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US Special Forces Hi-Lux

I recently had the opportunity to paint a civilian Hi-Lux in use with the U.S. Special Forces in Afghanistan. This project required a number of techniques that I have never attempted before. I have discovered that projects such as this are great because they help you to learn new techniques broadening your skills and improving your self-confidence as a modeller.

Since this piece is not an armour model, we military modellers need to change our style of thinking a bit when undertaking a project such as this. Because of the smooth glossy metallic finish, we will not want to rely on the traditional techniques such as washes, filters and various amounts of dust to enhance the seams and other details on this model. Let me explain a few of the different techniques I used to finish this Hi-Lux.

Painting Hi-Lux 1
The first step was to get a smooth glossy coat of paint onto the model. All of the windows needed to be covered with paper and masking tape. The model was them primed with Tamiya primer and polished using an old shirt. The paint used was a red Tamiya metallic paint that comes in a spray bottle. The paint was carefully sprayed into an airbrush for better control when applying it to the model.

All of the chrome pieces were airbrushed with satin black enamel paint prior to spraying the Alclad paint. I have been told that gloss enamel paint will also give great results. It is most important to keep the glossy finish of the vehicle clean without fingerprints. Always use latex gloves when handling a model such as this after you have applied the metallic finish.

Again, It is most important to keep the glossy finish of the vehicle clean maintaining a civilian appearance. This means that washes and filters needed to be avoided on this model. Instead of washes, I simply painted all of the panel lines by brush using black acrylic paints as seen in the photo. The underside of the chassis was also painted black.

Having an extremely glossy surface means that the earth coloured pigments are going to have trouble adhering. To help reduce this problem I airbrushed a very faint coat of matt Tamiya Buff onto the lower parts of the model. The matt surface created by the buff will give the pigments something to grab onto. More Tamiya Buff and plaster was mixed with the pigments to get the thicker dried mud as seen in photo 3.

The cargo in the flat bed is one drop-in piece. The flag needed to be painted by hand. I would like to thank Mig Jimenez for his assistance in painting this piece.

I also applied some damp earth coloured paints to make the overall finish more interesting. This time I used a brown Humbrol enamel mixed with pigments and satin varnish thinned with turpentine. You will note how I kept both the windshield and upper parts of the model clean to help maintain the overall civilian appearance.

These are some of the methods used to finish this Hi-Lux. I strongly recommend that you always ask for the recommendations and assistance of others whose skills and talents are in different areas then yours when undertaking new and unique projects. You will have more fun and be able to learn new techniques that you can also apply to your more normal subjects when you return to them.

I would like to thank Andres Montiel and Mig Jimenez for their help and advice on this project.

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About Adam N P Wilder (ANPW)