WWII German Heer Grenadiers Painting Guide

Bryan’s step by step painting guide

Hi guys, welcome to another step-by-step painting guide. This time for WW2 German army (Heer) infantry of the years of the war. This guide is a little different to how I usually do them, instead of painting a group of models from beginning to end, the guide is broken up into the different parts of the model, but is still step by step. This should allow you to paint your late war German infantry, no matter what variation of uniform they have.

Part 1 - Field Grey

A good part to begin painting first is the uniform itself as it’s usually the majority of the model. Follow these steps for a field grey I feel gives an iconic grey-green feel.

STEP 1: The models have been primed with black spray primer (I used Chaos Black by Citadel) and then give a spray coat of Field Grey by The Plastic Soldier Company.

STEP 2: Using a large old brush, wash the uniform areas with a mix of 70/30 Dark Tone (Army Painter) and Lahmian Medium (Citadel).

STEP 3: Using a size 1 brush I carefully highlighted the uniforms raised edges with German Field Grey (Vallejo).

STEP 4: Using a size 00 brush I added fine highlights of Green Grey (Vallejo).

STEP 5: To finish off I washed the uniform once more, this time with Storm Cloud Blue wash (Secret Weapon Miniatures). This pulls the extreme highlights together and adds a blue-ish tint.

Part 2 - Helmets and Gas mask canisters

Next up I tend to paint the helmet and some of the gear that is the same colour as I use a sponge for the chipping effects and it can get on other parts of the mini.

STEP 1: Basecoat of German Camo Dark Green (Vallejo).

STEP 2: Use a size 1 brush to apply a highlight of 70/30 Brown Violet (Vallejo) and German Camo Dark Green (Vallejo). Apply a final highlight with a 00 sized brush of Russian Uniform (Vallejo).

STEP 3: Apply chipping to the helmet using blister pack foam to dab on a 70/30 mix of German Grey and black.

STEP 4: Do a final wash of 70/30 Coelia Greenshade (Citadel) and Lahmian Medium (Citadel) .

Part 3 - Skin tones

Although it’s not unique to painting late war German infantry, for completeness, here is how to paint the flesh parts of the mini..

STEP 1: Apply a base coat of Bugman’s Glow (Vallejo) .

STEP 2: First highlight of Cadian Fleshtone (Citadel), applied to all the raised areas.

STEP 3: Second highlight of Kislev Flesh (Citadel), applied in thin highlights with a 00 brush to the prominent raised areas.

STEP 4: Third and final highlight of Flayed One Flesh (Citadel) to just the edge of the cheekbones, chin, tip of the nose and knuckles on the hand.

STEP 5: Use a wash of Reikland Fleshshade (Citadel)  to bland it all together and add definition and depth.

Part 4 - Webbing, kit, boots and gaiters

It’s a good idea to paint the gear which uses the same colours all at once to save time.

STEP 1: Paint base colours of black for the leather webbing and ammo pouches, Rhinox Hide (Citadel)  for the water bottle flask and boots, use Leadbelcher for the belt buckle, canteen and metal ring in the Y strap webbing.

STEP 2: Wash metal parts, the boots and water bottle with Strong Tone (Army Painter).

STEP 3: Highlight the black webbing with German Grey (Vallejo, the boots with German Camo Medium Brown (Vallejo) and the water bottle flask with Doombull Brown (Citadel).

STEP 4: Add a final highlight of Tuskgor Fur (Citadel) to the water bottle flask.

STEP 5: Apply a basecoat of Khaki (Vallejo) to the bread bag and Khaki Grey (Vallejo) the gaiters.

STEP 6: Wash the gaiters and bread bag with Agrax Earthshade (Citadel).

STEP 7: Highlight the gaiters with Khaki (Vallejo) and the bread bag with German Camo Beige (Vallejo)

Part 5 - Rifles; woodgrain and metal.

This is a recipe for painting the wooden gun stocks and metal from the weapons.

STEP 1: Apply a basecoat of Flat Brown (Vallejo) to the wooden gun stock and Leadbelcher (Citadel) on the metal parts.

STEP 2: Wash the entire weapon with either Nuln Oil (Citadel) or Dark Tone quickshade (Army Painter).

STEP 3: Highlight the metallic parts with Ironbreaker (Citadel).

STEP 4: To create the woodgrain effect, use a very fine detail brush (size 00) and paint on curvy lines as highlights. First do some with Skrag Brown (Citadel) and then a second time with Orange Brown (Vallejo). Water down the paints slightly so you get smooth lines in one stroke.

Part 6 - Splinter camouflage smocks and helmet covers

One of the iconic pieces of Heer (Army) uniform is the camouflage smocks and helmet covers. The pattern was known as “Splittermuster 41”, here is how to paint it broken down into steps.

STEP 1: Apply a basecoat of Khaki (Vallejo).

STEP 2: Wash with a 80/20 mix of Agrax Earthshade (Citadel) and Lahmian Medium (Citadel).

STEP 3: Highlight the smock or helmet cover with German Camo Beige (Vallejo), leaving the recesses the darker shade underneath.

STEP 4: Using a fine detail brush (size 00) and Doombull Brown (Citadel), begin to apply the camouflage pattern. The trick is to give the impression of how the pattern looks, not a slavish recreation as it won't work on these tiny miniatures. I simply painted small triangle shapes coming from the edges of the garment or from underneath equipment.

STEP 5: Now use the same process as the previous step but use German Camo Dark Green (Vallejo).

STEP 6: The final step is to highlight the green and brown patches and then add 'raindrops' to complete the splinter camouflage scheme. Highlight the brown with Tuskgor Fur (Citadel), by painting within each shape. Now do the same with the green but use a 50/50 mix of Medium Olive (Vallejo) and Black Green (Vallejo). Lastly, use this green mix to apply groups of 2-3 thin lines in a diagonal pattern across the smock as shown, these 'raindrops' complete the splinter camo look. Make sure your paint is thinned slightly with water so you can apply these lines in one smooth brushstroke.

Thanks for checking out this painting guide, here are a few more examples of finished German Heer Grenadiers for reference on how these techniques have been applied across lot’s of German miniatures.