Terrain for What a Tanker: Making a Panzer IVD Wreck and Blast Markers

I have been trying to amass and put together more desert terrain and terrain markers for running What a Tanker© games set in North Africa in WWII.  A few months back I received a defective Panzer IVD model from Battlefront Miniatures –  in that it came with two left tracks.  Battlefront did a nice job in rectifying that situation and sent me a brand new model.  I finished that as a DAK Panzer IVD and wrote about it here.  But, I still had most of a Panzer IVD model that I could use for something.  I decided to make it into a wreck  – that would also be a nice addition as a terrain feature.  As I will be running a WaT game at HAVOC in April, so I decided to knock out four more smoke/blast markers to support that as well.  Both of these projects will be covered in this post.

These projects are my February submissions for Azazel’s February Community Painting Challenge, which he supplemented to include terrain.  This week I also started a new job!  So, I wanted to wrap up these projects this weekend.

Panzer IVD Wreck

I decided to base the wreck on an old CD that was surfaced with play sand and Elmer’s (PVA) glue.  To cover the hole, I affixed some leftover polystyrene bits.  Then, I used sandpaper to lightly scratch the CD, then applied the glue, then the sand, and let it harden overnight.  I removed the front and rear sprockets from one of the tracks and cut away some road wheels, so as to be able to flip them on the CD and make them available for the right side of the wreck in the correct locations as debris.  I carefully cut away the road wheels and part of the track and some fender, and washed everything to prep for painting.

After all the pieces had dried, I then I assembled the model to look “messed up”.  I put the gun and mantlet on slightly crooked.  The turret and bustle rack were put on a bit akimbo as well.

I took a 1/8″ drill bit and drilled a hole into the hull between the missing road wheels to simulate the impact of a hard shot into the weaker flank of the tank.  In my portrayal, that shot hit ammunition, causing an explosion.  I scattered the resultant debris on one side of the tank to simulate that, affixing everything with E6000 epoxy.  I then mounted the CD onto a disposable plastic plate using poster tack for ease of painting.  I applied a coat of Citadel “Imperium Primer” as the E6000 was a bit rubbery and smooth – and I was worried that it would not hold paint well.  To double up on priming, I then airbrushed on another primer coat – Vallejo “Surface Primer – Black”.

4 Wrecked primed
My initial basing and priming 

My next thought was to do a bit of the original Panzer IVD paint on the wreck before I changed it into a wreck, as perhaps some of it would survive (I don’t think much eventually did, but I thought, better safe than sorry).  This consisted of the same basic pattern I followed on my previous German tanks.

5 base coat (first)
First some grey…
6 base coat (second)
…and then some more DAK colors.

My concept at this point was to portray the Panzer IVD as having been hit, having caught fire, then after being abandoned, rusting away.  The fire would have destroyed all or most of the original paint on the hull.  Any metal debris would have rusted afterwards in my opinion, so I decided that decals would be a waste here.

7 early rust
Here, I worked on rusting things up with several different rusting products (all listed at the end of the post).

The sand and PVA glue texture was insufficiently granular for the base, so I used Citadel “Armageddon Dunes” to roughen up the landscape.  It also allowed me to make the doomed German tank’s last tracks in the desert at the rear of the vehicle.  I darkened them up with Citadel “Agrax Earthshade”.

8 after Armageddon Dunes on base
After using the Armageddon Dunes texture paint to gain a better surface on the base.

Then I went into using various Vallejo weathering pigments to create soot, smoke, and dust on and around the model.  I especially like the soot!

9 pigments and weathering and rust, impact side
Impact side, after weathering but before varnishing.
10 pigments and weathering and rust, left side
Opposite side of the tank before varnishing.
10 pigments and weathering and rust, top side
Top of the tank before varnishing.

For varnishing, I used two coats.  First, I applied a Vallejo “Satin” varnish with my airbrush.  After that had dried, I applied a light coat of Vallejo Mecha Color “Matt Varnish”.   I did not want to overly dull the tank, but I definitely did not want it too glossy.

12 after varnish, front
After first coat of varnish.

I am reasonably happy with the final results.  Here are some eye-candy shots on my desert game mat – you be the judge!

13 on mat complete, impact side
Completed Panzer IVD wreck model, impact side.
14 on mat complete, rear side
Completed Panzer IVD wreck model, rear side, showing the track marks in the sand before its final moments.
15 on mat complete, left side
Completed Panzer IVD wreck model, left side.
16 on mat complete, impact side
One of my favorite views.
17 that could have been us
An intact Panzer IVD crew drives by the wreck, thinking it could have been them!
18 that could have been us
Let’s be careful Heinz!  We don’t want to end up crispy like that one!
19 holding it
A little different angle – plus my hands for scale.
20 holding it top
Nice view of the top – some of the original paint can be seen here I think.

Smoke/Blast Markers

The next project was making some more (and better) to put on the tabletop when tanks meet their demise – or for any explosions in general.   I took tea lights, and hot glued thin strips of pillow batting to them in a “closed lily” type of shape.

1 unpainted smoke markers
After building the markers, but before painting them.
2 unpainted smoke markers lit up in dark
Lit up with the lights down.

I then painted them black and grey, trying to make them less dark thank my previous attempts.

