Painting British Infantry

I first painted a small British Infantry force for the Great Escape Games display cabinet and so it isn’t very large – I am going to paint the occasional batch of 5 to bulk it up.  I already have a very large force of Canadians using other figures but the the Artizan figures that we sell in our RoE packs are so lovely that I want to paint an army of them also. These figures are very crisp and uncluttered, they lend well to fast brushwork, and you don’t have to spend ages clipping bits of plastic off a frame and trying to pose them properly!  I think it is achievable to paint a sizeable force to a gaming standard in a very short time.  The figures I painted in this article were part of a batch of 5 models that I completed in a single evening.  These are the colours I used; all Vallejo.

Burnt Umber (Basecoat)

English Uniform (Jacket/Trousers/Helmet)

Khaki (Gaiters, Webbing)

German Camouflage Beige (Webbing highlight)

Flat Earth (Water bottle/Boots)

US Dark Green (Alternate helmet colour)

US Field Drab (Helmet pack)

Flat Brown (Helmet strap)

I haven’t listed the flesh, black/white and metal colours I used but, for information, I tend to use Vallejo Gunmetal Grey and Natural Steel for metal, often darkened with a bit of black.  For skin I have used Vallejo Medium Fleshtone.

As with all the WW2 figures I paint, I start with a basecoat of Burnt Umber.  I just find that the brown and green colours of the uniforms go over a dark brown undercoat more easily than over black. 

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First step is a basecoat of English Uniform over the entire model.  This colour acts as a good base for the much lighter khaki webbing I am painting on these figures.  You could also paint the webbing green (using Russian Uniform as the base).  I’m not particularly fussy over the coverage as the dark brown undercoat acts as shading.

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A second wetbrush of English Uniform on the battledress gives the first highlighting stage.  The helmet on the figure on the right also has the English Uniform treatment; theone on the left will be getting a green helmet.  By adding a little white to the colour (which is thinned down a bit at this stage) the jacket and trousers are highlighted in two stages.  The first highlight is quite broad, the second concentrating on just the most raised areas.  Then I basecoated the skin.

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Khaki is the base for the webbing.  The gaiters are done at the same time.

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Boots and the water bottle (on his right hip) are done in Flat Brown.  By this stage, and throughout the painting process, I give the models a protective blast with Testor’s Dull Cote, the best matt varnish on the market.  This prevents damage to the paintwork while handling the models and is a good discipline to get yourself into.  You can get Testor’s in the Great Escape Games webstore (UK only).

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The webbing was painted over with German Camo Beige and then highlighted twice by adding white.  When painting batches of models this sort of highlighting becomes really quick as you figure out where and how to apply the paint.  I am never too exact with these highlights because that would end up making them look too sharp and neat – not what you want for Tommies that have been sleeping rough for a week in the Norman countryside!  The gaiters are highlighted by adding a bit of white to the khaki base colour.

At this point the buckles are picked out as is the spade handle by the small of the models’ backs.  The scabbard is simply done in black.

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I then finish the skin before giving the rifles a base of Burnt Umber.

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For the rifles, I will either use Flat Earth or US Field Drab as the base.  I then add Medium Fleshtone and paint thin stripes (woodgrain).  Adding a little white, I then paint thinner strips.  Finally I do thin strips of Charred Brown between the lighter strip.  Once the metal is then done, the rifle is washed with a Black/Brown ink.  A photo of the rifles you are painting is always a handy reference.

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US Dark Green for the helmet on the left hand figure, Flat Brown for the straps.  The helmet gets a little edge highlight and the figures are done.  The base is first drybrushed Burnt Umber, then Flat Earth followed by a very light Brown Sand.  After a varnish with Testor’s the bases got some static grass and tufts (see them all in the GEG store).  As with the US infantry, these figures are a joy to paint.  They clean up quickly and the detail is crisp but there is not too much unnecessary detail to slow your painting down. 

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