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Mixing Oil Paints


Recently in the Figure Forum, Tin Can requested a list of color mixes that people use for painting with oil paints. When I responded with some of the mixes I have used, he suggested that I submit it to Armorama as an article. What I have done here is add photographs of the figures that have the listed color mix. This is only what worked for me. There are a lot of better painters out there with a lot of better ideas.

The term “paint for average” means that I paint the entire area with this color mix. Then, while the paint is wet, I paint in the shadows and blend to suit. Then I paint the highlights and blend to suit. After the paint is dry, I sometimes go back and redo the shadows and highlights, using a very small amount of the same paints and get more of a “glazing” effect.

I haven’t listed quantities or proportions for mixing because I don’t keep track of them. I just keep mixing until it looks right to me. Sometimes a mix will look fine on the palette paper, but look terrible on the figure. When this happens, I try to fix it on the figure by adding small dots of the needed color and blending it throughout. If that doesn’t work, I just wipe it off and start over.

I hope you all enjoy it.

 - Craig Whitaker

Note: Unless noted, all paints are Winsor & Newton.

Copyright ©2002 - Text and Photos by Craig Whitaker. All Rights Reserved.

Dark Blue Grey (helmet)

A: Undercoat with black (can be acrylic).
B: Mix Payne's Grey with T. White to a dark blue/gray. Paint for average.
C: Paint shadows with straight Payne's Grey.
D: Add more T. White to mix “B” to a medium blue/grey. Highlight with this mix.

German Field Grey

A: Undercoat with your favorite Field Grey model paint (I used Andrea brand)
B: Mix the following colors and paint for average:
Mix Blue/Black, Winsor Blue & Cadmium Yellow to a medium dark blue green shade. Lighten with T. White to match undercoat.
C: Shadow with Blue/Black.
D: Highlight with T. White

Note: Blue/Black is a paint from W&N, not a mix of 2 paints.

About the Author

About Craig Whitaker (mongo_mel)

I've been building models since I was a kid back in the '60s. I did everything imaginable until the mid '80s when I decided to try and get serious about it. Like most of us, I credit the Shep Paine diorama sheets found in Monogram kits for my inspiration. When I made this decision, it was armor all ...


Now I think I have a clue.. thanks. Using Andrea acrylics as a base and then using oils over it makes perfect sense... thanks for the great article.
SEP 10, 2002 - 12:32 AM
excellent ideas? How did you paint the faces? I am dying to know. I've started using acrylics for base flesh dries in a minute and then I can start with the oils.
SEP 10, 2002 - 03:39 AM
Well done Craig(Mongo Mel)...there has been a lot of interest in oils lately,and as an oil painter i have remiss,or just plain lazy about imparting information to those who need it,thanks for the nudge,i will work on something usefull. Arthur.
SEP 11, 2002 - 01:36 AM
Craig, Thank you much for taking the time to right the artical and help some of us out (it helped me thats for sure).
SEP 11, 2002 - 07:31 AM
hi craig! thanks for the article and the new motivation! I have following problem..I use the enamel base and oil shading way as described on 1/35 military figures. I am also using windsor&newton oils. I did finish about 25 figures lately and was quite satisfied with results. but they were glossy. I used revells matt 2 to get rid of this. I then usually add another sienna wash to the skin areas and a satin layer. unfortunally the revell paint dissolves and produces small chips which have to be wiped off. somehow. with this method the whole paint job is in danger to get destroyed. thus I used gunze matt 20 and the result was shocking. the figures were matt, but almost all of the shadowing effect and brightness vanished. I had to wash and drybrush to save the work of 3 weeks and get an acceptable result.. so my question is, which paint are u using to varnish the cloth without loosing its paint effect. thanks a lot, werner
SEP 11, 2002 - 04:47 PM
Greetings all, First, thanks for all of the kind feedback on the article. I am very happy that people are finding it worthwhile. As soon as I can, I'll write up something on the mixes I have used to do faces. For Tankbuster, I don't think I really do anything special for painting the cloth on my figures. When appropriate, I will undercoat with a model paint. These are usually Andrea, Polly S or Tamiya acrylics. When I put on the oils, I use them straight from the tube No thinners or drying agent except when I am using printers inks for the metallics. I do use a drying box to speed up the drying time. This seems to help achieve a much flatter appearance when the paint is dry. Then, when I am finished with the piece, I spray on a flat coat. I use Floquill Flat in the spray can for this. It gives a nice, flat appearance without any of the problems you mentioned. Lastly, for Sgtreef, my screen name. One guy figured it out when I added my quote. It's a combination of 2 of my hero's, one real and one fictitious. I'm just not sure which is which: Mongo from "Blazing Saddles" Mel Brooks Thanks again,
SEP 11, 2002 - 07:33 PM
craig! thanks for the hints..so u built a sorta box with warm light?? are u aware of an online shop where to order floquill paints? this stuff is not available here! Grrrrr!! thanks, werner
SEP 11, 2002 - 08:38 PM
Hi Werner, I made a medium size wooden box that will hold my figures and a 40 watt light bulb inside. Shep Paines figure book said you can use a cardboard box but that frightens me. I can see it going up in flames in the middle of the night. I did a search of the internet and found this sight that sells Floquil Figure Flat: http://www.michtoy.com/MTSCnewSite/supplies_folder/Primers_thinners/thinners-primers.html I can only guess if they will ship overseas or not. I hope this helps you out,
SEP 11, 2002 - 09:23 PM
Craig, Thanks for the help. I found the skin tones especially helpful. I have been fighting with using other more complicated mixes I have picked up from people at shows. I will give yours a try on the next figure that I do. Hope to have some pics of my stuff up soon. Thanks for taking the time to help others out. Steve
SEP 12, 2003 - 04:30 PM
Maybe somebody will write an article about painting with oils, step by step. In each step there shold be foto how to do it. Maybe a little video?
NOV 11, 2003 - 10:21 AM