Painting Guide: Warlord Games British and Canadian Infantry (1943-45)

For this guest article we have Michael, one of our local customers who is going to show us how he built and painted the Canadians Army Infantry box for Bolt Action by Warlord Games.

In this painting guide I’ll show you how I painted up Warlord Games’ British and Canadian Infantry (1943-45) box set into a platoon of Canadian infantry assaulting Juno Beach on D-Day. The simplicity of the Commonwealth infantry uniforms of this period makes this box set a great choice for new painters, while also providing experienced painters plenty of opportunities to use their skills to apply additional details. I have aimed here to use methods that don’t require a great deal of time or skill to produce good results for the tabletop quickly as well as demonstrating places where more time and effort can be invested to add special touches to these models. Without further ado, lets get painting!

Warlord Games does sell a Late War Canadian Army paint set and have their own painting guides, but I wanted to expand on their selection and use some of my own preferred paints. Here is a list of the paint products I used:

  • AK Interactive
    • 183 Ultra Matte Varnish
    • 192 Glossy Varnish
    • AK8020 Desert Sand
  • Army Painter Dark Tone Quickshade
  • Mona Lisa Odorless Paint Thinner
  • Tamiya TS28 Olive Drab 2
  • Vallejo Model Air 71251 NATO Black
  • Vallejo Model Color
    • 70.801 Brass
    • 70.819 Iraqi Sand
    • 70.822 German Camo Black Brown
    • 70.865 Oily Steel
    • 70.876 Brown Sand
    • 70.884 Stone Grey
    • 70.886 Grey Green
    • 70.892 Chocolate Brown
    • 70.893 US Dark Green
    • 70.924 Russian Uniform
    • 70.990 Light Grey
    • 70.994 Dark Grey
  • Vallejo Panzer Aces
    • 70.341 Flesh Base
    • 70.347 Splinter Blotches
    • 70.703 New Wood

The painting process begins with basing and priming. I first applied AK8020 Desert Sand to the base of each figure. Applying this basing material at this stage avoided worry about messing up the paint job, and the following application of primer made it easier to repaint the sand to a more accurate colour for Juno Beach. Once this had dried I applied a coat of primer. I used Rust-Oleum’s Painter’s Touch 2X Black Primer here, though other brands and colours would certainly work as well. This primer is not designed for models, yet it cheaply provides excellent coverage in a single coat while preserving fine details. Remember to wear personal protective gear and work in a well-ventilated space when using this product.

I chose to apply the base uniform colour with a spray can of Tamiya TS28 Olive Drab 2 to speed up the process. The exact shade of the World War II-era Canadian infantry uniform varies between source photos and was probably widely inconsistent in the field, so this colour may not be perfectly accurate but serves as a close-enough starting point. Next, I dry-brushed Vallejo 70.924 Russian Uniform over most of the uniform, PIAT, mortar and ammunition cases to add basic highlights. A second dry-bush layer of 70.884 Stone Grey on the upper surfaces completed the base uniform and heavy equipment. With these simple and effective dry-brushing methods, these figures were 50% complete in under 40 minutes!

The colour of the webbing is another shade up for contention, so I just went with Warlord Games’ suggestion of 70.886 Grey Green. I was pleasantly surprised with how well it complemented the uniform shade I had went with. I applied this to the webbing, pouches and packs, straps and slings, gaiters, hessian strips on the helmets. I dry-brushed it over the helmet netting too, and I can’t imagine a better way to neatly paint that fine detail. I then painted the skin with Vallejo 70.341 Flesh Base. I tried my best to be neat as I painted, though some of these paints inevitably spilled onto the uniform during this process and was easily fixed with a touch-up of Russian Uniform. A dry-brush of 70.819 Iraqi Sand completed the base layer. I applied this heavily to the skin, moderately to the upper surfaces of the Grey Green parts and very lightly on the upper-most surfaces of the uniform. This dry-brushing only took about 15 minutes and went a long way in adding notable highlights to the entire model.

I then turned my attention to the weapons and wooden components. I began with 71251 NATO Black over the metal parts, highlighted with 70.994 Dark Grey and 70.990 Light Grey. 70.865 Oily Steel, my favourite metallic paint, was then used on the Bren’s silver muzzle, bayonets, tins on backpacks, glasses and grenade pins. I also applied this colour in a stippling motion with a piece of foam to add metallic chips to the entrenching tools. Oily Steel could also be used to further highlight the weapons, but I prefer to add metallic highlights to the weapons with a pencil at the very end of the painting process.

