Thursday, February 21, 2013

Recommended Colors

Recommended Colors

MC: Vallejo Model Color
MA: Vallejo Model Air
PA: Vallejo Panzer Aces
GC: Vallejo Game Color
TA: Tamiya Acrylic

Ratio is expressed as 1/1 or 2/1 (etc) which is 1 or 2 drop(s) of paint.
For brushwork and ease of storage, you cannot beat Vallejo. They cover well and are fairly durable when cured. Their color range is extensive. They have Model Color, Game Color, Panzer Aces and an Model Air line. Thin with water, extend with their own retarder or Windsors & Newton Blending medium.

If Vallejo is the King of brush paints, then Tamiya must be the Queen of Airbrush. In my 30 years of painting, I have never been able to have consistent stellar results with any other product line except Tamiya. I thin 5 to 1 with Isopropyl alcohol for airbrush. I don't use Tamiya for brushwork.

I have found that mixing of colors between Vallejo and Tamiya can be hit or miss. Some Vallejo Game Colors will even clump up when mixed with Vallejo Model colors.


Gymnastierka/Breeches: Basically versions of the color Khaki. So many variations, from dark brown to dark green and everything in between. Also compounding the problem finding the 'right' color, some material and uniforms were imported through lend-lease that were more to Allied manufacturing colors/techniques. Early war tended to be a more brown-khaki, late war, a green-khaki. Below are my four main color choices.
Note: Mix each shadow color with some base color to get a nice even tone and transition.
'Brown' Khaki':
Base: 1/1 Khaki Grey 880 + German Cam. Orange Ochre.
Shadow: Khaki Grey 880.
Highlight: 2/1/1 German Cam. Orange Ochre.+ Desert Yellow 977 + Khaki Grey 880
'Green-Brown' Khaki':
Base: Middlestone 882
Shadow: Yellow Green 881. Deep shadow, Brown Violet 887.
Highlight: 1/1 Middlestone 882 + Sand Yellow 916.
'Green' Khaki':
Base: Dark Yellow 978.
Shadow: Yellow Green 881. Deep, Russian Inf. WWII 924.
Highlight: 1/1 Dark Yellow 978 + Sand Yellow 916.
'Tan' Khaki':
Base: Buff 976.
Shadow: Khaki 988. Deep, add add touch of Brown Violet 887.
Highlight: 2/1/1 Buff 976 + Khaki 988 + Pale Sand 837.
Shinel Greatcoat: Heavy woollen coat. Again various colors. From brown to grey green. There were also coats of rich golden brown (Lend-lease). Officers coats tended to be darker than enlisted men's. Early Soviet soldiers would have the Shinel tied across the chest or around the pack. Late-war Soviets would have the Raincoat/Groundsheet (or Plash Palatka) in its place.
1935-42 M35 'Brown'
Base: MC US Field Drab 873
Shadow: MC Leather Brown 871 or Burnt Umber 941.
Highlight: PA Highl. Ger. T. Crew II 339.
1935-42 M35 'Brown variation'
Base: 1/1 Burnt Umber 941 + USA Tan Earth 874.
Shadow: Burnt Umber 941.
Highlight: USA Tan Earth 874.
1935-42 M35 'Light Grey/Beige'
Base: 1/1 Khaki 988 + Deck Tan 986.
Shadow: 3/1 Khaki 988 + Deck Tan 986.
Highlight: 2/1 Deck Tan 986 + Khaki 988.
1941-45 M40 'Allied Import.
Base: English Uniform 921
Shadow: Leather Brown 871.
Highlight: 1/1 English Uniform 921 + German Cam. Orange Ochre 824

Helmet and Mess Kit: 1/1 Reflective Green 890 + Yellow Green 881.
Knapsack: Dark Sand 847. Shade with Khaki Grey 880.
Raincoat/Groundsheet: Khaki 988 or Khaki Grey 880
Gasmask Bag: German Cam. Orange Ochre 824 highlighted with Sand Yellow 916
Rifle Strap: Japan Uniform WWII 923.
Enlisted man belt/ammo pouches: PA Light Rust 301
High Boots: Black 950.
Water Bottle: Stone Grey 884. or PA French Tank Crew 320.
Weapon Wood: Game Color Parisite Brown 042 with Liquid Acrylic Mahogany 820 for shadows and Deep Yellow 915 added in for highlights
Weapon Metal: Dark Seagreen 868 with Black shadows and Gunmetal Grey highlights
Entrenching Tool: Cover; Buff 976. Handle; Tan Yellow 912. Metal; Dark Seagreen 868.

