02 March 2014

Step by step: Splinter pattern camouflage

A few people have asked me to do a quick tutorial about my approach to WWII splinter pattern or officially "Buntfarbenmuster 31".

Please remember I'm not doing a 1:1 replica of the original pattern but a version suited to be viewed at gaming distance. When referred to Vallejo colours go for the Vallejo Model Colour line of products. The figure used is a German Fallschirmjäger from Warlord Games. So here we are:

Step 1:
Priming and basing the model

So far nothing new here. For basecoating "Acrylic-Polyurethane Black Surface Primer" by Vallejo is used. It gives a nice flat finish when applied by airbrush and can be brushed on to touch up areas not covered with the airbrush. Of course you can still use any kind of base coat you're used to.

Step 2:
Base colour and black lining

Now the schmocks base color is painted on using Foundry "Moss 29A" . Any light yellowish green or even Vallejo "Iraqui Sand" mixed with a little green will do. I also used Vallejo "Buff" already and it looked nice but I prefer a more greenish tone even when the original pattern tends to be more greyish in tone.
As a big fan of black-/ dark lining I pay attention to let the black base coat be visible at the seams and around items of equipment. To me it makes the figure pop in the end but it's definitely not essential to get a nice camo done.

Step 3:
Middle tone

Now the middle tone is brushed on using Foundry "Moss 29B" leaving the base colour visible in the deeper folds of the cloth. As before you can use any light yellowish green.

Step 4:

Now the highlights are set by carefully brushing on thin lines of Foundry "Moss 29C" on the most raised areas of the schmock. And here we are... the most boring part is done.

Step 5:
The brown patches

Using Vallejo "Hull Red" the brown patches are painted on. In my opinion it's easiest to start at the corners and/ or seams and paint on simple triangles. Be careful to paint sharp tips for the triangles as it's the most important part to make the camo look right. You'll see it will not look half as decent when you paint on simple brown blobs. For the patches not placed at the corners or seams it's best to stay with randomly set triangles and join two or more (being close of each other of course) by a simple thick line (like above the gas mask canister or below the haversack).

Step 6:
Highlighting the brown patches

In this step the brown patches are highlighted. Therefore I used a roughly 70:30 mix of Vallejo "Flat Brown" and Vallejo "Iraqui Sand" giving you a nice terracottaish brown. The mix is painted on leaving only the edges and maybe the deepest recesses (for example at the crook of the arm) of the Vallejo "Hull Red" visible.

Step 7:
The green patches

For the green patches I used Vallejo "Olive Green" using a roughly 3:1 ratio i.e. 3 brown patches to 1 green patch. Again it looks best when you pay attention to sharp tips. Be careful to attach most (but not all) of the green patches to the brown ones.

Step 8:
Highlighting the green patches

For highlighting the green patches the same approach is used as for the brown ones. The colour used is a roughly 60:40 mix of Vallejo "Luftwaffe Camo Green" and Vallejo "Golden Olive".
For simple gaming needs you could end here and still have a very presentable version of the Buntfarbenmuster.
Alternatively you also can do it without all the highlighting of the patches and apply a coat of your preferred wash or dip. But remember to go for lighter colours then as the wash will tone down the colours quite a bit.

Step 9:
The "Raindrops"

Some would argue that the so called "Raindrops" wouldn't even be visible at this scale, especially at gaming distance... and you're perfectly right. But for me the raindrops are the cherry on the cake of painting this very camouflage. It's almost like painting eyes... for some people it's absolutely needless - for the others (like me) it's the last bit of effort which brings the figure (or in this case the camo) alive. But I disgress...
For the raindrops a very thin brush (I already tried it using a needle with some success) is used and simple pairs of fine lines of Vallejo "German Camo Dark Green" are painted on vertically.
I only paint on pairs because it's only ment to represent the raindrops. Trying stay historically accurate and paint on more would cover the whole schmock with these lines and ruin the effect.

I hope this little tutorial might be of any use to at least some of you. I'd also like to hear about your approach to the splinter camo. So, I hope you enjoyed and thanks for reading!


  1. Very useful but something I remain keen to avoid! Tartan is bad enough...

  2. Excellent tutorial, Thank-you.

  3. Great tutorial. Thank you for that.

  4. Excellent! Really appreciate you sharing how you achieve such great results!

  5. Excellent tutorial... thanks for the advice :)

  6. Excellent tutorial...thanks for sharing!

  7. Thanks for sharing and I will go with your advice on the two raindrops in future.
    Excellent painting as always.

  8. Echt fett, aber hält man das auch für 30-40 Figuren durch?
    Danke für das ausführliche Tutorial. Das Ergebnis kann sich sehen lassen.

  9. Excellent work Nick and a great tutorial. I don't use exactly the same colours, but my method is very similar to yours. Basically there are no short cuts and one must just grit ones teeth and prepare for long painstaking work.:-)


  10. Just excellent!! Thanks for sharing....

  11. Excellent tutorial! And splendid results! Need to bookmark this for further use :)

  12. That is fantastic, thanks very much!

  13. Stunning tutorial !!!

    I would never have the stamina to paint that good !

    Best regards Michael

  14. Excellent work, I have no need for it at the foreseeable future, but this is getting a bookmark.

  15. Great tutorial. Thanks for sharing!

  16. Great work Nick! I am really impressed with these great tutorials for best camouflage pattern. I can never make these tutorials and I think you have done a fabulous job.

  17. Awesome tutorial, thank you for posting it.

  18. Awesome tutorial!
    What did you paint trousers with?