Painting Winter Whitewash

Over the past year you may, or may not have been following the Big Four Of Late War, otherwise known as Chris, Casey, Wayne and Victor as they head down the Late War Journey, building completely new armies.

Casey, as our resident Soviet-o-phile decided to paint Soviets (as you would expect) but came up with a very unique winter scheme.

If you would like to check out his full step-by-step guide you can check out the article here…

Painting Plane Tree and Oak Leaf Waffen-SS Camouflage

Many years ago Simon Hooker wrote a great article on the Flames Of War website and ever since it has been Evan’s “go-to” whenever he needed to paint SS figures. We wanted to share it with you again today in case you missed it among all the other great content on the website. All we’ve done is updated the article with some great pictures of Evan’s own Waffen-SS (Mid War) infantry.

Plane Tree

A Major of an SS reconnaissance section was the first to suggest the Waffen SS be equipped with camouflage clothing.

This lead to the development and widespread use of camouflage zeltbahns (Tent/Poncho), smocks and helmet covers within the SS. The use of the Wehrmacht’s splinter pattern zeltbahn predates those used by the SS, but I will go further into this pattern in another article.

The earliest clothing was tested in 1937 by a professor who based his studies on the effect of sunlight through trees. The Plane Tree pattern is the earliest used by the SS and can be seen in pre-war photos.

It is a reversible material that has a “spring” green and “autumn” brown side which a soldier can change depending on the surrounding vegetation. Plane Tree camouflage clothing was used up until around 1944.

For Painting Plane Tree camouflage I start with a black undercoat, in fact I start with a black undercoat on all my WWII miniatures as the colours tend to turn out a little bit more drab.

The first step is to get the base colour for the camouflage material, as you can see by the photograph of the Plane Tree; the “spring” side uses green to start with and then adds other colours on top. I paint camouflage in the same steps as the material is printed; that way, you get a closer look to the real thing.

Now on to colours. I use GW paints mainly due to the fact that I have easy access to this range and have made up my own colour recipes for consistency. Please experiment with different brands of paint to get the colour to match and let me know what colours you come up with (Particularly Vallejo as I’m just starting to explore this range).

The “spring” side colour scheme starts with a base coat mixture of 50:50 Castellan Green and Elysian Green. If you look at the photo of the soldier wearing the Plane Tree smock you can see two shades of green. In 15mm scale you would never be able to distinguish between these two shades, so one shade of green is enough.

The next step is to add some random shapes and dots in a 50:50 mixture of Rhinox Hide and Steel Legion Drab.

Once this has dried a third and final colour is added. Officially this should be black, but of all the examples of Plane Tree clothing I’ve seen, the black is always a washed out shade. This time a 50:50 mixture of black and Castellan Green is added in further random shapes and dots.

To finish the pattern off, using the base colour green, add small dots on top of the black shapes. You should get a pattern like the one in the step-by-step guide and your Plane Tree camouflage is complete.

Spring Plane Tree Vallejo
Base Green German Camo Bright Green (833)
Brown German Camo Medium Brown (826)
Black/Green German Camouflage Extra Dark Green (896)

Oak Leaf

Oak Leaf camouflage was introduced in 1942-43 and followed the same principles of creating a pattern of sunlight through trees as the plane tree did. In addition to zeltbahns, smocks and helmet covers, padded reversible winter parkas and panzercrew overalls were made from this material.

Like Plane Tree, Oak Leaf was reversible with one side being “spring” green/brown and the other “autumn” orange/brown. Oak Leaf was the most common of the SS reversible materials and saw use up until the end of the war.

Spring Oak Leaf Vallejo
Base Brown German Camo Pale Brown (825)
Dark Green German Camo Dark Green (979)
Green German Camo Bright Green (833)

The base colour for “spring” Oak Leaf is brown, so the first colour I apply to the undercoated figure is a 50:50 mixture of Rhinox Hide and Ushabti Bone. I tend to use bleached bone rather than white as it gives a dustier looking colour.

The next step is to add a dark green, made up of 2 parts Castellan Green to 1 part black, in the form of random shapes and dots.

Once the dark green has dried, mix up a light green using the same formula as that used for the Plane Tree base (50:50 Castellan Green/Elysian Green). Add the light green to the dark green shapes and dots, being careful to leave a dark green border as seen in the step by step guide.

