Sunday, July 1, 2012

How I Paint

I recently painted some WW2 figures as a commission for my father. Before I'd even put paint to figure I had the idea of doing a blog post about how I go about painting figures. I'm not saying my way is the right way or anything. There is no right way. I do however get asked how I go about how I achieve a particular effect. In all honesty I don't do anything special as you are about to read.

This is a step by step guide using a humble Late War British infantryman from Crusader Miniatures. Although I only show the one figure I actually painted 27 of them. One of the things I do when I have to paint a number of figures the same is to paint one comeplety to get a feel for the right colours and what order to apply them. Once I've done this and got a better 'feel' of the figures in hand, I find I can quickly paint the rest.

I paint figures now with the Vallejo range. I will list each paint used where necessary. I didn't use any mixing.

Step 1 - Undercoat

After any mould lines and flash were cleaned from the figure I stuck it onto a 20mm round plastic base. I then used milliput to smooth out the lip of the base of the figure. The whole thing was then sprayed using Flames of War War Paint German Armour. I use a variety of colours for undercoating depending on what I'm painting.

Step 2 - Basecoat

The areas on the figure were painted using the following colours.

Uniform and Webbing
Uniform and Webbing

Tunic - British Uniform
Gaiters and webbing - Khaki

Finished Basecoat
Helmet - Russian Uniform
Flesh - Dark Flash
Leaves on helmet - Intermediate Green
Boots - Black Grey
Metalwork on the rifle and bayonet - Gunmetal Grey
Woodwork on the rifle and pistols - Flat Brown
Chinstrap - Flat Earth

Step 3 - Wash

The rifle and metalwork areas were given a wash of Badab Black wash while the rest of the figure was given a wash of Devlan Mud, both from Games Workshop. They no longer make this wash as they have changed suppliers. However Army Painter appear to make washes which are exactlty the same.

Step 4 - Highlighting and Details

The uniform was drybrushed in Russian Uniform while the metal on the rifle was highlighted using Natural Steel. The the nose and cheeks were given a line of Dark Flesh just to make them stand out.

Eyes. I always try and paint figure with masks so I don't have to paint eyes. Unfortunately I couldn't do it in this case. All I do is use a small brush, 3/0, a paint a small dot of white into the eye socket and then when that is dry a small dot of black. Occasionally I have to touch up the face with bit of Dark Flash.

Step 6 - Basing

The finished figure with one of his mates.
The base was painted in Leather Brown from Miniature Paints. When that was dry I mixed a few drop of water into some PVA glue and applied some sand like basing material bought from my local railway modelling shop. I didn't cover the whole base with it as I wanted to use two types of basing. When the first part was dry I mixed some more water into PVA and went over the sand. This seals it in and stops it falling off the base. I then covered the rest of the base with some static grass, which I've had for so long I'm not sure where it came from.

Step 7 - Varnishing
When the glue on the base was dry, I left it overnight to be sure, I sprayed the figure using Army Painter matt varnish.

And that is it. Nothing complicated and yet I think you get a nice looking figure and my dad was certainly happy with the job.

This figure along with all of his chums can be seen on my Flickr photostream here.


  1. I like the order you do things; I may have to try it.

  2. Replies
    1. The order you do main coats, washes and highlights - I tend to main-coat, highlight, then wash, but use different coloured washes on different bits.

  3. Nice one mate.... im on the right track then :):)