Painting minefields

Aaron has worked like the proverbial Trojan to bring you another splendid step-by-step photographic tutorial, this time painting up his resin minefields.

How to paint and enhance James’ Resins Minefields for a European / Eastern Front battlefield.

My aim in this second tutorial is to give you an idea of how you can paint my range of resin minefields, but the principles are valid for most scenic bases and other comparable products.  All the paints I have used in this article are from theVallejo range.


There is very little you need to do to prepapre the model as it comes ready to paint. You may want to re-model parts of it to make it unique to your battlefield and include ammunition boxes, oil drums and destroyed vehicles, etc [Justin: Zvezda plastic models are cheap and great for this purpose].

Painting the base

I like to basecoat all of my models white instead of the more common practice of spraying them black. I do this because I think it makes the colours stand out better. I recommend spraying the basecoat on the model as apposed to painting it on as you get a more even finish. I basecoat the whole model with an airbrush using ‘White Primer 74600’.

Next, I airbrush the whole base with Model Air ‘Khaki Brown 024’. The is no reason you could not brush paint it on, I just find it’s quicker and leaves a better finished surface when painting in large batches.

When the brown mud layer is dry I like to dry brush the whole base with ‘German Camo Beige 821’ and then dry brush the rocks/stones/gravel/craters with ‘Ivory 918’.

The first colour for the mines is done in ‘Russian Green 894’ and then dry brush/highlight in ‘German Camo Bright Green 833’.  Although dark green mines may not appear to be perfectly camouflaged or historically accurate, they do stand out very well against the brown base and enhance the over all look of the final piece.

For the brass rod pickets, I paint in ‘Gunmetal Grey 863’ and over the top of this a coat of Model Air ‘Metallic Rust 069’. When finished, this gives a nice appearance and makes it look like the pickets have been in place for some time.

First coat of varnish

Now the model has had its coat of paint, I give it a good coverage with an old brush of Army Painter ‘Strong Tone varnish’, pickets and all. Not only does this give it a protective covering, but the pigment in the varnish settles into all the nooks and crannys and provides excellent shading. Just watch out for the varnish pooling. The second downside to this stage is that it can take up to 24hrs to dry and leaves the model with a very shiny gloss finish.

Grassing the base

Now the varnish is dry you can flock the base. This is also a good opportunity to cover over any painting errors or dark pooling of the varnish. I paint all the areas of the model I want to cover with static grass with PVA white glue, leaving the odd area of the mud and all of the craters untouched. I then stick on random clumps of grass tufts ‘Miniatur 727-31’.

Using a puffer bottle, I apply a thick layer of ‘Jarvis Static Grass Spring mix JHG1’. When happy, I leave it to dry, normally over night just to be on the safe side.

After it’s dry, I use a 2inch house painting brush to dust off the excess static grass and it’s ready for the barbed wire. From personal experience, make sure that you have a tray (or something similar) under the model for everything involving static grass.  You can easily collect the excess for re-use and it stops the dog from sneezing when its sniffing the living room carpet!!

Barbed wire

I generally buy the barbed wire from various E-bay sellers as and when I need it. For Minefields, I cut a length of about 57cm and airbrush it in ‘Model Air Metallic Rust 069’ to match the pickets.

When dry, I wrap one end of the barbed wire around a picket and keeping the wire tight, loop it around the next picket and so on until finished.

For a finishing touch, I like to take a small file and run it along the top of the barbed wire to take the rust paint off the top. I find this gives a nice semi-rusted feel to the piece and gives it more character.

Final varnish

For the final varnish,  I like to use my airbrush and give the whole model a couple of coats of ‘Matt Varnish 520’. From bitter experience, if you ‘over spray’ with spray can varnish it can leave the model with a ‘frosted/whitened’ look.  Vallejo varnish is much more forgiving. After the varnish has dried, normally 30-60 mins, the model is finished.

Mine markers

I like to use the mine markers from the FOW website on my models, just to make them stand out more. Simply print them off, cut them out and apply them to the barbed wire with one of them solid glue sticks that kids use (Prit-stick etc.).

Finished piece

Now your piece is fully finished and just waiting for some daft tanks or soldiers to try and cross them!!

Thanks Aaron, another useful guide.  Look forward to you showing us how to achieve realistic barbed wire effects in your last tutorial.

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