Building Forces for use with Crossfire - Painting the first NVA Rifle Platoon

Collecting Forces for Crossfire - Painting the first NVA Rifle Platoon
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NVA Infantry Platoon

In painting the first NVA Infantry Platoon I adopted the same methods and approach as I used to paint the first US Infantry Platoon. The NVA platoon consists of ten stands; a Platoon HQ stand, 3 Squads (each of two fireteam stands) and three RPG stands (attached to each of the three squads). I broke the platoon down in to two manageable groups consisting of:

  • the Platoon HQ and RPGs

  • the three rifle squads


With 33 figures to paint, it was essential to adopt the 'production line' method of painting which I have mentioned previously. All the figures were cleaned and prepared which, in the case of Peter Pig models, is fairly straight forward since it was only a matter of lightly filing the base of each figure to remove the mould line. Once all figures were prepared, I undercoated them all as a single batch using a primer spray (GW Chaos Black). Once they were undercoated I applied the basecoat using a drybrush and GW Bestial Brown. I tend to apply this coat quite heavily and without any attempt to be accurate.

Basecoated Figures


The next step consisted of applying a lighter brown as a highlight. In this case I used GW Snakebite Leather, again applied quite liberally but with a smaller drybrush. I suppose you could spend hours painting each individual figure, the models themselves are certainly detailed enough for this, but I want to get my forces finished and into action - hence the adoption of drybrushing.

Figures Highlighted

Highlight Applied

Even on figures this small (15mm), it is quite surprising how much of a difference can be created by the use of a single highlight colour. Again, you could work the highlights up further if you chose to, but for my purposes a single highlight sufficed as this still 'lifted' the relief of the figure.

Close up of highlighted and basecoated figure

Closeup of Highlighted and Basecoated Figure

The various accoutrements where repainted black prior to being painted with Colour Party Olive Drab. I only painted accoutrements which were attached to the belts of the figures as well as bedding rolls and ammo pouches. I imagine that they would look even more effective if webbing and back packs were also painted, however, leaving these the base colour simply saves more time and it is a job which you can always return to at a later stage.

View of painted accoutrements

Accoutrements Painted

All that was left to do now was the weapons and the flesh areas. Areas of flesh were repainted white, this being the best base colour for the flesh wash that I subsequently applied. Once the flesh wash is applied, the relief on the hands and faces becomes much more evident. Again, you could work the highlights up further on these areas if you were so inclined.

Flesh areas painted white prior to application of flesh wash

Flesh Areas painted White

Flesh wash applied

Flesh Wash Applied

Weapons were then painted black and lightly highlighted using GW Gun Metal. The base of each figure was painted GW Goblin Green and then all that remained was to glue the figures to their base.

Fireteam on base

Fireteam on base (side view)

Finished Figures on Base: Fireteam, Company A, 2nd Platoon, 1st Squad

Once I had assembled all the individual bases it was simply a matter of applying the techniques discussed previously to transform the base from a simple flat piece of card to a mini-diorama and the platoon was completed!

It actually took me less time to paint the NVA platoon than it did to paint the US platoon simply because there are less steps involved. This being the case I was able to paint the figures in an afternoon (about four hours). Again, the process of finishing the bases took me a lot longer and was accomplished over a couple of evenings. The finished platoon looks quite good and I anticipate being able to complete the full Company in less time than I had anticipated.

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2nd US Rifle Platoon

All figures are from my own personal collection, painted and photographed by Mike R 2000


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