Tommy's War painting instructions for British World War One uniform

Tommy's War is the leading producer of World War One model figurines. The range covers Britain and her Empire, the USA, Germany and her allies. In this painting guide Alex Long gives detailed instructions on using Vallejo paints to get outstanding results.

Tommy's War is the leading producer of World War One model figurines. The range covers Britain and her Empire, the USA, Germany and her allies. In this painting guide Alex Long gives detailed instructions on using Vallejo paints to get outstanding results.


Do you know the secret to free website traffic?

Use this trick to increase the number of new potential customers.


1914-1918 in miniature




Trade Order Catalogue

April 2014


TW32001 – Private, Middlesex Regiment,

Mons 1914 by Alex Long


1914-1918 in miniature


Painters Guide

Foreword by Darren Parker-Mead

I first met Alex Long in 2011 at Euro Militaire and it

was obvious from the start that he was an extremely

talented guy who was going on to achieve great

things in our hobby.

It’s been a pleasure to see his progress, I remember

his first gold at Euro Militaire and his wide-eyed stare

the first time he visited Scale Model Challenge

(although that might have been his two nights in


So, it’s great that Alex has been able to share some

of his painting tips in this guide, and I’m hugely

grateful that he’s been able to contribute.

I hope you find this informative and interesting and

it gives you the inspiration to start those Tommy’s

War projects.


Getting Started

Before we get into Alex’s step-by-step commentary

I just wanted to offer some thoughts on the build

and preparation of the painting step. This is a vital

step that can cause inexperienced modellers some

concern, and I know from the emails I receive that

it’s an area where there is some confusion. However,

with a bit of practice its quite simple and I’ve listed

some hints that I’ve found useful over the years.

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will

spend the first four sharpening the axe.”

― Abraham Lincoln

Preparing the Kit

Tommy’s War models are manufactured in resin,

you’ll see that your kit will have some of the casting

blocks in place, these need to be carefully removed

with a sharp knife or modelling saw. Once the

majority of the block is removed the area should be

sanded. Remember that resin can be toxic, so always

work in a well ventilated space, I always advise

wearing a mask and gloves.


Assembling the Kit

Once you’re happy with the clean-up it’s time to

glue. Resin can be fixed with any cyranacrylate

adhesive (otherwise known as Superglue).

There are many glues on the market. I use a brand

called Deluxe which is widely available. This comes

in different consistencies, with thicker faster drying

glues to more liquid versions. I tend to use the

thicker consistency.

One tip I always pass is that the glue adheres

better to a rougher surface, so I always slightly sand

the surfaces that will be glued. Only slightly, don’t

overdo it.

Less is more with superglue, the more glue you

use the longer the drying time, apply in a thin layer

and let it do it’s magic.

The Rifle Sling

The rifle sling is the part that seems to present the

most problems, and I confess I find them quite

tricky myself. My advice would be not to use the

photo-etch one supplied in the kit, but to create

your own with either masking tape (I use Tamiya

tape) or Alex’s method (electrical tape).


Drilling the Figure

I always drill a small hole into the foot of the figure

and superglue a small piece of wire. This gives me

something to anchor the figure while painting but

also fits it into the base securely when it’s


Ready to Go

Once all the parts are fitted check your model, if

there are any small gaps fill with a putty and make

sure you’re happy with the finish. Before applying

a basecoat wash the model thoroughly in warm

soapy water.

It sounds like a lot, but getting a great finish really

does start at the preparation.

Paint and Colour

If elements of the clean-up cause some anxiety, then

that’s nothing compared to paint and colour choice

and is easily the subject I get the most emails about.

There is a huge amount of paint choice. In this guide

Alex references Vallejo, which is great as it’s one of

the easiest paint brands to get. Vallejo is an acrylic

paint which is the most popular paint type used

at the moment and there are a plethora of other

brands such as AK Interactive, Andrea, Ammo, Scale

75, Nocturna, Army Painter and Citadel (Games


This isn’t even the full list, and doesn’t even cover all

the paint sets that include everything from painting

flesh to a certain type of RAF aircraft.

It’s no wonder modellers are confused, it’s baffling.

The trick is to not get sucked into the marketing,

certainly at a basic level you won’t find too much

difference between the manufacturers, don’t fall for

thinking you have to buy a complete set, try

different paints and see which you prefer. I like Andrea

for it’s matt finish. Some people like Scale 75

but I find it hard to get out of the dropper bottles.

In-short they are all good paints and you can’t really

go too wrong.

The second part of this is uniform colour, on this my

advice is simple, don’t worry too mucn about it. Yes,

that’s counter to everything a modeller stands for

but it’s true.

There are two books on World War One uniform

references by Chris Pollendine, Campaign 1914 and

Campaign 1915. These books show original World

War One British uniform and equipment and I spoke

to Chris some time ago on colour.

