Happy Tanksgiving! 2 Soviet, 5 French, and 5 German tanks get off the November painting table for “What A Tanker” games

November 2018 for me has been a month of armor, culminating in a fine “Tanksgiving” – a fine output for me of early WWII 15mm (1:100) scale armor.  I intend for these to be used in What a Tanker© games.  Certainly, my mid-November visit to the American Heritage Museum played a role in spurring this direction in my hobby efforts.  You can see my current 2018 production here, and there are a lot of tanks.

My focus continued to be on early war vehicles.  I had enough forces for an early Eastern Front game between the Axis (Germans and Italians) and the Soviets, but I wanted to have more variety in terms of tanks available.  My KV-1 platoon needed some help, so I added some BT-series tanks.

My other goal was to build German and French forces for a France 1940 scenario.  For the Germans I added a Panzer IIC, a Panzer IIIE, and three StuG Ausf A assault guns to my fleet.  For the French, I added two Renault 35’s and three SOMUA S-35’s.  All of these came from the Flames of War line from Battlefront Miniatures.  I really like their tanks, even though I don’t play Flames of War!  I think that I can get some crossover between the early-war German forces for such a scenario and use some on the Eastern Front.  Long term, I am also planning on designing a North Africa scenario for the British and the Germans, and some of the figures I got from Battlefront will serve nicely after I paint them in desert colors.

Regarding colors, I also acquired some of the Battlefront paints so as to understand the colors that they recommend.  The current Battlefront “Colours of War” line mixes sets of 20 ml and 12 ml dropper bottles, as compared with Vallejo’s 17 ml bottles.  It appears that at least some of their paints may have been made by Vallejo, at least in the past.  I found them to be good paints that worked well either thinned in an airbrush or a regular brush.  At the end of this post, I will share the paints and materials that I used for those interested.

In this post, in order I will discuss the Soviets, the French, and the German models I worked on in November.  I also am submitting these as part of a Mechanical November community painting challenge run by Azazel (which is very fun to be a part of – check him out!).


The two Soviet tanks that I added were the BT-5 and the BT-7.  An advantage of adding these will be that they also were used against the Finns in the Winter War and against the Japanese at Nomonhan in 1939 and during the Soviet Invasion of Manchuria in 1945.  So, I can use them in different scenarios for sure.  I followed the same procedure to paint these as I did my previous early war Soviet tanks.

For assembly, I again chose to magnetize the turrets by drilling out the hulls and the turrets and using rare earth magnets.  I weathered all of the tanks, as I prefer my tanks to be muddy.  I also left the crews out, as I did not like the way they fit in the turrets.  Of note, their Christie suspensions (an American invention) would be reproduced with the T-34 series.

Overall, I am happy with the way these turned out.  In What a Tanker© their fighting characteristics are exactly the same.

6 BT5 and BT7 front
BT-5 (left) and BT-7 (right) frontal view
7 BT5 and BT7 back
BT-5 (left) and BT-7 (right) rear view


I have always had an affinity for the French Army, as I have a French name (albeit of French-Canadian extraction), speak French, and spent time with three different Regiments du Genie (Engineer Regiments) back in the 1980’s.

For my France 1940 scenario, I already had two resin Char B1 bis tanks from Wargame Models in Ohio.  I added two light infantry tanks (Renault 35 or R35) and three SOMUA S35’s for a balanced group.

Assembling and painting these would require new uses of poster tack, plastic plates, and wood screws.  This allowed me to both safely handle the tanks in production but also to get the right look of the camouflage.  I decided to leave the crews out, as I had little confidence that they would survive the tabletop for very long as the models were designed.

I also got to play with some decals from Battlefront.  These did require retreatment with Liquid Decal Film from Microscale Industries before I used their other products to affix their decals.  I could not believe that the French roundel decal came in two pieces (the blue dot was separate and had to be affixed after and onto the red-ringed white circle).  That was annoying!

9 French forces for 1940
My new French tanks with my old Char B1 bis tanks
10 SOMUA's front
The three SOMUA S35’s, frontal view
11 SOMUA's left side
SOMUA side view showing the card-suit designations on the turret backs

12 SOMUA's right side

13 R35 front
Renault R35’s

14 R35 moving

15 Defenders of France
Nice group shot


For the Germans, I chose to use the Panzer IIC, the Panzer IIIE, and the Sturmgeschutz Ausf A.  The Panzer II’s came in a box of 5 – but was missing one tank gun.  Battlefront has promised to make this good (and I expect it soon).  I chose to make one of the Panzer II’s a France 1940 candidate, saving the other four for a North African scenario that I will complete later on.  The Panzer IIIE came in three separate blisters.  Ironically, the Panzer IIIE was the worst of the Germans to assemble.  One gun was almost split, and the turrets were nearly three different sizes.   There were a lot of mold lines to correct as well, especially on the tracks.

