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How to Paint Army Camouflage

Updated April 17, 2017

Painting miniature soldiers in camo gear is rewarding, but challenging, largely because it is very difficult to paint camouflage well. There are some tricks to creating a realistic look, but prefecting them requires patience and practice. This article focuses on how to paint the classic United States armed forces woodland pattern, but the technique can be adapted for use with any camouflage pattern.

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  1. Prime the miniature toy soldier with white paint. This base coat will allow the coloured paint to adhere better, and the base colour will appear brighter. While bright colours are bad for actual camouflage, it will make your colour scheme easily recognisable on a miniature.

  2. Paint the miniature's uniform with a single camouflage colour using your #1 brush. Use the lightest colour--in this case light brown--as it will prevent the darker paints from showing through underneath.

  3. Apply the green and dark brown paints--over the light brown--in roughly equal amounts randomly around the miniature using a #1 brush. Your final mix of colours should be roughly one-third each of light brown, dark brown and green.

  4. Paint black stripes of different lengths around the uniform using the #000 brush. The black paint should cover approximately one-fifth of the total uniform area when you are finished.

  5. Randomly select different colours to cover some of the black parts and to tweak the pattern. Use your #000 brush to apply these touch-ups.

  6. Tip

    There should never be any straight lines in your camouflage. Use feathering techniques (small strokes outward) to create small irregular curves where your different colours meet. Alternate the size and shape of your patches of colour as you paint. Large patches should be mixed with small patches, and stripes should range from a few millimetres in size to hairline traces. Don't apply paint directly from the jar; water it down to help it go on smoothly and not obscure surface detail.

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Things You'll Need

  • Miniature toy soldier
  • Acrylic paint (green, dark brown, light brown, black and white)
  • #1 brush
  • #000 brush
  • Water

About the Author

Joseph Cohen has over six years of experience in writing and editing business-to-business media summaries for numerous Fortune 500 companies. He is the author of The Future Soldier: Fast Movers, a role-playing supplement from Steampower Publishing. Cohen holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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