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Hobby: 51st Highland Division

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51st Army in action

51st Highland Division
Operation Husky – The Campaign in Sicily – 1943
by Warlords Michele Isaja

With the release of the much awaited “Duel in the Sun” I wanted to give the go ahead to a project that I had had in my mind for long time now, as I have Sicilian ancestors, I always wanted to collect a characterful reinforced platoon of the glorious 51st Highland Division to play in this period.

hd 51st banner

Which models?

I have been browsing many pictures from the amazing Imperial War Museum website ( and I’ve seen many different uniform options, mainly a mixture of Khaki Drill uniforms, and more regular Battle Dress full uniform.

51st Highlanders blouse
Rather than using the standard ‘Desert Rats‘ models’ I picked up the Gurkha pack instead. I think they fit really well as they all have the standard Battle Dress trousers and the shirts with rolled up sleeves, plus they give me the flexibility to use them in later theaters of war up through Sicily and into Europe.


It took a bit of skill with the precision side cutter and files to remove all the kukris from the right ankle of each man, but the end result was that I had all of the 30 men I needed now dressed in the uniform I wanted.

Head swap

With the ingenious Warlord’s Figure Head System it was a straight forward pick, 24 Tam O’Shanter
heads to mix with the Gurkhas helmeted heads, to make a nice mixture within the whole army.


51st Highland Division Squad 1

I’ve used a base coat of the useful Bolt Action’s Spray British Uniform Brown, on the whole army. I then dry brushed everything with a lighter shade using 50% Vallejo 988 Khaki 50% Vallejo 921 British Uniform. With a smaller brush I then went lighter on the upper areas of every model with Vallejo 847 Dark Sand and after that a Vallejo 819 Iraqi Sand to have a good base for the Khaki drill shirts. The helmets are painted straight Vallejo 847 Dark Sand and the webbing Vallejo 886 Green Grey.


51st Highland Division Command

I’ve used Army Painter Strong Tone Ink on every part of the model, on the webbing and boots I’ve used the Army Painter Dark Tone Ink instead.



I then quickly retouched the models with a basic Vallejo 921 British Uniform for the trousers and tam o’ shanter, Vallejo 819 Iraqi Sand with a bit of white for the shirts for extra kick, cleaned up the helmets with Vallejo 847 Dark Sand and the webbing with Vallejo 886 Green Grey.

Skin Tones

51st Highland Division Squad 2

I’ve used Vallejo 955 Flat Flesh with Vallejo 928 highlights, washed with Army Painter Soft tone Ink.

British Armour

51st Highland Division Vehicle3

There are lots of debates over the “right” colors used, there are picture of virtually every paint issued at the time, the most used by the modellers and gamers seem to be the Light Mud over Blue/Black and Light Mud over Green (perhaps to a lesser extent). For the Sherman and the Universal Carrier I’ve used a base of Vallejo 924 Russian Green and irregular patches of Vallejo 988 Khaki (the light mud).


It was much fun converting and paint these models, last touch is to download “Scotland the Brave” on my mobile phone, so I can play it while deploying the army and scare my opponents!

51st Army

The pipes are calling! The Scots are coming!

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