A fast WWII painting guide

- Paul Scrivens-Smith paul@ethix.co.uk

As promised, here is my quick & effective painting guide. Remember I use this method to create hundreds of presentable troops, not to win any prizes. As an example of the speed that can be acheived, I painted 12 Russian infantry on Sunday evening whilst watching the South Bank Show on Jimmy Nail between 22:30 and 23:30. OK so they were already sprayed black., and I have not based them yet.

P.S. Don't usually watch the South Bank Show because its usually about 'Luvvies' before you get any preconceptions about me. ;-)


Spray Paint,

Acrylic Matt Black plus A High Gloss Lacquer, from Motor Factors, car repair shops, Halfords etc.

Acrylic paints,

These are a must, I paint the figures in groups of 10 to 15, so by the time I have applied green to ten, the green on figure one is already dry. I will tell you in each case which paint I use but use what you want. Abbreviations are HA=Humbrol Acrylic, MP=Miniature Paints, CP=Colour Party.


I use Windsor and Newton Peat Brown artists ink, any other shellac based ink is probably ok, WARNING, I have never had any success with acrylic inks.

Basing material,

I now base my figures on thin plywood from model shops, and my vehicles on irreglarly cut pieces of plasticard, both from local model & hobby shops. Good lumpy builders sand dried out in the oven (Vicky hates this bit) and "static grass" from model railway shops. Plus a new scrubbing brush with natural bristles (don't use an old one YEUCH).


Sorry again plasticophiles, but I only use white metal figures, and pick figures with loads of raised detail on them (i.e. deep folds in tunics etc.), FAA & Brittania are in Wargames Foundary are out (crap figures anyway IMO).


I never used to spend less than four or five pounds on each brush (sorry about the long hand, but the sign does not always translate, SEE), but as a brush is knackered after about 50 figures I have started buying cheaper Humbrol brushes at less than a pound each. I use a size 1, size 2 and a size 6.


Clean all the flash, rips and feeders off the figures, I find a big 1" bastard file is great for removing the lump of metal that is invariably on the bottom of the base. I then base my figures onto the thin plywood using a hot melt glue gun. When you have about 50 figures done, take them outside and spray them matt black. Leave for a couple of hours to dry. When dry, using the size 6 brush paint black any bits on the figures that you missed with the spray.


Try to paint the figures in groups of about 12, doing each colour on each figure, when you start on the next colour figure one will already be dry. You may be inclined to think that I have used the wrong colours in some places, if I have please tell me so that I can get it right next time. I will discuss each nationality/uniform type individually starting with my favorites-


These are incredibly simple, STAKVA even had the foresight to issue equipment in the same shitty colour as the uniforms (Stalin must have been a speed painter). I give each figure a heavy dry-brushing with MP Earth Brown, I then paint the Helmets with HA 5030 green, I paint the rifle butts, entrenching tool & bayonet handles with MP Chestnut Brown. Then I paint the faces,hands,boots & rifle barrels MP black. Next I use MP Light Grey on the bayonets & any knifes (sorry, I don't like metallic paint and it shines enough when varnished).Then drybrush MP Leather brown onto exposed flesh, followed by a lighter drybrushing of MP Tanned Flesh onto faces & hands. Next I give the figure an all over light dry-brushing with MP Sand (Note this is a very light yellowy sand colour). I then varnish the figure with the high gloss lacquer. When the varnish is dry give the figure a liberal coat of Windsor & Newton Peat Brown ink and leave to dry overnight

(Note use the ink after varnishing it flows into the creases much better, always allow the ink to dry naturally).


These are done the same as the Russians, except I use CP Green No.49 for the tunics and trousers, and HA Sand for some of the troops in the Blouson type jacket. I then paint all the webbing & equipment in MP Earth Brown. Everything else, including dry-brushing, varnishing & inking as for the Russians.

Germans in FeldGrau, British in Kakhi, Hungarians in Brown,etc.

As for the Americans & Russians, substitting the correct uniform and equipment colours.

British Paratroopers,

Heavy drybrush all over with HA Green 5030, followed by splodge painting (old size 2 brush with bristles cut back to 5mm and splayed out) first MP Chestnut Brown, then CP Green No.49. Paint the helmets and rucksacks CP Green No.49, touch up the trosers HA Green 5030 (these were not camo) to cover up any splodges. Paint all the webbing and pouches with MP Sand. Paint the rifles etc as for the Russians. Lightly dry-brush the figure with MP Sand, followed by a dry-brushing of the webbing and pouches with MP white. Varnish and ink as per the Russians.

Germans in Camo. Smocks,

Heavy drybrush all over with MP Earth Brown, followed by splodge painting (old size 2 brush with bristles cut back to 5mm and splayed out) first HA Sand, MP Chestnut Brown, then CP Green No.49. Touch up the trosers HA Field Grey (these were not camo) to cover up any splodges. Paint all the webbing and pouches with MP Black. Paint the rifles etc as for the Russians. Lightly dry-brush the figure with MP Sand. Varnish and ink as per the Russians.


Wait until the ink is totally dry (PROMISE you will regret it if you don't.

Get the scrbbing brush and chop off a few bristles (15 to 20) to lengths of between 5mm and 15mm, then using a hot melt glue gun glue little clumps onto a few of the bases (it may look good, but don't over do it). Coat the bases in a thin coating of watered down (50:50) PVA glue and water and place into the building sand. Leave overnight to dry. When dry paint the bases all over with a muddy brown coloured paint, I use 40% CP Green No.49 and 40% MP Chocolate Brown, 20% water (Don't get this all over the tall grass, sorry, scrubbing brush;-). Leave to dry. When completely dry, then drybrush with HA sand, then using watered down PVA glue stick on small patches of static grass, again don't over do this.

Hope the above is of help to you, and as I mentioned above I am always willing to be corrected on any mistakes I have made. If you have any tips that you use yourselves please email them to the group.

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