Painting Techniques for 15mm Infantry, 1/285 Micro Armor and 1/2400 Navy Metals/

  • Panzerpainter:

    Some very impressive work, including your web site offers for larger scale units.

    However, like many on this web site, I am a board gamer dealing with 15mm infantry, 1/285 micro armor and 1/2400 scale navy in both metals and plastics - representing 9 different nations: Germany, USA, UK, Italy, China, Russia, Japan, France and Neutrals.  I am slowly converting my plastic pieces to metals.

    The following is the basic color scheme:

    Germany- feldgrau ( grey green)
    Italy- brown-grey
    China- light green
    Japan- Sunflower Yellow
    US -Olive Drab #2
    UK -Khaki
    Russia- Light Earth brown
    Neutrals- Cream

    While I do not have the time or SKILL you acquired, I would like a more natural look to my armor and infantry rather than the “one color” paint job.  A mini “paint 101” course or techniques would be most appreciated by me, my gaming group and I am sure many others on this forum.  Looking for some really basic stuff here.

    Any feedback is appreciated.

  • I do offer painting services of a more “generic” approach. Its mostly the painting and detailed highlighting of all the equipment that takes so much time. 1/72 scale men usually cost around $3 to $5 each, but those are ultra-detailed. A more conservative approach to them, with basic colors and highlighting, and simplified painting of guns and faces would be less than $1 per man. And I can do armor (micro-scale - 1/285) for $1.50 to $2 each.
       If you want to tackle them yourself, I can give a few tips.
       To fully describe my techniques, even for a simple paint job, is still a mini-novel, as I take a different approach depending on the color. With 1 color scheme I might use a light base color and ink. With another base color I might use a pregression of darker to lighter shades of paint only.
       And I kinow it might sound selfish, but the more I describe how I paint, the more customers I lose due to people painting thier own stuff.
       I can give you a few basic tips though.
       You will need primer (preferrably a high-quality, wet-sandable variety, as they dry less sticky) and you will need 2 shades of paint for each color scheme. 1 shade that represents the over-all color you want, and a lighter shade of that color for final highlights.
    (1) clean and primer paint all pieces. I recommend grey or brown primers (use grey for pieces that are to be lighter colors, use brown primer for those peices that are to be darker colors).
    (2) Using water-based paints, completely coat all pieces in the basic color you want. Allow to dry a couple hours to fully cure.
    (3) Using brown ink (make sure you get a good brown tone ink, and that that stuff that looks purple-ish) give your pieces an ink wash. I prefer to thin the ink with water (1 part ink to 1 or 2 parts water) or else they will be too dark. For tanks, you will want to apply a liberal amount to them, doing several at a time, then wipte off the excess ink still on the brush and go back over tha tanks “dobbing” up any excess puddles of ink that form. Just touch the tip of the brush to any such puddles, dont suck too much of the ink back up, or you will have bare spots.
    Let them dry for a full day.
    (4) Now use the main color again (the water-based color you put on over the primer) but apply it with a “damp-brush” technique (described later). Thier is no need to let them sit a long time before going to step 5.
    (5) Now use the lighter shades. Apply this lighter shade with a “dry-brush” technique. This is important, and will bring the pieces “to life”.
    DAMPBRUSH - apply a very minimal amount of paint to your brush, and stroke the brush one or two times over a paper towel to remove the excess paint. Rapidly swipe the brush, back and forth, over the piece until all higher surfaces return to that color. Dont over-do it such that you get paint into the nooks and crannies. With only a little bit of practice, you will notice a certain point at which a “antiqued” look is achieved. Thats when you stop.
    DRYBRUSH - Like dampbrushing, except wipe even more paint off from the brush before brushing the units. It should seem as if you have wiped all the paint from the brush, but thier is just enough still on the brush to stick to only the very most edges and details like rivets. Use a faster criss-cross motion, with a little bit of pressure.
    IMPORTANT: NEVER, EVER, clean your brush with water and then use it again for drybrushing without letting the brush dry completely. If the bristles are even a little damp with water, it will cause smears. I recommend having 2 or 3 brushes ready for dampbrushing each color. Dampbrushing will cause your brush to get very “gummy” if you work too slowly or do a lot of pieces. I use 3 brushes. As soon as the paint on one brush starts to harden, I clean it and set it under a light bulb. Then I go to a different brush. By the time I am done with the 3rd brush, the 1st brush is completely dry and ready to go again.
    After dry-brushing is done, if you want to do some of the details, then use a pin-point brush with normal amount of paint on it. I would at least detail the treads rusty brown. Dont bother with any visable tools like shovels or such, as you will end up committing more time than you want. Hastily painted tools will make the units look cheap if you “color outsdie the lines”. Detailing the tools, adding weathering, fender rust, decals, etc is what turns a cheaper simple effective job into an in-depth time consuming nightmare.

