Dales Desert Painting Guide

Dale has just finished writing up a painting guide for the ARC Fleet Light Recon Troops he painted for the sites Store and has passed it along to me to post. You can see the original miniatures in pack AFLR2.


Welcome to the first Critical Mass Games Painting guide, this is by no means meant to be a definitive ‘this is how you must do it’ guide, it is just the way I painted the desert colour scheme used for the Arc Fleets Arc recon figures for the shop section of the website.

I use paints from several different ranges, I make no apology for this I’m going to use what I think is best for the job, feel free to make any changes or make substitutions you feel you need to, although this will not produce the same effect.

For this scheme I cleaned up the figures (obviously) with a sharp scalpel and needle file and then undercoated them with a matt white spray primer.

I used the following colours;

Vallejo Model Colour Dark Yellow
Vallejo Model Colour Desert Yellow
Vallejo Model Colour German Camouflage Black Brown
Vallejo Model Colour Yellow Ochre
Vallejo Model Colour White
Vallejo Game Colour Scrofulous Brown
Games Workshop Golden Yellow
Windsor & Newton Peat Brown Ink

Base colours

First off I painted the under suit Dark Yellow, in fact as a matter of expediency I painted the whole figure Dark Yellow, thinning slightly with water to increase the paints flow but not to much to completely delight the paints pigment. I am only neat when I need to be so it is just a case of ‘slapping’ the colour on.

Next using the Black Brown, again thinned, carefully paint all the padding and straps that you want to be brown, I even did the sniper rifle (a sniper with a ‘big assed shiny gun’ would be less than useless). Lastly for this stage paint the visor Scrofulous Brown and let everything dry completely.


The next step is easy, no skill and very little patience is required here. Take the Windsor and Newton Peat Brown ink and give the whole figure a good coat. It is very important here that you let the miniature completely dry before continuing. If you do not like the glossy finish of W&N; inks you can add a small amount of Vallejo matt medium to your ink to eliminate the shine (or a whole lot to the pot as I do- Craig).


What we are going to do now is a very basic highlight, there’s none of the flashy blending, we are just going to repaint the figure using slightly lighter colours but leaving the ink that has now collected and dried in the recesses of the figure and a little of the original colour still showing still showing, It’s a little difficult to explain in words but hopefully the pictures will fill in any blanks I leave.

Firstly take the Desert Yellow, we are going to use this as a highlight for the Dark yellow, so where there are raised creases in the cloth or where it may be drawn taught like at the knees and elbows all need highlighting with Desert yellow. Then we’ll move on to the armour, go back to the Black brown and add a very small amount of Yellow ochre just to lighten it slightly. Now we are going to use this to highlight the brown armour.

We use a slightly different criteria for highlighting with rigid items like armour, we’re just going to carefully paint the edges of things lighter, so the edges of the shoulder pads, helmet especially around the visor, around the raised up pads on this chest and the packs and straps around his legs.

Lastly the visor, take some of the scrofulous brown and add some Golden yellow and again paint the edges, in the case of the visor I find highlighting either the top or bottom edge only as this makes it seem like a light source is reflecting either up of down the glass.


If you are after that last ‘push over the cliff’ you can go for a last highlight using the same techniques outlined above but lightening the colours a little more. So add a little white to the Desert Yellow for the cloth, a little more yellow ochre to the Black Brown for the armour and a little white to the Scrofulous Brown/golden yellow mix you already have going for the visors.

You can also add more detail like a simple camouflage pattern to the weapons and nice simple insignia to shoulder pads although at this scale anything more complex then simple geometric shapes are going to prove to be a real bugbear.

I’d also advise once you have painted your figures up to give them a couple of coats of a clear polyurethane varnish for protection, I like Games Workshops ‘ardcoat, followed by a couple of coats of a good quality matt varnish to get rid of the awful shininess, for this I think you cannot beat Testors Dullcote.

I hope you have found that useful, Dale.

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