How to paint camo patterns

June 5, 2012 at 13:55 | Posted in How-to | 3 Comments
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Lately I’ve been experimenting with painting camo patterns on my gunpla kits. Theoretically it’s quite simple, but in terms of execution, I still need to polish up on my technique. Regardless, I thought it would be a good idea to share my experiences which involved using spray can paints. So here’s the steps I took:

1. Conceptualize

Before you do anything, you need ideas. For camo painting, you need to decide two things: color and camo pattern. If you need some inspiration, just browse the internet or flip over some hobby magazines. Military style camo is a good start, but you shouldn’t limit yourself to that. If you have Gimp or Photoshop, you can Google a lineart for your model and then apply the camo paintjob that you wish to try out, like what I did with my Jesta:


2. Paint the base layer

The base layer is basically the color that you will be masking. For example: if you want a paint scheme which is mainly white with grey camo patterns, your base layer will be the grey color. For my GM Cannon II, the base paint was German Gray. You get the gist…

3. Mask the base layer using your preferred camo pattern

You can use any of the several masking methods which I covered here, but I mostly use masking tape since you can cut it in any shape you want. For digital camo like the one on my GM Cannon II, I cut the masking tape into squares of different sizes to mask the base layer. For my Jesta which had curvy camo patterns, I drew the patterns on a masking tape and cut it out with my hobby blade:

4. Paint the second layer

After applying the masking, just spray in your second layer. One thing to be careful about is to avoid spraying a single thick layer. If you did that, there might be a chance that the paint will seep underneath the masking tape, thus ruining the camo pattern. Instead, try to paint multiple, thin layers. For most purposes, you can stop at this step. Wait until the paint is dry before peeling off the masking tape.

5. Repeat as necessary

For  a slightly more complex camo pattern that involves more than 2 colors (e.g my Jesta), you can continue to add masking (step 3) and the subsequent layer of paint (step 4). For the Jesta, I used 3 different shades of gray and the whole process went something like this:

Spray German Gray (base layer) -> masking -> spray MS Grey -> masking -> spray Light Gray -> masking -> spray Off-white (final layer).

Between each step, don’t peel off the the masking tape yet until after you applied the final layer. Here’s what it looked like halfway through:

And there you have it. I suggest trying out simple camo patterns like squares to get a hang of things. As I said earlier, it’s theoretically simple, but execution is another matter. But don’t let that dampen your spirit. After all, this hobby is about trial and error. Have fun!


Here’s some examples of camo patterns that I painted, just to give you an idea of what you can do:


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