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Painting a Military Figure - Figures - Getting You Started. - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Thu May 1st, 2008 08:44 am
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Bob K
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Matt's discussion over how to paint camouflage on a modern soldier figure has inspired me to give it a go. I have taken a look at British Army camouflage and note that it is made up of 4 colours in an irregular, swirly pattern:



These colours are brown, buff, green and black, or dark grey. Unfortunately I have not got a modern British Army figure to work on but I found a WW2 German Officer figure. I lopped his head off and stuck a beret on him from my spares box and chopped off some small items. He is not very accurate but will do for this experiment.

I decided to use brown as a base colour and would build the camouflage on top of that. So I gave the figure a coat of brown paint:



Then using a fine brush I added thin curved lines of buff:



This was followed by green, in a slightly heavier application:



Next I added a very dark grey in light irregular swirls and painted the beret, binos and boots in the same shade:



This was followed by some flesh and some brown for the hair. I also painted his equipment, holster etc in light olive green:



Next I will add shading and highlights to give the figure depth.

Bob(K)

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 Posted: Thu May 1st, 2008 09:50 am
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Marty
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Oh master painter,

Close...

Too me, it hasn't quite matched the swatch you have used as a go by, you may not mind and the comment is purely in the spirit of the forum of mutual help...

It's really subtle and I may be wrong but from the picture it appears that the colours are layered with buff as the base, then green, then brown (with some deliberate overlaps) and them black (again with some different overlaps over both green and brown).

The sequence is a little different to yours and I don't think you have as many overlaps as the swatch and I can tell the difference.

[size=9]This from someone whose 20 year old Tiger tank's winter camouflage was created during a bout of glandular fever. I still like it, although it bears no resemblance to the real thing.

Nice touch with the beret :D



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 Posted: Thu May 1st, 2008 10:30 am
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Bob K
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Marty

All your observations are correct, however, my initial thoughts were that if I were to use buff as the base colour the overall figure will appear far too light. Also I don't think it will be possible to capture the pattern exactly in this scale. I was after an impression of the camouflage rather than a replica. However, your points are valid. I will continue with this figure to see how the finished product looks and then try building the paint work more accurately with a second figure and then we can compare the difference.

Keep the comments coming as this is a new venture for me.

Bob(K)

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 Posted: Thu May 1st, 2008 10:55 am
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Marty
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Good point about the lightness, I never think that far ahead. :D
[size=9]I'm a terrible chess player.
Watching with interest.



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 Posted: Thu May 1st, 2008 06:04 pm
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Bob K
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With the washes completed and dried a very fine dusting with a dry brush with very light olive completes the effect:



The camouflage effect has softened and merged into the background giving more of an impression than a depiction, which I think would be correct in this scale. I am not sure the final effect is that of a British soldier (more like a german in a beret :roll: ) but I think this technique has promise. I would like to try it with a more accurate portrayal of the real camouflage pattern and see what it looks like.

Would welcome views on this project good and bad.

Bob(K)

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 Posted: Thu May 1st, 2008 07:29 pm
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Les
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Bob - no matter what you do to this little figure he still looks like a German soldier. Having said I tried to concentrate on the colours only.

So far as I'm concerned I have learned so much from you about how to paint figures that I'm fascinated by how you try things out until you get it right and therefore although not interested in military figures, this thread has been extremely informative so thanks go to you and Marty.

I liked your earlier one better (maybe a touch paler green and some raw umber in the brown?). This last one seems a bit dark but lets be frank you are close enough for most people.

Les



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 Posted: Thu May 1st, 2008 09:05 pm
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Matt
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Bob k
you are the master 8) i like someone who will take on a challenge. i hxave found a picture of the latest DPM

http://www.armynnavy.com/catalog/catalog/images/DSC02001.jpg

this is a more splash effect than a swirl starting in layers
buff
geen
brown
black

it should be easier, the pattern is smaller but a dab rather than a swirl.
a couple of days on salsibury plain my combats were a murky browny black :P
i done 3 weeks in the jungle in Kenya, 2 sets of combats. one dry set for the night, one wet set for the day and no washing or shaving for 3 weeks. it was brilliant. vanish ultra had no chance of working :D

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 Posted: Thu May 1st, 2008 09:46 pm
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 Posted: Fri May 2nd, 2008 07:43 am
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Bob K
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Thanks for all the comments - I was not too happy with final result. :oops: Well back to the drawing board. I think Matt was right all along about the base colour needing to be buff/sand. So I have another figure, again a WW2 item, but the cut of the uniform is good enough for this experiment. This time I have started with buff, then a brighter green, then more reddish brown followed by a much darker grey. This gives more contrast which reflects the camouflage a bit better, in my opinion:





Next I will add some shading and highlights, taking care not to obliterate the camouflage effect - we will see what happens.

