ESB Painting Advice


Hello all. So I'm looking for some feedback and suggestions on some colors needed. I recently painted my ESB helmet and after looking at it for a while I am just not 100% happy with the colors used. I followed a lot of various threads I found here and used it to paint up my helmet.

I am looking mainly at the dome and cheeks that aren't my favorite. I think the back panel is decent and the red mandibles are not too far off however maybe not as vibrant.

So I have painted my dome using MM Panzer Olive Grun 1943 but don't think it's the right shade. I don't know if it's due to the base color which was a silver or what.

I've seen others use Humbrol #78, Vallejo German Uniform, Tamiya Field Gray, and a mix of various Tamiya colors to match the dome.

So what do you guys recommend using to help me bring my bucket into the ESB realm?

Photos are before a few details so excuse the older pics.
IMG_5096.JPG IMG_5097.JPG


Jr Hunter
I used the humbrol and think that it looked pretty good myself. Getting ready to start 2 not buckets and I’m going to stay using the humbrol.


Before you get too carried away with the green I would give some thought to the contrast with the grays. Sometimes value is more important to the look in art and causes
you to see color balance as a little off. I don't see the difference between your base gray, reefer gray, and reefer weathered gray as getting progressively dark enough.
The reefer and weathered should show more contrast and be "darker" than the green next to it. Right now the grays look lighter. If the grays are corrected the green will look lighter and more like reference material. The tar color back of the
rangefinder, if you use it, should be darker still. The cheek black will probably appear a little lighter than the tar because of weathering over it.
As you can tell I'm a "nut" for value as it makes everything richer and gives more separation for a detailed look.
For my basic green I used Humbrol #78 with a small amount of #76 but that's just me. I think that the slight sense of blue in some reference shots and not others
is from film lighting differences and color fade over time. Maybe, maybe not. food for thought.....nice work so far.
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Builder, I think this is excellent advice. I completely agree with your thought process on the values. I think before I jump the gun and rebase out the dome and cheeks I'll try to pump up the Gray on those areas as well as the mandibles. I have a few types of Gray but can't remember the exact one I used. I'd have to go back and look. So maybe I'll reprint the Gray areas and make them a darker Lark Gray.


Maybe I can help a bit on your grays. I went back to the color charts and mixes that I tested before and as I painted our helmet. I did make small adjustments from these to lighten
or darken the colors as I sprayed (probably invisible to most and hard to see in pictures). Basics , with Humbrol the numbers are....dome green-#78 (no surprise)....cheek green#78 lightened a bit
with I think #28 (but any lighter color in the gray or even soft yellow range will bend and lighten the value a little for interest -White washes color out and dulls it for me)...mandible red
#73, #104, #34 in a 10-1-1 ratio (which I do by counting drops from a small stick---takes time but great for color tests) ....gray on red mandibles #106 (was a good balance against
my red-they call this reefer on the stencils)....dome gray #79 ( darker than the mandible gray-something that could be used for what is called reefer gray "weathered" on the mandibles
but I darkened #79 with a little black for that). As a small tip I also used this dark #79 mix to topically paint a very fine false shadow edge here and there inside some of the other color areas
to give depth to the otherwise the flat layered look of the sprayed colors.

If you look at this extreme closeup on the top edge of this gray #79 on the front of the dome you can see the false shadow that give depth between the gray and green.
I used this effect scattered around the helmet .....trick is not to over do it. At real viewing distance it's almost not there. Think of light always coming from above to cast
these fake shadows. Hope this all helps a little...Have fun!

Always test colors against each other on a non-porous surface before painting the helmet. It's about the only way to hit the values.
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I love the depth you got with your helmet. I'm gonna look into those gray colors. I also did a quick test of some greens in case I need to reprint the dome and cheeks.

I first did swatchs of acrylic Panzer Olive Green, XF-65, a custom mix of XF-18, XF-71, XF-25, and some white, Humbrol 78, enamel Panzer Olive Green, and the custom mix with more white and gray.

The pic comparison is in various lighting. Top is outdoors in shade, outdoors in direct sunlight, and indoors under "outdoor lighting (5500k).

IMG_5147.JPG IMG_5148.JPG IMG_5149.JPG IMG_5153.JPG IMG_5157.JPG

I think the closest one I really like is the custom mix #1.
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Active Hunter
I like to use a mix of MM POG (acrylic) to MM flat white 2:1 (ish) or maybe 4:3 if it looks too dark.

The thing is, I do a black wash over it all when I'm done so it will darken a little. The black wash mix is about a cup of water+a squirt of black craft acrylic+a drop of dish soap. Then I hold my breath and wipe it on&off all over my masterpiece.