Spanish Civil War Painting Guide: Republican

This is my painting guide for the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War. See the overall Painting Guide for general colour suggestions.

Republican Militia

Any old civilian kit (usually brown), or service items from the Pre-war peninsular army (that is greenish-tinged khaki like the Nationalist service uniform) or from the Paramilitary forces (Dark Blue Assault Guards, or Grey-green for Civil Guard and Carabineros). The most common Militia items were a forage cap and overalls.

Fore-and-aft forage cap (if worn)

Default: Greenish-tinged khaki with red piping. Optional red star pinned to front.

Anarchist: Black over red with colours divided diagonally from bottom left to top right (on both sides).

Worker’s overall (“mono”) (if worn)

The “mono” was usually dark blue, but could be grey, brown, light blue or white.

Republican Popular Army and International Brigades

These combined pre-war equipment (the greenish-tinged khaki of the Nationalist Service Uniform) with the official popular army kit (brownish-tinged khaki) with civilian clothes (brown) with French army-surplus uniforms. In other words, anything goes but usually brownish. Coat D’arms 501 British Khaki seems close to the official colour, however, a mixing in 524 Tan Earth, 528 Russian Brown, 537 Faded Khaki 225 Khaki, and 502 Field Drab will work well.

The best way to paint them is to browse Bradley (1994) and Bueno (1971) and then paint randomly.

Rank devices

Early: Prior to Sep 1936 the Republicans used the per-war insignia (see Bradley, 1994, figure I1 to I8).

Late: With the formation of the Popular Army all that changed (see Bradley, 1994, figure J1 to J10).

Spanish Rank English Rank Rank Device Illustration
Soldado Private
Soldado de 1a clase Private 1st Class
Cabo Corporal
Sargento Sergeant
Brigada Sergeant Major
Alférez Second Lieutenant
Teniente Lieutenant
Capitan Captain
Commandante Major
Teniente Coronel Lt. Colonel
Coronel Colonel
General de Brigada Brigadier
General de División General

* Officer ranks were shown in a number ways. Typically it was shown on the tunic, shirt, and cap/hat:

  • On the tunic and shirt:
    • On the cuff (Captains and below had it just above the cuff; higher officers had it actually on the cuff), or
    • On a biscuit (galleta) on the left breast. This was a coloured piece of rectangular material on immediately above the breast pocket. See branch-of-service section for the colour.
  • On the shirt on a biscuit (galleta) on the left breast.
  • On the cap/hat depending on the style worn:
    • Front of the fore-and-aft forage cap (except the Legion)
    • Band of a peaked cap

Branch-of-service indicators

Same as pre-war before Sept 1936.

Branch-of-service Piping Badge Officer Galetta
Light Infantry
Armoured troops
Medical troops
Unit commanders (Majors through Colonels)
Provisional officers
Brigadiers through Generals

Spanish Helmet (if worn)

Painted a nondescript dark greenish grey.

French Adrian Helmet (if worn)

Painted brown (see Bradley, 1994, C1, E2)

Berets (if worn)

Black or brown or greenish-tinged khaki or brownish-tinged khaki.

Forage Cap (if worn)

Greenish-tinged khaki piped red

Ski Cap (if worn)

brownish-tinged khaki or Greenish-tinged khaki.

Tunics / Jackets

Greenish-tinged khaki, brownish-tinged khaki, brown or black leather.


Greenish-tinged khaki, brownish-tinged khaki or brown civilian.

Gaiters / Puttees

Brown leather or Greenish-tinged khaki

Leather boots, belts, etc

Mostly Brown, some black

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