Saturday 23 May 2020

Redcoats and airbrushes

I've previously used an airbrush to paint 15mm Sasanians, with reasonable results, and I thought I would like to try something similar to get some basic effects on the 1745 Hanoverian red coats.

Overall, the effect I was going for was a somewhat dirty red, pretty bedraggled by the elements. After all, key battles in the campaign were over the winter, from September to April, so everybody should be wet, cold and bedraggled. The image that everyone is familiar with, by David Morier:

Was a studio portrait, using nice fresh uniforms. Contemporary sketches by the Penicuik artist, show a very different picture. Looking at the last few sketches on this page:

You can see tricornes flattened out, coattails unbuttoned, and a variety of equipment. With the exception of the flattened tricornes, the Flags of War figures are a nice representation. So these men will be weary and unshaven, uniforms faded and mud spattered.   

First step was an undercoat of spray-can black. I don't buy or use expensive primers, and the usual car spray paints seem to do a good job.

Then the first step, a fairly dense base coat of Tamiya Hull Red, which is actually a nice leathery colour.

After the first spray
The Tamiya paint airbrushes beautifully, especially if it is thinnned at about 50/50 with their own thinner Tamiya X20A

At this stage, I am just trying to get  relatively even coat. Varying the paint pressure, distance etc provides some basic contrasts.

Red coats
These have now had an overall light coating of Vallejo Flat Red, then a second top down over-spray, to give a nice feeling of light and shade.  I am going to purchase some Tamiya Red though, for when I do the next batch of redcoats. The Vallejo is a great brush paint, but just doesn't spray as nicely as the Tamiya.

When this is all dry, I am going to go back and add some highlights. I am not quite sure what to use, I am tempted to use Vallejo Dark Vermillion for the officers, and a lightened Flat Red for the rank and file, to try and get the effect of the better quality cloth for the officers. A few discreet experiments will be required I think.

And while the airbrush kit is out, time to do some of my WW2 Japanese for Chain of Command. The Tamiya Dark Yellow makes a great base colour for Japanese uniforms.


  1. If you don't mind dry-brushing highlights, I've been told that fleshtone (applied sparingly) provides a good 'campaign' highlight to red and scarlet coats that have been out in the elements for some time.

    Best Regards,


  2. Thanks for that stokes, I will give that a go on a test figure and see how it looks. I'm very much looking forward to seeing how these come out.