Panzer Lehr Gepanzerte Panzergrenadiers: Painting Guide

This is a step-by-step guide for painting Flames of War 15mm Gepanzerte Panzergrenadiers (armoured German infantry) from the Panzer Lehr Division (1944-1945). It is not intended to be a completely historically accurate guide, rather a quick and simple way to achieve good results in a short amount of time.
Panzer Lehr Panzergrenadiers (Front)
Each Panzergrenadier platoon constitutes 6 MG Teams, 3 Tank-hunter Teams, 1 Command MG team and 4 SD Kfz 251/1 half-track transports. That’s about 33 15mm miniatures and 4 vehicles. Here are the steps I followed to move from raw pewter to painted and varnished miniatures –

Infantry
1) Sort the miniatures out. Because these miniatures come from a large box set I need to check what miniatures should be in what platoons, so (by referring to the photos on the box and the web) I sorted the miniatures by platoon.

2) Clean and base. For the Panzer Lehr I have decided to stick the infantry to their bases before undercoating and painting. With the Paras I stuck them to strips of balsa and paint them before basing. So, after cleaning them off with the Dremel, I attached them to their bases, making sure there was a good mix of miniatures on each base, e.g. enough MG carriers and ammo porters spread across the MG Teams

3) Undercoat. With the US Paratroopers I undercoated them white and used watered down base coats to achieve a ‘highlighted’ look. With the Panzer Lehr I decided I’d spray them with Army Painter’s Army Green spray. The pro here is that the bulk of the base coating is done by the spray. The con is that I don’t have an exact colour match for the spray in an acrylic, so if I screw up something I’ll need to fudge the correcting colour. 2 – 3 light spray coats and they are ready to paint.

4) Base Coating. Since the spray did most of the work on the uniforms I just had to worry about the rest. Here are the colours I used –

  • Flesh (Faces and Hands) in P3 Khardic Flesh
  • Helmet in Vallejo 882 Middlestone
  • Canteen and Wood on Gun in GW Bestial Brown
  • Boots and Webbing (Belts and “Y” Straps) in GW Chaos Black
  • Gascape Folder and Breadbag in Vallejo 886 Green-Grey
  • Tentquarter and Ammo Boxes in Vallejo 873 US Field Drab
  • Bazookas and Rockets in 1:1 GW Kommando Khaki:Vallejo 873 US Field Drab
  • Metal on Guns, MGs and Ammo Belts in GW Boltgun Metal

5) Dipping. I used the soft tone dip on the US Paratroopers and that worked very well with their lighter uniforms. For the Lehr I used the Dark Tone Army Painter dip. I painted it on, rather than dipping, but used a generous amount. This instantly shades and varnishes the miniatures. It leaves a gloss finish (I’ll deal with that in the final step).
Panzer Lehr Panzergrenadiers
6) Basing. I painted the tab around the bases Skull White. Next I applied poly filler (ready mix) to the bases. This is white(ish) in colour and I lay it down to cover all of the base apart from the bevelled edges. I use my thumb to wipe off the excess and keep the edges clean. When dry I paint it with watered down Graveyard Earth and this leaves a muddy type finish. The edge is painted in the same colour, but with little water added. I finish off the base by adding some flock.
Panzer Lehr Panzergrenadiers
7) Matt Varnishing. The miniatures are well protected with the dip, but I apply a spray of matt varnish to bring down the gloss finish. Again I used an Army Painter product, their matt varnish, but I’m not that happy with it. It’s not as good as Tester’s Dull-Cote (now banned in the EU) and be sure to shake it a long time as I found it misted easily.

Vehicles
1) Sort the miniatures out. The half-tracks come in resin and metal pieces (the newer ones are resin and plastic). The main body is resin and the tracks, front wheels, driver and AA MG are metal. Make sure you have the left and right tracks for each vehicle, other than that there is little sorting to do.

2) Clean and assemble. Resin dust is a hazardous material, so be careful when cleaning it off. Thankfully they are well moulded and need little cleaning. Super-glue is all you need to fix the pieces together. I put the driver in place (operating an ‘Only paint what you can see’ policy!).

3) Undercoat. Again I undercoated these with 2-3 light coats of Army Green.

4) Base Coating. Since the spray did most of the work on the uniforms I just had to worry about the rest. Here are the colours I used –

  • Body in Vallejo 882 Middlestone
  • Wheel Hubs and Track Cogs in Vallejo 882 Middlestone Drybrush
  • Body Edge Highlights in 3:1 Vallejo 882 Middlestone:GW Skull White
  • Camouflage in Vallejo 924 Russian Uniform and Vallejo 873 US Field Drab (Brush, Vallejo no. 001)
  • MGs, Tracks and Tool Heads in GW Boltgun Metal
  • Tyres and Driver Uniform in 3:1 GW Chaos Black:Skull White
  • Webbing in GW Kommando Khaki, GW Snakebite Leather or 3:1 GW Chaos Black:GW Skull White

5) Dipping. Dark Tone Army Painter dip is generously painted it on.

6) Apply Decals. I applied the iron cross to each side of the vehicle along with the identification number. I also applied the Panzer Lehr ‘L’ to the rear (on the right rear door). I cut the decals from the original sheet using an hobby knife and then used lukewarm water, tweezers and a toothpick to apply them. A small piece of tissue is used to soak up the water once the decal is in place (by touching the edge to get the bulk of the water from under the decal and then gently dabbing it to remove the rest).
Panzer Lehr Sd Kfz 251/1 half-track (Right)
7) Matt Varnishing. Again I used the Army Painter matt varnish.

I think the results are pretty good for the amount of time spent on them. I’ve a lot of this army painted now – I’ll organise myself to post more pictures soon.

Owen

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