Painting US Army

The US Army of WW2 very quickly evolved through a series of uniform styles and colours which seems to have resulted in troops wearing a variety of items all identifiably American but not always homogenous or in fact uniform. This might be due to the opposite situation of armies such as the Japanese who were struggling for any kind of uniform items in far flung isolated islands – maybe the US troops could take their pick of available and new items and were not as hidebound to regulations as other armies.

As a consequence US miniatures can be painted more like the chaps in the pictures here and less like Napoleon’s Old Guard. This is always a good thing as it provides plenty of visual interest whilst keeping a distinctively US look. The figures I have painted most of have been the Warlord games US troops and I have remembered to photograph here from start to starting basing which I hope might be useful..

Step one – pick the jacket colour Here I have gone with the light colored for 3 figures and darker for 2 which is the normal ratio I use for no reason other than I like it. I have used Vallejo German Camo beige for the lighter colour and Brown Violet for the darker though I also use American uniform green sometimes.

Undercoat of light grey….

Step two: trousers colour I usually divide all the dark top figures into two roughly equal groups and the same with the light jacket figures. The first subgroup gets the slightly orangey brown trousers, the other subgroup the American green trousers. By doing it this way I get 4 combinations. Bear in mind I usually paint 14 to 16 figures at a time and change the jacket colours each batch to increase variety.

In the second picture I’ve also painted the helmet in American Green, though sometimes I use a light olive drab or Russian green which makes a big difference to the overall effect. From this point I paint in all the base colours which are required but not always the weapons as these can get in the way sometimes when highlighting faces.

Once completed its wash time! With a mix of GW Agrax/Flesh over the beige and brown, Athonian Camo over the Brown Violet and US uniform green and thinned Flesh/Agrax over skin. This provides a decent result with some depth and you could leave it there but I’m not a fan of dip and go.

The washed figures.

So next step is to go back to the original colours and do a broad brush highlighting leaving the shading in the creases. I oftentimes then add a lighter version of the original colour on collars & webbing to provide some false depth.

Next up its time to highlight the faces and paint in the weapons etc and its extras time. This can be as simple as putting the rank bar on the back of the officers helmet, painting in the cigar (?) or adding NCO ranks.