Bob(K)

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 Posted: Fri May 2nd, 2008 07:59 am
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Matt
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Bob k
you have hit the nail on the head. that DPM is exactly what the combats are like on the first day of exercise :D all i have to do now is wait for my 20 or so figures to arive then ship them out to you. JOB DONE :D :D
Bob
could you please do a step by step as you did for the first figure. got a cheek aint i :P

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 Posted: Fri May 2nd, 2008 08:00 am
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MikeC
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Nice one Bob!
Looks very good indeed! What I can see, that is, with such good camouflage :)

Mike

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 Posted: Fri May 2nd, 2008 08:48 am
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I am lost for words.
First class will have to do for not only you but others also painting small figures like that.

Sol

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 Posted: Fri May 2nd, 2008 09:03 am
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 Posted: Fri May 2nd, 2008 02:38 pm
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Wayne Williams
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I think you have got it! Looks great to me! I don't think I have the patience to paint like that, let alone the ability.
One question though, don't they camouflage the helmets too?

Wayne



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 Posted: Fri May 2nd, 2008 03:39 pm
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Bob K
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Wayne Williams wrote:I think you have got it! Looks great to me! I don't think I have the patience to paint like that, let alone the ability.
One question though, don't they camouflage the helmets too?

Wayne


Wayne, modern kevlar helmets have cloth covers with the same pattern as the uniform. This figure is a WW2 figure that I used as an experiment just to have a go at painting camouflage, so the helmet is not correct. That said, in the next stage I will add the camouflage net and some scrim and foliage, as would have been worn on old steel helmets. There is also the shading and highlighting to be done - which is where I ruined the last attempt :shock:

Bob(K)

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 Posted: Fri May 2nd, 2008 05:12 pm
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phill
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Well Bob brings back memories for me when i was a squady,think he came straight from the stores. They look really good.
Phill

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 Posted: Fri May 2nd, 2008 06:06 pm
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Bob K
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The finished item, now with shading and dry brushed highlights. sorry the picture is a bit blurred, but gives an idea:



I will do a step by step on how I painted this figure over the weekend.

Bob(K)

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 Posted: Fri May 2nd, 2008 06:31 pm
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much much better than the first try bob, having said that the first effort was much much better than anything i could produce. congrats . :D :D



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 Posted: Sat May 3rd, 2008 08:30 am
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Bob K
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HOW TO PAINT A MILITARY FIGURE

At Matt's request here is a step by step guide to how I painted a soldier in modern DPM camouflage uniform:

PART 1

Equipment:
A standard brush size 0
A fine brush size 003
A small brush (size 0) for dry brushing

Paints:
I used acrylic, a mixture of cheapo tube types(CT), Tamaya (T) and Citadel (C):

Lamp Black (CT)
White (CT)
Buff (T)
NATO Brown (T)
Field Grey (T)
Dwarf Flesh (C)
Burnt Umber (CT)
Sap Green (CT)

I used another WW2 figure from my spares box - beginning to get low on volunteers now :roll: First give the figure a wash in detergent. Allow to dry completely. Then paint the whole figure in the Buff colour:



Once dry, and these acrylics dry almost instantly, paint on small curly stripes and blobs of the green. Ensure edges of the figure, under arms and legs are also painted:



Next do the same with the NATO brown, ensuring some of the brown overlays the green:



Next using the CT black and white mix up a very dark grey colour. Paint very thin Y shaped swirls, evenly across the figure. At the same time his weapon, boots and binoculars can be painted:



Finally for this stage, using the Field Grey or a light olive, paint the helmet and all of his web equipment. Look the figure over and touch up any areas that have been missed using the appropriate colours.



In part 2 I will do the flesh, shading and highlighting.

Bob(K)

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 Posted: Sat May 3rd, 2008 05:29 pm
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Bob K
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PART 2

The next task is to paint in the flesh. Once this was done I also used some burnt umber and detailed the hair on the back of the head:



When the flesh areas had was dried a wash of burnt umber thinned with water is painted over the flesh areas, face and hands. Again after this is dry a second wash of very thin lamp black is painted over the whole figure, less the flesh areas. This runs into the folds and gives some depth. It is crucial that this was is not too dark as it will spoil the camouflage effect:



The final phase is a very light dry brush of flesh over the skin areas and using some of the original buff the lightest dusting using an almost dry brush to pick out detail on the helmet, equipment and weapon. And that's it. Job done:





Bob(K)

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