Painting Skin Tones on 15mm Wargaming Figures

Some notes on painting skin tones. Bear in mind I paint 15mm figures using the black undercoat.

European Skin Tones

I paint Europeans pretty simply. Using the Black Undercoat Method it is just a black with features highlighted with Flesh tone, i.e. forehead, nose, chin, checks, ears, hands.

Negro Skin Tones

I’ve tried a couple of schemes for painting Negro skin tones. I like the “one tone” approach because it is effective and simple. At the other end of the spectrum there are suggestions for multiple layers of dry brushing.

Negro Skin Tones – one tone

I paint 15mm figures so I use a very simple scheme. On a black undercoat I use Vallejo 140 (984) Flat Brown to paint the facial features (forehead, nose, checks, chin, ears) and other flesh (hands, arms, legs). Leave the black undercoat as shadow.

Negro Skin Tones – two tone

Before I landed on the one tone option I tried a two tone option:

  • Vallejo 149 Chocolate Brown Paint the facial features (forehead, nose, checks, chin, ears) and other flesh (hands, arms, legs). Coat D’arms 216 Negro would do as well.
  • Vallejo 139 Mahogany Brown Dry brush the flesh

This gives a slightly red-ish glow to the skin. Using just the base coat (Vallejo 149 Chocolate Brown or Coat D’arms 216 Negro) leaves the flesh areas too dark – the figure looks incomplete.

Negro Skin Tones – layers of dry brushing

If you want a more complicated/realistic painting guide then check out the vallejo colour palettes given on Cool Mini or Not: Ethnic Skin Tones. All references are to Vallejo paints. The table below gives the summary for Negro skin tones. There is a range of skin tones from dark skinned (African man) to light skinned (Afro-American woman). Just dry brush the way through you the list.

African Man
(Dark skin)
African Woman Afro-American Man Afro-American Woman
(Fair skin)

150 German Cam. Black Brown

140 Flat Brown

140 Flat Brown

139 Mahogany Brown

149 Chocolate Brown

139 Mahogany Brown

134 US Tan Earth

Mix 75% 136 Red Leather

and 25% 139 Mahogany Brown

Mix 50% 149 Chocolate Brown

and 50% 134 US Tan Earth

131 Orange Brown

131 Orange Brown
Ochre Brown #856

134 US Tan Earth

133 Cork Brown

133 Cork Brown
Dark Sand #847

Mix 75% 133 Cork Brown

and 25% 038 Brown Rose

132 Brown Sand

017 Basic Skintone
Mix 80% Iraqi Sand #819
and 20% Ivory #918

017 Basic Skintone

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