I repaired the one gun with green stuff, and chose it for the France 1940 group, saving the other two for North Africa.  Lastly, historically it seems that very few StuG III’s made it to North Africa.  Therefore, I added all three of the assault guns for my France 1940 scenario.

12 Panzer III prepped for camo
The Panzer IIIE prepped for camouflage
14 PzIIC right side
Panzer IIC complete, left side
15 PzIIC left side
Panzer IIC, left side.  The 14 is for my wife – her and my lucky number!
16 PzIIC rear
Rear view of the tiny Panzer IIC.
17 Pz IIIE front
The Panzer IIIE completed.  The brown camouflage doesn’t really show up as well here (so I guess it works!).
18 Pz IIIE back
Panzer IIIE opposite view
19 StuGA's front
Sturmgeschutz III Ausf A, frontal view
20 StuGA's left side
Sturmgeschutz III Ausf A, left side view
21 StuGA's right side and rear
Sturmgeschutz III Ausf A, right side and rear view
22 all German fronts
My Germans for the France 1940 scenario

I was glad to have finished these in time for our club’s monthly session (which I will post about shortly).  I will be adding more to my fleet, but in the meantime, I hope you enjoyed these.  Do you have a favorite?

I appreciate hearing your thoughts and feedback in the comments section below.  Thanks for looking!




  1. Vallejo “Flow Improver”
  2. Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
  3. Testors “Universal Acrylic Thinner”
  4. Battlefront “German Camo Black Brown”
  5. Battlefront “Dark Gunmetal”
  6. Vallejo Mecha Color “Green”
  7. Battlefront German Camo Black Brown
  8. Vallejo “Surface Primer – Black”
  9. Vallejo “Burnt Umber” (pigment)
  10. Vallejo “Light Sienna” (pigment)
  11. Vallejo “Light Slate Grey” (pigment)
  12. Vallejo “Natural Umber” (pigment)
  13. Vallejo Mecha Color “Light Rust Wash” (weathering)
  14. Vallejo Mecha Color “Oil Stains” (weathering)
  15. Battlefront “Oxide Red”
  16. Gorilla Glue
  17. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Gloss Varnish”
  18. Microscale Micro-Set
  19. Microscale Micro-Sol
  20. Microscale Liquid Decal Film
  21. 1/8″ rare earth neodymium magnets
  22. Citadel “Nuln Oil” (shade)
  23. Citadel “Nuln Oil Gloss” (shade)
  24. Appropriate decals from Battlefront
  25. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish”


  1. Vallejo “Surface Primer – Russian Green”
  2. Vallejo Panzer Series “Camouflage Olive Green”
  3. Vallejo Mecha Color “Light Green”
  4. Citadel “Biel-Tan Green” (shade)
  5. Citadel “Athonian Camoshade” (shade)
  6. Secret Weapons Washes “Sewer Water”
  7. Citadel “Agrax Earthshade”


  1. Battlefront “GI Green”
  2. Battlefront “Flat Earth”
  3. Battlefront “Sicily Yellow”


  1. Battlefront “Panzer Gray”
  2. Battlefront “Rommel Shade”
  3. Battlefront “Chocolate Brown”
  4. Battlefront “European Skin”
  5. Battlefront “Skin Shade”
  6. Vallejo “Medium Skin Tone”
  7. Battlefront “Black”
  8. Green stuff

Thanks again for looking and for your feedback!



Author: Mark A. Morin

This site is where I will discuss stuff that I find interesting and that includes family, friends, golf, gaming, and Boston sports!

47 thoughts on “Happy Tanksgiving! 2 Soviet, 5 French, and 5 German tanks get off the November painting table for “What A Tanker” games”

  1. Those are some pretty nice looking tanks, Mark! Always amazed by the amount of detail behind your work.

    Question for you: do you run any of your airbrush paint through a filter? I’ve noticed some paints can be chunky. I haven’t been successful at finding a small sized filter to fit either the airbrush or more likely a dropper bottle. At least not yet.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Faust. I do not think a filter would be a good idea as its more a question of thinning. I thin my paints a lot, using Vallejo Airbrush thinner and also Flow Improver. They say that you need the paint to be the consistency of milk. Cheap paints like you’d get at Michael’s will not work in an airbrush, and even then you’ve got to really clean it between uses. chunky paint is coagulating and will never work. If you have a clot in the paint you can see, there are a lot more that you can’t see but which will clog the airbrush.
      Lastly, its a question of air pressure and that’s trial and error by manufacturer.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thanks Mark, I’ve only bought premixed airbrush paints so far. Which are thin, but sometimes there will be a batch that is clumpy. I threw the first bottle like that out, as it was pretty bad. But thought maybe I should look into filtering from here on out.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I like the Vallejo Mecha Colors, but really had good luck with all Vallejo if thinned. My only thoughts would be really shaking up the paint well. My guess would be that as paint is a suspension and that filtering would have little effect.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Ah, makes sense, on the paint suspension/filtering. I might still try it, but will see. I probably should have noted that I’m also only priming with the airbrush currently. So it’s primer that was gunky and not actual paint. I recently ordered some Citadel Air paint, and thinking about giving that a try. So I’ll definitely take into account your suggestions on shaking and thinning. Thanks again, Mark!

