11 October 2015

Late War German Colour Guide

Over the last few months I've recieved some requests as to how I'm painting my WW2 stuff. As it seems like there's quite some interest I've decided to write colour guides for my various armies. Please keep in mind these are not meant to be exhaustive or overly historically accurate. It's just the way I like MY miniatures to look.

The main problem concerning historical accuracy in my eyes is if you're going 100% accurate the miniatures might end up looking too drab on the table. So I'm generally going for brighter/ richer colours than might be 'true'.

Beeing a pot painter and having mixed most of my paints years ago all percentages given for colour mixes are just rough estimates and should be adjusted to individual needs/ preferences.

I'm working heavily with black lining using the black undercoat as some sort of darkest base colour. This certainly is no must but in my eyes helps to distinguish different albeit quite similar colours like for example VMC Fieldgrey and VMC Russian Green.

Step 1: To start things off I've already finished the base and given the miniature a thorough undercoat of Vallejo Black Surface Primer.

Step 2:  The tunic was painted in Feldgrau. Remember there's nothing like 'the one true' Feldgrau. German uniforms always came in a thousand different shades with almost every company having its own recipe for Feldgrau. Especially in the final last stages of the war, due to ever increasing supply issues, the colours could range from khaki over greenish or blueish grey to a dark brown. As I'm still looking for a nice brownish fieldgrey feel free to tell me your recipe in the comments.

A VMC German Fieldgrey + VMC German Grey (~1/1)
B VMC German Fieldgrey
C VMC German Fieldgrey + VMC Green Grey (~2/1)
D VMC German Fieldgrey + VMC Green Grey (~1/1)

Step 3: The trousers were painted in a little more greenish hue. Here I've to apologise to everyone I've sent a colour guide by mail as I mentioned a mix of VMC German Grey and VMC Russian Green for the base colour. As you'll probably have noticed this looks somewhat odd. So here's the 'right' triade:
A VMC German Camo Extra Dark Green + VMC Russian Uniform (~2/1)
B VMC Russian Uniform
C VMC Russian Uniform + Green Grey (~1/1)

Step 4:  The Feldmütze was given a Splittertarnmuster. I've already written a tutorial about how to do Splittertarn so if you like to learn more just read on *here*.

Step 5:  The Brotbeutel (Bread bag) and StG44 ammo pouches were painted in khaki. Like the uniforms, these items were issued in a wild array of different shades. So there's nothing stopping you from using a greener/ more greyish or even reddish shade. Maybe just go for a more ragtag look and use different colours within the squad. Just remember not to overdo it as they might end up looking more like a bunch of armed peasants than a military unit.
A Citadel Steel Legion Drab
B Citadel Tallarn Sand
C Citadel Karak Stone

Step 6: The leather straps on bread bag and Koppeltragegestell Y(webbing in english I guess?) were painted. Mess tin and field flask were done too.
Leather Straps:
A VMC German Camo Black Brown + VMC Flat Brown (~2/1)
B VMC Flat Brown
C VMC Flat Brown + White (~3/1)
Mess tin and drinking cup:
A VMC USA Olive Drab
B VMC USA Olive Drab + VMC Brown Violet (~1/2) 
C VMC Brown Violet
Field Flask:
A Foundry Peaty Brown Base 61A
B Foundry Peaty Brown 61B
C Foundry Peaty Brown Light 61C 

Step 7: From 1941 on the lace-up ankle boots replaced the jackboot so iconic of the German Landser of WW2. The M44 type boots were issued in natural leather and not to be blackened with shoe cream.
Boot and rifle sling:
A VMC Hull Red
B VMC Dark Flesh
C VMC Cavalry Brown
Shoe sole: 
A Foundry Deep Brown Leather Shade 45A
B Foundry Deep Brown Leather 45B
C Foundry Deep Brown Leather Light 45C

Step 8: Rifle stock and socks. Instead of gaiters socks were often worn folded down over the bootleg. These were either army issue socks or privately purchased.
A Foundry Storm Green Shade 27A
B Foundry Storm Green 27B
C Foundry Storm Green Light 27C
Rifle stock:
A Foundry Spearshaft Shade 13A
B Foundry Spearshaft 13B
C Foundry Spearshaft Light 13C 

Step 9: Most commonly belts and Y-Straps were made of blackened leather. But shortages in leather led to the adaption of canvas support straps first introduced for the Afrika Korps in 1940. So here's how I'm doing all my blackened leather. Keep in mind though to not paint black hair the same way on the same miniature. It will look odd... believe me I know.
Blackened Leather:
A Black (here I simply used my Basecoat of Vallejo Black Surface primer)
B VMC German Grey
C VMC Black Grey (also used for the laces)
D Foundry Stone Shade 57A
E Foundry Stone 57B 

Step 10: Now to the (in my opinion) most delicate but most rewarding part: Painting the skin. The face beeing the natural focus of most miniatures it deserves a little more attention than the use of just a triade. Also done in this step were the insignia like the Litzen on the collar and the eagle on the Feldmütze (Field cap) These were done in a very light, almost white grey.
A Foundry Flesh Shade 5A
B Armypainter Wash Soft Tone
C Foundry Flesh Shade 5A
D Foundry Flesh 5B
E Foundry Flesh Light 5C
F Foundry Boneyard Light 9C
The lower lip was painted using
A Citadel Cadian Flesh Tone with a little red added
Step 11: Now on to the metal parts
A Citadel Leadbelcher (the smaller parts were done using just that)
B Citadel Ironbreaker
C Armypainter Dark Tone Wash (1-2 coats. Let dry before second coat)

So that's it. I hope this little guide was of some help for at least some of you. Feel free to leave comments about your own recipes or ask questions if there still should be any left.
Thanks for reading and till next time!


  1. Immensely useful guide - added to favourites :)

  2. thanks for this fabulous step by step.

    All the best.

  3. An awesome turorial! Many thanks for sharing your recipes, Nick.

  4. Excellent work and very good guide.

  5. Superb guide which I will be coming back to again and again.

  6. Thanks for sharing this Nick, very very helpful - will be adding the Boneyard color trio to my Foundry paints arsenal :0)

  7. It is lovely to see ow you set about your painting, I was curious to see that you do the faces last as they are the first thing I do after finishing the base.

  8. Excellent tutorial Nick! Many a painter will be using this!


  9. Great article Nick, thanks indeed

  10. Superb tutorial. This is going to be permanently bookmarked by me. Thanks so much for sharing.

  11. Saved! You're one of my favorite painters and it's a treat to see how you work. I'd be happy if I could nudge my skins toward this level of painting. THANKS for sharing.

  12. Now I want to paint WW2 Germans! I can't handle this level of distraction!
    ; )

    Thanks for a great tutorial!

  13. Wie schon gesagt: Ein tolles Turotial!
    Würdest Du Deine Farben für die frühen Deutschen auch teilen?

    Ziemlich bald habe einige "Early War Germans" auf dem Tisch und da würde ich mich gern an Deinen Uniformfarben orientieren. Sie sind eines der besten Beispiele, die ich kenne.Leider habe ich nirgendwo Deine Email-Adresse gefunden und versuch's deshalb hier mit einem Kommentar.

    Mich könntest Du unter folgender Adresse erreichen:

    Viele Grüße

    1. Hallo Stefan,
      ich habe versucht dir zu antworten, aber die Mails kamen immer wieder als nicht zustellbar zurück.
      Schreib mir doch mal an