10 March 2011

Painting Polish 15mm infantry [Tutorial]

Looking at the stats for the blog it didn't take long to realize that 15mm aren’t anywhere near as popular as the 28mm stuff I've been posting over the last couple of months. The reason to that is, at least according to me, that 15mm is an acquired taste. Both when it comes to appreciating 15mm models and 15mm painting. And I can confess I was not particularly interested in 15mm or smaller scale stuff myself up until I started with this project myself. I tend to look at other peoples 15mm stuff more closely nowadays looking at their painting techniques and basing. So I won't blame anyone for not being interested in this stuff :-)

However, for those that are interested I've put together a tutorial on how I paint my 15mm Polish infantry. Now the colors differ from Battlefronts suggestion, the helmets are not green and uniforms yellow/brown. I paint my Polish 15mm the same way I painted my 28mm Polish soldiers. Using a more muddy/grey color and dark brown helmets. Why?  I acknowledge that the suggested colors in the Blitzkrieg book are somewhat correct and I've seen color pictures (mainly re-enactment) of uniforms looking like that. But, I have also seen a lot of pictures that support the look I give my Polish stuff, more mud colored uniform and darker shade on the helmets.

Another thing, this tutorial might seem to detailed for models in this scale, I just recently started painting 15mm stuff, and there will probably be some 15mm painters out there face palming themselves when they see the amount of steps involved. However, I’ve never been a friend of the drybrush myself, And ever since I started taking pictures and posting them on the internet many years ago I became aware of how revealing close-up pictures are. Be it pictures from a battle report or just pictures of painted models. So I always try to do my best to make my models look as good as they can, and gladly invested an extra hour if needed to get a "clean" look.

Enough ranting then, here’s the guide. I only use Vallejo paints, and GW washes and foundation colors.

1) Prime everything black. Drybrush the base in whatever colors you fancy. Saves you the headache of cleaning up the completely painted models later. Paint the models Charred Brown, roughly. Then paint the models with Khemri Brown. You can apply the khemri brown with a gentler sort of drybrush technique if you like or just completely cover the models. Won't make any real differencet.

2) After hitting the models with Khemri Brown, use Devlan Mud to wash the models. Apply the wash, let it dry, then apply a second layer to really create dark shadows.
3) The real painting starts here. Start with the uniform, use a brush which allows you to control each stroke perfectly, the size is up to you. At this point, I apply Khemri Brown again, but this time I leave all the shadows created by the wash intact. You can also create your own "wrinkle highlights" on the uniforms if you like.

You might wonder about those officers, their greatcoats are painted Charred Brown, then Calthan Brown. Wash them with Devlan Mud. Repaint them in Calthan Brown but keep the shadows. And then hit them with Ogryn Flesh wash.

 4) Skin, pure Elf Flesh, then wash it with Ogryn Flesh wash. This will make some colorful shading and not make the models look anemic. I understand some people like much darker shadow (black) it's really a matter of taste at this stage how you do it.

5) Details left to paint. Paint helmets, straps, pouches, bags and rifles in Charred Brown. Then apply Calthan Brown, leave shadows and try to make this with some finesse (hence the requirement of a brush you can control well), paint Calthan Brown on all straps, bags, belts and pouches. Then mix a 50-50 cream color out of Bone White and Calthan Brown and hit all those details for one last highlight. Again leave shadows and parts of the previous layer visible.

 6) Almost finished now. Boots in pure Black, Polish eagle marker on Rogatywka caps with a dot of Dead White. Depending on what military branch the officer belongs to (check up the color on the internet) paint the Rogatywka lower part in the appropriate color. Arillery officers had dark green color on theirs.

The bedroll on the backpack is painted Orkhide shade and highlighted with US Dark Green, straps are pure Calthan Brown. The little box is painted with a shade of dark grey and washed with Badab Black. All helmets are also washed with Devlan Mud, to tone down the shine and to further darken the Charred Brown.

Wood on the rifles is painted with Bestial Brown. The gunmetal is again pure black. I think using metallics at this scale for WW2 looks odd. Ther eyou have it. And attached below are a couple of pictures showing the finished product.

The edge of the bases is painted with black, I'm one of those people who like the bases to "pop" out of the table, and it also provides a clean impression. Other people tend to drybrush with the same colors they drybrush the sand/mud on the base. And some paint their base to blend in with their table (brown or green color). It's not important. Whatever suits you.

In case you wonder, the maps spread out on the artillery staff table are regular white paper which I cut out in square shapes, I drew lines to form a grid, roads, dots to symbolize houses and topographic lines using a regular pen. They were then glued to the table and washed with Thraka Green, Devlan Mud and Ogryn Flesh in the right spots to create the illusion of wood/mountain areas.


  1. fantastic! I am not a fan of the very small FOW models, but this is really impressive. love the map too. great idea.

  2. Excellent step by step...end results look real good

  3. All very nice i really like the stonewalls at the top. The hedges do look more reallistic nice job!


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