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Painting Bed Spring Armour

Painting Bed Spring Armour
With James Brown

In 1945 the Soviets began to fit mesh spaced armour to the side of their tanks and assault guns to give added protection against weapons such as the Panzerfaust. This quickly became known as bed spring armour, due to it looking like the sprung metal base of a bed.

Check out the Bed Spring Armour spotlight here...

The culmination of Flames Of War’s Late-war period, the Berlin intelligence handbook focuses on the Soviet assault on the German capital city of Berlin, the battles to encircle it, and the final desperate defence by the by the rag-tag German forces.

Learn more about the Soviet forces in Berlin here...
Painting Bed Spring Armour

This guide will help you paint your armour pieces quickly and easily, and apply them either to a new army, or perhaps to a Soviet tank force which you have collected and painting previously.

For this guide I will be painting the armour pieces on the sprue. This has both benefits and drawbacks: 

  • It makes it very easy to handle the pieces while you paint them - this is especially important when dealing with such small, fiddly parts.
  • However, it does mean that you will need to carefully touch up the small areas of bare plastic where you cut the feed from the sprue.
Both of the options below begin with a black undercoat. I applied Black through an airbrush, but you could also use any generic matt black aerosol spray can. You can also brush on an undercoat, but just be careful not to fill in the small holes with paint. 

Option 1: Similar to Painting Rust from Colours Of War (page 30)
Painting Bed Spring Armour Painting Bed Spring Armour Painting Bed Spring Armour
Basecoat the parts with Oxide Red. Wash with Manstein Shade, to darken the colour and add shading. You can substitute watered-down Black if necessary. 
Painting Bed Spring Armour Painting Bed Spring Armour
Stipple a mix of Oxide Red and Rust Orange, creating a rough, mottled covering of colour. Stipple a little Rust Orange carefully on to the edges and upper surfaces. 

Option 2: Extra Fast Method
Painting Bed Spring Armour Painting Bed Spring Armour Painting Bed Spring Armour
Roughly basecoat with Motherland Earth. Don't worry about being too neat - a patchy, uneven finish will enhance the dirty, rusted appearance. Wash with Skin Shade to add a little shading and accentuate the rusty colour.

Attaching the Bed Spring Armour
How many pieces you attach to each tank is up to you. Historical photos mostly show a fairly standard arrangement with the turret sides and top, and part of the hull sides covered. However, there was some variety, and sections could easily be detached, so if you wish, you can choose to applying fewer pieces to each tank.
Painting Bed Spring Armour
Painting Bed Spring Armour

Which Glue?

If you're adding the armour before painting, you can of course use Plastic Glue.

You can find Plastic Glue in the online store...

However, because Plastic Glue works by slightly melting the plastic and 'welding' the parts together, it will not work with parts that have already been painted, because their is no direct plastic-to-plastic contact.

So if you are retro-fitting the armour parts to a painted tank (or if you decide to paint them separately to save some effort) it is best to use Super Glue - but apply it sparingly and be careful not to mess up your paint work. Using a toothpick or a similar small tool to apply the glue is a good way to make sure it only goes exactly where you need it.

You will notice that the standard arrangement generally had the fuel/oil drums removed and replaced with armour sections, something you may choose to do if you are painting a new army. However, if you are retro-fitting an existing army, you may prefer to leave the drums attached and just avoid adding armour sections in those parts of the hull. This is just fine - as with most things about Soviet equipment, the rule is function and practicality, not adhering rigidly to a defined standard.

Painting Bed Spring Armour

Happy modelling!

~ James.

Last Updated On Friday, August 21, 2015 by James at Battlefront