Painting 15mm Scale Miniatures
By Anthony Karl Erdelji
When working on 15mm or smaller scale figure, speed is a priority along with quality. I'm making it assumption since in this scale there is not much detail on the figure, and if one wanted to paint lots of detail they would be working with larger scale figures. If you wish, you can paint theses little guys with the same techniques found in other articles found on this web page (Good luck paint in the eyes!). I'm not saying that we can be sloppy when paint 15mm figures, but there are certain steps that are not necessary when painting in this scale. Featured in this article are Peter Pig's 15mm World War II Russians.
Attaching the figures to their game base make them easier to handle when painting. Using a healthy amount of cyanoacrylate glue helps to blend the base of the figure into metal base. Once their glue down use additional glue to hide any gaps if necessary.
Using both black and white primers give the best of both worlds. The black primer will hide and spots missed when painting, and the white primer is easier to cover when painting.
In this step I used the following colors:
I wanted the boots to be black, but using pure black on figures of this scale can look odd, so I mixed in a touch of Raw Umber. Also, I prefer not to use metallics on this scale of figure, so I used dark gray instead. Use whichever you prefer. If you go with metallics you'll need to spray the figures with a flat lacquer like Testors Dullcote before applying the wash in the next step, otherwise the flakes in the metallic paint will smear all over the figures!
Normally, I use a Testors Raw Umber wash at this stage, but my base colors were a bit on the dark side, so I added a touch of black to my wash. The raw umber (or dark brown if you prefer) is a universal wash that will work for any colors used on the figures, with the exception of colors darker than the wash itself, such as black. My normal Raw Umber wash didn't bring out all the detail I wanted on the figures, hence the need to add a small amount of black paint.
To make sure the wash dries properly, I use a 50%/50% mixture of water and Future Floor Polish as my thinning medium. Yes, the stuff you use on your floor. This breaks up the surface tension of the water and prevents the "wash ring" most of you are familiar with when using washes. If Future Floor Polish is not available in your area, you can get the same results by making your wash with a 50%/50% mixture of water and rubbing alcohol, or by adding a very tiny drop of liquid soap to your mix. Not too much, just a hint of soap is enough.
If your using flock to base your figure, attach it with some white glue before spray on your lacquer. The lacquer will help keep the flock on the base. If your using static grass, apply it after lacquering since the lacquer occasionally beads up on the grass. All done!
Small scale armor is even easier to paint than small scale figures. Most of the tank will be one color, unless you want camouflage, then your on your own! We'll be using most the painting principles learned above to paint the tank quickly, yet efficiently. Of course you should change the base and highlight colors to match the tank you are painting, but the rest of the colors listed should remain the unchanged. This is a Russian World War II tank by Battlefront.
Here we are trying once again to get the best out of two different primers. However, in the case of tanks we don't want to use white since it may splatter on areas that are hard to reach with a brush. Instead I used dark green since it was a close match for my dark earth basecoat and would be easier to paint over than black. An alternative and quicker way would be to use spray paint to apply your basecoat. If you go this route, just prime black, spray your basecoat, and move on to the next step.
The black and raw umber wash is obviously used to add some shading and pick out the details of the tank. The drybrush of olive is my first layer of highlighting. To be honest I slightly overdid the drybrushing at this stage and the tank came out more olive than my intended dark earth color! Oops! Ah well, Russian tanks in World War II varied greatly in color so it would be O.K. (Always rationalize your mistakes!)
An alternative to adding yellow to the olive would be to add a small amount of white. This will give the tank a dull, cold look that you may prefer. Again, don't add too much. All of the colors listed so far should be changed depending on what your painting, but from this point on the colors listed will work for any color tank. As before, the Testors Dullcote is to prevent the metallic paint from running with the application of the wash in the next step.
To stipple, take an older brush with just a touch of paint and stab it repeatedly onto the vehicle. It's similar to making a bunch of dots on a piece of paper with a pencil. Stippling is hard on the bristles of your brush, so be sure to use an old one. Keep the paint chips on the lower portions of the vehicle and don't overdo it. Be sure to keep them in areas one would expect to find chipped paint on a tank.
This is the fun part where your imagination can run wild. Weathering is done with a series of raw umber washes, stippling of raw umber, and stippling of dirt. How much to do depends on how dirty you want your tank. You don't have to be clean or orderly at this stage, just go wild with your brush. Just remember that as dirt dries it lightens in color, so for the most part try to keep the lighter dirt color higher on the tank than the raw umber. During this stage I go back and forth between washes and stipplings until I'm happy with the results.