WW2 Painting Guide: Russian Infantry

This is my WW2 Painting Guides for Soviet Infantry. I was puzzled by Soviet Infantry uniforms of World War II for a while because:

Roland paints Russians a kind of greenish khaki. It turns out this is Tamiya ‘Khaki’ (XF-49). You can see more of Roland’s painting in my Steven’s Russian Rifle Battalion.

Roland uses Tamiya ‘Khaki’ (XF-49)

But my other mates Ian and Wayne – who paint for Battle Front – give them British Khaki uniforms, i.e. brown. Looking at Battle Front: Late-war painting guide it seems they recommend Tamiya ‘Flat Earth’ (XF-52), although I suspect Ian uses Humbrol. Most of the BF Russian Helmets are green (e.g. Vallejo Russian Green). You can see more of Ian’s painting on my Crossfire pages.

BattleFront use Tamiya ‘Flat Earth’ (XF-52)
for the uniform and
Vallejo Russian Green for the helmets

I worried about this for a while, but then I read this …

The common uniform colour was called khaki, but this had an unusually wide definition. Uniforms varied from an ochre through a sort of dull chocolate brown, with various sandy green through camo green increasingly common towards the end of the war. (WW2 European theatre uniforms)

There was no standardization in the material itself, and I even have an excellent photo that clearly shows a female, soldier wearing a gymnastiorka tunic made out of lend-lease G.I. herringbone twill. Color of material varied from anything to near-white shades of green to dark brown and green khakis. An example of a gymnastiorka in the Patton museum is made of a wonderfully dark green shade of U.S. G.I. blanket wool. (Daniel Welch Portrayal Of Soviet Forces: The Frontovik)

… which by and large seems to include almost any brown or green shade.

Blankets were brown (Daniel Welch Portrayal Of Soviet Forces: The Frontovik).

According to World Army Uniforms Since 1939 (Mollo, McGregor, Smith & Chappell, 1973) the great coats could vary in colour from pale grey to red brown, whereas The Armed Forces of World War II: Uniforms, Insignia & Organisation (Mollo, 2000) says “greyish-brown”. In both books all Russian great coats are represented as grey.

For Scouts in camo, Roland used the same greenish Khaki but with dark green splotches on top. But this scheme is only one of a several used. Most scout figures wear a side cap which Roland painted normal greenish Khaki.

Steven’s Recommendations

Here’s how I’m gonig to paint my next battalion:

Item Steven
Helmet and Vehicles

Vallejo 70894 Russian Green (096) with two dry brushed layers of ligher shades (i.e mixed
with white)

Infantry Tunic, Breeches, Cap (if worn) For a brownish shade:

  • Base colour Vallejo English Uniform (141)

  • Highlight Vallejo 70880 Khaki Grey (113)

For a greenish shade

  • Cote D’arms 528 Russian Brown or Tamiya ‘Khaki’ (XF-49) both of which are greenish
Vallejo 70950 Black
Belts and webbing

Vallejo 70983 Flat Earth

Packs, bags, pouches, canvas on vehicles etc
Vallejo 70821 German Camo Beige (103) with one dry brushed lighter shade on bigger pieces
Great Coat / Coat Roll
Vallejo 70874 USA Tan Earth
Metal e.g. Guns barrels
Vallejo 70863 Gunmetal Grey
Wood e.g. Gun stocks
Vallejo 70875 Beige Brown
Faces and hands
Vallejo 70955 Flat Flesh
Wood e.g. Carts and Wagons

  • Heavy dry brush Cote D’arms 534 Dark Leather (Vallejo 145 German Camouflage Mid Brown)

  • Dry brush Cote D’arms 524 Tan Earth (Vallejo 113 Khaki Grey )
  • Light Dry brush 50:50 mix Cote D’arms 524 Tan Earth and White.

BattleFront Recommendations

I’ve just noticed that BF recommend quite a few variations for Soviets, including one big surprise 830 Fieldgrey as the uniform colour! Bolt Action Miniatures had a good Russian Army painting guide including Vallejo colours but since they were bought by Warlord Games it seems to have disappeared.

Item Colour BF Vallejo BAM Vallejo
Helmet and Vehicles Green

894 Russian Green

967 Olive Green
Infantry Tunic, Breeches, Cap (if worn) Field Drab/Khaki

880 Khaki Grey
or the unlikely

830 Fieldgrey !!!!

912 Tan Yellow
Cap band Infantry

Cavalry 925 Blue

Artillery 909 Vermillion

Boots Black
950 Black

950 Black

822 German Black Brown
Belts and webbing Dark Yellow/Khaki Drill

983 Flat Earth

978 Dark Yellow

822 German Black Brown
Packs, bags, pouches etc
821 German Camo Beige

924 Russian Uniform

821 German Camo Beige

916 Sand Yellow

912 Tan Yellow

847 Dark Sand
Great Coat / Coat Roll
874 USA Tan Earth

888 Olive Grey
Metal e.g. Guns barrels
863 Gunmetal Grey
Wood e.g. Gun stocks
875 Beige Brown

846 Mahogany Brown
Faces and hands
955 Flat Flesh
Tank Camouflage Earth Brown

983 Flat Earth

913 Yellow Ochre

Also check out

Dallas Ewen Painting Guide: Russian Uniforms and Equipment of World War II


2 comments to WW2 Painting Guide: Russian Infantry

  • Brett

    Great article. Thanks for showing all of the different paint colors. I have a question on Russian Army Commissars pants. Blue or Brown? I have seen them both ways.

  • peter bonfil

    Thanks model 1/35 Tanks, noticed troops in Doco Soviet Storm have light sand backpack and Early war have green helmets battle Berlin Olive drab or khaki drab,,cheers Peter,

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