What you need
The list of tools you will want can be quite extensive, what you need is a bit easier.
This could be lumped under tools but I think its important enough to speak to directly. I doubt many master painters use worn out, cheap brushes. We spend lots of money on lead, terrain and paint, don't scimp on your brushes. The best brushes are natural bristle, not artificial. The artificial bristles (usually white) tend to absorb some of the color you are painting and don't hold a nice round shape or a good point. My personal recommendation is Floquil brushes from Walthers train supplies and I have been using the same brushes for about four years now. They are finally beginning to show some wear and lose bristles and I paint on a regular basis. You may cringe at spending $4 or $5 a brush but it is a worthwhile investment. There are many different brands of brushes so if one doesn't work, try a different one.
Having just spent $4 on each brush, you need to take good care of them. Don't drop them into the water or thinner or crush them into the bottom of the jar, gently shake them to remove the paint and wipe them off on a paper towel. If the ferrul (where the bristles go into the metal collar) gets clogged up with paint, clean the brush in thinner. This will happen even with water soluble Acrylics. I always keep the plastic covers that come with fine tip brushes, this protects the bristles from getting bent or crushed by accident. Also, if you point the bristles before putting the cover on, it will usually maintain that shape when it dries. Wet the bristles with a drop of water and gently shape into a point with your fingers.
What primer you use is a matter of taste. Some prefer a spray primer, I like to brush it on. Spray primers are faster to use but it will often miss some parts of the peice. Brush on primer takes longer but you can be sure you got every little nook and cranny. Some good brands of primer are Krylon (spray) and Armory (brush on).
What color primer you use is also a matter of taste, but what you are painting may affect the decision also. The choices are usually white, black and various shades of grey. Black primers are good when painting primarily dark colors as you won't have to worry about spots of white in the corners and if you do black lining, the primer itself can provide the black line. White primers are better for light colors, the white undercoat won't alter the color of the paint you are applying. It also may speed painting details like belts, which can be left in the white primer and then touched up with regular white paint.
My personal preference is Armory White Primer and Armory Grey Primer
I started working on models and miniatures using hobby paints. These are normal acrylics and are usually very expensive for small bottles. These paints are fine and often come in specific military colors (i.e. Confederate Grey, Union Blue) that make finding what you need relatively easy. However, a good alternative are craft paints, commonly available at arts and crafts stores (i.e. Frank's Nursery and Crafts, Michael's Arts and Crafts, etc) are very inexpensive, often a dollar or less for a 2 oz bottle. They generally don't come in convenient military shades but they more than make up for it with an astonishing variety. The best brands I've come across are Delta Ceramcoat Acrylics and Accent Acrylics. Other good brands are Anita's Acrylics, Aleen's Arylics, AppleBarrel Acrylics and FolkArt Acrylics. Aleen's and Delta tend to be slightly more expensive but its still a lot less than hobby paints.
There are decal sheets available for these aircraft but I don't like using decals that small. So I hand paint markings.
RAF fuselage side roundels are 4 colors, a yellow ring, a blue ring, a white ring and a red dot. Painting each ring would be very hard, so do a layer of dots instead.
Wing roundels are similar and easier. The upper wing roundel is just a blue ring with a red dot inside it and lower wing roundels are a blue ring, a white ring and a red dot.
The vertical stabilizer has a vertically striped symbol in front of the rudder going about 2/3 or 3/4 up the stabilizer from the tail wings. Paint the section white, paint the rear third blue, paint the front third red.
Painting the Balkankruez on the aircraft fuselage and wings is not difficult. Whether you want an early war black center with white edges or the late war edges with no center the same technique can be used. Start by painting the black center of the cross, don't worry about neatness at ths point. Paint the cross as thick as you want. Next paint a pound sign (#) in white paint using the edge of the black cross as a guide. I've found that painting the pound sign is much easier than trying to paint the corners individually. I could never get them to line up properly but by painting the pound sign, you are painting everything in long single strokes. Finally, go back and repaint the black cross, taking care to be neat this time.
Painting horses is easy if you don't care how they look. Pick a basic color, paint the whole horse, glue down the rider you spent a lot of time painting, done. But, if you spent a lot of time on the rider, you want a horse that looks good too. My best advice is to visit this website, it contains a very detailed section on painting horses with Acrylics (see paints above) in parts 7 through 9. The rest of the website contains very good hints as well and I suggest reading all of it when you can. The techniques used (washes, stains, drybrushing) may be somewhat advanced for new painters, but they are not difficult to get a handle on. One peice of advice on that website that I will repeat here is, look at real horses! We paint uniforms that haven't been worn for hundreds of years or more but we have horses all around that we can look at for ideas.
A word of advice for someone new to painting
For someone new to this hobby, painting can be frustrating at first. You may be sloppy, you may miss details, a whole host of things that you won't like and you'll see someone elses figures and get discouraged. Do NOT let yourself be discouraged! Despite what one gamer in my group says, practice DOES make perfect, it may take a while but if you stick with it, you will improve. Ultimately, remember that this _is_ a hobby. I do it because its fun and I find painting to be relaxing (except maybe those last two days before a convention and I have to finish that Cuirassier regiment!). I'm not the fastest painter in my group, I'm not the best painter, but I have painted armies of infantry and squadrons of airplanes and, in my opinion, they look good. Paint because you enjoy it, but remember to take a break when you get tired.
What you'll need:
What you'll need:
I suggest Cork railroad bed instead of the flexible rubbery material because the cork is thicker (about 1/4" versus 1/8") and looks better, the brown color also looks perfect as the dirt base for the hedges. I used cork bed that was two halves and meant to be put together for HO gauge track. The cork was about 3/4" wide and beveled at about a 45 degree slope on one side.
I started by cutting the cork into varying lengths, anywhere from 3" to 8" long. Then I cut the non-beveled side to match the beveled side with my X-Acto knife (with a good sharp blade), be careful as the cork will break if you bend it too much. When you're done, the top of the cork will have a flat space about 1/2" wide.
Take a piece of foliage cluster and tear it into pieces about 1/2" x 1/2" x whatever length (length is not important). I found the best way to tear the clusters was to lay your thumb along one edge and use your fingers to grip the foliage material against your thumb and rip it off slowly. You can try to cut the cluster but it doesn't seem to work too well. Don't worry if you get ragged pieces the first couple tries, they'll still be useable and you'll get the hang of tearing consistently shaped pieces pretty quickly. When you've got several pieces torn off, squeaze a generous bead (about 1/4" wide) of white glue down the middle of the cork base and push the pieces of foliage into the glue. The foliage material is springy and won't necessailry stay the way you put it on so try to use a flat side of the material to put into the glue. When you've covered the length of the cork, set it aside to dry overnight.
The first couple hedges may take some time to put together but don't dispair! I made about 8 feet worth of hedges in a little over an hour.
One bag of foliage clusters will make 9 or 10 feet worth of hedges if you use the small scraps which accumulate. I glued these scraps on several 2"-3" pieces of cork.