Painting guides

Note: This page was set up in early 2015 to support the painters for the project. With the diorama now completed and open to the public, this page has been kept for the interest of those who wish to see how the project took place from the very start.

First of all, as our painting expert Aly Morrison says, don't panic if you haven't painted 54mm figures before. It's very similar to painting 28mm figures.


Clean up the figures in the normal manner.

Do not remove the lugs on the feet. If you want to make temporary holding bases whilst you paint, use cotton reels (Spotlight supply cheap MDF ones).  Just put some blu-tak down the hole in middle and push the lug in.


Aly used GW Zandri Dust spray and Michael Perry used Dark Earth.  But Tamiya or any other similar paint will do.

Style tips

For consistency of colours and style, it is important you follow these painting guides that Aly has prepared.

The style should be as similar as possible to the examples in the painting guides below.

You can choose between two different methods of painting for each army.
Please don't use black-lining.

Don't paint the eyes!  Let the wash take care of these.


If  you don't have access to the specific paint manufacturers mentioned in these guides, check this paint compatibility chart for alternative paints from other companies.  Terry Swain (Wellington) has adapted this paint compatibility chart to show just the required colours (click picture to enlarge).

Note that Zandri Dust is a new colour, so isn't on this chart.  But it is slightly darker than Green Ochre, so that should work if you can’t get it.


We are still checking the situation with varnish - whether it is necessary at all.  


In case you're wondering about some of the poses, these figures have been specifically designed to depict trench-fighting on a hilltop.  So many of them are sculpted to be climbing the slopes, or clambering out of the trenches.


The Fernleafs

New Zealanders weren't known as 'Kiwis' at Gallipoli.  Instead, they were called 'Fernleafs'.

Click on the images below to enlarge.

Note: These painting guides are the 'version 2' ones, with the brown boots now corrected for New Zeaalnd privates and junior NCOs.

Peter Jackson has asked us to vary the colours of the New Zealand shirts a little more than shown above. There are no photographs of the Wellington Battalion on Chunuk Bair, but we know the attack orders from General Godley specified “shirt-sleeves only”.  In Gallipoli by August, most sense of military correctness had been thrown out the window. Far from stepping off the parade ground, by August the Anzacs were known as “The Scarecrow Army”. Soldiers were receiving parcels from home, and new shirts from Mum were often included.  So despite the painting guide instructions, Peter would encourage future New Zealand figure painters to give yourselves permission to mix it up a bit. Grubby white shirts, olive green, dark blue, light grey - all would be fine, and it will give the diorama an accurate look.

Here are some photos of Anzac uniforms to illustrate colour variance.


There are to be some British figures in this diorama.  They would be in various pale sand/stone shades (tunic and breeches should vary) like the New Zealanders, and with the same webbing/equipment.

At Gallipoli the British tended to be dressed in a more standard manner for two main reasons:

  1. They had greater regimental indoctrination, being largely regular or territorials, and uniform-wise they were kept in line by their NCOs.  New Zealanders and Australians were less "regimented" in their enforcement of dress standards. 
  2. The Brits benefitted from a more direct supply system.  New Zealanders had a mixture of their original NZ issued kit, UK stuff that was issued in theatre and clothing mailed from home.  We also "borrowed" a fair bit of stuff in theatre - not unlike today. 

So please make your British more regimented by having less variation in the colours.  Variations to simulate fading in the summer sun, such as by using more or less highlighting, is good but please keep the uniforms comparatively "uniform".

The Turks

Click on the images to enlarge.

Below is a photo of Turkish uniforms to illustrate colour variance.  

Our Turks will be wearing an assortment of headgear, including quite a few in skull caps that would either be drab or grey (as shown below).

There'll also be the odd figure wearing a fez, which is taller than a skull cap and is coloured khaki (some fezzes may have been red too, but we have enough figures with red fezzes for now).  

Some Turks also wear a fitted havelock cover (ie a neck cover) over the top of their hats - this is a grubby white or light khaki colour.  

For a close-up of the Turkish Mauser rifle, visit this NZ History website page.

Turkish officers. 
This information is taken from Chris Flaherty's Ottoman Imperial Army book and the Osprey title. 

The tunics and trousers should mainly be in the various shades of the other ranks already painted, with ranks of lieutenant and above having all dark-green collars. 

It seems like shoulder boards were sometimes taken off in battle so could be filed off the model.

It also seems as if the occasional officer could be painted in a white or dirty-white tunic with white collar, although officers wearing would be a bit of a target! 

If volunteers need more info have a look at the two books mentioned above, but bear in mind there won't be any high ranking officers present.


  1. Keen to support this effort. Club = cityguard

  2. Cool! Just make sure you register your interest using the form in the sidebar on the right.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Just starting to paint some Turks and have a couple of observations. The belt buckle looks to be brass, whilst examples of the bayonet scabbard I've found online seem to be dark steel held in a leather frog with a dark steel bolt.
    Is this acceptable? The painting guide seems to have brass on the bayonet scabbard, but I'm not sure.

  5. I'm not sure, Warwick. Can you please pose this question on the general painting hints forum? Someone more knowledgeable can then answer it.

  6. I've noticed that the painting guide says that the NZers have green webbing, ammo pouches, etc, but the pictures show them more as browns or made out of brown leather. Is the green right?

  7. I've checked with Armchair General, and this is what he says about the NZ webbing colour: 'Yes the Nurgling Green is correct. I think the key might be the highlighting with a mix of nurgling green and a tiny bit of sand to give a "faded in the sun" look - but not too much.'