Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Tutorial: Painting "Mickey Mouse" WW2 Camouflage

This tutorial will show a step-by-step method for how I painted my Bedford QLT 3-ton lorries in a version of Mickey Mouse camouflage. This pattern was found (I believe) primarily on transport vehicles. I used an airbrush and masking to paint the camouflage. You could easily paint the shapes you wanted by brush. I used the airbrush and stencil to get a uniform coat and to have more regular shapes for the black areas. This method looks pretty slow but I think it took me about 1 hour in total to paint the green and camouflage on two models (and this was my first time doing it).

First off, a few pictures of what we are trying to achieve. You can see the finished models here: Bedford QLT 3-ton lorries.

A scanned picture from showing how the pattern was to be applied to break up the outline of the vehicle from aircraft.
An image from Surface zero showing a truck being painted in this pattern.
The finished model.
-Vallejo Model Air (VMA) Black
-Vallejo Model Colour (VMC) Russian Uniform
-painters tape or other masking tape
-3/16" hole punch (found mine at Michael's)
-Sticky tack (optional)
-airbrush (I used a Badger Renegade Krome)
-airbrushing supplies (cleaner, hose, etc)
-gloss varnish (I have some I spray through my airbrush, any kind is fine)
-plasticard (I used a thin "for sale" sign)

Step 1: Paint the model Russian Uniform (I cleaned, assembled and primed it first). I sprayed thinned Russian Uniform through my airbrush. This could be done by hand as well. I didn't paint the roof. I left the crew out and the roof off to make painting the inside easier.

Step 2: Gloss varnish the green basecoat to protect it during the next steps. You don't want to peel off the tape and discover you have ruined your basecoat.

Step 4: Make the stencil. I made a stencil to cover the green areas. I put some painters tape (3M edge lock) on some plasticard. I made marks where I wanted the pattern to be by lining it up on the model itself. I wanted to have the pattern start below the roof and a bit above the bottom of the main body of the truck. I marked out different sections of the truck. I did two strips for each side and a strip for the front and one for the back.
I then used a 3/16" circular hole punch to punch out the pattern in my tape. I punched along until I had the sections I needed.
Step 5: Apply the stencil to the model. I put sticky tack inside the cab to protect it. I applied the stencil to two sides at a time. If you are worried you will not have good control of the airbrush you could apply it to the entire model at once.

Step 6: Carefully spray the VMA black on the areas you want to be black. I find it best to spray from one angle to prevent overspray in places where the tape is not totally attached to the model.

Step 7: Remove the tape and reveal your beautiful camouflage.
Step 8: Protect your hard work with a quick coat of gloss varnish.

Step 9: Paint the rest of the details. I touched up some of the black areas using a brush. I also added more black at the top of the cab area and sprayed the top of the cab black separately. I highlighted the black with a dark grey colour and the green with a mix of Russian Green and white. I used a thin oil wash to pin wash the panels (any interest in a blog on how I do pin washes? I am not an expert but have found them to be pretty effective).
You can see a bit of overspray and the top left here.

I hope this was useful. Let me know in the comments if you use this tutorial as I would love to see some pictures of models painted in this pattern. Thanks for visiting!


  1. Brilliant stuff: colour me impressed!

    What's 'pin washing'?

    1. Oops, forgot to answer this before. Pinwashing is just making an oil wash using oil paints and thinner and letting it run into the cracks.

  2. Very nice - I've two finished trucks that I didn't do this on and I think I need to go back and re-do them. I've also tried to find out if this camo pattern was applied to Quad tractors for the artillery?

  3. Admiral Drax-Thinning oil paint with a thinner into a wash and then using the capillary action of the wash to darken panel lines and things. I will try to make a little tutorial on it sometime soon.

    Mad Tin Hatter-I think the 3-ton lorries were not always seen in this camo. No idea if it was applied to quad tractors. I would assume so. I searched on google and saw some models in a similar pattern. I would hunt around for some historical photos or references.

    1. I had a quick look myself but can see very few pics of the camo pattern on quads later in the war. A lot of the stuff seems to be '42 and '43. I'll prolly repaint my trucks and leave the quads just green.

  4. Very nice tutorial. If and when I end up adding some 3-tonne lorries to my Commonwealth, I think I'll try my hand at this.

    1. O and I'll be sure to post it up on my blog per your request. :) Think I'll go research to see if the Canadians used this scheme and maybe give me a reason to get the lorries for my newly painted Land Mattresses.

    2. I went through your blog and you have an impressive collection of FoW miniatures painted up. The Land Mattresses look really good and their rules sound great. I'm sure the pizza box template must annoy your opponents. Anything that makes platoons spread out is very good in my opinion.

    3. Hey thanks! Never been this motivated hobby-wise until I started collecting for FoW. This is about as close to fully painted as I've ever gotten.
      Pizza Box has been a mixed blessing - it's still only AT3, so versus my regular opponent who loves his tigers, it's not as successful as I'd hoped. Still, yer right about the fact that he tries to keep his tanks spread out and a bailed tank is helpful in some scenarios too.

    4. I'm the same. For some reason I seem to stay on track more with my 15mm stuff. I actually (almost!) have a fully painted 1780 point tournament army. I literally just need to paint 4 tank commanders and 2 infantry stands to have 1780 complete.

  5. That, sir, is flipping clever!

    1. Thanks. I thought of a few different methods before settling on this one. I tried to find paper marking dots the right size but would have to custom order smaller ones. This was actually pretty quick and easy to do.

  6. Hey Cam, thought you might be interested for this the disc camo

    1. Very interesting. I really like the digital camo stencil and the flames. I'm not sure about the disc camo one as I still think it is not quite right. If they had one for spraying the "chips" through then that would be perfect. It looks like it is similar to the one I made but on a better scale (the circles are cut out and you spray through, similar to the mickey mouse pattern above). I'd love to get the flames and digital camo for use on some 40k models though. I guess they would be for other people though as I have no need to paint either of those patterns for myself.

  7. Very good modeling work. But I'm afraid that is not a Mickey Mouse camouflage. The name derived from the notorious round shapes of the black pattern as Mickey Mouse ears. I'm not saying it is wrong. I've seen this pattern in phptographs, specially at the end of the war and post war, but it is not Mickey Mouse pattern


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