onsdag 16 januari 2013

British infantry painting guide

I promised you guys a painting guide for the Plastic Soldier Company british figures, so here it is. I have been painting british before, but it was a while ago and I took my time more with those, doing layers and highlights and stuff. Here I wanted to explore a faster way of painting the figures in order to produce more finished figures, but still get decent results. In cases like these Army Painter dip is your friend. 

The dip (or QuickShade) is both a varnish and a shade. It contains pigments that will swirl about inside the varnish and settle in the recesses while it dries. The result is gloss however so you need to kill the shine afterwards. I usually wait until a whole bunch is done, then I do their bases and spray them twice with Tamiya Flat Varnish.

I'll talk you through the process in steps. Bear in mind that the figure is several times larger in the pictures than in real life. The scale is 1/72, which means it is about 23-24 millimeters high.
  • First step is a white undercoat. This I did with a brush since it's too cold in Sweden to use a spray right now. I prefer spraycans since it's faster but brushing on the undercoat doesn't alter the end result. Any white can be used really, but in this case I used Games Workshop's Ceramite White. (I didn't take a picture of this step as it's just boring.)

  • Paint the helmet some sort of khaki or olive green. I used GW's Gretchin Green, a foundation paint. I also painted the blanket attached to the backpack on the figure's back with this colour, to separate it from the backpack.
  • Paint the straps, ammo pouches, back pack and anklets a deeper green, but not too dark. Try to be neat. I used Wargames Foundry's Raw Linen (shade). Foundry colours are arranged in triplets, with a shade, normal and light colour meant to be used together. Here I only used the shade. Getting the colour of the webbing correct can be tricky and as it varied quite a lot there is no definitive answer. You want it to stand out a bit, and it was mostly green, but you don't want it to be too light or too dark. At first I used the same colour on the webbing as on the helmet, but after shading I thought the webbing looked too drab. I will probably try an alternative colour like Green Grey from Vallejo one some figures to get a little variation in the unit.
  • Paint the face and hands in a suitable flesh colour. I used Foundry's Flesh (middle colour).

  • Paint the uniform. I used Foundry's British Uniform Brown (light), but Vallejo and other manufacturers have suitable colours as well, named British Uniform or something similar. Be careful not to overpaint the webbing. The reason I painted the webbing first is because it was easier to pick it out from all the white, than painting the uniform and leaving the webbing white. I didn't want to paint everything brown and then paint the webbing, as the tone of the green would be changed by the underlying brown and end up too dark.
  • Paint the rifle red brown. I used Foundry's Spearshaft (shade) for this. I also painted the water bottle, the entrenching tool handle and the hair with this colour.
  • Paint any metal parts grey, in this case I used Coat d'Arms Slate Grey. I used the grey to tidy up the underside of the helmet as well. Also paint the boots the same colour, but wash them with black too. On my first test figures I painted the boots red brown, but the british used black boots. 

The finished figure.
  • Now it's time for the Dip. I used Army Painter Strong Tone, but brushed it on rather than dipping. Go back after some twenty minutes and remove any dip that has pooled in areas you don't want to. On the figure above I missed a little bit underneath the helmet. but it's not noticeable other than in these close-up pictures. 
My two test figures. Note the different webbing colour, and the brown boots on one of them.

The whole process is very forgiving. I'm not usually fond of a white undercoat as any missed areas will show up as bright spots on the miniature, but the dip covers your mistakes. It darkens underlying colours a bit, hence the need for a white undercoat. I think the dip works best on plastic figures somehow, maybe because the details on them are not as 'deep' as on metal or resin figures. Details that can be hard to pick out by hand catch the dip automatically. Mind you, the figures do look like shite until right up until the end, so you just have to trust the dip. As Obi-Wan Kenobi said; "Your eyes can decieve you, do not trust them."

Painting this figure and two other at the same time took about two hours, including taking snapshots of the progress and applying the dip. I reckon I can do about five figures in one and a half hour with this method which isn't that bad. It's a platoon a week really if I sit a couple of hours each night. I now have nine PSC british figures painted, but I'm not listing them on my painting tally as I haven't done their bases yet.

8 kommentarer:

  1. Very good tutorial. Loving the photos.

  2. Yep, very nice indeed! Could we have one for BEF next?

    1. I would use the same colours, except paint the helmet a slightly darker green, perhaps. The uniform was the same, it was the shape of the helmet and the gasmask bag that differed.

    2. Excellent!
      Then we don't need one for BEF. Let's have one for 1940 French, then, please. I have four of them on my table right now.

    3. BEF is a bit different, both in gear and some colours. You can look at my take on it in my very recent review of Zvezda's British Infantry, at


    4. I beg to differ. Our painting is similar, except for the webbing. On the box the webbing has a definitive greenish tint, I think. However, the webbing would be blancoed, which could come in a number of colours and would fade with time. So we are both correct, and I think the colours I used could be used for BEF too. (Of course the PSC figures are definitely late war!)

      Some more info about blanco here:

  3. Takk for the tutorial Leif!! :)

  4. Nice tutorial! I've been collecting British WW2 painting guides at my blog Spotting Round and added yours to the list. I've not personally used the dip method yet but one of these days, as soon as I have time...


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