The wooden stocks, pioneering tool handles and holsters were the painted with 70.892 Chocolate Brown and highlighted with 70.347 Splinter Blotches. I tried painting two rifles with 70.703 New Wood to add some variety, but I much prefer the look of the Chocolate Brown stocks overall. While I had these paints on the pallet, I decided to use them to paint any hair that was visible, including eyebrows and some mustaches. Moving onto some smaller details, I painted any visible teeth and cigarettes with Iraqi Sand and added a wedding ring on the commanding figure, one of my signatures, with a dot of 70.801 Brass over NATO Black.

I realized I had forgotten to paint the grenades at this time, and painted them in 70.893 US Dark Green. The boots were finally painted next with 70.822 German Camo Black Brown. After the boots were completed, I mixed the remaining Black Brown with Flesh Base to give some figures 5 o’clock shadows. That finished most of the painting, and I moved onto adding decals.

The decals are of great quality and I did not need any decal setting solution to get these decals to fit snugly to the figures. I chose to mark my figures as part of the North Shore (New Brunswick) Regiment. These regimental flash decals look excellent and are legible even at this scale, but were frustrating to work with. First off, there are an insufficient number of regimental flashes included; only 28 pairs for 30 figures. I used decals from the British Columbia Regiment (Duke of Connaught’s Own) for the remainder. This was a mistake, however, as this regiment did not land on Juno Beach with the North Shores. I should have used flashes from the Winnipeg Rifles or Canadian Scottish instead. Secondly, these decals are so tightly laid out on the sheet that it is difficult to get a good hold on them once they are cut out. After trying a few different methods, and losing some more decals in the process, I settled on cutting out strips of 6 flashes in a row held by self-closing tweezers and soaking the entire strip in warm water. I then applied these to 3 figures before repeating the process.

The green square patches and rank markings were both much easier to apply and came in the required numbers. The single chevrons are for lance corporals, double for corporals and triple for sergeants. A Canadian rifle platoon would have one sergeant, a corporal in charge of each section, a lance corporal in charge of each section’s Bren gun team and a lance corporal in charge of the mortar team. Additional chevrons can also be used from the included British 3rd Infantry Division decal sheet if more are needed. I selected the figures I wanted to bestow these respective responsibilities to and marked them accordingly. One notable absence are any rank markings for the commanding officer. I got around this by painting the officer’s epaulets US Dark Green with a dot of Brass to denote a second lieutenant.

Time to get messy. Once everything had dried, I applied a dip wash with Army Painter Dark Tone Quickshade. Protective gear and ventilation is essential when working with this product. The effects of this wash are dramatic and make each and every detail pop. It also provides a strong protective coat – once it dries, nothing short of a bayonet is going to scratch these paint jobs! I used a sacrificial brush to apply the wash over each figure. Once the wash began to settle, I dipped the brush in white spirits to brush away anywhere the wash had begun to pool excessively. I found it best to complete half of the figures first to avoid letting the dip wash sit for too long. I let the figures dry for a few days before using paint to clean up any tide marks and add additional highlights as needed.

It was finally time for the bases to get some paint. I brushed the appropriately named 70.876 Brown Sand on the base and used a piece of foam to apply some of this colour on the figures to depict sand clinging to their bodies. Next, I like to paint the rims of each sections’ bases in a unique colour to make each section distinguishable from the others. In this case, I chose a variety of sandy-coloured paints and assigned each of these paints to one of the platoon’s sections and weapon teams. This process is especially helpful in making figures from different sections with similar poses stand out from each other.

I then applied AK Interactive 183 Ultra Matte Varnish to these figures using an airbrush. I’ve experimented with a variety of matte varnishes, and this is my favourite one for reliably providing a dead-flat finish. Only a single coat is needed to kill the high-gloss shine of the dip wash. I then went back and added 192 Glossy Varnish on the lenses of glasses, binoculars and the sniper’s scope. I used a basic graphite pencil to rub metallic highlights on the guns and the figures were complete – almost. I went the extra mile by applying some Citadel Blood for the Blood God effects on the medic, and rubbed a AK Interactive 10016 Light Chipping for Wood weathering pencil on the wooden handles to add extra texture. I’ll finally acknowledge here that I have not talked about painting eyes. I personally find painted eyes at this scale to often look overly exaggerated in scale and think that the shading provided by the dip wash is sufficient to capture facial expressions at tabletop level. With that, the figures were done!

These figures were enjoyable to paint, and I highly recommend them even for people who do not have much experience painting figures. I spent around 14 hours painting and had a complete reinforced platoon at the end. More time could have been spent to add additional details, highlights and so on, though I wanted this guide to show that long time commitments and advanced painting skills are not necessary to quickly produce figures in a good tabletop standard. Thank you for reading, and I hope these techniques have provided guidance and inspiration for your own projects. Happy painting!

Michael H

We hope you enjoyed Michael’s write up as much as we did, and if you would like to see his awesome models, they are in our display cabinets, so head on down to the store and take a look for yourself!

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