To finish the camouflage off add a few dark green dots to the light green shapes. There you have it: completed Oak Leaf camouflage.

As I mention both Plane Tree and Oak Leaf are reversible. I’ve only used the “spring” colours as the army I’m building is based around the time of the Normandy campaign. If you’re collecting a German army around the time of the battle of the bulge for example, then you’ll want to paint your camouflage in autumn colours. The best way to do this would be to use the guide above, but replace the colours with autumn hues.

A search on the internet, your local library or book store should reward you with the colours you need to get the autumn look.

So what are you waiting for grab your miniatures, paint brush and paints …and get painting.

Thanks to Simon for this great article…

Additional painting tip from Evan

I’ve painted some autumn camo. I just used the same technique for the “spring” camo pattern as in Simon’s article above, but I swapped two of the colours for the “Spring” camo.

I kept the base brown, but swapped the Dark Green for Camo Black Brown (822 and the Light Green for Light Brown (929) – and then I just followed Simon’s instructions. This, worked really well for me.


~ Evan.

Historically Plausible…

with Victor Pesch

WWIII: American has been on my desk for a while, and I’d seen the awesome new Bradley sprue around the office, but with plenty of other projects to work on, I didn’t think I’d be starting another army.

Then Tuesday rolled around, Chris reminded me the launch was this weekend, and I found myself flipping through the book and hunting for sprues!

I decided on an M3 Bradley Armored Cavalry Troop.

My first hobby step as always is to hunt through google and books for reference images, and maybe something interesting I can do. I’m doing Gulf War British, so I was pretty set on doing something green.

Scale modellers are also good inspiration. The below examples are M1A2’s, but they capture the look I want.

What stood out to me was desert yellow vehicles with forest green replacement parts.

So I’ve decided to apply the same logic to forces fighting in Europe. It’s 1991, the first Gulf War has just ended, but the Soviets are still causing problems along Iron Curtain. Equipment and replacement parts that were destined for the desert are now being shipped hastily to a more lush climate. There are some picture of this, but it’s usually on later M1A2 tanks.

Being a Cavalry force, I took some liberties and added MG shields usually found on Vietnam ACAV M113’s. I have a few spare from building VADs.

Combat Identification Panels (CIP) were developed after the Gulf War, so again I’m using a bit of “what-if” logic and assuming they got these ready for the theoretical fighting in Europe.

To make these, I used some plasticard sheets (1mm spaced Clapboard, and 0.5 thick plain). The cutting was fiddly, but with a sharp knife and plastic glue it was surprisingly quick and easy.

The painting was pretty straight forward, as I’m aiming to get the army done daily quick.

Here’s the main colours:

– Tamiya Field Grey (Airbrush)
– Army Painter Army Green dry brush
– Citadel Biel Tan Green shade
– Citadel Nuln Oil recess shade
– Army Painter Army Green dry brush

– Vallejo Green Ochre
– Vallejo Buff dry brush
– Vallejo Pale sand dry brush

To continue the cavalry theme, I used some decals from the Vietnam M113 kit, and also added some matching penants on the aerials, made with folded paper, PVA glue, and paint.

Overall it’s a pretty quick and rough paint job, but with hopefully some interesting elements to make the army stand out. Now I’m looking forward to seeing this scheme on Bradleys, Humvees, and the rest of the support vehicles. I’ll look into adding stowage at a later date to the whole force.

Not everyone will love this paint job, but I think one of the great things about WWIII: Team Yankee is the “what-if” nature of it. It allows for some cool modelling opportunities.

It may not be historically accurate, but lets call it “historically plausible”.

– Victor

Eagle Troop Rides Again

With Chris Townley

Like many gamers I found the Battle of 73 Easting to be a very interesting, if rather one-sided affair, almost an analogy for the entire Desert Storm operation. It reiterated the concept of violence of action and the unrestricted use of speed, strength, surprise, and aggression to achieve total dominance against your enemy.

The battle itself has been covered in a variety of places, but for an interesting read about not just the day in question, but also the men involved I can recommend The Fires of Babylon: Eagle Troop and the Battle of 73 Easting.

The release of WWIII: American finally gives me the chance to take Captain McMaster and Eagle Troop, and put it on the tabletop. Plus, it gives me a great reason to build and paint some Bradleys!

