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Painting 3/6 Color DCUs & Woodland BDUs

There are several techniques to use when it comes to painting camouflage uniforms on scale figures. Several key factors come in to mind. Number one is, what scale? What type of uniform? What is the setting that the figure is supposed to be in? Scale has a major play in deciding what colors to use. For example, the ďchocolate chipĒ DCUís that I will discuss later, has actually six colors in it. At 1:35 scale, in my opinion, is too small to represent all six colors. There are two shades of brown and tan in the uniform, that from a distance, you cannot tell the differences between the different shades. So at a smaller scale, there is no reason to represent the subtle difference between the colors. With a few basic colors and some newly learned techniques, will try to get you through painting some modern U.S. Army uniforms.

figure 1

figure 2

Getting Started
The first thing I do when I paint figures is to go ahead and paint the skin tones. I like to use artist oils for this step because oils have a longer working time and blend easier than other paints. Before the oils go down, I use Polly Scale Israeli early Tan for a base coat. All other facial details such as hair and eyes are painted last. Once the skin tones are finished, I spray on a clear coat of Modal Master Clear Flat to seal in the oils. Once this is done, its time to paint the uniforms. Another key thing to remember when painting U.S. DCUís and BDUís, are the sleeves. Sleeves, you ask? What about the sleeves? Well, itís the way the U.S. Army and the Marines roll up their sleeves. I have seen this little tid bit missed when it comes to painting figures. Marines roll their sleeves up; I guess you can say like a normal person would (Figure 1). You start at the bottom and simply roll it up to a certain distance away from the shoulder. The material inside the shirt is exposed. A U.S. Army soldier rolls up the sleeve by taking the cuff and rolling all the way up to the shoulder essentially making half a sleeve. Then you roll the sleeve 2 or 3 times and roll the cuff back over the sleeve exposing the outside of the cuff again (Figure 2).

About the Author

About Pete Becerra (Epi)

I am 48 years of age. I have been modeling since I was around 8 years old. As you can see from my signature, I am retired from the US Army and Texas Army National Guard. I served 6 years in active duty from 1989 to 1995 and in 1998 I joined the Texas Army National Guard and been serving up unt...


Great article, this is one to remember, tnx
FEB 27, 2003 - 12:03 AM
After hearing of that this article was going to be coming out in the near future, I was eagerly awaiting it (I needed an article about painting 6 color 'Chocolate Chip' camo for my diorama). I must say that the article was very clear and informative. Nice job Pete!!!
FEB 27, 2003 - 12:25 AM
Thanks to all. Now, Lets convince Maki(Mario) to put his article up. I would like to see how he paints his uniforms. Thanks Again!
FEB 27, 2003 - 03:42 AM
Great article Pete.. The explanations are clear with good step-by-step pics. You are very talented figurist and I really hope to see more articles on figure painting from you. Well done. Ah, I'll do it next week. I promisse.. Mario M.
FEB 27, 2003 - 04:01 AM
Its about time lol! #:-)
FEB 27, 2003 - 08:38 AM
Great article. but i have one question for everybody about the subject. does anyone any idea at the paint numbers for the three colour desert camo using humbrol or tamiya paints?? that would be a great help. Cheers, Paul :-)
MAR 11, 2003 - 05:43 AM
Superb article. Could come in handy for me the next time i build modern armour. Bookmarked right away. :-) Thank you
MAR 11, 2003 - 10:24 AM
Great article ....... im suprised it took so long for somebody to come up with this. Should be very useful in the future
MAR 11, 2003 - 10:51 AM
great article..it will help us figure painters a lot.thanks Pete
MAR 11, 2003 - 07:39 PM
How big is it ?
MAR 12, 2003 - 02:05 PM