Puma 28mm - A painting guide for impatient wargamers. (no airbrush).

I had been asked to illustrate my "cartoon" style of painting vehicles so i thought I'd do that on this Warlord (Italeri) 1/56th or 28mm Puma.

It's a style I've recently developed on my 15mm and 20mm models so see what you think.

The key here is that I'm impatient and like things done in one sitting! Also I'm an amateur with no access to fancy airbrushes and finally they are wargaming toys not museum pieces.

My first 28mm effort having come from a 15mm and 20mm background in gaming.

First I undercoat with Halfords  Khaki Ultra Matt Spray so i have a light colour that takes the base colour in one coat..

The base colour is Vallejo Middlestone.

Now the scary bit, using Retractive Green, I boldly apply the basic stripes of the camo pattern I want. No airbrush means straight edges but don't panic, it'll look alright at the end.

Next add a wash. I happen to use Vallejo Brown but anything will do as long as it is applied thinly all over. We are not looking to line the recesses here (that comes later), merely looking to "Mucky it up". The wash dulls the tones and blends them. Put in the airing cupboard or a radiator to dry -  if you are as impatient as me.

Next use a grey colour to do the tyres and crew uniform. I use Vallejo dark rubber.
Next the fun bit, a dry-brush all over the model (not tyres) mixing 1/3 Middlestone to 2/3 Buff. Or thereabouts. Dont be precious, we are looking to pick out edges a little and scratch up the paintwork. Then do the tyres using a lighter shade of the grey.
Now the edging stage - using a secret ingredient - a Rotring Isograph technical pen which I last used at college in the mid twelfth century. I forgot that I had this pen until recently and gave it a go with some 20mm vehicles lately. I'm sure cheaper alternatives exist nowadays so see what suits you best. The trick is the ink, its black and that's too stark so I found some brown ink on EBAY and mix that with the black inside the pen resevoir. (25% black to 75% brown ish).

So five minutes later, all the panels and protruding objects are lined in ink. The oily brown colour is perfect for this.

This process is where the time is saved I think and I haven't seen it used before. Its bold and striking which is what I want. This paint job is to look good from eye level on a wargames table, not on a turntable in a painting competition :)

Next I wanted to add a wash to the tyres so i used the new Dark Tone that i bought last week at my local show.

Now my favourite bit, adding the contrast edging. Forget subtlety here, mix roughly 20% Middlestone to 80% Iraqui Sand, or similar, and carefully paint around all the corners and raised edges you can find. This is much lighter and more stark than you perhaps feel comfortable with but the result, I think, raises the profile and gives the definition I want.

Now I use Vallejo Dark Rubber to paint the "walls" of the tyres again, obscuring the dry brush effects from those areas. this allows the wheels to align in style with the bodywork.

Fill your boots adding detail to shovels (Panzer grey for metal, Tan Yellow for wood, Flat Brown for Bakerlite handles (like those seen at Bovington here). Or if in a real hurry don't paint them at all, many times they were simply sprayed over when the vehicle was painted in the field.

Next the Decals. I painted Vallejo Satin Varnish onto the areas to be added and used decal fix to smooth them down. I'd recommend this stuff, especially when you need the decals to cross gaps or rough surfaces. It will need to dry overnight to see this effect in full but the decals on this model were all on smooth parts (see below for a better example).

See how the "01" Decal on this 15mm tank has wrapped around the raised structure after being dabbed with DecalFix.

Next a spot of "Chipping", mixing 25% Flat Brown to 75% Dark rubber (or whatever you have similar, I've used Mahogany and German Grey in the past). Use a bit of foam packaging to GENTLY dab a few chips onto the vehicle. Less is more.

A quick squirt of Testors Matt Dulcote and that's it! Start to finish 3 hours work plus about one hour drying (wash stages).

So a fast paint job done in a flash as I wanted it ready for a game with my son on the Saturday. After i had finished it though, he had changed his mind and didn't fancy a game after all- the allure of Xbox being too great.
Oh the joys of parenthood!


  1. Nice tuto and beautiful Puma!

  2. I have been trying your technique on my 1:87 Minitanks moderns and 15mm WW1 Peter Laing tanks and trucks - and am really pleased with the results.
    Many thanks for the tutorial

    1. Hi Ian, I am so pleased to hear that my method has helped you. I would love to see some pictures of your completed models.

    2. I have just put a batch of pictures of models I have painted using (mostly) your technique into a Google+ album:
      They are a mixture of 1:87 Minitanks (the M106 mortar carrier and T54), 1:100 Minitanks (the much re-furbished BTR152 and Iltis? jeep) and old Peter Laing 15mm WW1 (the Mark IV, Renault FT17 and General Service Lorry)
      The other pictures (not using the same technique) are of an Atlantic Wall naval gun turret emplacement I built using a spare Minitanks Tiger II turret
      Hope you enjoy!

    3. Hi Ian, I think you nailed it! I really love the look, my favourite being the M106. Congrats on some fine work there.

  3. Very interesting tuto and nice colour scheme!

  4. Thanks for sharing your skills!

  5. Awesome! Thanks for sharing! This is what you do for 15mm, too? Do you mind if I share this on the 15mm Wargaming Facebook page?

    1. Hello John, share it wherever you like! Thank you.

      I recently adopted this ink pen technique and will be using on my 15mm from now on. It works on 20mm as can be seen here previously https://rubbsalotsmancave.blogspot.co.uk/2017/08/my-son-fancied-game-of-battlegroup-this.html

      The technique I used was the same except I painted the ink edging with a brush which took ages for the same effect.

    2. Hi John - for 15mm, have a look at the link I shared above (24/09). Whilst I am not claiming my painting skills match up to the ones demonstrated in this blog, I am gradually painting a lot of old Peter Laing and scratchbuilt 15mm WW1 vehicles using this technique - and personally I ma very pleased with the results

    3. Sometimes it's simple techniques that work out the best, thanks for sharing 😀


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