Thursday, 7 June 2012

Painting Dystopian Wars French- A How to

I decided to write down an actual guide for how I painted my French fleet for two reasons. Firstly, because I thought someone might actually be interested (certainly if they were copying my camo scheme right Tim?); secondly, and more importantly, because if I don’t, it is likely that I will forget how I actually did it when it comes time to add things to my fleet in the future. At the tournament at the weekend, people were talking about how they weren’t “good” painters, so this guide (I hope) should show people that getting good looking Dystopian ships is not actually that hard!

So, here it is; the Poochie guide to painting French, using a Magenta Battleship as my example.

Step 1

With Dystopian Wars miniatures, it is essential to give them a nice warm, soapy bath. The reason for this is because the mould release agent required to give these super nice resin models doesn’t like paint at all, so it is important to get rid of it before applying spray, otherwise you will get a very shiny, or blotchy result.

Some French ships getting a spruce up

Step 2

Give the model a Black undercoat. I prefer the next to cheapest black spray paint from a local hardware store. Because I am cheap, and it works. Make sure you buy Matt spray however!

Step 3

Undercoat the hull and superstructure of the vessel with Gunship Green (Vallejo 895). This will likely need two coats of paint to get a nice coating, remember it is better to have two thin coats, than one thick coat which would obscure all the pretty details.

Step 4

Add camo stripes of Flat Earth (Vallejo 983). This will serve both as the brown camo, but also as the undercoat for the ochre, so be generous with how much space you give it. Again, two thin coats is better than one thick one here. Try to make nice smooth rounded edges to your camo scheme, think blobby rather than angular with the camo. I find it easiest when I paint the outline of the camo strips, then fill them in.

Step 5

Add the ochre strips, using Green Ochre (Vallejo 914). Use two coats to ensure a nice coating, because you really don’t want bits of green showing up in the middle of your yellow! It is also a pain to go back if you skimp on it at this stage. One key tip here, is to remember the order by which your stripes are painted- I went with Green/Brown/Yellow. You could do Green/Yellow/Brown, it doesn’t really matter, the key thing is to keep the order of the stripes the same the whole way.

Step 6

Paint all of the wooden decking German Camo Medium Brown (Vallejo 826). German Camo Medium Brown is one of my favourite paint colours, so it has to be on every model. Seriously, I haven’t painted a model in a very long time when I didn’t use this colour at least once on it! I think the last thing would be maybe my Germans for FOW? Everything else has this brown somewhere on the model!

Note this pic has a little of the Heat Lance painted, see Step 7

Step 7

This is all about the Heat Lance weapon at the front of the vessel, so skip it if there is not one on it! I layered Fiery Orange (GW Paint), Golden Yellow (GW Paint) and White (Vallejo 951) to give the impression of a very hot set of conductor coils. Key thing here was to make lines of the yellow, then a smaller set of lines of white. Is it the best way of doing it? I am not totally convinced. But it will do, if someone has a better plan, do share it!

The end result on the Heat Lance

Step 8

Paint all of the “Steampunk” (ie not historical) details on the model Brass (Vallejo 801), as well as the smoke stacks. The reason for this is it just helps the details of the model stand out more, and reinforces the slightly fantastical nature of the whole vessel. I chose to paint basically the entire Heat Lance (except the conductor coils) with this brass, to make it look nice and hot!

Step 9

Paint gun barrels, weapon mounts, AA guns, pipes and the tops of smoke stacks with Gunmetal Grey (Vallejo 863). Like the gold, by adding this shiny metal colour it gives a bit of difference to the model, a bit of colour to break up the dull camo scheme. Don’t be too afraid if it is really bright at this point, because the ink will darken and dull the colour.

Step 10

Paint the entire model with Badab Black ink from the Games Workshop range. Now this no longer exists as a paint colour, so I am not sure (yet) what would be an equivalent colour. Be sure to not let the ink pool around any particular area, I always check to make sure that the undersides of turrets etc gets a nice line underneath them, which I do with a small amount of ink on my brush. Give this stage a long time to dry, I use a hot water cylinder cupboard just to be extra sure. If you don’t, you run the risk of serious smudging, or some weird looking pooling of colour.

Step 11

Paint the scroll on the rear of the vessel with Bleached Bone (GW). Again, this will need two coats to get a nice even coat.

Step 12

The final step is to write the name of the vessel onto the freshly painted scroll. This is done by using a black ink pen (not ballpoint- that will not work on the paint), of a smaller nib as possible. Instead of writing them neatly, this time I am using a larger nib (0.4), and smudging the writing after writing it, to give a sort of faded look. A Matt Varnish after the ink has dried dulls it up nicely too.

And with those 12 steps, you should have a completed French vessel! This works for the very small…

The little wee Lyon Class Frigate

Right up to the very large!

The Couronne Class Carrier

One last tip that I learned over the weekend is that the Flying Stands for the Magenta mk 1 and the Marseilles Cruisers are much too tall- for the Cruisers it means that they are incredibly top heavy and topple over, but also it means that your opponents (and yourself) get confused as to their height value etc, so my new decision (as of this morning) is to trim the stands down, to a more manageable height.

No longer flying, just surface skimming

Hopefully that sheds some light on my methods (and madness) in how I paint a Dystopian Wars vessel. I have a few more things left to paint for the fleet that I picked up at Southcon (see Swag photo from my Southcon post), so once I get all that done I will have to put some pictures up of the whole fleet.

Thanks for reading,



  1. I use a very watered down Chaos Black paint as a wash instead of Badad Black ink. I had an effectively finished pot, added some water, shook well. The results have been pretty good.

  2. I have found it really useful to have your technique recorded somewhere (like in your own blog). Great result.

  3. Great write up and an awesome looking fleet.
    I cannot get any more miniatures.
    I cannot get any more ....
    I cannot...
    Besides the Russians are already spoken for...
    I will

  4. Thanks for putting this up. My 2 starter fleets just arrived and I am relatively new to miniature gaming. The step about giving a soapy wash is appreciated. My other game Dust Tactics comes pre-primed so I will be learning some new skills with Dystopian Wars.