RoE Hobby Painting US Airborne

Painting US Airborne

I have a sizeable US Airborne force that I painted many years ago for RoE and wanted to paint an extra squad to increase the force size even more  The figures I painted in this article were part of a batch of 5 models that I completed in a single evening.  Click on the images for a larger picture. These are the colours I used; all Vallejo.

Burnt Umber (Basecoat)

US Field Drab (Uniform Basecoat/Chinstrap)

Green Ochre (Uniform)

German Camo Pale Brown (Alternate trousers colour)

USA Olive Drab (Patches/Helmet Basecoat)

Khaki (Webbing)

US Dark Green (Helmet)

Flat Brown (Boots)


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 flesh 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. 


First step is a basecoat of US Field Drab for the M1942 jacket and trousers although to vary things within a force, optional colours may be used for the trousers (such as Burnt Umber, USA Olive Drab, English Uniform, German Camo Pale Brown).


The first M1942 highlight is done by adding German Camouflage Beige with the Khaki base colour.  A tiny bit of white is added to the US Field Drab for the first coat highlight.  A second highlight was done by adding more German Camouflage Beige and white to the respective base colours.  The first highlight is quite broad, the second concentrating on just the most raised areas.  I don’t like sharp highlights on WW2 figures personally.  If you find that the cloth is looking too sharp, a thin wash of ink will dull it down sufficiently. Although I can appreciate the skill and technique, I prefer a more drab and realistic look for my doughboys and tommies.


Khaki mixed with white is the base for the webbing.  A couple of highlights were done by just adding a bit of white. An alternative colour for the webbing is USA Olive Drab.

The M1942 jumpsuit was of flimsy quality, so the paratroopers added reinforcing patches to the elbows and knees. These are painted in USA Olive Drab and the centre is highlighted, leaving a thin, darker edge around the outside. The helmet and helmet netting were both painted USA Olive Drab; the helmet then got a coat of US Dark Green and the netting was highlighted by adding white. Flesh was done with Brown Rose, washed with a Sepia ink and highlighted when dry.

Once the skin was highlighted, the helmet straps were picked out in US Field Drab and highlighted by adding white. Boots are done in Flat Brown.


For the weapons, I used Flat Earth as the base.  I then added Medium Fleshtone and painted thin stripes (woodgrain).  Adding a little white, I then paint thinner strips.  Finally I did thin strips of Charred Brown between the lighter strip.  Once the metal is then done, the weapon is washed with a Black/Brown ink.


The base is first drybrushed Burnt Umber, then Flat Earth followed by a very light Brown Sand – they got a varnish (Testor’s Dullcote) and some static grass and tufts. With this method I completed 5 models over two evenings, a couple of hours a night.  If I used inks a bit more and didn’t worry about some of the detail and highlighting, I could paint 30 over the course of a week.


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