        Liked by 2 people

      4. That makes a difference as primer has much more latex in it. For Vallejo Surface Primer, I find I really need to make sure it is thin AND I increase the pressure by 5 psi over what I do with other stuff. Same applies for varnish. Have not tried any Citadel airbrush stuff, would be interested in what you find.

        Liked by 2 people

      5. I prefer the Badger/Stylnrez primer, as I’ve had good luck with it straight out of the bottle. It also has a pretty nice variety of colors: https://www.amazon.com/Badger-SNR-216-Neutral-Airbrush-Stynylrez/dp/B01F9574CW

        The grey is my favorite and I find it’s not too dark/light, but maybe it’s just because I’ve been using it so much.

        Will certainly let you know how I get along with the Citadel paints. Probably going to be used on the Chaos team, once I get around to them.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Crikey, Mark, you have been busy! I’ve only managed one truck and one small tank for November as far as the challenge goes. I like them all, but have clear favourites . . . the Somuas! They do look good. I have never owned a Somua model, so now you’ve got me thinking about that, but I do like yours! I do have two ancient scratchbuilt R-35s that I’d thought about putting in a blog post, so you’ve maybe provided me with a bit of inspiration there as well. Anyway, well done in getting all of your tanks ready for action!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yup, especially the R35’s, which had a crew of 2. I found a bunch of FoW tanks at 50% off this weekend, so I’ll be in the tank mode for a while, but need to balance with other stuff. Oh, and my wife wants me to get a job (getting laid off next week likely), so there’s that! Appreciate greatly the feedback Alex!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks IRO, and you’re so formal 🤪! I’m glad you like them. I’m with you on 28mm scale for individual figures (and 25mm for my Ral Partha classics). For gaming practicality the 15mm scale is perfect for What a Tanker. It gives the game better depth and I have found the gaming experience very authentic. There’s only vehicles in that game luckily. Besides, can you imagine storing and painting that many tanks at 28mm! I know the Bolt Action guys can!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great work Mark ,I just love the mud ,well done .I look back on my earlier work and think aah! why didn’t I dirty them up as I do now ,the answer is easy ,learning from other folk ,you only get better ! ,love those old tanks keep it up mate .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Very kind of you, I’m glad you like them. Ironically, several of my friends did exactly that last summer, but I was recovering from surgery so I had to live vicariously through their videos. However, now that the American Heritage Museum has the Jacques Littlefield collection a mere 35 miles away, now they can come here from Maryland. I have Bovington, Saumur, and the Finnish tank museum on my list for sure!


  4. I was just interested in you chat with Faust about airbrushing ,I have not tried it but am curios ,so when I have a bit more time I’ll contact you with a few queries I have regarding this method of painting . Funny thing about muddy and dirty ,I had a query on this today ,what do they say, talk about it and it will happen . Cheers Pat .

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow sorry Mark cant believe I missed this, lovely paintwork on those tanks, I’ve looked at the flames of war stuff a few times, but it would mean starting all over again, as I have a load of 20mm WW2 stuff up in the loft from when we used to play Rapid Fire.

    Cheers Roger.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Have to agree with so many of the others – great set of tanks, but yes, the French ones really stand out. I think it’s the camo and the relative rarity of them when compared to the usual German/US/British/Soviet vehicles (for obvious reasons). I think I have a couple of Battlefront’s ones from their “TANKS!” sets, which I’ll be able to use in whichever game once they’re assembled and built (one day!)
    Yours will certainly serve as inspiration when I get around to them. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks dude! Means a great deal, believe me. Yes, these are all Battlefront tanks, and I used the What a Tanker lists as guides. I am partial to the French too, if for no reason that painting them was much more challenging. The Battlefront tanks are perfect for WaT. I found a hobby store selling them at half price, and I also am giving Battlefront a good deal of business. Eventually I’d like to “collect them all” but before that I want to be ready to run some fun games/scenarios with correct colors on the tanks for the theaters they were in. I also want the players to have a fun learning experience. Obviously that takes research and I enjoy that too. Currently am assembling a sizeable group of UK (and Commonwealth to be sure my Aussie friend) 8th Army tanks and some appropriate Afrika Korps Axis for 1940-1943 battles. Hoping to get some done this month for the December community challenge!


      1. At half price, I can certainly see that! I’m a bit of a sucker for decent-amount-off sales myself. Now you’ll need to get yourself a desert mat as well. I need a desert mat myself, come to think of it. Might be time for one last multi-mat order to the EU…

        Liked by 1 person

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