3 painted smoke markers
Completed and lit in the light.
4 painted smoke markers lit up in dark
Look much better in less light!

Thanks for looking at these – and I hope that perhaps these give you some ideas.  In any case, I hope you enjoyed seeing them and my processes.  Please share any feedback you have in the comments section!

PAINTS, INKS, GLAZES, SHADES, WASHES, PIGMENTS AND FLOCKING USED ON THE PANZER IVD WRECK:

  1. Play sand
  2. Used CD
  3. Elmer’s Glue
  4. Battlefront model #GE040
  5. E6000 epoxy
  6. Gorilla Glue
  7. Testors “Universal Acrylic Thinner”
  8. Citadel “Imperium Primer”
  9. Polystyrene bits
  10. Vallejo “Flow Improver”
  11. Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
  12. Vallejo “Surface Primer – Black”
  13. Vallejo Model Air “Base Grey”
  14. Vallejo Model Air “German Green Brown”
  15. Vallejo Model Air “Light”
  16. Vallejo Model Air “German Green Brown”
  17. Vallejo Model Air “Hull Red”
  18. Vallejo Model Air “First Light”
  19. Vallejo Model Air “Brown”
  20. Citadel “Armageddon Dunes” (Texture)
  21. Battlefront “Monty Shade” (shade)
  22. Vallejo Mecha Color “Light Rust Wash” (wash)
  23. Vallejo Mecha Color “Dark Rust Wash” (wash)
  24. Citadel “Agrax Earthshade” (wash)
  25. Vallejo “Dark Sand”
  26. Battlefront “Dry Dust”
  27. Vallejo “Titanium White” (pigment)
  28. Vallejo “Carbon Black” (pigment)
  29. Vallejo “Pigment Binder”
  30. Citadel “Typhus Corrosion”
  31. Citadel “Ryza Rust”
  32. Vallejo “Desert Dust” (pigment)
  33. Vallejo “Dark Yellow Ochre” (pigment)
  34. Vallejo “Light Yellow Ochre” (pigment)
  35. Vallejo Model Air “Satin Varnish”
  36. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish”
  37. Citadel “Nuln Oil” (wash)

PAINTS, INKS, GLAZES, SHADES, WASHES, PIGMENTS AND FLOCKING USED ON THE SMOKE/BLAST MARKERS:

  1. Tea lights (battery operated)
  2. Pillow batting material
  3. Hot glue from glue gun
  4. Vallejo “Flow Improver”
  5. Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
  6. Vallejo “Surface Primer – Black”
  7. Vallejo Model Air “Base Grey”

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!

35 thoughts on “Terrain for What a Tanker: Making a Panzer IVD Wreck and Blast Markers”

  1. Your work just gets better and better my friend. Using a CD for the base is a great idea. Hmmm what albums don’t I listen to anymore… Spice Girls…….. Tiny Tim……….. Avril Lavigne………….. Backstreet Boys…….. haha

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Great all round Mark. Like the use of the CD and the redundant kit for terrain. The explosions look great, I’m assuming these are battery operated tea lights? In any event they look fantastic and the low light photos do them justice. Hope all goes well in the new job. Make sure you find time for modelling! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Alex. Sorry as I will not get any female models done this month as I’m still in preparation for running a WaT game in early April. I had wanted to, but time running out and I have two Grants, 3 M11/39’s, and several (tbd) Marder III’s to complete!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Looking great here, Mark. Love the burnt-out Panzer. You reminded me that I started on that tank graveyard a while ago and need to get back to it sometime. The tea light explosions also look great. Are you able to change the batteries in them still?

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Wow, very nice. Every time I see something like this I think to myself, “Someday you should learn how to use an airbrush. 🙂

    I also like those blast markers. The first time I saw anything like that in person was at a WWI game at a con near Oakland a few years ago. They really add a lot to the presentation of a table.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Ann, glad you liked them. I finally broke down and got an airbrush and compressor about three years ago when I finally got sick of waiting for the right weather to be able to prime or varnish. As we speak, it’s 16° here and windy and we’re waiting for more snow. So, with an airbrush and a spray booth I am able to do a lot more with my hobbies that I would have been able to otherwise. And blast markers that light up are always fun!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I’d love to if I was in the neighborhood! To tell you the truth, I learned by trial and error seasoned with looking at YouTube videos. Two areas that I would focus on would be cleaning the brush and safety. Safety being protecting lungs and keeping your hobby area free of dusty paint particles. I love my spray booth for that, and I overprotect with a respirator anyways. And I only use water based stuff- and that works well. Besides, I’d be out of production without my set up (compressor, airbrush, and spray booth).

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I (finally) picked up a respirator today – very overdue. Truth be told, I looked up the hardware barn’s website and asked Marouda to pick it up for me on her way back from the Gym. But I finally have it. Spray booth (and space) are my biggest obstacles. Oh, and time…

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yeah, I’d probably get one if I had someone to show me how to use it. I could certainly go onto Youtube and teach myself, but that would require I overcome a certain inertia I have against such things.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Yeah. I already failed once or twice (drying paint in the brush, a brush clean that resulted in the brush not working anymore even though I’m sure I put it back together properly) so that’s put up a huge mental barrier.
        Also, space to work with it. My lightbox area is my nominal airbrush area.

        Liked by 1 person

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