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Historical Palette: Miniature Painting by Scott Merrifield

A few people have asked if I could put together a tutorial on how I go about painting faces, so a few weeks back I decided I’d give it a go. I had to stop a few times because I’ve been sick, so it took a few weeks to get it all together (hence the different photographs, lighting, etc). But maybe someone will find it useful.

Most of what I do when I paint faces for units I learned from my friend Kris, who also posted his tutorial on his blog Wargames and Railroads. All I’ve really done is added a couple quick steps. But it’s basically the same thing.

An important note- this is how I am currently painting faces for units. Not for display or competition pieces. What I’m trying to do when I paint this way to to get faces that look right to me in a…

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Terrain mats

Although I was very enthusiastic about making the desert terrain boards in MDF, these seem much better alternatives – cheaper, more flexible, and easy to store – terrain mats using cloth and acrylic paste.

  • There is also an idea here using artists’ canvas:

  • Tobi's canvas mat

    However canvas seems to be a lot more expensive than twill sheet.

    Here’s another tutorial for reference:

    Games Mat

    Work stops play




    VBCW Motor Pool

    These are the vehicles at the moment. Some are grossly out of scale with others, the Corgi Classic Ford Model T NAAFI truck for example against the various Lledo ones. Oh well.


    VBCW Red Front massing

    These are Empress International Brigade 28mm figures they had on offer this month. About 80% complete now.


    Their allies are ready…


    And here are their targets, Reiver BUF goons, ready to prime.


    Desert Terrain with added paint

    Damn streaky but an improvement on bare sand.




    Dulux Salisbury Stones 1 as base coat and dry brushed with 4.

    Achtung! Scale creep…

    Despite me improving my 6mm desert terrain boards this week, which also means about a hundred bases needing a paint/drybrush to match, priming up some lovely Empress 28mm International Brigaders for my VBCW force and converting some Lledo trucks, sites like below are pulling me towards the pile of unmade 1:76 & 1:72 tanks in the loft…the quality of AB 20mm WWII figures is awesome.

    I think I’d go late war for 20mm, making a terrain board will be a fun challenge.

    VBCW casualty markers

    Another experiment…no time to bury the poor chap, but let’s cover him up.




    It’s an old Airfix soft plastic Red Army grunt, 1:76 scale, glued on to my regular pva/sand 2p coin base. Small bit of cloth was cut out and soaked in wash to dye it, then that was stuck on to the stiff with uhu glue. Painted his boots and there he lays, died for the revolution, no pasaran etc etc.

    This is a great article, a man after my own heart. Now, where can I find a bit of mesh for the front of my VBCW Bedford trucks?

    The Grinning Skull

    I know this article probably won’t be as useful to some readers here, already well into the scratchbuilding bug like me, but I would hope that some of you that may have little or no experience in this subject will find some or all of it useful in some way. I intend to put up a few of these articles using this cheapo method I have been using for many years.

    To me, paying for some modelling supplies is a real pain. I begrudge forking out for anything that impacts on my budget. Call me tight, but this comes from many years ago, when I was really skint, barely scraping a life, paying bills for myself and such, I am very much into making things of all types, and get stircrazy when I get a great idea and can’t carry it out for lack of stuff to make it with…

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    Armoured buses for VBCW

    Bit of an experiment, two Corgi Bedford school buses in 1:50 scale got for ten bob each at a car booter.

    They are going to be armoured buses for transport.


    I took them to pieces and primed the bodywork with grey car primer.

    The seats were removed with a hacksaw, and I cut out small sheets of plastic from a milk carton, glued down with all purpose adhesive.



    I painted the bodies in khaki green, Humbrol enamel.


    The windows will have armoured plate over them.