The Army List:

Click on the image for a bigger version

As you can see, I have managed to cram in an entire Armoured Cavalry Troop, with some supporting elements in to only 200 points…

Next step is the building and painting. If you keep an eye on the Big Four Of Late War Instagram account  you may have seen Victor and I starting to build our armies, as well as working on some test models to figure out how we are going to paint them.

I’ve decided to copy Evan’s method, which you may have seen in our Facebook Groups, which involves airbrushing the model Buff, then some panel fading with a Buff/White mix (in my test model this has not really shown up well so may need some work), then apply a filter over the whole model, pin wash, and finally give the model an overall drybrush with Iraqi Sand (and/or Pale Sand… to be confirmed after more testing). Finally, I’ll add some stowage and decals to give the model a slightly less “one colour” look.

As you can see from the real world photo below, and my initial test model the sand colour is fairly pale, but once I add some stowage items painted in Woodland, it should perk up the model. Unfortunately (for me) the troopers of Eagle Troop disposed of their European green camo nets as soon as they could so you won’t be seeing any of those on my models. Likewise, their vehicles were freshly painted not long after their arrival in Saudi Arabia so no funky looking green bits where panels or trackguards have been replaced.

We’ve already started discussing the next event on the New Zealand gaming calendar (FlamesCon) in October and it is very tempting to knuckle down and get enough of the army completed so I can take it along. Lets see how that works out….


Chocolate Chip US Infantry

With Evan Allen

With the timeline for World War III: Team Yankee expanding out somewhat I decided to paint my US forces in a Desert Storm type paint scheme instead of adding to my existing Euro force.  After some research that meant the infantry would have to be in Desert “Chocolate Chip” uniforms but with Woodland pattern body armour. All the paint I used is from the Vallejo model colours range.

European Uniforms
I’d already painted two platoons of US infantry in Woodland pattern for my Euro US force so I just copied that again for their body armour jackets. I also copied the same colours for all the web gear and weapons, Russian Uniform (924) on the web gear and pouches, black for the M16s and Olive Drab (887) for the LAWs etc.

The base colour I used was a quite bright USA Uniform (922), the effect darkens up when the rest of the camouflage scheme is done so the extra brightness to start off with works well here I think. Next I added large blotches of Beige Brown (875). Finally, I painted thin strips of Black and Dark Sand (847), I try to do these in “Y” or “V” type shapes. One thing I also do is think about where the clothing seams are and stop blotches of the brown at those lines. Also resist the temptation to add too much at the beginning, less is definitely more here!

Chocolate Chip
After a black undercoat I start off with base colours for the uniform (Dark Sand 847), body armour (USA Uniform 922) and the webbing and pouches (Russian Uniform 924). I block paint in the three colours leaving thin black lines around the clothing and equipment, sometimes I rush this and have to go back later and re-do some of the black lining if I’ve covered too much or want to tidy up. I also use the Russian Uniform on the hands to represent the gloves commonly worn as well.

The next step is to add cloud like blotches of Beige Brown (875) on both the uniform and the body armour. Don’t go too far, try and leave plenty of the original colours and remember those seams and joints.

Now we get down to the trickiest part, the dots and stripes! Using a #00 sized brush I add dots to the uniform equally on the sand and brown portions, again don’t add too many as it’s all too easy to fill up the space and loose the overall effect – plus it takes longer the more dots you do!

Once you’re happy with the dots add the stripes on the body armour portion of the figure. I try and use “Y” or “V” shaped strips running on the edge of the brown to green edges. This can also be a good time to do any edge or joint tidying up with the black paint out and a fine brush in hand.

Continuing with the dot theme I go to the white dots next. They show up best against the beige brown blotches but I still put a few on the sand areas as well. I try to sometimes superimpose the white against some of the black dots for some extra colour pop.

Finally, for the body armour I go back to the Dark Sand colour and add the same type of stripes I did previously with the black. This time I try and cross over the black stripes where possible to get more of a colour pop again.

Once I’m happy with that I finish off by adding the face flesh colour, paint any equipment like LAW or Dragons etc in Olive Drab (887) with some fine yellow lines added for the instructions text and finish off by adding a dry brush over just the weapons, gloves and web gear/pouches with Deck Tan (986) to bring out the detail again separate from the uniform and body armour.

