Monday, 9 June 2014

Zvezda T-26 Review and Painting

Hello All

Ok this is possibly a big post covering two areas I tend to avoid, product reviews and painting.
So why am I doing this? Frankly I was being camera happy! So the t-26's are for my winter Finns, they seem a glass cannon with a FA of 1 - but that works in EW! The gun is decent though, just the unreliable and limited vision.
I went for zvezda for two reasons, a) they were cheap and b) if I screwed up the painting they were cheap! I ordered 5 from PSC and awaited their arrival before waiting two months to open them. It was not what I expected, 6 pieces of click together model - they were simple to assemble though the detail on handles etc is sadly lacking. I cleaned the model and assembled in under 5 minutes. Brilliant so I cracked open the next box, and it was missing the lower hull... Of the 5 models two had this problem - being unsure who to contact in Russia about zvezda's quality control I contacted PSC who sent two replacements - well done PSC your customer service is great!

I have to say I think you get what you pay for with these guys - and if you want a horde army go for it - I feel though that as I only need 5 maybe for a little more the battlefront level of detail would have been good.
Anyway onto painting. So I primed these guys black using my air brush - before busting open my life colour paint set - another review for another time!
Here was the first mistake spraying the moss green first, I should have noticed the number one on the grey... Anyway having sprayed the green I then broke out the blue tack and sprayed grey, before more blue tack and spraying brown. Not a bad effect!

Next I picked out some details exhausts, tracks etc before a liberal brown wash... Mistake number 2, this darkened the model so much later weathering I feel was lost - maybe should have pin washed or not done this at all.

Next the decals from battlefront, nice and obvious for captured tanks. Then varnished with army painter Matt varnish.

Then masking. Why? Well the army is a winter army so I want winter camo, but with the 3 colour camo showing through. I masked in 3 ways, tape over the tracks, liquid mask over decals and toothpaste for weathering (stolen from here) - winner had recommended this way - but it looked harder work.
Following the masking a liberal white was airbrushed - the life colour had a pale grey for this, but with all the infantry in white I felt I should be consistent. 
The moment of truth removal of the masking, the tape worked great. The liquid mask was almost great - in one place removing it (it drys quite sticky) it pulled up the decal (under two painted and one spray layer of varnish!) - you just gently tease the mask off with a brush/knife - this was easily remedied by redoing the decal. It also pulled some paint off showing the black primer/green plastic! The toothpaste worked fantastically, next time I'll do smaller amounts in more areas I think.
Next weathering - I used the weathering inks from those lovely people at PSC. Rust on the rear, light grey on the white covered hatches, soot on the barrel, and dirt brown on the tracks/hull - this didn't show well on the dark washed areas - and on the white was quite green - next time no prewash and use the brown weathering wash.
All that was then left was a varnish - and there you have it.
Anyway final score for the t-26 is 3/5 - it's ok but not earth shatteringly good. The painting was excessively hard work for my level of input but enjoyable and I like the result. Hope you enjoyed the article.

Till next time



  1. Nice job on the weathering! And nice to see someone painting up Finns :)

    I've never really heard about anyone having any big problems with Zvezda quality before. And 2/5 seems quite a lot for missing parts. Hopefully it's just a random bad batch and not going to become a habit for them. It's a bit shame that the detail level is low, but then again those buggers are dirt cheap.

  2. Cheers, no one else I know has had similar problems