Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Tutorial - Flecktarn Camouflage

Greetings shipmates, while painting the latest batch of the Flecktarn Guard I mused "wouldn't it be useful to just take a few photos as I went so that I can show people how to achieve this sort of thing rather than just telling them". Then I grabbed the camera and went for it! Hence, here I present Pirate Viking Painting's guide to painting Flecktarn style camouflage. Note that I said "Flecktarn-style", this is not intended to be some kind of historically accurate guide to recreating a pattern. Rather it is intended to show how to achieve a reminiscent pattern.

image from Trident Military

First things first, you need some reference material, this is an image grabbed from google. Between that and the small library of books I can usually find what I need for reference material! The next stage is to really examine how the pattern is put together. In this case it is a pale green/brown/grey with three different browns printed over it. So the easiest way to accomplish the effect is to try to replicate the printing with paint.

First, the model gets a nice solid basecoat of Val Grey-green (I), this is very pale but will be dulled and browned by later processes. Once dry - and it is worth noting that Vallejo paints dry much darker in tone than the wet tone - patches of Val Flat Earth are painted over the Grey-green (II). Try not to make the patches too smooth edged or it'll look like a fresian cow. Next, another layer of patches, this time in Val Chocolate Brown (III) making sure to overlap some of the Flat Earth. Very few camouflage patterns have hard edges and clear, high-contrast demarcations. Makes it a pain in the bum to photograph which is why you end up with the typical Cadian schemes. The last stage of the patches are painted in Val German Camo Black-Brown (IV). These need to be smaller patches and trying to leave some Val Grey-green showing. Don't worry too much about this though as the next stage will add a fair bit more Grey-Green into the scheme again.

The next steps in the scheme are to use the same colours as in steps I-IV again. But this time you just put small dots of the colour on the other patches. Each time apply a fewer dots so you end up with lots of grey-green dots (V) and not many Camo Black-brown dots (VIII). This is technically finished but there is no differentiation in shading across the cloth. Regular highlighting will cause insanity or blindness, trying to highlight each tiny dot or patch across folds in the cloth? Life is too short. Instead I opted to just use a glazed shading wash.

Before I apply the wash I paint all of the colours that would need a brown shading wash (IX). Gaiters, belts and pouches in Val US Field Drab, ropes in Val Deck Tan and so on. Then you give the whole thing a very generous wash of Agrax Earthshade (X) which corrects the tone of the Grey-green and also adds shading and contrast. Once all the other bits are finished the camouflage forms a nice textured backdrop to the other regions.

So there y'go! How I paint this scheme. Hope it proves useful inspiration for someone. Granted a ten stage cloth painting scheme is not for everyone but can provide a nice effect if you have the patience! Until next time folks.


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