This is my WW2 Painting Guides for Soviet Infantry. I was puzzled by Soviet Infantry uniforms of World War II for a while because two mates of mine, Roland and Ian, both of whom know their stuff, painted Russians in completely different colours. Apparently this is okay.
Green versus Brown Uniforms
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.
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.
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.
Here’s how I’m going to paint my next battalion (see WW2 Painting Guide: Soviet Motorised Rifle Battalion with Vallejo Paints):
|Item||Steven’s Paint Recommendation||Colour Patch|
|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 70921 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|
|Boots||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.|
I’ve just noticed that Battle Front (BF) recommend quite a few variations for Soviets, including one big surprise 830 Fieldgrey as the uniform colour! Bolt Action Miniatures (BAM) had a good Russian Army painting guide including Vallejo colours but since they were bought by Warlord Games it seems to have disappeared.
|Item||Actual Colour||Guide||Paint Recommendation||Colour Patch|
|Helmet and Vehicles||Green||BF||Vallejo 894 Russian Green|
|BAM||Vallejo 967 Olive Green|
|Infantry Tunic, Breeches, Cap (if worn)||Field Drab/Khaki||BF||Vallejo 880 Khaki Grey|
|or the unlikely Vallejo 830 Fieldgrey !!!!|
|BAM||Vallejo 912 Tan Yellow|
|Cap band||BAM||Infantry: ?||?|
|Cavalry: Vallejo 925 Blue|
|Artillery: Vallejo 909 Vermillion|
|Boots||Black||BF||Vallejo 950 Black|
|BAM||Vallejo 950 Black|
|or Vallejo 822 German Black Brown|
|Belts and webbing||Dark Yellow/Khaki Drill||BF||Vallejo 983 Flat Earth|
|or Vallejo 978 Dark Yellow|
|BAM||Vallejo 822 German Black Brown|
|Packs, bags, pouches etc||BF||Vallejo 821 German Camo Beige|
|BAM||Vallejo 924 Russian Uniform|
|or Vallejo 821 German Camo Beige|
|or Vallejo 916 Sand Yellow|
|or Vallejo 912 Tan Yellow|
|or Vallejo 847 Dark Sand|
|Great Coat / Coat Roll||BF||Vallejo 874 USA Tan Earth|
|BAM||Vallejo 888 Olive Grey|
|Metal e.g. Guns barrels||BF||Vallejo 863 Gunmetal Grey|
|Wood e.g. Gun stocks||BF||Vallejo 875 Beige Brown|
|or Vallejo 846 Mahogany Brown|
|Faces and hands||BF||Vallejo 955 Flat Flesh|
|Tank Camouflage||Earth Brown||BF||Vallejo 983 Flat Earth|
|or Vallejo 913 Yellow Ochre|
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4 thoughts on “WW2 Painting Guide: Russian / Soviet Infantry”
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.
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,
THANKS FOR THE WORK YOU PUT IN
Great article. I think you’ll find Russian officer hat bands somewhat counterintuitive to the West. Tankers and Artillerymen wore black, infantry (and NKVD) wore “red” in a “raspberry” – (NKVD hat tops were blue (just a bit brighter than the cavalry -(Vallejo 70.925 might do)). The link below may help (it’s the best compared to the US Army Guide that is now out of print that I have. The field piping should be this (possibly Vallejo 70.802?) while the darker red for stripes on the boards and field caps/hats is close to 70.947.
Note – the shoulder boards depicted first are “dress” rather than the “field” versions further down. Piping will be tough, depending on your scale and skill. But they should help.
1941-1943 is another story, I’m looking for an equally suited link