Bolt Action - Japanese, Painting & Modelling

Painting Imperial Japanese Army Infantry

The US are ready to enact the Island Hopping Campaign in the Pacific. Defend the Islands with newly painted Japanese troops!

Painting Imperial Japanese Army Infantry

Get your troops ready for the defence of the islands. This painting guide was provided to us by Andy Zeck.

Andy: My stalwart US Marines will need an appropriate opponent to fight eventually and therefore I will need to paint some brave Japanese soldiers as well. Just to make sure they won’t need to fight those Jerries, Tommies or, god forbid, Soviets!

As always, I am looking for an effective way to achieve a convincing result with the least amount of effort.
It’s not only complete laziness on my side but also the fact that my hobby time is permanently interrupted by irritating stuff like work, family, the dog, etc. In other words, I haven’t got much/ enough of it to spend hours on a single figure.

To speed things up I usually start with a colour primer, here Zandri Dust by Citadel, my preferred brand:

Next I painted the following areas in the listed colours:

  • The skin: Kislev Flesh.
  • Helmet and canteen: Steel Legion Drab,
  • all straps and webbing: Karak Stone.
  • Rifle, ammo pouches and shoes: Gorthor Brown.
  • Puttees: Tallarn Sand
  • All metal bits and helmet rim: Leadbelcher
  • Little collar tabs: Evil Sunz Scarlet (not sure how accurate they are historically but I think a little spot of colour suits the overall picture!).
  • Teeth: white

Nxt i did a general wash using Agrax Earthshade with the exception of all the brown and metal parts, for which I used Nuln Oil:

Highlights with the base colours again apart from them puttees (can’t be bothered and they look ace as they are). The face gets an extra highlight with Flayed One Flesh.

A good coat of matt varnish (Winsor & Newton Professional Matt Varnish. The best there is. Matter than just Matt!) brings everything together.

I’ve added some static grass to the helmet for the ‘Jungle Fighter’ effect I want my Japanese to have but that’s certainly not compulsory.
Your preferred basing method (I use a homemade coloured sand mix and static grass) and you’re done.

Very easy peasy as there isn’t any camouflage to worry about and certainly manageable in well under an hour. Particularly if you borrow the wife’s hairdryer to speed up the wash to dry. Caveat: make sure she doesn’t notice it as the dryer seems to be some sacred object for some.

And done. Ready for the jungle:

But still outnumbered:

image2 (1)
Happy painting!



Expand your Imperial forces and prepare for the invasion today!


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Begin your Island-Hopping Campaign

This new campaign supplement for Bolt Action allows players to recreate the historic island-hopping battles between US and Imperial Japanese forces in the Pacific theatre that took place in 1944. Even whilst the Allies stormed the beaches of Normandy, US forces were beginning to sweep across the Pacific in their own Blitzkrieg, fighting embittered and ferocious battles across tiny strips of land against tenacious Japanese defenders.


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Or consider our Island hopping starter army bundles, perfect for quickly assembling a dependable core army for assaulting or defending the islands of both the Marianas and the Palaus.

Dan Hewitson
Dan can often be found contemplating the mound of unpainted minis building up under his desk. He has a tendency to roll lots of ones. He also has a tendency to complain about rolling lots of ones.

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