Painting recipe for Soviet infantry in 20mm

As a wargamer, my go-to force at the moment (2020-2021) is the mighty, sprawling and impressive Soviet empire. As a reminder to myself, I’ve put together this article on my painting recipe for Soviet infantry, in my current favourite WW2 scale, 1/72nd, 20mm. The miniatures shown here are mainly from Plastic Soldier Company, however the scale and manufacturer of miniatures are completely arbitrary to the painting recipe below.

Unfortunately with selecting the sprawling Soviet empire, this comes with mass-infantry painting! I’ve noticed this is a trend in my miniature painting over the years; hordes of undead skeletons in Warhammer, swarms of Tyranids, waves of Imperial Guard infantrymen with 40k… now fields of Soviet’s! This painting recipe can happily be used for 20mm (e.g. Battlegroup) or 28mm (e.g. Bolt Action), it may even be suitable for 15mm (Flames of War), but some steps could be dropped for speed.

While my painting is by no means amazing, from a few feet away they are more than passable for my gaming needs.

Painting recipe for Soviet infantry

My painting recipe for Soviet infantry has changed a few times, but my current painting recipe is as follows:

  • Primed with Halfords Grey Primer,
  • Base coated all the uniform with Valleyo 70.880,
  • Webbing, belts and pouches are all painted with Valleyo 70.826,
  • The miniatures boots are given a healthy coating of Citadel Contrast paint Black Templar,
  • Water bottle and the spade cover, Citadel Death World Forest,
  • My current skin paint for 20mm is a simple layer of Citadel Kislev Flesh, it was originally Citadel Contrast Darkoath Flesh
  • Green helmets are Vallejo 70.894,
  • Wooden rifles, weapon butts and spade handles are painted Citadel Mournfang Brown,
  • Dark metal is either painted Citadel contrast Black Templar and given a light drybrush of Leadbelcher, or for simple metal items (such as sights or rifle bolts), painted with just Leadbelcher (Ironbreaker also works),
  • The whole miniature, minus the boots and helmet, is then given a wash of Citadel Agrax Earthshade,
  • The helmet then gets a small amount of Military Shader applied,

That’s basically my whole painting recipe for Soviet infantry. If you’re looking for the actual Vallejo paint names or codes, I’ve put together a rather extensive paint list of Vallejo paints and their correct codes.

Urban Soviet miniatures

As you can see, these urban themed miniatures are painted for fighting in the many rubble-filled streets of WW2, including the famous Stalingrad and Berlin battles.

Here are a few slightly older photos of the Soviet infantry:

Urban infantry bases

The bases for these urban Soviet’s involved covering base with Citadel Stirland Mud and pressing a few larger stones in. A few later bases had 00-scale bricks embedded too.

A tiny amount of sand was sprinkled on top too. All this was left to dry, before a healthy coat of cheap grey paint was applied to seal it all in. Once this coat was dried, Citadel Nuln Oil was applied and again left to dry.

Afterwards, a drybrush of a lighter grey was applied over all the raised areas on the base.

Some of the larger infantry bases had additional details added, such as small strips of wood (broken off matches), or metal bars (Styrene I-beams). These details can be seen in the photos below for both the LMG teams and the infantry-trios.

Also since the photos were taken, I’ve also used Light Dust AK Interactive pigments on the infantry bases and lower parts of the miniatures. This in my mind, helps tie the figure to the dusty urban environment the miniatures would be clambering over and through. I’ll aim to update this article with photos of these bases.

Rural Soviet miniatures

While I started with the urban Soviet infantrymen, most of my terrain and games have taken place in an entirely rural environment. It’s probably a fair bet most wargames of the WW2 era take place over green fields, with only the odd building here and there.

For this reason it wasn’t long before I began using my painting recipe for Soviet miniatures on lush green bases.

Obviously, the painting recipe of the miniatures stays the same European/rural bases. Since these pictured were taken, I have add a bit of European Dirt pigment by AK Interactive, on the boots of some of these minis, in an attempt to tie them into their bases a bit more.

Hopefully this paint recipe is to your taste. Enjoy

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