WW2 Brits Recipe

… or “I use a lot of shades of brown”.

28mm model British soldiers

I’m a huge fan of Warlord Games’ late war British troops. Here’s how I paint them. All paints are Vallejo Model Colour unless stated otherwise.

First I clean up and assemble the models, using the base that comes with the kit. I add some fine ballast from (I think) Woodland Scenics and leave to dry at least overnight.

I then prime, using Warlord’s British Uniform primer. I don’t think this is essential – I doubt I’ll bother getting any more when I run out and just go back to using good old Army Painter black primer.

I then do the base (this is the messiest job so I get it out of the way first). I start with a good, thick coat of Burnt Umber. When dry I give it a heavy drybrush of Flat Earth, followed by a lighter drybrush of Buff.

I give the hair a coat of Chocolate Brown; then English Uniform for the jacket, trousers and water bottle. I then paint the boots and bayonet sheath in Black.

Then I paint the entrenching tool, backpack, gaiters and webbing in Khaki (I don’t bother with very small bits like the straps on the water bottle at this stage – just the highlights later on).

I use GW “Leadbelcher” (a gun metal colour) on the bayonet, gun barrel and any other metal gubbins on the gun. The entrenching tool handle and the gun’s stock, butt, etc. get a coat of Flat Brown. The gas mask bag gets painted in Russian Green and Reflective Green for the helmet (all types).

I leave all this to dry for at least an hour, before plastering the whole lot in a heavy wash of GW Nuln Oil black ink. I leave this at least 2 hours for the ink to dry.

I then pick out faces and hands in Vallejo Game Colour Cadmium Flesh. After at least an hour I’ll give them some shading with Game Colour Flesh Wash.

While the Flesh Wash dries I’ll highlight almost everything. To stop things getting too cartoony I mostly use the original base colours to reclaim them from the black ink wash.

I highlight the jacket, trousers and water bottle in English Uniform; webbing, etc. in Khaki (this time also picking out very small straps like those on the water bottle); Flat Brown for the rifle body and entrenching tool handle.

Gasmask bag and helmet get highlights of their respective greens (drybrushing the helmets that have nets or foliage on them), while boots and bayonet sheath get a highlight of a mix of Black and English Uniform (a nice, really dark greenish-brown, which is also handy for fixing any mistakes I’ve made on the jacket, trousers, etc.). I don’t highlight the metal areas at all.

For those helmets that have foliage, I pick out 2 or 3 leaves in GW Mournfang Brown, highlighting with Orange Brown. I pick out 2 or 3 more to highlight in GW Warboss Green. For helmets with a strap I pick it out in Beige Brown.

I finish off by highlighting face and hands in Game Colour Cadmium Flesh. If any models have moustaches, I add them in chocolate brown (I don’t bother highlighting this for rank and file).

I’ll then seal the mini and base with gloss varnish – then dull it down with matt varnish (aerosol if the British weather permits, brush on if not). When that’s all dry I’ll put 2 or 3 patches of static grass on each and that’s it! Another batch done.

First Go at Weathering – Part Two

(Part one is here.)

I took my nearly-new armoured car, I started splatting on some pigments. Having seen that fixing pigments removes a lot of them, this first shot looks like it’s just crashed through a sandcastle.

Model armoured car with pigments applied

I then mixed up some Vallejo acrylic medium and matt varnish to fix it. The results sucked a lot less than I’d feared.

Model armoured car with first layer of pigments fixed

Here’s another view of the same stage.

Model armoured car with first layer of pigments fixed

I then turned to the underside – and some heavier mud. This time I painted the medium/varnish mix directly on to the model, then dropped a darker pigment straight onto it. I was hoping for a thicker, more textured coating of mud.

Model armoured car with a second layer of pigments added

This was starting to look good! The next stage was to add some more medium/varnish and splat on the lighter pigment from before, as a sort of highlight. As I’d feared the second coat of medium/varnish took a lot of the first layer off – leaving a patchy look.

Model armoured car with final layer of pigments

It’s a bit patchy and there’s a chance that the final layers of varnish to protect it will take some more pigments away, but this is Not Too Bad. I’ve plenty other British AFVs to go, so I’ve high hopes that I’ll get this right one day.

I’m really pleased with the Vallejo products I’ve used. The big, big plus point for me is they’re all water soluble. The thought of using white spirit and suchlike was a big thing that had put me off this sort of thing before so I’m glad to have got these results – such as they are – while washing my brush in water.

First Go at Weathering – Part One

Starting a weathering blog post with “let’s get dirty” etc. is probably a massive cliché. I’ll do it anyway. Soundtrack: Frank Zappa’s Dirty Love

I’ve never done weathering before and was a little daunted by the prospect of a whole new load of stuff to buy, skills to gain and potential to make mistakes. Seeing a video from Vallejo spurred me on. I’m a big fan of their products and they showed pigments being fixed with a mix of acrylic medium and matt varnish – all water-soluble (a big plus to my mind).

I started with a Humber Armoured Car from Warlord Games. I’d done fairly minimal work on him up to this point: just base coat; ink washes down the panel lines and around the rivets; and a few Allied stars, hopefully in more-or-less the right places.

I wanted the wear and tear to be fairly minimal. That’s not just being a lazy so-and-so, I figured that with around 10 months between D-Day and VE Day, this armoured car isn’t going to be getting too rusty or too shot up. So I drew on a few bits of wear around doors and hatches with a pencil. I’m hoping this will still be visible once I’ve finished sealing the vehicle.

So here’s the armoured car, waiting to get muddied up. Wheels are slightly glossy (Vallejo black’s a bugger for this). I figured this would be fine as it’ll get a final coat of matt before being pronounced ready, though with hindsight the pigments may have gripped a very matt surface that bit better (a lesson learned).

Photo of a model Humber Armoured Car before weathering

Next … get it dirty (sorry)

2013, the Year in Painting

Better late than never, here’s my scores on the doors for 2013. It wasn’t too bad a year for painting, given a brutal study schedule and other worries/distractions. Here are the final scores (by game system/theme, rather than mini manufacturer):

Dreadball 48
Warhammer 40
Bolt Action 12
WH40k * 5
Judge Dredd ** 1

So a total of 106, with Dreadball accounting for almost half. I’m fond of prefixing any GW-bashing comment I make by saying the majority of my hobby time and money goes on Warhammer. Well it seems it doesn’t.

Hopefully I’ll paint up a more impressive total for 2014.

* just titting about painting Imperial Guard as WW2 Brits – I’ve no plans for a full WH40k army (especially not Imperial Guard).
** also just titting about – I quite fancy the Judge Dredd minis game, but I have enough games right now.