Then before they’re game ready with the desert basing of your choice. I use Acrylic house paint test pot brown mixed with Vallejo pumice gel followed by highlight drybrush with Vallejo Dark Sand.

Building an SBG Bridging Churchill

with Larry O’Connor

Some would say the British Small Box Girder (SBG) bridge is descended from the famous Bailey Bridge.

“I take it you mean that glorious, precision-made, British-built bridge which is the envy of the civilized world?”

That’s the one.

Hello chaps and ladies, let’s talk AVRE Small Box Girder (SBG Assault) bridges and how to make your own to help liberate Northern Europe from Jerry.

About a dozen years ago while visiting family, I found Flames Of War through a dear friend and shipmate who had an FLGS in Augusta, Georgia (Norman Schwartz at Arsenal Games – now closed.). But at the time the game really didn’t catch my fancy, I’m a Navy guy. About the same time, after a close call with cancer, my bride found an FLGS (Texas Toy Soldier (TTS) in Dallas) and she strongly encouraged me to pick up a hobby to rejoin the human race. A group of great guys at TTS play Flames Of War and I got hooked.

I chose the British Forces as virtually no one else here played them as a primary army. A few months later, the group at TTS were planning to do their annual D-Day game. I was intrigued, and being a student of WWII history for decades, I wanted to play using General Sir Hobart’s “Funnies”, particularly the AVRE and its assault bridge. I wonder often if General Sir Hobart’s funnies were used as he was General Bernard Montgomery’s brother in law. Hmm? Nevermind. Alas, I was told I would need an SBG mini. “No mini, no bridge on table”. At the time, no one here knew of a commercial source for a model so I decided to make my own. Heck, I served in two Seabee units for several years, how hard can it be? Two notes. There is a bit of fiddliness to this process and those with OCD (CDO) will either hate or love the process.

Right. So the Small Box Girder (SBG) assault bridge was a British project which in short order was copied with different tweaks by other nations. But in essence a SBG is mostly a metal bridge carried/mounted on an armored vehicle to cross obstacles – either man made or a feature of terrain, to be deployed under fire. SBGs can either be solid/fixed or fold in half. I chose to recreate the kind that fold, both for more drama (eye candy), utility (such as seawalls of different height) and it’s more dynamic.

Note, these bridges are not going to be something slapped together quickly. These are the items I use, but various substitutes should be generally available most places in hardware, hobby stores, and many are likely in your work area.

  • Hobby Knife
  • Safety Razor
  • Some medium (hobby) sandpaper
  • Tweezers
  • 2-4 Clothespins (the wooden ones with springs)
  • A metal ruler
  • Something to cut plastic, with precision and control. I use a scribing tool but, there are other options including some power tools. A scribing tool is super sharp and when drawn with pressure against plastic it cuts a fine narrow groove by removing a thin line of plastic.
  • Small metal hinges (1 per bridge) {1″ x 1″ / 2.5 x 2.5 cm}
  • Plastic toothpicks (TPs)[18 per bridge]. Flat wooden ones can be substituted, but have drawbacks. My preferred are called pic-a-pic plastic toothpics. * One curious thing about these, is at certain angles they have a resemblance to girders/I-beams.
  • Some small bits of plastic rod or sprue (4x 5mm long)
  • polystyrene cement and/or a super glue.
  • and the secret critical component, surprisingly, is the top cover of a CD case: one per bridge. You need the relatively older thicker kinds where the top cover side have grooved sides.

In many of the accompanying figures, I use a previously made SBG as a visual reference. Let us begin.


First cut the sides from the CD case cover. I cut from the inside, first removing the annoying small half-circle discs. You want to preserve the smooth outside edges of the case. These are what I will call side rails. Do not throw away the CD case yet.





Second, parallel to one side where the side was removed, cut of a full length piece of the case,1 and 5/16 inches wide (33mm). This will be the primary span. This measurement was calculated based on:

  • scale to historical example
  • the width of minis that would be using the bridge
  • size of the hinges I chose.


Next, on the other side of the CD case lid, cut out a small 1.5″ square. (The more proper square the better, but some slight variance can be accommodated during construction.) Then cut the square in half, but it must be (or close enough) 1 4/16″ wide (31mm) – just a wee less narrow than the main span (by the width of two toothpicks). This will become a shelf below the bridge on which the hinge will be super glued. Score (scratch up) one side of these shelf pieces with sandpaper.


