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In wargames the miniatures depict the people who fight battles. It depends on your philosophy how do they appear on the table.

The appearance of the miniature will be most important if the character you are trying to paint wears uniform or camouflage.

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Dealing with uniform

The clothing of your army is usually decided by the company who produces the miniatures. However, if you can choose freely, there are some possibilities.

Uniform 1) Parade uniform

The figure looks like it's on a parade. It usually looks smart and doesn't  always include armour.

Uniform 2) Combat uniform

The figure looks like it's preparing for combat. Everything on the miniature is in order.

Uniform 3) Combat uniform, in use

The figure looks like it's in the middle of the combat. There can be tears and stains on the clothing, scratches and dents on the armour.

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Camouflage

Most modern armies use camouflage to blend into their surroundings. Painting the mini with a camouflage colour causes several problems:

  • If you use them in a place they are intended to blend in, they will, so you can't properly see them.
  • If you use them in a place they are not intended to, they will look out of place.

The best way to use camo for the miniatures would be to use fully transparent figures that just let the light through. Although this might make it harder to find and use the minis for gaming.

As a sidenote, it's interesting that in the early days of Warhammer 40.000 the Adeptus Astertes used camouflage, because they were not stupid. Miniatures without helmets didn't depict soldiers without helmets, it was just a way to show that they are leaders. Having different paint schemes for different troop types just meant for the miniatures, not for the space marines in combat. That's why you couldn't pick the characters as targets, just whole units, because all of them had the same armour, and none were distinct enough to make it easy for the enemy to shoot at them. In the Rogue Trader rules, there's 10% chance of a Space Marine having Cameleoline armour, enabling him to completely blend into the surrounding.

Camouflage patterns for the Adeptus Astertes in the Badab War

Dealing with camouflage

There are several possible ways you could choose, you just need to decide and stick to your plan.

Camo 1) Parade colours

The miniatures are painted in a way they would look on a parade.

Benefits:

  • Distinguishable: You can distinguish every single soldier of any rank using this method. On parade grounds distinctions are a must, but in battle it's a disadvantage if you could just see who are the officers to take out.
  • Looks okay: If you get used to it, they will look okay on every battlefield.

Problems:

  • Unrealistic: No matter what you do they will look out of place on every battlefield.

Camo 1B) Parade colours with dirt

The miniatures are painted in a way if they got dressed for a parade, but spent a week on a battlefield.

Benefits:

  • The same as the Parade colours.

Problems:

  • The same as the Parade colours.
  • I can't really understand why people do this (why don't they clean their uniforms?), but lots of them seem to choose this painting concept.

Camo 2) Camouflage indication (with distinctions)

The miniatures are painted with an indication of camouflage, but not a realistic camo pattern. You also clearly show distinct rank and squad markings (that would be unwise for real camouflage).

For camo indicating colour I use metallic silver or chrome paint.

Benefits:

  • Distinguishable: You can distinguish every single soldier of any rank using this method.
  • You can get used to it: If you'd like to distinguish your minis, but you really need to show that the figure is using camouflage, this method could work, but it's far from nice.

Problems:

  • Unrealistic: They look out of place on every battlefield.

Camo 3) Basic camouflage (with distinctions)

The miniatures are painted with a realistic camo pattern, chosen for a terrain type. You also clearly show distinct rank and squad markings (that would be unwise for real camouflage).

Benefits:

  • Distinguishable: You can distinguish every single soldier of any rank using this method.
  • Looks good: They look nice on the battlefield they are intended to be camouflaged for.

Problems:

  • Unrealistic: They look out of place on every other battlefield that doesn't have the colours of their camo.
    • For me, an out of place camo is more unreal than a Parade colour, but it really depends on your tastes.

Camo 4) Total camouflage

The miniatures are painted with a camo pattern, and all of them look the same from a distance.

Benefits:

  • Looks good: They look nice on the battlefield they are intended to be camouflaged for.

Problems:

  • Sameness: The enemy player won't be able to distinguish your miniatures. It could be a benefit, as long as you are able to distinguish them. This could be achieved with coloured bases or the use of other markers.
  • Unrealistic: They look out of place on every other battlefield that doesn't have the colours of their camo.
    • For me, an out of place camo is more unreal than a Parade colour, but it really depends on your tastes.

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What is the most important for you?

Gaming

For gaming, it's usually good to be able to distinguish the miniatures (Camo 1-3), preferably (Uniform 1).

If both players need to know the exact nature of each mini, the lower concepts of Parade colours (Camo 1) do better.

If only the player that owns them need to know what they are, Basic camo (Camo 3) can be good, and you can freely choose any kind of clothing (Uniform 1-3).

Photography

All (Uniform 1-3, Camo 1-4) can look good on photos. If you want realistic photos, the closer you get to Combat uniform, in use (Uniform 3) and Total camo (4), the better.

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What do you think of these miniature painting design concepts of camouflage? What is your take on this? What are your experiences? Do you have questions about these concepts? Tell us in the comments!

 

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