  • Do you paint National insignia or do you use decals for ships and aircraft?

  • I use as many micro-decals as I can, but I end up painting all the stripes and round insignias by hand.

  • Where do you purchase your micro decals?

    Make sure you look through both the decals descriptions, and thier scans. They have some incredibly small decals. Some decals come in sheets that you have to cut each decal out, but most are individual decals. You might want to ask. I did get in 1 sheet of decals I saw that I liked, and they were very tiny decals, and I had to cut each one out. That was a pain, and I ened up doing those by hand. But these guys are very good about answering any questions you may have about each kind of decal sheet.

  • Thanks for the info.  I was thinking about painting some pcs next year. 
    I have several sets of revised units that I ordered  2yrs ago when you could still get spare units.

  • what kind of brushes do you use? (can you take a pic and post it?)

  • I go to Hobby Lobby, or Walmart, and get the package of “small detail” brushes. They are cheap, and may “fray”, but when I get one of those, I just toss it and get the next one out.
    I use medium width to apply the base colors.

    I use the wider brushes for dry-brushing and weathering.

    I use the tiny, sharp-tipped brushes for details.

  • PanzerPainter, what do you use to seal your paint jobs. The guys I play with are really rough on my toys so I had to resort to sealing the paint with MinWax Polyshades.

    Problem is, even the satin is rather glossy though it does a nice job shading and protecting.

  • Go to Walmart, and get Krylon matte finish spray paint. It is really good. Yu can put on 1 coat, wait 3 minutes, add another coat. And if you really want it to look dusty dry, then add a 3rd coat of very fine dry mist (hold the can about 3 feet above the models, and let just a light spray land on them - its already dry by the time it hits the model). If you have any glossy areas, that will kill the gloss for good, and you can add coats anytime.

  • 2018 2017 '15

    It is always good to learn new tricks. Many years ago i painted my 2nd edition pieces. Some were a bit rough but i was happy with them. I brought the revised version and i learned how to do a black wash, worked well on my ships. Have just received the new aa40 pacific and europe, my new painting project begins.  🙂

  • I finally got around to getting an order for board game troops, and have a new thread for them. I have a better idea now whats involved in doing them, and what they should cost.

  • been busy trying to stick some Soulhunters and my god they are a pain to put together

    no pictures to post at the moment but for skarres cloak i will be painting it dark green

  • been busy trying to stick some Soulhunters and my god they are a pain to put together

    no pictures to post at the moment but for skarres cloak i will be painting it dark green

  • Customizer

    Ahhhh - greetings Panzerpainter.  I slap some paint around myself - I like your work.  So, it appears that you base your work on size rather than time involved? In regard to the micro, the $1.50 to $2 each, what defines this disparity if you don’t mind me asking? Just curious…

  • My orignal plan was simply to add magnets to my carriers, fighters and tac bombers so they wouldn’t flop around so much, then I thought it’d be great if my Heavy Bombers were on stands so they didn’t take up so much space, then I accidentally clicked into Dangermouses thread and BAM I saw how truely Awesome my units could look. That was lastnight, today I went and bought new brushes (as the ones I use for ceramics wouldn’t be good for the scale work I’d be looking at) and started working over my Japanese fighters. I’m using Acrylics though, should I switch to water colors? Also, you mention a loss of customers through your explinations, I intend to buy more units anyway eventually, is there a place I can view your works and prices?

  • @Viracocha:

    Ahhhh - greetings Panzerpainter.  I slap some paint around myself - I like your work.  So, it appears that you base your work on size rather than time involved? In regard to the micro, the $1.50 to $2 each, what defines this disparity if you don’t mind me asking? Just curious…

    Combination of size and level of detail. The cheaper stuff being painted to gaming standards (simple, normal, or fine detail) or whether it is painted for collecting/display purpouse, in simple, normal, …… blah blah blah. The very small micro-armor would have no real details; just over-all coloration, inking, highlights. I try to estimate something that gets me slightly above minimum wage per hour actual time involved. If I can do many of the same things at one time, I can make better per hour, or if I screw around I can make a buck an hour, lol.

  • @Carnage:

    I intend to buy more units anyway eventually, is there a place I can view your works and prices?

    Send me an e-mail directly (links here dont always work) at
      I dont have a set “gallery” but I can send a few samples if you specify what kinda stuff. Prices are hard to explain, but I have a rough quoting “guide” I can e-mail you. I am running about 2 to 3 months behind still. Life has not stopped being crazy yet, but it has to come winter.
      I tend to not get to these boards very often, so e-mails are best.
    Thanks. Hope everyone had a great thanksgiving.

  • If I mess up horribly and botch the painjob, is there a good way to take all the paint off without dammaging the minuature?

  • 2018 Customizer

    If you have used acrylic paints, it can be removed. What kind of miniatures are they? Plastic, metal or resin.

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