After a few request I decided to write up a tutorial about how I paint the MARPAT on my USMC forces. It's actually a lot simpler than it seems at first as the goal isn't to replicate the camo pattern, but rather to achieve something that looks similar from a distance.
From the close up picture you can see that the pixels form stripes and rather large patches of paint with the colour distribution being roughly 45% brown, 45% green, 7% black and 3% grey. The individual colour patches are also pretty large and can go around the whole arm for example. If you look at the picture below it's pretty clear that even from a distance of around 10-15 meters the pattern is pretty much indistinguishable and the only thing that's visible is the general shade. This is pretty much what you should go for as the distances you normally view the mini from are going to be something like 40 meters in real life.
Colours used (Vallejo Model Colour unless otherwise stated):
- 70824 German Camo Orange Ochre
- 70890 Reflective Green
- 79894 Russian Green
- 70886 Green Grey
- 70995 German Grey (or black if you like)
- 70992 Neutral Grey
- 70921 English Uniform
- 70998 Khaki
- 70917 Beige
- 70825 German Camo Pale Brown
- 70815 Basic Skintone
- 70860 Medium Fleshtone
- Games Workshop Devlan Mud/Army Painter Strong Tone Ink, or any other dark brown wash/ink
Start by painting the whole uniform with German Camo Orange Ochre. This is the base colour on the real uniform and being the lightest colour it is also best to paint it first so you won't have any issues with coverage.
The base colour is followed by Reflective Green. This should be applied with horizontal and vertical brushstrokes to simulate the sharp edges in the camouflage pattern. Cover roughly half of the whole uniform and try to make all the patches a bit irregular. Leave some holes in the green to let the original base colour show through.
Next comes German Grey that should be applied in a similar way to the green, except in much smaller patches. This layer should cover around 10 percent or slightly less of the uniform. Try to cover a bit of both previous layers and connect a few patches of green with this dark grey. This layer could also be painted black, but personally I dislike using a pure black colour in miniatures as it is too dark for the scale effect.
Final camo layer is Green Grey that should be applied very sparingly. Add small dots and lines here and there on the uniform. This only covers a small portion of the uniform so try to keep it to only a few percent of the whole area.
The strap on his boonie should be painted with Russian Green. It could also be painted with the same green as used on the uniform, but I wanted it to be a slightly different shade to add at least some variation to the model. Any dark green is fine.
The webbing and shoes on the model are basecoated with English Uniform. These are then highlighted with a 50/50 mix of English Uniform and Khaki. Remember to paint all straps on leg panels and kneepads too as these are very easily forgotten.
The plastic parts of any kneepads are painted with Russian Green. I don't really bother highlighting them as they are such a small detail and a wash is enough to bring out detail.
Gloves are painted with Khaki and highlighted first with a 50/50 mix of Khaki and Beige followed by a final highlight of Beige. These could also be painted black, but I've chosen to have them a light colour to give a bit of contrast between the weapons and their hands.
All black items like the weapons, radios, hydration system chords etc. are painted with German Grey and highlighted with Neutral Grey. Once again I feel that pure black would make the items too dark. Also in real life dust would quickly give a light cover for all equipment so lighter colours can simulate that too.
Finally I finish painting the skin on the models. I've basecoated them with German Camo Pale Brown. From there I progressively work through Medium Fleshtone and Basic Skintone using around 5 layers. One layer of all the three paints as a pure layer and then 50/50 mixes in between.
I personally use GW's Devlan Mud and sometimes the new army painter ink versions of their popular quickshade dips. Nothing special about the job here, but remember not to go overboard when applying it over the uniform and webbing. The whole point of a camouflage uniform is to hide body contours and shadows, so having the paint pool in crevasses can really start to look bad. What you want to achieve is to add contrast to pockets, straps etc.
So just remember less is more when using a wash. It's always better to use a few light layers than a single thick one.