How to painting horses for wargaming

how to paint model horsesIf you have horses on your layout or war game and like me struggle with their colouring, this article on the paints to use for credible equine models will help.

I tend to build industrial era model railways and have a big soft spot of Napoleonic-era wargaming figures, so horses frequently canter across my workbench, whether they’re pulling gun carriages or towing carts to and from loading sheds or lining up for a cavlry charge.

But despite trying I’m never satisfied with the colouring I achieve. I just can’t find the combination of Citadel, Army Painter or Vellejo colours that give the result I want. They always look naff.

Napoleonic British Rocketeer with horse

If only mine looked as good but at least mine have four legs LOL! The Napoleonic British Rocketeer with horse painted by Andres Amian Fernandez, (c) Warlord Games.

While trying once again with the British Rocketeer and Horse from Warlord Games (see here) I got really despondent with my results and went in search of ideas to improve the results.

After a spot of Googling, I came across kentspainting15mm blog. There amongst the numerous beautifully painted 28mm and 40mm figures was a guide that could have been written just for me.

Kent has kindly granted permission to reproduce it here, so without wasting further time here’s the tutorial.

Firstly, I glue the horses on card evenly spaced and then under coat with flat black spray
for painting brown horses.

Then I paint the horse Citadel Scorched Earth Brown (the current equivalent being Doombull Brown or Rhinox Hide).

Being careful to leave the harness, main and saddle black. Care now will save you time later.

painting model horses how to

Next, use either Citadel Bestial Brown as is in this picture or use Vallejo Medium Brown (70826) or Leather Brown (70871) for slightly darker horses.

Here we want to leave a small amount of the dark brown showing through on the neck, flanks and between the muscles.

Painting model horses step 2

Now use Citadel Graveyard Earth (now Steel Legion Drab) as a first highlight if using Bestial Brown or Vallejo English Uniform (921) or Vallejo Flat Earth (983) if using the one of the other alternatives given above. Use sparingly the idea here is that it’s not too obvious.

I add the white here or in the next stage.

painting horses step 3

For penultimate step, I use lighter variants of Vallejo with very small amount fine lines as a second highlight on neck , muscles and rump.

how to paint model horsss step 4

The result, with saddle and harness painted in the colours of your choice.
how to paint model horses step 5

Read the original article:

Doesn’t it look great?

I’m now itching to apply this technique to my horses. I just need to remove my paint work first and then have go.

For an alternative techniques with some painting techniques along the way, these videos are also helpfull.


> Original words and photos (c) kentspainting15mm. Reproduced here by kind permission.

Founder of ModelRailwayEngineer, Andy Leaning

Andy is a lifelong modeler, writer, and founder of He has been building model railways, dioramas, and miniatures for over 20 years. His passion for model making and railways began when he was a child, building his first layout at the age of seven.
Andy’s particular passion is making scenery and structures in 4mm scale, which he sells commercially. He is particularly interested in modelling the railways of South West England during the late Victorian/early Edwardian era, although he also enjoys making sci-fi and fantasy figures and dioramas. His website has won several awards, and he is a member of MERG (Model Railway Electronics Group) and the 009 Society.
When not making models, Andy lives in Surrey with his wife and teenage son. Other interests include history, science fiction, photography, and programming. Read more about Andy.

Afflliate disclosure:The links on this page may take you to carefully selected businesses, such as Hornby, Amazon, eBay and Scale Model Scenery, where you can purchase the product under affiliate programmes. This means I receive a small commission on any orders placed although the price you pay does not change. You can read my full affiliate policy here. I also sell my my own ready to use, pre-made and painted buildings and terrain features. browse the range.

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