Shelf Hinge sub-assembly. Now score (I use an old screw driver) the sides of the hinge that fold towards themselves. Centering them, glue the small shelf pieces with the wide parts butted against the hinge but avoid getting superglue in the hinge. After the hinge has dried, glue 5mm long bits of plastic rod/sprue (to be pylons between the hinge shelf and spans) on the opposite side of the hinge, in the holes which screws would be used in normal use. Then glue toothpicks parallel to the sides. One end flush with the shelf edge.







Next, let’s sort out the main spans. Mark off the ends (with the CD case hinges) with a marker- the same length as the main span. Cut off the ends of the sides of the CD case. On the bottom of the CD case/center span there may be an angled ridge which helped to keep the CD case close. I preserve that to help bridge placement during gameplay. That ridge will also help as a reference as it faces down. Measure the half way points of the side rails and main span. They should be the length of a toothpick (TP). Mark and cut them. Glue a toothpick to the outboard side on the underneath sides under the smooth edge.

Score up the sides on the main spans, where the side rails will go, with sandpaper. Also score up the side rails on the smooth side. Then glue/cement the side rails (ridge sides up) on the sides of the main span, smooth sides outboard, flush with the toothpicks. You may want to gently apply clothespins/clips in lieu of squeezing with fingers until set. But too much pressure can damage your work. Now, glue a toothpick lengthwise on the inboard side of the side rails


Next you are going to make two Xs on each span on the ends away from the hinge.






Start by cutting and taking the middle third of toothpicks and glue down ‘girders’ at the halfway and quarter points. You can use the other thirds to make the diagonal girders.





When all parts are set, temporarily tape the two main spans back together lengthwise with painters tape or similar easy removable tape. Mark the tape on the bottom side to show where the hinge barrel is





Now comes the trickiest bit of assembly.

You are going to glue/cement the 4 (styrene/sprue rods) pylons to the underneath of the main span(s). Score patches on the bottom side of the spans. Apply glue/cement to the rods, then carefully center the shelf sub-assembly so each pair of ‘pylons’ will be glued to the span pieces. I find p/s glue is more forgiving in this step while centering on the multiple X and Y axes. Hold in place with gentle pressure. After 30 seconds or so, you can gently wrap the painter’s tape around to the hinge area to hold pressure.







Set aside to get a good bond. (I usually let this set overnight.) When set, glue the trailing toothpicks down to the corners of the main span. Important – Rushing this step can unset the pylons.

Right. Last bit of assembly. One last toothpick per bridge side. Cut a toothpick in half. Start at one bridge half. Glue the thicker side of the toothpick to the bottom edge of the span near the hinge, gluing it down to the out side of the bottom toothpick on the hinge shelf. When dry, cut the toothpick off flush with bottom of shelf. Next take the same piece, dry fit, then snip off a tiny corner as necessary, and glue it from the top back to the shelf to make a W.


Repeat. WW Now do the same for the other side. You may of course make more Ws, but the party is in 3 months and you want 2, maybe 4 of these beasties. Tidy up by trimming off excess bits.






Ok. Done. Well, one last OPTIONAL step. Find a bit of sprue or similar to make a hook on your bridge.






Glue it to one of the down facing sides of shelf hinge.






You can field your AVsREs with their SBG’ tee-pee’d on their decks or you can do something a bit more dynamic. The idea is to use a loop of thread or dental floss around your tank hooked on the bridge. You’re an engineer now, you can sort that out. For your officers, tell them to make a loop of dental tape, thread, hobby ‘cable’, etc 9 and 1/2″ long. Loop your ‘cable’ around the hook, through the hinge/pylons, around your tank lengthwise, go under, over the bow and hook the cable back on the hook of the bridge.

Now, it is just a matter of priming, painting and detailing your bridges. I use a rattlecan of green to prime, then base coat with whatever I use on my Brit armour – usually Russian uniform. Then I use flat black on the insert areas. A bit of a wash will enhance the ridge bits on the side rails. Now, for me, a big X to denote this is my 10th bridge I’ve made. I guarantee your mounted SBGs will be the belles of the beaches. Remember, the bridge is deployed during the shooting step after movement. Good Luck!If you’re after more Funnies inspiration, you can of course check out Adcock’s Funnies…