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Help: How to paint WW2 German MG in Acrylics

Discussion in 'Acrylics' started by Adrien Campbell, Aug 1, 2017.

  1. Adrien Campbell Active Member


    Could use some guidance on how to paint an MG42 and MP40 using acrylic paints. My poor searching abilities have yielded low results of value. If you have any tips or a link or two to share - much appreciated!

    Thanks in advance,

  2. valiant A Fixture

    I would paint the whole thing black first, then drybrush gunmetal.(y)
    napoleonpeart likes this.
  3. colonnello kurz Active Member

    Quote but instead of gunmetal you do the same with Graphite in powder or a "drybrush" with a very soft pencil
    napoleonpeart likes this.
  4. theBaron A Fixture

    I've used both of those. The important thing is to start with black.

    I've seen a discussion somewhere in the Web, maybe at Finescale, about this very topic. A number of veterans spoke up, including a good number of armorers, and they all agreed that starting with black produced the best, most realistic finish. Don't use gunmetal as the basic color, but black. Then drybrush a little of a metallic. That stuck with me.

    napoleonpeart likes this.
  5. Paul Owen New Member

    I paint the weapon with dark panzer grey and black for shadow/recesses. Then use a silicone tipped sculpting tool bought cheap of ebay and apply Vallejo gun metal powder to the weapon to highlight/accentuate.
    napoleonpeart likes this.
  6. JasonB Moderator

    Couple of methods I use, all starting with painting them black. Sometimes I use the graphite powder in a bottle, rubbing it on with a cotton swab or my finger and polishing a bit. I'll usually dry brush some brighter metallics (Testors Metalizer) on the high spots to show more wear. Also I have found that you can use the Metalizer very effectively for the overall metallic finish. If the paint it still good ( I have lots of old Metalizer hanging around), you get some on the brush and wipe it until its almost dry, as you would with dry brushing. Then drybrush it over the black base coat. Better yet, if you have a bottle that is about dried up, the metallic pigment works a lot like the graphite powder, but its more more controllable and permanent. I just brush it on over the black. If needed, I will then go back and do a dark wash,to tone it down or to pop out the details. The Metalizer is a very 'hot' paint, and thin, so burns off and drys quickly, making dry brushing it a snap.
    napoleonpeart likes this.
  7. Ferris A Fixture

    Here's something I tried on my Alpine Miniatures BAR gunner:

    (all Vallejo acrylics):

    1. Base coat is a mixture of black and some brown. For the magazine I used plain black to get some contrast. You can also do the base with a blueish tone.

    2. Very light drybrush of a slightly lighter black/brown.

    3. Several coats of thinned satin varnish to slowly build up a sheen. Stop before it turns glossy. I used thinned gloss varnish here, but prefer using thinned Future floor polish for this. It seems to be tighter, with less pooling, if you know what I mean.

    4. Careful drybrushing with progressively lighter mixes of metal paint (games workshop) and brown. The lightest mix only on a few selected spots. I would like to try doing this step with oils in the future, as they may well give a smoother result than acrylics, but overall I'm positively surprised by the games workshop metals. Not too grainy.

    5. Some pin washes with black oil paint or acrylics to enhance some of the contrast lost with drybrushing.

    6. In this case I added the marks on the barrel where a 'grab handle' can be attached. I noted it in some reference pics and thought it would make a nice touch. I taped off two areas on the barrel and did some drybrushing with metals.

    Key steps are to use a varnish for a basic sheen, and then the drybrushing with metals mixed with the base coat. The drybrushing also helps to polish the sheen I think, and drybrushing a smooth surface gives a less grainy effect than when used on a matt surface.


  8. Adrien Campbell Active Member

    Firstly, thank you to all for making this a great forum and for everybody's responses. Extremely appreciated.

    Adrian and Jason - particular thanks for taking the time for a detailed response. I think my issue also is a lack of a slower approach. I like the variation of the tones on different parts.

    I have dipped my toe (and now most of me) into 1/16 scale and enjoying the higher level of detail and the increased painting it commands (particular with Alpine figures, these figures paint themselves).

    Again, thank you all!!!


    napoleonpeart likes this.
  9. bigtodd PlanetFigure Supporter

    Ferris how do you do wood grain?
  10. Nap Moderator

    Hi Guys

    Great response and suggestions ..hood timing as well for me as I am painting a British pistol on my RP Models Lt Cains VC .

    As well as a graphite pencil , I think I will do a slight touch of a silvered pencil ..see how it looks !

  11. Ferris A Fixture


    Good question...it's been a while since I did that!
    I base the wood parts in some pale sand, or yellowish sand colour. Next I paint the wood grain in dark brown, following a photo reference of the real thing. Don't worry about strong contrast. This will be smoothed in the next step.
    Finally I paint several thin coats of Vallejo Woodgrain, sometimes mixed with a reddish brown colour. The Woodgrain is a glaze-like paint. It gives an effect comparable to thin layers of oil paint.
    Key is to find good photo references of the real thing and to try and follow them rather than some paint recipe.

    Here's an example of a fairly recent figure of mine:


    Luft and Martin64 like this.

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