crisp, and recesses covered well.
The Brown Camo Base The Ochre Camo Base
3. Brown Camo
With this step you’ll want to cover the previous colour completely, but avoid the recesses. This is sometimes known as ‘block painting’. This is a good opportunity to touch up any rough edges to the camo.

4. Ochre Camo
Repeat the same method with the ochre patches. It may take several coats to get a nice full and even colour, but the extra time spent will be worth it. Remember: several thin coats are better than one thick coat. Also, picking out the rivets goes faster then you’d think, and really makes them pop!
The Brown Camo The Ochre Camo
Highlighting & Weathering
Highlighting & Weathering
These techniques here are purely optional to add some extra depth and detail. If you’ve been painting military vehicles for a while, you’ve probably developed your own weathering techniques and these will work just fine here too.
Streaks
To simulate weathering from rain, I’ve painted thin streaks coming down from rivets and hinges.

To get the right colour I added a small about of Dark Sand (847) to the respective camo colours. It helps to use a small brush, and thin the paint so it flows nicely.

Soot
A nice touch to make your big guns draw attention and look realistic is to add soot around the barrels and smoke stack.

All you need to do is a simple drybrush of Black (950) around the ends of the barrels. Greys could be used too, it’s up to you. Also don’t forget to do the smoke stack on the locomotive.
Streaks Soot
Chipping: Pencil
I wanted to show paint wear around key areas such as hinges and edges of door panels. A thin brush would work fine for this but a quicker and easier way is to use a soft, well-sharpened pencil. The colour is up to you, whether it’s a regular drawing pencil (for dark metal), or a silver colouring pencil like I’ve used (for lighter metals).

Drybrush Highlight
My next step was to bring out and define the edges of the model. Drybrushing is perfect for this and is very simple. I’ve used Iraqi Sand (819) to lighten each of the three colours slightly and drybrushed each individually. You could alternatively find one colour to do all three camo colours, but this can be hard since the brown, green and ochre are so different.

Keep very little paint on the brush and just lightly dust the raised edges.
Chipping: Pencil Drybrush Highlight
Chipping: Sponge
Focusing on just the bottom edges of the train, I’ve tried to replicate stone chips. I’ve just used some old blister foam and ripped off a corner as a sponge.

First you dip the sponge into some paint, and then dab it on to tissue (similar to drybrushing) until most of the paint is gone. Then you can start applying it to the model. I’ve used Reflective Green (890) on the two camo colours, and then Gunmetal Grey (863) over all three colours.

Dirt and Dust
The final weathering touch I’ve done is a light dusting of US Field Drab (873) to replicate dried dirt and dust. Experiment with whichever colours you’d like, and maybe several layers of different colours.

I chose a light brown, as the battle at Mokra was fought in the height of summer. I simply did a very light drybrush along the bottom edges of the cars, only partially covering the chips I made previously.
Chipping: Sponge Dirt and Dust
Details
Details
Wheels
The wheels offer an opportunity for a splash of colour.

Start by covering the wheels with Gunmetal Grey (863), then a generous coat of Black Shade (201). Brown washes could be applied here to give a gritty effect. Lastly, pick out the raised spokes with Flat Red (957).

Guns
Machine guns were likely to have been supplied separately to the train, and so wouldn’t have been given camo.

I first picked out the barrels with Gunmetal Grey (863), then painted the casings with Reflective Green (890) before covering both colours with Black Shade (201).
 
Wheels Guns
Coal
For the coal, I started with German Grey (995). Next I darkened it with Black Shade (201) before drybrushing with German Grey (995) and London Grey (836). Looking at photos of coal, you’ll notice it can be quite glossy, so I’ve given it a coat of Gloss Varnish (510).

Aerials
This step could be skipped but I think one of the coolest parts of the whole train is the assault car with the massive aerial.

I painted the top of the poles (insulators) Black (950) and then carefully cut some strips of nylon, normally used for model ships. There are many materials you could use, just find one you like. Cut the length longer than you need—we’ll trim them later. Using a toothpick, apply some superglue to the tops of two poles, then place some of the nylon on keeping it quite taut. Repeat this across the whole car. Leave the glue to completely dry, then trim the nylon. To finish, paint the nylon black and paint over any superglue, and gloss varnish the insulators.
Coal Aerials
Badges
The small badges can seem challenging, but remember the size of them makes them quite forgiving. They don’t have to be perfect (just look at my attempts!).

Start by blocking out the areas with Flat Red (957), then paint the edges with White (951). The artillery cars get the Polish eagle on both sides, and the loco gets an eagle, train type, and train number (use the table earlier in the article to find a train you like the sound of). Again, I’ve used White (951) for these.

Lights
The headlights can be painted however you like. I’ve chosen to use German Grey (995) as a base, then adding successive amounts of London Grey (836) I blended the bottom of the domes to be lighter. Leaving then just flat grey would look perfectly fine too. To finish them off, I’ve added a small dot of White (951) to resemble shine, and a coat of gloss varnish.
Badges Lights
The Fully Painted Polish Train
The Fully Painted Polish Train
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