View Full Version : How to paint Tartan a step by step guide using the 1st Kearny regiment as an example

07-20-2013, 09:16 AM
I have been painting a number of Northwind Highlander Battlemech for a tournament I am running in October this year (2013). There are 4 main tartan schemes for the 4 lances (4 mechs in a lance).

The simplest and easiest to show how I painted the tartan is the 1st Kearny Regiment which uses a black background with white squares and grey lines where the white crosses the black, and black lines crossing over the white squares. I have 5 pictures I made up very quickly using MS paint, but they show how the effect can be achieved with a small paint brush and a steady hand.

Step 1 The Background

http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy251/Daemonette666/Battletech%20Collection/Howtopainttartan1stKearnystep1_zpsb0e2c10f.jpg (http://s797.photobucket.com/user/Daemonette666/media/Battletech%20Collection/Howtopainttartan1stKearnystep1_zpsb0e2c10f.jpg.htm l)

Step 2 add white vertical stripes

http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy251/Daemonette666/Battletech%20Collection/Howtopainttartan1stKearnystep2_zpscb508471.jpg (http://s797.photobucket.com/user/Daemonette666/media/Battletech%20Collection/Howtopainttartan1stKearnystep2_zpscb508471.jpg.htm l)

Step 3 add black horizontal stripes to create the white squares

http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy251/Daemonette666/Battletech%20Collection/Howtopainttartan1stKearnystep3_zpsebe4376c.jpg (http://s797.photobucket.com/user/Daemonette666/media/Battletech%20Collection/Howtopainttartan1stKearnystep3_zpsebe4376c.jpg.htm l)

Step 4 add in thin grey lines (in pairs) to represent where the white crosses over the black background

http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy251/Daemonette666/Battletech%20Collection/Howtopainttartan1stKearnystep4_zps51d4d179.jpg (http://s797.photobucket.com/user/Daemonette666/media/Battletech%20Collection/Howtopainttartan1stKearnystep4_zps51d4d179.jpg.htm l)

07-20-2013, 09:17 AM
Step 5 finally add in a single thin black line vertically, then one horizontally cutting the white square into 4 parts

http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy251/Daemonette666/Battletech%20Collection/Howtopainttartan1stKearnystep5_zps81c03483.jpg (http://s797.photobucket.com/user/Daemonette666/media/Battletech%20Collection/Howtopainttartan1stKearnystep5_zps81c03483.jpg.htm l)

This is the easiest tartan, as I did not have to worry about another colour to represent the usual 3rd colour they have that crosses the square. If I were to use another tartan, I would have to use a more difficult variation to this method of painting. The example below is the finished Marion Highlanders Tartan. I started off with a yellow base colour which I added thin brown lines to border where the black squares would fit. 3 thin brown lines a gap then 3 more. These were painted both vertically and horizontally. I then painted in the black square using the brown lines as a guide. Then I painted in the very thin red line across the yellow background both vertically and horizontally.

http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy251/Daemonette666/MarinHighlandersRegimentTartan_zps42a7da99.jpg (http://s797.photobucket.com/user/Daemonette666/media/MarinHighlandersRegimentTartan_zps42a7da99.jpg.htm l)

The effect is good and can be done quickly once you know what you want it to look like.

I hope to see others inspired to paint tartan on their miniatures for some of their projects because of this very basic tutorial.

07-28-2013, 02:00 PM
Some of the Battlemechs I painted for the Northwind Highlanders using the tartans I painted with these techniques.

http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy251/Daemonette666/Battletech%20Collection/Blackjack1stKearnyredoneTartan_zps7585b573.jpg (http://s797.photobucket.com/user/Daemonette666/media/Battletech%20Collection/Blackjack1stKearnyredoneTartan_zps7585b573.jpg.htm l)

http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy251/Daemonette666/Battletech%20Collection/2ndKearnytartanonHeavyLance_zps115f73ee.jpg (http://s797.photobucket.com/user/Daemonette666/media/Battletech%20Collection/2ndKearnytartanonHeavyLance_zps115f73ee.jpg.html)

I think I have worked out most of the kinks. Considering it is on such a small model, and all done by free hand without magnifying glasses or anything smaller than a 10-0 paintbrush, I like the results. I just need to improve my photography skills.

07-29-2013, 04:48 AM
I like D666, makes it sound simple.

07-30-2013, 04:19 AM
You need a steady hand, and a fairly small paint brush say a 10-O, using MS paint or just hand painting a design like I did to work out how you want to paint the Tartan helps. All the tartans i used are taken from actual tartans, but you could invent your own.

I find there are a few small errors here and there, especially if you have a line that is too thick in some places. go back over it if you can (cut back) with the colour underneath it, but for something so small it does not matter so much.

If you want to complicate it, then add highlights to the coloured squares or to raised parts. How I have demonstrated, should be good enough for most units, and for a lot of batch painting say for a highlanders unit (Napoleonic wargaming system come to mind here).

I have painted a lot of Comstar and Word of Blake miniatures for a friend of mine in the past. Between my own WOB/Comstar forces and his, I guess I have painted about 100 or more white miniatures. those miniatures are a lot harder to paint than tartan. I could give details on how to paint white so it does not other colours bleeding through - say the light or dark greys used for shading.

It might not be obvious, but there is a light grey used for the shading on the Spartan Mech below, especially between the legs, under arms, and on the angled crotch area.

http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy251/Daemonette666/Battletech%20Collection/ComstarSpartan_zpsaf80731f.jpg (http://s797.photobucket.com/user/Daemonette666/media/Battletech%20Collection/ComstarSpartan_zpsaf80731f.jpg.html)

With this miniature, I painted the whole thing with white undercoat matt spray can, then added in the gun metal on parts that were metal. I painted those areas that would be in the shaded areas a light grey, and those that would be completely shaded a standard grey. I did a fine wash on the gunmetal paint making sure not to over wash it (avoiding washing the white), and then I spent a lot of time black lining the gaps and creases where the armour joints are with a black paint (thinned out), or a black wash/ink and a fine paint brush. The rest is fairly basic for painting the missile launchers. lasers, and cockpit.

I have a few miniatures of my own that I could drag out and take a few photos of that demonstrate the white and light grey shading better. maybe later if you want to see them. My hunchback mech especially show this.

07-30-2013, 04:33 AM
There are some really good examples of tartan on Battlemechs I found on the camospecs online website. They took a lot more time than I did, and the results really show up. The photos are also taken by someone who can take photos, (unlike myself).