Chris explained to me that in all the years of

collecting original uniform he’d seen a huge variety

of shades and colours, from mustard brown to dark

green there wasn’t one single shade that

represented what he had seen.

When you think that between 1914 and 1918 the

British were producing millions of pieces of clothing

each year in mills in Britain and Ireland and as far

away as Canada and the US. There were no colour

swatches to reference, no easy communication to

ensure a shade was right and very little quality


However, as modellers, it’s important that th

colour looks correct, so my advice would be to check

online for original pieces of uniform and match to

that, alternatively Chris’s books are a great source of


I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but Facebook

has some fantastic groups dedicated to uniforms

and I find those incredibly helpful.

Failing all of that, I have worked with the paint

manufacturer Lifecolor and we developed a set of

World War One uniform colour which you can use

‘from the pot’ if you wish.

And finally

My major piece of advice is to enjoy what you’re

doing. The best painters didn’t become great

overnight and while they have considerable

talent they also work hard at their craft.

Painting takes patience and it takes practice.

We’re fortunate in these times that there is a

wealth of knowledge online and take your time

to absorb that teaching but also make time to


I spend a lot of time watching tutorials on

outube, it really is a fantastic resource and there

aren’t many modelling topics you can’t find on


But don’t be discouraged if your work doesn’t

look like those winning artists, enjoy the hobby

for what it is for you.

Have fun and keep smiling!



TW32001 Painters Guide

by Alex Long


All Tommy’s War 1/32nd scale miniatures are finely

cast in high quality resin and therefore require

minimal clean-up, meaning they can be ready for

paint in under an hour. The main tools required for

the assembly of resin figures is a scalpel or sharp

knife, sprue cutters, epoxy putty and super glue.

Simply, but carefully, cut away the moulding lugs

using the sprue cutters, be careful not to cut too

close to the figure itself to avoid accidents, we don’t

want any wounded Tommys at this stage! Using the

scalpel of knife, gently scrape away any visible mould

lines from the miniature, the scraping action leaves

the resin nice and smooth, unlike a file which tends

to make the resin “fur up” and look rough.

Assemble the model as much as is practicable for

ease of painting, as TW32001 is in a fairly simple

pose I have fully assembled the figure before


Super glue is the number one choice for gluing

resin, it’s quick and creates a very strong bond. If,

after assembly, there are any gaps that require

filling, then a two-part epoxy putty or model filler

can be used. I prefer epoxy putty for filling joints as

it can be smoothed very effectively before it dries,

meaning it does not require sanding.

As you can see in the first photograph (fig 1) we

have the fully assembled miniature in the bare resin.

Note that I have made my own rifle sling using

electrical tape, I find this the best choice as it’s

strong, flexible and will stretch if needed, enabling

a more natural look. Using electrical tape is a very

simple way to make slings and straps, simply stick

some to a cutting mat and trim to the desired width

with a scalpel. It is easily glued to the resin with

super glue and test fitting is made easy by utilising

the sticky side to help get the correct position.

Fig 2

The second photo (fig2) shows the miniature

primed and ready to paint. For the primer coat I

Fig 2

have used a grey lacquer-based primer-filler

administered via the airbrush. This gives a nice

absorbent, matt ground ready to accept the acrylic,

paint which is important for avoiding any shine that

may build up during painting. Now it’s on to the


Fig 1



Painting - Palette

I always use a wet palette for painting, simply because

it keeps the paint workable for longer, enabling

the painter to come back to his work without

having to re-mix paint. In the third photo (fig 3 ) we

see the palette with all the colours used for TW32001,

I lay the paints out beforehand and pre-mix all the

colour transitions ready on the palette. Here I have

listed all the colours used, all coming from the

Vallejo range of acrylics:

Fig 3











Light Flesh



Beige red

Burnt Red

Black Red















New Wood








The colour transitions for each

area of the figure are mixed on

the wet palette from dark to light,

additional tones are created by

adding more volume of either

warm or cold colours.


Lee Enfield











Flat Brown






German Medium

/ Camo



Colours are referenced from the Vallejo acrylics range. The guide indicates the major parts of the figure only:

The painting reference should be used as a guide only. It is recommended that you test the colours before applying

to the figure.



Fig 5 Fig 6

Fig 4

Fig 7 Fig 8

Fig 5 Fig 6

Fig 7 Fig 8

Fig 13



Fig 11 Fig 12

Painting - The Face

(Fig 4) shows the figure with a dark basecoat to the

uniform and webbing as well as some rudimentary

work on the face. The closer shot in (Fig 5) shows

the face with very basic highlights over a mediumdark

flesh mix. This gives some shape to the face and

helps define the areas of light and shade or in other

words, contrast. Contrast is an important factor

when painting scale miniatures, as a rule of thumb,

the smaller the miniature the higher the contrast

should be.