Tunic/Breeches: Color varied as the war years and materials changed. What started as a quality uniform ended the war a shadow of its former self. The original 1939 war uniform was a greenish/blue version of fieldgrey but changed to a more Green/grey in 1941.
1939-40 M36 Feldbluse (or later years Officers tunics): Greenish-blue Feldgrau:
MC 920 German Uniform darkens substantially as it drys so don't use as is.
Base: 1/1 German Uniform 920 + White
Shadow: German Uniform 920
Highlight: 1/2 German Uniform 920 + White
Base: 3/1 Neutral Grey 992 + White
Shadow: Neutral Grey 992
Highlight: 1/3 Neutral Grey 992 + White
1941-45 Uniform: 'Classic' Grey-Green Feldgrau:
MC German Fieldgrey 830 is too dark for 15mm. It needs to be lightened substantially. Adding white only will result in washed out boring looking fieldgrey.
Base: 2/1/1 German Fieldgrey 830 + White + Sand Yellow 916
Shadow: German Fieldgrey 830.
Highlight: 1/1/2 German Fieldgrey 830 + White + Sand Yellow 916.
Other colors that work well:
Green Grey 886 (less green overall) with Fieldgrey 830 shadow.
Vallejo Game Color Heavy Grey 72145 (more green overall) with Fieldgrey 830 shadow.
Brown Violet 887 (very late-war) with US Olive Drab 889 Shadow.
PA US Army Tank Crew 318 - Great for Greatcoat.


Helmet: MC 70.888 Olive Grey
Gasmask Can/Mess Kit: Olive Grey 888 or Reflective Green 890
highlight edge with aluminum (white/silver)
Gasmask Can Strap: Middlestone 882
Gas Cape: Pastel Green 885
Bread-bag: Dark Yellow 978. Add white to highlight.
Rifle Strap: Orange Brown 981
Shovel / Stick Grenade Handle: Sunny Skintone 845
High Boots and Y-Straps: Black 950
Water Bottle: Beige Brown 875 highlighted with Vallejo Panzer Aces Yellowish Rust 303, black or Khaki strap, field grey or black cap.
MP-40 Ammo Pouches: Yellow Green 881.
Lafette sMG Mount: Early war mount was painted Dunkelgrau (grey), Later Feldgrau (dark grey-green) and finally Dunkelgleb (dark tan-yellow). Disregard the apple-green post-war versions you may have seen. A little artistic license is needed here to add contrast and show detail.
Dunkelgrau: Base: London Grey 836. Highlight: Pale bluegrey 907. Shadow: German Grey 995.
Feldgrau: Base: German Camo Dark Green 979 OR Olive Grey 888
Highlight: Add Dark Yellow 978
Shadow: Add Black
Dunkelgleb: MC 70.978 Dark Yellow
7.92mm Ammo Can: German Camo Dark Green 979 OR Olive Grey 888
Weapon Wood: Game Color Parisite Brown 042 with Liquid Acrylic Mahogany 820 for shadows and Deep Yellow 915 added in for highlights
Weapon Metal: Dark Seagreen 868 with Black shadows and Gunmetal Grey highlights

Wehrmacht Zeltbahn Camo:
Base: My VPA Splinter base is VERY grey - yours may be more beige. May be a miss-tint? I prefer:
Tan base: VMC #103 Germ.C.Beige 70.821
Grey Base: VMC #111 Medium Grey 70.987
Brown Splinters: VMC #145 German Cam. Medium Brown 70.826
Green Splinters: VPA #348 Splinter Strips


1939 Battledress (1939-1945):
Canadian BD was more green and of better quality than UK issue. Variations existed and some UK kit would invariably end up on Canadian soldiers. Canadian Airborne used British BD. You may go a little crazy trying to get the perfect shade! Wartime color photos seem to show a redish-tinged green-brown but this is most likely a development issue
I have now simplified my color choice to Vallejo 'Old' Yellow Green 112. It dries a bit more green. Vallejo has remade their color 112 to a much more green.
Base: 'Old' Yellow Green 112 with a touch of Black.
Shadow: Add more Black.
Highlight: 'Old' Yellow Green 112
This matches perfectly a WWII Canadian Wedge I have.

Base: 1 to 1 'New' Yellow Green + Green Brown 114 with a touch of black.
Shadow: Add more Black.
Highlight: 1 to 1 'New' Yellow Green + Green Brown 114.

Mk.III 'Turtle' Helmet (without netting): 50% Olive drab 889 + 50% Russian Uniform 924
The Mk. IV (low rivets on outside) is a post war helmet so don't use as a reference. Variations from dark green to dark brown, I have in my collection, a restored Mk.III (high rivets). Before restoring, I ground up an original paint chip and the color was US Field drab 873 with a touch of black! I assume oxidation has lightened the color somewhat in almost 70 years so this may be too light. Original was probably closer to Olive drab 889.

