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The ‘Camouflage Chalk’ Method
Struggling to master the intricacies of complex camouflage schemes, not really the master of the airbrush? I’m the same. I can spray a wide 3 colour scheme but it is a chore rather than a pleasure. I have been desperately searching for an easier answer to the problem.
Perhaps you might like to consider this method, quick, no fumes, no masking, no cleanup afterwards, robust, using life expired brushes and cheap. I’ve always used pastel chalks for exhaust staining and some shadowing and wondered if it would produce a good result on WWII German vehicles. Hopefully from the photographs you might agree that the answer is yes.
Onto a matt painted surface (I do not think gloss paint will give enough grip for permanence) which has already received a dark oil wash to emphasise the shadows and a highlight dry brush with oils, apply the pastel chalk camouflage.
My paint brushes go through several uses from fine painting, then dry brushing and finally chalk applicators. When the brush is to be used for the latter then cut the bristles down to about 1/8th of an inch. I use Derwent pastel chalks from a boxed set I bought years ago, mainly the grey, green and brown and they seem to last for ever. Use an emery board or sandpaper to grind the stick to produce a small pile of powder.
With the Italeri 1/35 Opel Blitz refueller, I just took the plunge and started the brown which is basically ‘S’ shaped and was pleasantly surprised with the result as a first attempt. It was an easy step with another cut down brush to apply the green. I tried to rub off some of the chalk but couldn’t so as it seems quite robust, I carefully applied a subtle dark wash in a few places and the chalk took it quite happily. Emboldened I applied some subtle oil highlights and it took that as well. Stretching my luck I applied the waterslide decal unit badge to both doors and the chalk stood up to that as well.
To test the resilience of the chalk I applied some to an old tank turret to see what would be required to remove it. Thinners only removed a tiny bit even with vigorous use of a brush. I then used fine wire wool which took off the chalk and left the original paint relatively unmarked.
On the Zvezda Mercedes L4500 I used the same method; see the photos for the blank rear of the cab, then the brown and finally the green. I even applied the waterslide data loading decal to the drivers’ door. First I brushed on a coat of acrylic gloss varnish, applied the decal and then brushed on a coat of Humbrol matt varnish. Even after that abuse the chalk has only darkened ever so slightly, only noticeable under natural light and not enough to require varnishing the complete vehicle.
For the future I will have to try wider colour bands and perhaps some mottling as well. The ease of use and potential will see me using this method quite often on the models I’ve yet to finish. At a recent club meeting I was pleasantly surprised by the very enthusiastic response my efforts received and many members were prepared to give it a go.
If you decide to try this method then the best of luck and please share your results.