British Line Infantry (Peninsular War) Bryan’s Step by step painting guide

Welcome to my step by step painting guide for the iconic British Redcoat of the Napoleonic wars. I’ll be covering how to get your minis painted up to the best they can look, but also as quickly and efficiently as possible to help you field a full force on the tabletop without getting burnt out halfway through the project. Because this is our aim, the guide is designed for a group of miniatures (4-10) to be worked on in a batch style. I have chosen a pack of 6 British Flank Company Skirmishers from Perry Miniatures, very nice sculpts indeed.

Step 1 - Coloured primer & flesh

Right, let’s get stuck in. I have used a common coloured spray primer, Skeleton Bone by Army Painter, to both prime my models and put down one of the major colours of the miniature in one step. The bone colour is the perfect base shade for the white sections of the uniform and is a great light/neutral colour for the other colours to come later. The first of which is the flesh. I start here and work out from there, as any paint which crosses out of the flesh area by accident will be painted over later by subsequent colours, saving any specific clean up time.

Flesh: Cadian Fleshtone (Citadel)

Step 2 - Base colours 1

I’ll break down the base colours into sets that are best done together and in the order presented. The reason for this is if you paint the colours in this order it should save on any clean ups as the new colors will just paint over previous mistakes. The other reason is each set of base colours can easily be tackled in a short painting session, usually an evenings painting.I completed this group of minis over 5 nights after work, around the normal real life responsibilities

Trousers & breadbag, jacket cuffs and collar: Pale Sand (Vallejo) *Note; leave the recesses of these areas the original primer colour to help create the shadows.

White crossbelts and epaulettes: White Scar (Citadel)

Step 3 - Base colours 2

Jacket Cuffs and collar: Casandora Yellow (Citadel) *Note;This is a wash but since we shaded the base area in the previous step this will be all we need to do for the yellow parts of the uniform, no highlights needed.  

Jacket: Mephiston Red (Citadel)

Shako, backpack, cartridge box, bayonet scabbard, boots & gaiters: Matt Black (Army Painter)

Water bottle: Prussian Blue (Vallejo)

Plume: Black Green (Vallejo)

Bedroll (on backpack): Eshin Grey (Citadel

Step 4 - Base colours 3

Jacket Cuffs and collar: Casandora Yellow (Citadel) *Note;This is a wash but since we shaded the base area in the previous step this will be all we need to do for the yellow parts of the uniform, no highlights needed.  

Cuff buttons, Musket barrel & lock: Leadbelcher (Citadel)

Musket butt: Brass Scorpian (Citadel)

Shako plate, cross belt buckle: Retributor Armour (Army Painter)

Musket stock: Flat Brown (Vallejo)

Hair: Rhinox Hide (Citadel)

Base: Steel Legion Drab (Citadel

Step 5 - Highlights

With all the base colours out of the way it’s now time for highlights. Taking extra care and using a good fine detail brush at this stage is well worth it. I use a size 00 brush from Windsor and Newton Series 7. This stage may take a while, but after this the models are almost compete and the following stage (washes) is really fun, easy and where the mini’s really come to life. The reason I apply highlights BEFORE washes is I don’t have the time to mix and blend trough my stages of highlights. Instead I use ready made colours to progress through the highlights and let the subsequent washes do the blending for me. Using ready made colours also allows you to stop and start at anytime and for your minis to all look consistent across the army.

Here are the highlight colours for the various parts of the model:
Flesh: Kislev Flesh (Citadel) followed by Flayed one Flesh (Citadel)

Jacket: Evil Sunz Scarlet (Citadel) followed by Wild Rider Red (Citadel)

Shako, backpack, cartridge box, bayonet scabbard, boots & gaiters: German Grey (Vallejo)

Water bottle: 50/50 mix of Prussian Blue (Vallejo) & Fenrisian Grey (Citadel)

Plume: Intermediate Green (Vallejo) followed by Sky Green (Vallejo)

Trousers & breadbag: White Scar (Citadel)

Hair: Flat Earth (Vallejo)

Musket Stock: Tuskgor Fur (Citadel)

Bedroll (on backpack): Stormvermin Fur (Citadel) followed by Administratum Grey (Citadel)

Base: Drybrush of Iraqi Sand (Vallejo)

Step 6 - Gloss varnish

To assist the effectiveness of the washes which will finish off the minis in the next step I first gloss varnish the models (spray or hand painted). The gloss varnish gives the surface of the models are very smooth coat, allowing the washes to really flow well into the recessed areas and not pool on the raised areas. It will also protect your minis and make them much more hard wearing gaming pieces.

Step 7 - Washes

The purpose of the washes in this method is to add the shadows as per normal, but also blend the previous highlights and base colours. To get the best results in creating maximum contrast and not wipe out all the hard work of the highlights, make sure to thin your washes down using not water, but flow medium. I have used Lahmian Medium from Citadel. The advantage of using flow medium instead of water is it allows the washes pigment to remain strong while flowing right where you want it to go.

Remember all the following washes are mixed 25/75 flow medium & wash:

Flesh & hair: Reikland Fleshshade (Citadel)

Jacket: Jumpsuit shader (Army Painter) Or, Carroburg Crimson (Citadel)

Water bottle, musket, Bedroll: Nuln Oil (Citadel)

Plume: Coelia Greenshade (Citadel)

White Crossbelts, breadbag: 80/20 mix of Nuln Oil (Citadel) and Agrax Earthshade (Citadel)

Trousers: For variation do some with Seraphim Sepia (Citadel) and some with the same mix as the white areas above.

Step 8 - Final details

That’s almost it! All that’s left is to paint the eyes, which is very optional. For mine I use a sized 00 brush and paint a tiny horizontal white line, followed by a black dot. To finish the models off, give them a coat of matt varnish. I used a spray of Testors Dullcote, or on humid days I use a brush on varnish (AK interactive ultra matte). After the varnish is dry I used PVA glue to add various grass tufts, flock and leaves to the bases. The colour of the grass tufts helps set the scene for where your Redcoats are campaigning. Mine are for the dusty Spanish fields so I used various beige and brown 6mm tufts from Gamers grass. The flock is Woodland Scenics winter grass and the leaves are birch tree seeds.

And there you have it! Napoleonic uniforms are very complex and so the minis take a long time to paint, my guide should hopefully help you cut the right corners and get produce some Redcoats you can be proud of.

I am happy to answer any questions you may have on this guide in the comments below, and don’t forget to share your Redcoats on the Paint All The Minis Facebook group.