I used a simple base-coat and wash technique to finish my US Army for Bolt Action.  It is a quick and easy technique that produces pretty good results for the table.  If you are shy about painting I urge you to go for it and start with this technique.  It can also be brought up more by simple adding a layer of highlight or two.  This technique could be used on anything by just changing the colors.  I’ll also cover the colors I used if you are interested for your own US force and how I did the basing.

Once the models are assembled I go ahead and sand the bases to start.  I use a fine ballast as opposed to straight sand.  It is a little more consistent size than straight sand.  If you’re wondering I simple spread a thin layer of white glue on the base then bury it in my bag of sand.  After a few minutes I removed them and tap off the excess.  The sand sometimes builds up around the feet so I poke the sand down a bit.  This keeps them from looking sunken in and you catch any stray sand before the glue dries.

The first step of painting is a spray with a primer coat.  I used to buy actual miniature company primer spray cans.  Now I just use flat spray paint and it seems to work well.  Black is usually good because anywhere you might miss slightly or don’t reach looks shadowed.  Recently I started using a base color that works as a main color on the model.  I started using an Olive Krylon for my US vehicle to great effect.  Most of the model is done by getting that one color base down on the vehicles.  I also went this route with my Germans for K47.  I based them in grey for their main uniform color.  This isn’t quite as fast as the vehicles but still gives a head start.  I am not sure if I’d do it for the American infantry because, at least the scheme I have chosen, they don’t really have a big single color area.

Prime Black

When I first was looking to paint these guys I found a Flames of War guide for Vallejo paints.  I cross referenced this to GW which I have a mix of the new and older names.  This is a base list of what I use for the regular infantry:

Jacket/Leggings – Karak Stone

Trousers – Graveyard Earth

Webbing/Packs – Straken Green

Helmet/Etc – Castellan Green

Boots/Leather – Scorched Brown

Wood – Bestial Brown

Metal – Boltgun Metal

Skin – Elf Flesh

Brass – Shining Gold

Base – Gothor Brown

All – Leather Wash (Prism Gaming)

BAR/LMG – Nuln oil

To begin here’s a few tips or ideas to keep in mind throughout:

  • You probably need to thin your paints out of the pot and then it usually takes about 3 coats to get complete coverage.  This will allow them to flow the best and not loose detail from a thick coat.  I usually just use a little water to thin them for this type of painting.  If I was blending I usually use medium as well.
  • Be conscious that you don’t always have to be exceptionally clean with you lines.  As long as you don’t go over a previous color anything outside the lines will get painted over.
  • Most of the colors will look unpleasing in the base coat steps.  They usually look too clean and bright.  The wash at the end will drastically change the look and tone down the brightness so bear with it.

The actual painting steps are really easy.  Just filling in each of the areas for each color.

To start with the actual painting I usually do the biggest areas first.  In this case I did the jackets and leggings first.  Here I have four rangers with LMGs and a MMG team.  I have mixed my scheme around in my force a bit to try and help differentiate units.  In the rangers case I have used Straken Green and for the MMG I have used Graveyard Earth (aka Steel Legion Drab).


Next up I do the trousers.  For the rangers this is Graveyard Earth and for the MMG Karak Stone.


Then I do the webbing and pack.  The rangers now get the Karak Stone and the MMG with Straken Green.


Here I did the skin next.  These are all done with Elf Flesh (aka Kislev Flesh).  I find it easier to actually do the weapons before the skin.  It seems easier to do the hands around the weapons.  Doing the skin first I find you have to touch it up fairly often.


After that I do the helmets and other olive items such as ammo cans or sometimes weapons.  All are done with Castellan Green.  Now they are starting to look like something.

Helmets Etc

Lastly I wrapped all the final details into one.  The weapons get done with Boltgun Metal (aka Leadbelcher) with the wood done in Bestial Brown (aka Mournfang Brown).  The boots and any other leather is Scortched Brown (aka Rhinox Hide).  For the brass I have used Shining Gold (aka Gehenna’s Gold).


Before washing I also do the bases because I will wash the entire model.  They are done using Gothor Brown.Base

Now comes the part where the models come together; the wash.  I have used a brown Leather Wash from Prism Gaming.  As this comes it needs to be cut with water a bit.  I maybe do at least 3 parts water to 1 wash.  The wash is simply done over the entire model, including the base.  I apply it with a brush and try to make sure it covers the entire model evenly.  Sometimes as it starts to dry I find myself wanting to play with it and spread or add more in spots.  This usually doesn’t work out.  The main thing I find is you want to make sure you don’t have an excessive amount on any particular part of the model.  Then let it dry and I end up being happy with how it looks.  One final wash of Nuln Oil is done on the machine guns and BARs.


Now I’d say they look pretty good!  This technique doesn’t hold up great to close scrutiny but on the table they look pretty good.  As I said earlier you can expand this technique by adding highlights.  I won’t discuss that here because this is solely for quick painting.

Lastly the bases just need to be finished by adding some flock.  I wanted my force to look like it was pushing through Europe so went for a general grassy field look.  My force is later war so I think it’d fit somewhere after Normandy or as late as after the winter.  To do the basing I randomly cover parts and blotches of the base with white glue, I never cover them completely.  Then I use some Army Painter tufts and stick a few randomly into the glue but usually near centers of my glue concentrations.  I use both the swamp and the jungle tufts for some added variation.

Once those are on (not dry but right after) I put it into static grass and carefully cover the bases without knocking off the tufts.  I cover it for maybe 30 seconds and then remove it and knock off the excess.  Sometimes they need another dunk to cover fully.  I use Steppe Grass, again from Army Painter.  This is a mix of dark and light green as well as brown static grass.  I find the variation provides a better look than a single colored grass.  The swamp tufts are nearly the same color mix as the static grass giving some nice variation in length for a more natural unkept look.  The swamp tufts do the same but also give some more color variation.  I am really happy with the end result of this simple technique.

Basing Finished

This style of painting is so easy I know anyone could do it.  Don’t doubt your skill and just go for it.  If you don’t think they look very good, these pictures don’t completely do them justice and some highlights could bring them to a higher level.  I have gotten many complements from other players and scored decent on paint at Adepticon.  Even having a completely painted force done by yourself is very awesome.  Also, if you doubt your skills, you can’t get better unless you start somewhere.