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Beginner's guide to painting 15mm WWII figures

Part 3

Sealing and Basing

Sealing-and-Basing-Flames-Of-WarNow, a close examination of these figures reveals a multitude of sins. Most obvious is the lack of detail in the face and the poor blending of colours on the German uniforms. Elsewhere you’ll spot no end of little errors and imperfections.

To literally gloss over these, I’m going to cover the figures in Army Painter’s Quickshade dip. Some people regard dipping as cheating, but I find it produces a good finish with minimal work whilst providing the figure with a protective gloss finish.


Army Painter Quickshade


I'm not going to dip the figures in the Strong and Dark tone I’ve selected, but use the ‘Splash-on’ technique recommended in this really useful video.

For the both sets of figures, I’m going to use the Strong tone on the hand and faces as this is made up of a dark brown pigment and Dark Tone for the uniforms, which is made up of a black pigment.

If you haven’t used Quicktone before, don’t worry. It does seem counterintuitive to paint loads of sticky brown varnish all over your figures, but it does work.



Quickshade will bring out the facial features, conceal any minor errors and improve the the tone of your figures without any real work.

Strong Tone miniatures flames of war

When using Quickshade, make sure that you don’t let the liquid pool deeply in any of the recesses or ‘blob’ around the feet as it flows over your figures. Don’t be tempted to try and brush out the pooling. I’ve found that if you try and do this, the Quicktone can leave streaks across the surface as it dries quite quickly.

Instead, dip your brush in to the offending puddle, soak some of it up and wipe off on a kitchen towel. Do this until you achieve the effect you desire. You can always add another coat if you’re not satisfied.Finally, when you’re finished, hammer the edge of the lid shut. Unfortunately, my can of Strong Tone has a thick layer across the top of it where I hadn’t fastened the lid securely.

Don’t panic when your figures dry to a high gloss.

Quicktone Varnish 15mm figures

testors dullcote


painting face mask

This can be off-set by a liberal coating of Testors’ dull-cote, a matt aerosol varnish or lacquer. Wearing a latex glove and face mask, I start spraying about 8-12 inches away from the figures moving from left to right.

I try to build up a series of light layers rather than 1 heavy coat rotating the lolly-pop stick to ensure I cover the entire figure.

When using aerosols, my old dad recommended to me that I start spraying before and after the point where you want the paint or varnish to lay in order to achieve a smooth light coat.

You will waste some paint or varnish this way, but you won’t end up with puddles of paint obscuring all of the fine detail on your figures.With the application of the matt varnish, the figures are nearly complete.

Dullcote Varnish miniatures Dullcote 15mm flames of war

When the varnish is dry, I remove the figures from their temporary lolly-pop base with a penknife and superglue them onto their permanent plastic stand. I’ve tried to tell a story on each base. For our lantern-jawed heroes, the Unterfeldwebel provide a burst of covering fire as his crewmates drag each other from their burning Panzer IV.

Varnishing miniatures Falmes of War 15mm

By contrast, the illustrious proletariat high-tail it once they’ve realised that their
T34/76 can’t penetrate the frontal armour of that Panther with an AT score of 9!

Russian Infantry basing 15mm flames of war

To build up a scenic base, I use a cheap angled pallet knife I picked up at The Works to trowel on some Vallejo white pumice. This heavy paste of natural pumice and acrylic resin is excellent for surface building. I have tried mixing it with paint to save time, but discovered that the resultant mixture didn’t cover as well. I try and get the pumice to cover the figures’ bases as much as possible using an old brush where necessary.

Pummice Basing Flames of War German

With the pumice dry, I paint on a layer of Woodlands Scenics’ Earth Undercoat. I should highlight this by dry-brushing, but don’t really feel it’s that necessary as the pumice paints up quite nicely.

Basing Flames of War 15mm

Once dry, I mix pva with a little water and use an old brush to cover the bases where I want static grass or flock to be, usually around the figure’s feet to further obscure the base. I’ve not used static grass before as it wasn’t available locally until recently. I tend to use my own mixture of flock, gravel and foliage effects.

Flames of war basing grass

Basing Flames of War Russians and Germans

Finally, I glue on some silfor tufts dipped in pva and paint the edge of the base 143 Flat Earth just to tidy things up.

German Tank Crew 15mm Flames of War

Basing Flames of War 15mm

Bailed out tanks crews done! OK, they’re not going to win any prizes, but they’ve been done in a couple of days and to a reasonable standard. They’ll certainly add some local colour when we play Friday night.

Flames of War 15mm Tankers

That just about wraps it. I hope you’ve found these 3 articles useful, good luck with your own painting.

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