Avanti -Infantry Painting Guide

Mark walks us through how he paints the new Italian infantry.


Following on from my article last week into the Italian/German combo lists, work has started on my Italian infantry and German armoured cars.  This week I have finished the mortars (regular and assault) as well as the HMGs.

My philosophy with painting is that it needs to look good and hold up to casual inspection.  I am not painting something for a judge who picks it up and examines it at close range. While I have thrown heart and soul into a few armies for the ETC, generally I accept that I am not the elite who will win big FOW best painted army events, but I am in the top third who will get some nice comments and maybe, now and again into the final few.

Therefore, in a paint by numbers fashion, I plan to take you through how to paint to this standard for an Italian force.  For some it will be like sucking eggs, but for new players I hope this will add some further meet onto the guides in the army books.

Painting by numbers


  • Open your set and separate all the infantry into piles of the same stance, remove flash with a knife or clippers.
  • Layout the bases and place the correct models on each base using the guide in the back of your army book.
  • Using a knife spread ‘Vallejo Stone Texture Brown Earth’ over the top of the base, a bit like buttering bread but thickly [So… like buttering bread then 😀 – Lee!].  Then place models into the base (remember where the holds are roughly for this part!).  Then using an old brush spread some excess texture onto the base of the individual models being careful to not get it over the feet.  What happens is that when this dries it holds the model in place, no need for glue.  I’ve dropped these loads of times and never had an issue.
  • Sprinkle some sand over the bases to create more texture and tip off the excess.
  • Leave to dry overnight.


  • I use a grey primer from Wilkinson’s as an initial primer.  I lay the bases out and spray around them on a tray.  Lifting the tray I then respray to help undercut any detail and get coverage.  Make sure this isn’t done too close as you don’t want to have it too thick.
  • Using the ‘Sicily Yellow’ spray by BF I repeat the process.

Painting (all Vallejo or BF unless stated)

  • I paint the whole model with Vallejo ‘Green Ocre’ which is a close match to BF ‘Sicily Yellow’.  This ensures full coverage over the model.
  • I then paint the base colours:
    • Boots,  ‘Flat Brown’
    • Feathers in hat, ‘Black’
    • Rifle, ‘Flat Brown’
    • Webbing, ‘Yellow Green’
    • Helmet, 50/50 ‘Sicily Yellow’ and ‘Dark Sand’
    • Flesh, Army Painter ‘Tanned Flesh’
    • Metal, ‘Gun Metal Grey’
    • Painted Metal (like the mortars), ‘DAK Sand’

  •  Wash the model in Army Painter ‘Strong Tone’ and leave to dry.
  • Paint the base with ‘Iraqi Sand’.

  •  Now we layer the model in the original base colours again but lightly so the wash stays in the recesses.
  •  You could call this done but trust me a few highlights will make a huge difference.
  • Highlight the models as follows,
    • Flesh, Army Painter ‘Barbarian Flesh’
    • Rifle, ‘Saddle Brown’.
    • Uniform, 70/30 ‘Sicily Yellow’/’Dark Sand’
    • Helmet, 30/70 ‘Sicily Yellow’/’Dark Sand’
    • Feathers, ‘Dark Green’
    • Metal, Games Workshop ‘Boltgun Metallic’
    • Pained Metal such as mortars (70/30 ‘DAK Sand’ and ‘Dark Sand’).
    • Webbing, 80/20 ‘Yellow Green’/’Dark Sand’

  • Dry brush the base 50/50 ‘Iraqi Sand’/’Dark Sand’.
  • Add patches of dead/dry grass, mine is from Army Painter.
  • Add a few stones and finally I use a small patch of wild flowers to the command stand of each platoon (makes them easy to see).
  • Apply a matt varnish.

I hope this guide helps, those starting out with their new Italians.  In theory they should look like this.

Keep an eye out for a guide on painting WW1 Germans by Duncan and also a guide on German Armoured Cars from myself in April.

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