DBA Resource Page

Newbie's Guide to DBA

Painting Hair

The bulk of soldiers in most DBA armies have black or brown hair painted straight from the acrylic bottle of that color. In reality, however, hair comes in a variety of colors like blond and red including shades within each color range. And of course, your venerable commander-in-chief is likely to have acquired a fair share of grey. This page collects tips on painting the more challenging variants of hair color.

Blond Hair

The following tips came in response to a query posted in the rec.games.miniatures.historical newsgroup on how to paint blond hair on miniatures:

Paul Bernardino: Here is a technique I picked up that does a good job. Take a yellow colored paint and apply it as a base coat to the hair. Then apply a wash of light olive paint. (I know it sounds strange) It does work.

Lloyd (aka DucDallas): A technique that I use that works well is to prime the figures white then when I am doing a brown wash on the face I wash the white primer as well. I use oils for my washes and burnt sienna gives shadows in the texture and the white primed hair a straw color.

Jason Schmidt: I dated an artist for a while, and she did a few oils of me. She explained that to paint blond hair you take yellows, browns, and GREEN and mix. For some light/pigmentary reason that my li'l mind will never grasp, the result is really nice blond hair. Of course, too much green and you get the "post-bleached-hair in the chlorine swimming pool" syndrome. Not a pretty sight on your Viking hordes...

John (aka Aetius9): Games Workshop makes two colors that are close to blond hair, "bleached bone" and "bubonic brown". There is also a paint color by Howard Hues "#62 Planking". These are all close. I used to mix a pactra color "Desert Sand" with normal white. I could get different shades of blond by the amount of white I would mix in.

Brian O'Leary: I used to use Polly-S Mud with a drybrushing of Polly-S light yellow to good effect. The Mud color is available as Polly-Scale, but don't know about the light yellow.

Painting Black Hair

Joe Mann: as with horse manes and tails, highlight basic black with bright blue.

Painting Red Hair

Joe Mann: Fairly bright orange base, wash with chocoalte wash, drybrush canary yellow or not at all.

Bathead207: Red-hair is a misnomer - it's more of a brownish-orange (trust me - I *have* red hair - I know whereof I speaketh!) I typically use an orange base with a dark to medium dark brown wash, drybrush with orange with yellow highlights, being careful with the yellow, too much and it'll look too bright, unless you're going for that Kool-Aid look! Experiment with varying degress of orange drybrushing and shades of brownwashes until you find a shade you like, and don't worry if the coloring doesn't exactly match from figure to figure - in our family, 3 of us have red hair and if you look closely, each are subtly different, no two are the *exactly* the same.

Thane Morgan: Start with a mix of Brown and Red for the under coat. Now make a mix of red, yellow, brown (very little of this) and gold (also a very little bit). Use this to highlight once, then lighten with a bit of yellow, and touch up one last time. The gold really gives a realistic sheen to the hair. Copper also can work well. Just don't use too much.

Jonathan Ashton: Red 1: block in with raw umber. When dry, drybrush with chestnut for red. Red 2: upon a white base paint hair orange. Wash with a reddish brown. Dry brush with a mix of reddish brown and orange. For highlights, dry brush orange and or orange mixed with a touch of ivory.

Tom Taukner: Try chestnut base with orange on top. Vary the brightness for different shades. Remember that true "redheads" are ginger, not red as such.

Painting Grey Hair

Joe Mann: White base, wash with back till dark enough for your tastes, drybrush (lightly) with white or light grey.

Painting White Hair

Joe Mann: I paint a lot of white hair, one of my armies is painted around the model of santa claus - white fur, white hair and beard, red outfit, black belts and boots. White base, wash with very dark black wash, drybrush with white, usually 2 passes on the drybrushing, same works for fur trim, and black spots after the second whit drybrushing renders it into ermine.


Top of Page | Newbies Guide | DBA Resource Page


Last Updated: April 13, 1999

Comments, questions and additions welcome. Send them to Chris Brantley at IamFanaticus@gmail.com.