Using the flesh colours laid down on the wet palette

I create the various shades of flesh as follows:

Mid-tone – Beige Red

First highlight - Beige Red plus Medium Flesh

Second highlight – Beige Red, Medium Flesh,

Light Flesh

Third highlight – Medium Flesh plus Light Flesh

Final highlight – Light Flesh plus White

First shade – Beige Red plus Burnt Red

Second shade – Beige Red, Burnt Red, Black Red

Third shade – Beige Red, Black Red, Black.

Tones are achieved by adding more Burnt Red and a

touch of Purple to the mid-tone.

With the basic highlights applied some colour tone

is added to the cheek area, as can be seen in (Fig 6).

At this point we can start smoothing the transitions

of colour between dark and light. Using filters is the

easiest way to achieve this, bearing in mind that a

filter is a little different to a wash. When using a filter

technique, we are trying to evenly cover the whole

area with a thin layer of paint with low opacity.

With a wash on the other hand, WE would be trying

to get the paint pigment to pool up at the edges

or in folds and creases, not homogenously over the

whole area. To smooth a transition between dark

and light simply use a mid-tone thinned to the

consistency of skimmed milk, load the brush with

the paint and gently apply the filter from one side

to the other. Remember, keeping the paint thin but

not too watery is key. It will require a number of

filters to gradually smooth out the transition, don’t

be tempted to increase the opacity if you cannot see

immediate results (which you shouldn’t) as this will

eliminate any subtlety.

We can see through (Fig 7 – 9) that the gradual

smoothing of the out of the various tones is

taking away any harsh lines. (Fig 10 & 11) show the

further progression of the face following further filter

layers as well as additional tones around the nose,

lips and cheeks. The hair has also been blocked in

ready for the finishing touches to the face. Moving

on, (Fig 12 & 13) show the completed face,

showing additional highlights, eyes, hair and five

o’clock shadow.



Fig 15 Fig 16

Fig 14

Fig 17 Fig 18

Fig 19 Fig 20

Fig 21 Fig 22

Fig 23



Fig 11 Fig 12

Painting - The Uniform and Equipment

While British Army uniform colours of WWI can

appear all the same, a variety of tones can be

ntroduced to represent fading, dirt and

weathering. Adding more Russian Uniform will

increase the green tone, something I usually do for

gaiters and water bottles. Adding more Khaki will

achieve a more faded look, while the addition of

New Wood will bring more warmth to the colour.

For our Tommy I have chosen to represent him in

a clean uniform, perhaps he is marching through

the home counties freshly called up for duty on the


The dark basecoat of the uniform has been painted

over with a mix of English Uniform and black, as can

be seen in (Fig 14). Highlighting by increasing the

amount of English Uniform is the next stage, see

(Fig 15 & 16), highlights are increased by adding

a small amount of Russian Uniform and Khaki.

Again, filters of mid-tone (slightly darkened English

Uniform) are applied over the whole area to smooth

demarcation lines.

The webbing is painted in using a mix of Buff, Black

& Leather Brown with highlights created by

increasing the quantity of Buff, see (Fig 17) & 18.

Using a dark, not quite black mix, the webbing has

been lined-in to help create some definition, seen in

(Fig 19). (Fig 20) shows the pack and webbing

finished, following some further highlighting by

adding Ivory to the mix.

(Fig 21 & 22) show the gaiters and water bottle, as

mentioned previously, I have added more Russian

Uniform to the mix to change the tone from the

Uniform to become slightly greener and help break

up the different areas of the figure.

The final part of the figure is our Tommy’s trusty Lee

Enfield Rifle. A very simple way to simulate a wood

grain is to paint the rifle with a dark brown/black,

and paint quite harsh uneven lines (Fig 23) over the

mid-tone using the German Camo Medium Brown

and Medium Flesh. This is then covered with a few

filters (Fig 24) of Flat Brown to tone down the effect,

some extra highlights can then be added carefully

to certain areas of wood grain if needed.

Fig 24

For the finishing touches some metallic brass and

gunmetal have been used to paint the equipment

buckles and gun barrel respectively. I generally tone

down the metallics with regular paint, in this case

using Yellow Ochre and Leather brown mixed with

the brass and black and blue added to the gunmetal

for the metalwork on the rifle.


The final presentation of the figure is to

provide him with a base, in this case I have

chosen a simple wooden block, adding

epoxy putty to create a dirt road with a low

bank of grass to the side, fitting in with my

idea that our Tommy is marching off to war

on the Western Front.

Brave lad!



This series is commissioned by

Tommy’s War Limited

Figure sculpted by Nino Pizzichemi, box art by Alex Long


1914-1918 in miniature


Hooray! Your file is uploaded and ready to be published.

Saved successfully !

Ooh no, something went wrong !