Thursday, February 21, 2013

Recommended Colors

Recommended Colors

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

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  (and even between Vallejo product lines) can be hit or miss. Some Game colors will clump up when mixed with 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: 50% Khaki Grey 880 + 50% German Cam. Orange Ochre.
Shadow: Khaki Grey 880. Deep shadow, add add touch of Black.
Highlight:  25Khaki Grey 880 + 50% German Cam. Orange Ochre.+ 25% Desert Yellow 977

'Green-Brown' Khaki':
Base: Middlestone 882
Shadow: Yellow Green 881. Deep shadow, Brown Violet 887.
Highlight: 50% Middlestone 882 + 50% Sand Yellow 916

'Green' Khaki':
Base: Dark Yellow 978
Shadow: Yellow Green 881. Deep shadow, Russian Inf. WWII 924.
Highlight: 50% Dark Yellow 978 + 50% Sand Yellow 916

'Tan' Khaki':
Base: Buff 976
Shadow: Khaki 988. Deep shadow, add add touch of Brown Violet 887
Highlight: 50% Buff 976 + 25% Khaki 988 + 25% Pale Sand 837.

Shinel Greatcoat: Heavy woollen coat. Again various colors. From brown to  grey green. They 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' (left above)
Base: US Field Drab 873
Shadow: Leather Brown 871 or Burnt Umber 941.
Highlight: 50% US Field Drab + 50% Tan Yellow 912

1935-42 M35 'Brown variation'
Base: 50% Burnt Umber 941 + 50% USA Tan Earth 874
Shadow: Burnt Umber 941.
Highlight: USA Tan Earth 874

1935-42 M35 'Light Grey/Beige' (center above)
Base: 50% Khaki 988 + 50% Deck Tan 986
Shadow: 75% Khaki 988 + 25% Deck Tan 986. Deep shadow, add touch of Black.
Highlight: 25% Khaki 988 + 75% Deck Tan 986

1941-45 M40 'Allied Import' (right above)
Base: English Uniform 921
Shadow: Leather Brown 871.
Highlight: 50% English Uniform 921 + 50% German Cam. Orange Ochre 824

Field Equipment:

Helmet and Mess Kit: 50/50 GC Camouflage Green 031 + GC Caymen Green 067
Highlight with GC Camouflage Green.
Knapsack: Khaki Grey 880 25% + Dark Sand 75%
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: Beige Brown 875.
High Boots: Black 950.
Water Bottle: Khaki 988 lightened with Sand Yellow 916.
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 (above and below right): The 920 German Uniform darkens substantially as it drys so don't use as is. 
Base: 50% German Uniform 920 + 50% White
Shadow: German Uniform 920
Highlight: 25% German Uniform 920 + 75% White

Base: 75% Neutral Grey 992 + 25% White
Shadow: Neutral Grey 992
Highlight: 25% Neutral Grey 992 + 75% White

The picture above is a good comparison of the two colors.

1941-45 Uniform: 'Classic' Grey-Green Feldgrau (above left): German Fieldgrey 830 is too dark for 15mm. It needs to be lightened substantially.
Base: 50% German Fieldgrey 830 + 25% White + 25% Sand Yellow 916
Shadow: German Fieldgrey 830. Add black for deep shadows.
Highlight: 25% German Fieldgrey 830 + 25% White + 50% Sand Yellow 916. Adding white only will result in washed out boring looking fieldgrey

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.

Field Equipment:
Helmet: Reflective Green 890 with a bit of black to taste.
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: BaseGerman Camo Dark Green 979 OR Olive Orey 888
Highlight: Add Dark Yellow 978
Shadow: Add Black


7.92mm Ammo Can: German Camo Dark Green 979 OR Olive Orey 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 Helmet Cover: above middle figure.
Base: 66% Stone Grey 884 with 33% Middlestone 882
Brown Splinters: 50% Beige Brown 875 with 50% VPA Light Rust 301
Green Splinters: Intermediate Green 891
Streaks: Intermediate Green 891 with a bit of black


Original color photo from 1944/45. You can see the variations from the green hue (left) and brow hue (right) in troops from the same unit.

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. You may go a little crazy trying to get the perfect shade!

Base: Brown Violet 887 + English Uniform 921 + Green Brown 879 (1 to 1 to 1).
Shadow: Brown Violet 887 + English Uniform 921.
Deep Shadow: Brown Violet 887 + English Uniform 921 + Black
Highlight: Green Brown 879. This color will darken a little when dry so be patient!

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. MAY have been repainted.

Webbing: My research has Canada using either raw canvas or KG3 blancoed webbing.
Raw without Blanco: Green Ochre 914.
KG3 Khaki Green: Russian Uniform 924 with white.

Helmet Netting: Middlestone 882 or VGC Camo Green 031

Rifle Strap: Green Ochre 914
Boots: Black 950
Gas Mask Pouch: GC Camoflage Green 72031.
Water Bottle Cover:
Weapon Wood:
Weapon Metal: Dark Seagreen 868 with Black shadows and Gunmetal Grey highlights.
Different netting and base colored Mk.III Turtle helmets.


1. Base Coat.
2. Highlight coat with airbrush to top/sunbleached areas.
3. Blackline deep shadows.
4. Selective washes (rust, dust, oil).
5. Rain streaking with base color and black extremely thin wash.
5. Spray on dust to lower half of vehicle.
6. Extreme highlights.
7. Chipping.

Metal Tracks: Base: Dark Rust 302
Wood Tool Handles: New, Flat Flesh 955. Weathered, Iraqui Sand 819
Metal Tool Parts: Base, Dark Sea Green 868. Highlight, Oily Steel 865 or Gunmetal Grey863
Rubber Tires: Base German Grey 995. Black is too dark.


Soviet Tank Green: Base: 70894 Russian Green. Highlight: add 70978 Dark Yellow.
Alternate 'Factory Fresh' Tank Green: MA 71.010 Interior Green
Alternate 'Faded' Tank Green: MC 70.881 Yellow Green. Vallejo has recently (2017) changed this color to a much more green shade and its a great match to the sun-bleached Russian tank green.


German Dark Yellow: Base: 4 parts TA Dark Yellow XF-60 + 1 part TA Flat Black XF-1
Highlight: 4 parts TA Dark Yellow XF-60 + 1 part TA Flat White XF-2

German Camo Green: 50/50 VMA 022 Camo Green + VMA 010 Interior Green
Or 4 parts TA Olive Green XF-58 + 1 part Dark Yellow XF-60

German Camo Red-Brown: 50/50 VMA 034 Sand Brown + VMA 035 Camo Pale Brown
Or 4 parts TA Red Brown XF-64 + 1 part Dark Yellow XF-60
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