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Painting 3-color DBU

Highs and Lows
After the uniform was painted, the figure was left to dry for a couple of days before proceeding with the shadows and highlights. I decided to shade all of the pattern colors together with a very thin, almost transparent Black wash of the whole uniform. I worked one section at a time, wiping the excess wash immediately with a clean cloth thus leaving just slighly darkened pattern colors in the recesses of the uniform.

You have to be extra careful when shading desert uniforms in this way; a heavy wash can easily ruin your pattern! It is much easier to apply a second wash if you decide you need more contrast than trying to „lighten up“ colors that are already too dark. Highlights were also kept to the minimum; I just performed a very light drybrush to the raised areas. Again, be carefull... too much drybrushing can cover up the pattern!

In my opinion, the whole process of weathering DCUs should be very delicate; it is better not to create too much contrast. Using powders for weathering desert uniforms is also a great way of blending the pattern colors together. I really like the subtle color changes weathering powders make and I strongly recomend using them on your figures as well. There are so many sand, dust and khaki powders to choose from these days... don't be afraid to experiment with them.

One thing to you should bear in mind though; weathering powders should be applied after the figure is finished and placed on the base in order to minimize accidental dusting of the powders off with your fingers during the handling of the figure.

Desert boots are of a darker khaki tone than the uniform itself. Again, take a look at the references and mix Pale Stone with a fair ammount of Matt Ochre as a base coat. I made the shadows and highlights a bit more pronounced on the boots suggesting wear and tear of the fabric.

The gear
The webbing was painted using a mix of Khaki Drill and French Artillery Green. Several thin washing steps with Flat Black followed as well as subtle drybrushing using Khaki Drill in order to accentuate the details.

I made paper „decals“ for the model figure (CamelBak logo, 101st unit patch and US flag), but one of the details on this figure I'm most proud of are the M18 smoke grenade decals. I figured painting such small lettering in a convincing way would be very hard in this scale, so I decided to make my own waterslide decals.

After finding some good M18 smoke grenade photos, I made a decal graphic in CorelDraw. Using white decal film I printed the graphic on a high quality laser printer and applied decals to the grenades. I must admit I was very satisfied with the end result; adding little details like that is fun and can quickly "lift“ your figure to the next level.

Painting Flesh
I never considered painting flesh tones was my area of expertise. As I was looking for new ideas on improving my technique, I came across several articles written by Craig Whittaker on painting faces using artist oils. I knew Craig as a great figure bust painter and above all a great guy, so I thought perhaps he would be willing to help me out.

Fortunately, Craig was interested in the idea and accepted the invitation to paint the face for my figure. You can see the result; Craig did a wonderful job and I'm really grateful for it. Thanks once again, mate!

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About the Author

About Mario Matijasic (Maki)

You wonder how did this addiction start? I was a kid when my dad broght home a 1/72 Concord airplane; we built it together as well as couple of other airplanes after that. This phase was just pure fun: glue, paint, decals in no particular order... everything was finished in a day or two. Then I disc...