I recently picked up four US Airborne Pathfinder models from Warlord Games via special order from the good folks at The Brooklyn Strategist. As I sat down to paint them up, I did a little online searching and came across an obituary in the NY Times for Jake McNiece, a leader of the “Filthy 13” of the 101st Airborne Division which riskily night-dropped ahead of the main invasion force on D-Day.
McNiece (featured in a photo above from Stars and Stripes) is credited with coming up with the iconic mohawked shaved heads and face paint worn by many of the hearty Pathfinders, and painting these figures adds some great visual diversity to any US Airborne force representing American paratroopers on D-Day. I had previously painted up Pathfinders from Artizan Designs, and these warlord models fleshed out my Pathfinders squad to a full and fearsome force.
My US Airborne painting scheme is quick and gets my models table-ready in just a couple painting sessions. This latest round of painting my US Airborne collection also included a couple Warlord US Army Willys Jeep models I picked up on sale at this year’s HMGS 2016 Cold Wars Convention. I painted the driver and gunner to match my US Airborne, and they fit in nicely with my models while also adding some mobile gun support on the game table.
Painting 28mm US Airborne Pathfinders
- Clean flash from metal models with a sharp knife and glue to metal washer or plastic bases.
- Apply filler putty to bases. When dry, scrape off excess with a sharp knife.
- Base coat models and bases with flat black spray primer.
- Paint uniforms and bandages on helmets with Tallarn Sand.
- Paint helmets and knee and elbow patches with Waaagh! Flesh.
- Paint faces and hands with Tallarn Flesh.
- Paint webbing and packs with Baneblade Brown.
- Paint bases, boots, gun stocks and helmet straps with Dark Brown.
- Apply Agrax Earthshade wash to uniforms, helmet netting, webbing and packs.
- Mix 50/50 Baneblade Brown and Off White and lightly dry brush packs, webbing and socks.
- Lightly dry brush bases, gun stocks, helmet netting, holsters and elbow and shoulder patches with Baneblade Brown.
- Paint metal gun parts with black and finish with a light dry brush of metallic silver.
- Paint eyes with small dots of Off White and Dark Brown. Clean up around eyes with Tallarn Flesh.
- Paint thin lines of red and offwhite face paint to cheeks and foreheads of the models.
- Mix 50/50 Tallarn Flesh and Off White and brush highlights on cheekbones, chins, forehead, nose and hands.
- Cover bases in white glue and cover in 50/50 mix of fine light green and dark green grass flock.
- Glue small pieces of clump foliage to base.
After painting, I added a final touch with decals on shoulders and helmets from Company B, followed by a coat of Solvaset decal fixative from Walthers and a spray coat with matte finish.
This little project not only gave me a break from my regular painting but also added a bunch of new models I can field in my Bolt Action and other 28mm World War II skirmish games. Pictures below show the final results ready to drop onto the table and start rolling dice during the invasion of Normandy.