Dust Tactics puts players in control of fantastic walkers and gritty squads of soldiers in an alternate 1940s reality in which World War II never ended. While the miniatures come pre-assembled, many players are discovering the extra rewards of bringing their miniatures to life with custom paint jobs.

In this article, we’re happy to present a step-by-step tutorial by Nam Nguyen that takes your miniatures from their raw state to a gorgeous finish with dramatic colors, highlights, and basing.


Step 1–Model Preparation

Dust Tactics models come pre-assembled and pre-primed, but I still make some adjustments before the paint is applied. To reposition the models, you have to first disassemble them. Carefully twist off the body from the legs, being careful not to damage any components. For these models, I used Testors Plastic Cement to secure the parts back in place after repositioning the pieces to my liking.

Due to the nature of the casting, some parts will bend. You can simply heat them with a hairdryer and bend them back in place. When you are satisfied with the position of the component, dip it in cold water to secure its position. Check the model for any mold lines leftover from the injection molding, and shave them off with an X-Acto knife.

Next, I used a paint brush to apply Elmer’s White Glue to the models’ bases. Any variation of PVA, White, or Wood Glue will do fine. Scatter Games Workshop Medium Slate on the bases. Try not to clutter the bases; one or two pieces will do fine. I covered the rest of the glue with Woodland Scenics Fine Basalt.

There is no need to prime the models as paint adheres perfectly to the models. However, you may prime the model if you choose.

Step 2–Painting

This tutorial is put together to be friendly to beginners but also to show the progression through all the painting techniques.

As a novice, you may wish to begin only with a basecoat. As you gain more practice, you can move on to the next technique. This tutorial should help you learn and progress in your painting without having to redo all of your models.

Technique 1–Basecoats:

Editor’s Note: The first step is to apply basecoats to the uniforms, armor, metal, bases, skin, and boots and gloves. The initial paints present a slightly lighter tone than the finished miniature because the colors will darken with washes. While Nam provides careful instructions to help you replicate his paint work, you are free to experiment with the endless variety of paint schemes available.

Beginners will want to note that paint straight from the bottle may be too thick for the best results. Master painters dilute the paint until it’s the consistency of milk, and coat the miniatures with several thin layers. If you are newer, just be careful that your paint is thin enough to avoid “globbing” on the miniature.

Uniforms: Tamiya Model Paints Khaki
Armor: Vallejo Model Color Camo Olive Green
Metal: Citadel Paints Boltgun Metal
Bases: Tamiya Model Paints JGSD Brown
Skin: Citadel Paints Tallarn Flesh
Boots and Gloves: Citadel Paints Chaos Black

Technique 2–Washes:

Editor’s Note: Washes apply several very light layers of watery paint across the folds in the uniform and the grooves of the metal. The paint will catch more fully in the folds and crevasses of the sculpt work, darkening them so the color reflects a more natural balance of light and dark tones. This simple step can make a basic paint job look much more realistic.

Uniform: Citadel Paints Devlan Mud
Metal: Citadel Paints Badab Black

At this stage, you will handle the armor and skin separately.

Armor: Line the recesses of the armor with Citadel Paints Chaos Black.
Skin: Highlight the skin with Citadel Paints Elf Flesh. You will wash the skin later. For now, be careful to leave the base-color in the recesses.

Technique 3–Highlights:

Editor’s Note: Highlighting can be the most difficult part of painting a miniature, but it can separate the good miniature from the spectacular by causing contrasts in colors to leap to the eye.

I divided uniform, armor and skin highlights into two steps. The metal and boots and gloves look fantastic with just a single step.

Step One:
Uniform: Reaper Master Series Faded Khaki
Armor: Highlight the edges with Vallejo Model Color Splinter Strips
Metal: Citadel Paints Mithril Silver
Skin: At this point, I washed the skin with Citadel Paints Ogryn Flesh.
Boots and Gloves: Citadel Paints Codex Grey

Step Two:
Uniform: Reaper Master Series Stained Ivory
Armor: A one-to-one mix of Vallejo Model Color Splinter Strips and Citadel Paints Charadon Granite
Skin: Citadel Paints Elf Flesh

Custom Touches:

At this stage the models are fully painted, but I took this extra step to customize my models and make them stand out even more.

First, I painted the Medic’s helmet white with Citadel Paints Astronomican Grey, Reaper Master Series Misty Grey, Reaper Master Series Snow Shadow, and Citadel Paints Skull White. Then I hand-painted a Red Cross with Citadel Paints Blood Red.

I painted the goggles with Citadel Paints Chaos Black, Citadel Paints Regal Blue, Citadel Paints Enchanted Blue, Citadel Paints Ice Blue, and Citadel Paints Skull White.

The commander’s hat received the same color treatment used on the armor: Vallejo Model Color Camo Olive Green, Vallejo Model Color Splinter Strips, and one-to-one Vallejo Model Color Splinter Strips and Citadel Paints Kommando Khaki.

Step 3–Basing:

Editor’s Note: After all the careful attention dedicated to giving your miniatures the best paint jobs possible, basing completes the effort by creating a more grounded footing, so it’s easier to imagine that your miniatures stand on something other than a raw plastic base.

Before adding texture, I dry-brushed over the Tamiya Model Paints JGSD Brown with Citadel Paints Bleached Bone before painting the base rim with Citadel Paints Chaos Black. The bolts in the base are painted with Citadel Paints Chainmail. The rocks are painted in Citadel Paints Codex Grey and highlighted with Citadel Paints Fortress Grey.

Then I again applied a layer of Elmer’s White Glue, added splotches of Citadel Scorched Static Grass, and glued on bushes made by Woodland Scenics.

Finally, after the bases were done, I applied various decals from leftover model kits. Here you can see a finished Allied Rangers Command Squad .

Thanks for the tutorial, Nam. The miniatures look great!

If you were inspired to try painting miniatures after reading this article, be sure to submit photos of them for our miniatures painting contest . Meanwhile, you can find more photos of miniatures in our community forum . We will continue to post more of the best painting tips and tutorials from the community as enthusiasm for Dust Tactics continues to spread, so keep checking our site for updates.

Dust Tactics is a tactical miniatures game of brutal combat for 2-4 players. Based on the popular universe created by artist Paolo Parente, Dust Tactics presents an alternate 1940s reality in which alien technology fuels gigantic machines of war, and the world's superpowers clash over rare mineral deposits that could ultimately decide the outcome of WWII.

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