Painting the Germans

I had a surprising amount of trouble finding satisfactory colours to paint my German figures with. For those of you who find yourselves in a similar situation, here is what I settled on. Figures were mainly painted with Coat d'Arms (CdA), Tamiya and Games Workshop (GW) paints, although some Vallejo and MP paints were used too. My thanks to the members of the Forum of Doom who provided suggestions as to suitable paints. The Coat d'Arms German Kit proved very useful.

Helmet CdA Green-Grey. Slate grey is probably a more accurate colour for late war Germans but the Green-Grey adds a bit of contrast.

Tunics, Trousers and Caps. Most paints sold as "Field Grey" were too green for my taste. While German uniforms were supposed to be a grey-green to my eye they are more grey than green and tended to get greyer as the war progressed. Some later uniform variants are simply described as "Mouse grey". I basecoated my figures with Vallejo Field Grey but settled on Tamiya Light Grey as the final colour. This was given a wash of CdA Field Grey to give a greenish tinge.

Early patterns of tunic had "blue-green" collars and shoulderboards. As the war progressed these switched to grey but the green items were still worn right up to the end of the war. A green collared tunic was often the mark of a veteran. Just to make things more complicated shoulderboards were sometimes worn upside down to deny the enemy inteligence about the units.
For Green collars and shoulderboards I used Tamiya JN Green. I'm told Vallejo Dark Green and GW Dark Angel green are suitable colours too.

Webbing -painted black and belt buckles painted GW Boltgun metal. Officers were supposed to wear brown leather belts but in the field these would often be dyed black or enlisted men's belts used.

Gas Mask Canister CdA Army Green drybrushed with GW Chainmail to look worn.

Messtin CdA Black-Green, my rational being that cooking would blacken the outside.

Breadbag- these came in green, light brown and grey. I painted mine with GW graveyard earth, allowing me to do the waterbottles at the same time.

Waterbottle. Graveyard earth and then a coat of Brown Ink. The upper part and strap were painted black.

Boots Jackboots were painted Black and/or Tamiya Nato Black. Ankle boots were painted Vallejo German Cammo Brown.
Gaiters -painted with Tamiya Field Grey, which is very close to Olive Drab. Straps painted with MP Leather Brown.

Weapons. Small arms were painted with Tamiya Gunmetal and Tamiya Flat Earth, with MP Leather Brown being used for the slings. Panzerfaust were painted with Vallejo Buff while Panzerschreck were painted in Tamiya Buff with cammo spots added in green. I think I used Tamiya Field Grey for the green bits.

Ammo pouches. Rifle ammo pounches are painted black. MP40 and StG44 pouches painted a green such as Tamiya field grey.

Greatcoats. Early issue greatcoats had a blue-green collar. I've decided to give most of my troops the later issue all grey greatcoats. While nominally field grey I used Tamiya Dark Grey for my coats and drybrushed them with CdA Uniform Grey. Officers were allowed to buy and wear Grey-green leather coats. For this I used Vallejo German Uniform Green highlighted with Vallejo Field Grey. This was then coated with some Matt varnish that is not meeting its job description and polished up a bit with my thumb.

Cammo items. The German army did not issue anything like the variety of patterns that the SS used, although SS issue cammo could be found being worn by army personnel. All of my figures have a representation of Army "Splinter" pattern, although the splinter marks would be too small to see on this scale. Factory-fresh Splinter pattern appears to have been Medium Green, Light Green and Red-Brown but this tended to fade with wear, washing and variable dye quality. For most of my cammo-wearing figures I painted their clothing Tamiya Dark Yellow and then added Tamiya Red-Brown and Tamiya Field Grey or CdA Army Green. For the ponchos I reasoned these would be worn less often so painted them Tamiya Field Grey and added patches of Tamiya Red-Brown and MP Stone Green. Ponchos were often printed with a dark pattern on one side and a lighter one on the other.

The Army Cammo smock was printed with cammo pattern on one side and white on the other and was a pullover garment with white lacing at the neck. The latter would probably soon become dirty with use.
The Army Parka was also reversible, being white on one side and either mouse grey or camouflage pattern on the other. A flaw in this design was that if worn grey or cammo side out the white interior of the hood would be visible, and the reverse would be true if worn white side out. Another flaw was being a warm garment the parka was worn all the time so the white side rapidly became dirty and less effective as snow camouflage. That is why modern armies tend to issue white snowshirts and oversuits that can be easily washed.

Trimmings. Buttons on field items tended to be made field grey so don't have to be painted separately. The eagle emblems on caps and the right breast were made of a very light grey/white material. I chose to represent this with GW Mithril Silver.
German uniform also incorporated a Waffenfarbe or "Branch colour" which would be most noticeable as piping around the shoulder strap. I chose to make most of my figures PanzerGrenadiers so used MP Grass Green. Some PanzerGrenadier units used Rose Pink, the same colour as Panzer and Panzerjaeger troops. I suspect that this may have been more common in PanzerGrenadier regiments that were part of a Panzer Division. Just to make things more complicated some Panzer units used the Golden Yellow colour that had been for Cavalry and was now for Reconnaissance troops. Other colours used were White for Infantry, light green for Jaeger Infantry and Red for Artillery (including Assault gun crews). But remember that in the German Army many anti-tank guns were under infantry/panzergrenadier control so their crews might wear White, Light Green or Grass Green etc!

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