Painting uniforms in olive color

A THEME IN OLTVE DRAB.  


The US Army uniforms and equipment at the Korean War are very similar to those used in WWII and truly a variation of browns and greens in colour commonly depicted as 'olive drab'. The challenge here was to avoid monotony by introducing some variation inside the olive drab range of colours in combination with the weathering effects that were very significant in this particular case: mud, snow and the terrible cold suffered by the Marines at the Chosin Reservoir. I painted this figure using acrylic paints all the way to the end. The details on colours and mixings are related in the final chart.

The face had to represent all the terrible conditions mentioned above. To this aim, I prepared a pale base colour to be treated later with shadow and intermediate tones a bit brighter, by basically adding raw sienna. For the beard unusual feature for a Marine expressing the harsh conditions of this campaign-, I chose a dark brown colour. I used some greyish blue to represent the effect of frozen breathing on the moustache and the chin. The kind of parka overcoat is probably the part of the model that required more painting work, as there are a lot of creases, seams and pockets clamoring for special attention in order to get a good general result. US Army uniforms of the period adhered to the layering principle with a variety of garments worn one over the other. This overcoat was furnished with an alpaca lining and brown buttons made of plastic.


Once the overcoat was completed with shadowing and lighting processes, I painted some mud and stains on the lower edges together with some effect of moisture. Next step was to paint the web equipment. I decided to use an olive green - an usual colour for US accoutrements. Trousers were painted olive green too; all aimed to introduce some colour diversity inside the narrow range of possibilities with this type of uniform. The duty gloves were made from black leather and I used a medium brown to treat them. The rifle frame was cedar wood, a reddish material much favoured by the US Army. The rifle sling could be khaki canvas or brown leather. Again looking for contrast, I chose the leather option. Doubtless, the most 'colourful' item was the helmet cover piece sporting a camuflage pattern of four colours: two greens and two browns, all spaced in pro- fuse, irregular spots. No base was included. However, I thought a ground base adding some atmosphere to the piece was almost indispensable here.

Simply using modelling putty, fine sand and rocks of different size sand shapes, I created a rough and soft terrain in accordance with that of the battle. The painting was made by mixing several hues of browns mixed at random and not worrying too much as all was going to be covered with snow later. Though there are quite a lot of methods to represent snow in modelling my favorite is fine marble powder mixed with gloss varnish until a paste is formed that is thick enough to be easily applied. In order to enliven the piece some snow was added to the boots. In conclusion a rewarding -though indeed not colourful- piece of good sculpting and casting up to standards not easy to find in large resin figures.