Webbing: My research has 1944-45 Canada using either raw canvas or KG3 blancoed webbing.
Raw without Blanco: Green Ochre 914.
KG3 Khaki Green: Base: Russian Unif. WWII 94

Helmet Netting: Middlestone 882 or VGC Camo Green 031

Rifle Strap: Green Ochre 914

Boots: Black 950

Gas Mask Pouch: VPA French Tank Crew 320

Water Bottle Cover: 113 Khaki Grey or 114 Green Brown.

Weapon Wood:

Weapon Metal: Dark Seagreen 868 with Black shadows and Gunmetal Grey highlights.

1. Base Coat.
2. Darkened basecoat wash.
3. Airbrush highlight coat to top/sunbleached areas.
4. Shadow deep shadows. (pinwash)
5. Selective washes (rust, dust, oil).
6. Rain streaking with base color and black extremely thin wash.
7. Spray on dust to lower half of vehicle.
8. Extreme highlights.
9. Chipping.
Metal Tracks: Base: Dark Rust 302
Wood Tool Handles: New, Flat Flesh 955. Weathered, Iraqi Sand 819
Metal Tool Parts: Base, Dark Sea Green 868. Highlight, Oily Steel 865 or Gunmetal Grey 863
Rubber Tires: Base German Grey 995. Black is too dark.

FS34259 4BO Protective Green: Many variations of tank green, too many to list.
MC 70.894 Russian Green is much too dark for 15mm scale. I use the following for base colors:
3/1 PA 320 French Tank Crew + MC 70.857 Golden Olive Bright green.
2/1 MC 70.881 Yellow Green* + MC 70.894 Russian Green. Bright Green.
*MC 70.881 Yellow Green - Vallejo has recently (2017) changed this color to a much more green shade.
MA 71.010 Interior Green.
Medium Green/Brown

1/1 MC70.881 Yellow Green + MC70.890 Reflective Green. Dark Green.
IL2 Sturmovik 3-Color Camo:
1. AMT 1 Dark Earth:3/2 MC 70.877 Desert Yellow (#125) + MC 70.880 Khaki Grey(#113)
2. AMT 4 Green:
3. AMT 12 Dark Grey:


German Dunkelgrau RAL 7021:
MC 70.869 Basalt Grey. This is less blue than MC 70.836 London Grey and is a good scaled Panzer Grey starting point.

German Dunkelgelb RAL 7028:
4/1 MC 70.978 Dark Yellow + white.

German Camo Green:
RAL 6003 Olivgrün: MC 70.894 Russian Green
RAL 6006 Feldgrau: MC 70.888 Olive Grey
RAL 6007 Grün: MC70.823 Luftwaffe Cam. Green
4/1 TA Olive Green XF-58 + Dark Yellow XF-60

German Camo Brown:
RAL 8012 Rot: MC 70.846 Mahogany Brown
RAL 8013 Rotbraun: MC 70.985 Hull Red
RAL 8017 Kaffeebraun: MC 70.871 Leather Brown
1/1 MA 034 Sand Brown + VMA 035 Camo Pale Brown
4/1 TA Red Brown XF-64 + Dark Yellow XF-60


Anonymous said...

Love posts like these..... Mark

Anonymous said...

These look awesome, I really like how you play with the colour variations and that you detail all of your work

Cameron said...

Looks great. I am looking forward to seeing your recommended colours for late war germans too! What order do you paint your layers? Do you generally go base-shadow-highlight or do you work up from the shadow colour?

Ritterkrieg said...

Thanks for the comments! @Cameron, base, shadow, highlights.Repeat...Sometimes I redo layers till it 'looks' right.


Cameron said...

Thanks! I talked with you briefly at salute yesterday. It was nice to see your models in person. I'll try painting the shadows in separately as you suggested. Thanks for all of the great tips.

mike said...

your work is great, one question on painting Germans! the great coat what colours would you suggest for the 1935-40 model and 1940+.

Anonymous said...

Looks great! But what colors do you use/recommend for faces and flesh?

specforc12 said...

You've done a commendable job of representing the authentic colors in all their variations. I will use your guides to paint my 15mm Germans and Brits/Canadians. Thanks it'll make my task much easier!

Unknown said...

Good stuff there Troy. Curious about the Shadow. Is this a wash after the Base colour is applied?

Ritterkrieg said...

Yes, as well I use a thicker mix to darken deeper shadows.

Unknown said...


Unknown said...

you, Sir, are setting a high standard! Keep up the awesome work.

JOHNBOND said...

Thank Troy for your guide, trying to work out what paint to use for early war German vehicles is a bit of a nightmare but will try your recommendations. thanks John