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.

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