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Historical accuracy when painting minis. How important is it to you?

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This topic contains 10 replies, has 11 voices, and was last updated by  civilcourage 2 years, 4 months ago.

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    So, I find myself pretty well invested in the historical side of tabletop gaming (mainly Bolt Action).

    My question is, in your own opinion how important do you find it to have your mini’s painted correctly for historical accuracy and your thoughts on those that don’t paint them this way?

    The reason for this being that yes, I love historical colours and as a reenactor, accuracy is important to me in that aspect. But on the other side of that; I want something I can be happy to look at while I’m playing the game as well as have some fun while I’m painting and therefore have painted quite a few sections within my forces in some questionable colour schemes (pinks and purples).

    To me, as long as I have had a good time painting them and they look good in my eyes, that’s all I really ask for, but I know there are many different ways of looking at it in the community and I would love to hear your thoughts on it all.


    Cult of Games Member

    I like to have my figures painted a basic historical standard . By that I mean I need them to be able to represent multiple differing units so for example no unit markings on WW1 and WW2 stuff. It would be the same for any period then having in slot in command stands that can be more unit specific

    I would love to do one off individual units for my armies but pesky economics get in the way

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 4 months ago by  torros.
    • This reply was modified 2 years, 4 months ago by  torros.
    • This reply was modified 2 years, 4 months ago by  torros.


    I’m on a sorta floating scale in that regard.

    On one hand, you have the fact that this is historical. If you’re not interested in the history, why play? On the other hand, I’m not a rivet-counter. I’m not going to throw a temper tantrum just because your Tiger isn’t the right shade of Dunkelgelb for the period.

    So it all depends. I’ll grant you a fair bit of leeway for colours and camouflage. But while a Pink Panther is a fun insider joke, I wouldn’t really want to see it on the tabletop.

    But hey… It’s your model, so paint it as you will.



    For my own stuff I tend to research things so hard that it leaves no time to paint. But that’s my side of the hobby. I don’t care what people do with their own minis, paint them how you want it wouldn’t bother me in the slightest.


    Cult of Games Member

    I have always gone for “Hollywood Historical” as long as it looks right I am not to fussed as to the shades being correct as long as I get the right impression and can recognise the models for what their meant to be.



    When doing my historical stuff, I like to pick an operation, then a formation, then dig out some photos of that unit, then aim to replicate that as closely as I can. It’s part of the fun and appeal for historical for me. Gets a bit harder with earlier periods, but even then there’s still often at least some information that you can use to get pretty close, at least close to what the existing information presents.




    Cult of Games Member

    I’ve been painting lots of red coats recently and have made an effort to get the correct facing colours on the uniforms for the battle I want to recreate despite the fact my friends I play with wouldnt notice. I want to get theses things correct because I cant understand why anyone wouldnt want them right if your interested in history it just seems natural. But it does help on the table top telling the units apart. In a similar way I make sure my Zulu Impis have the correct shield colours. Where I fail to stick to accuracy are things that are just too much effort such as stripes on Hessian trousers.


    You’ve pretty much answered your own question, it’s as important as you want it to be. If you are into reenacting you obviously have an eye and interest for the right details. If you are painting units up in “questionable colours” you aren’t too fussed about the table top and no one should tell you any different.

    My approach to painting forces is that I like them to have a representative scheme for a particular time and force. I am not fussed on getting every detail right. In my mind there is a difference to gaming and modelling for collections.

    Purple rather than Field Grey uniforms for Germans might be going a bit far for me, but I would have no problem playing you. I offered to paint up my wife’s tanks for Tanks in any colour she wanted – as she really does have any historical interest – but she (luckily) opted for original schemes. I would though have done it if desired.


    Cult of Games Member

    I like to get my historical figures or vehicles close to what I think looks right for the period for my satisfaction. I don’t object to what other people do, everybody’s hobby is their own. If painting alternate colours is how you enjoy your hobby, then do what you enjoy, my opinion is irrelevant.☺️



    If it’s not painted to some degree of historical reality… it’s not historical to me.

    I play historical games which tend to be based on real world conflicts in the main so I see a degree of respect and responsibility to get things right. Otherwise… what’s the point?

    I don’t really care what others do or how they paint… unless it encroaches on my table.

    It’s a visual hobby to me, so I like it to look visually correct to the period in question.



    Cult of Games Member

    I like my minis to look historically accurate (to me anyway), but basically i am to get the general colour right on them. I am definitely no rivet counter but it just feels right to do it this way.

    I think if i was to paint them colours that to me didnt look right it would lose the historical feel and i’d find myself mentally in Konflict 47 or some other alternative war. Its the type of person i am though, history (to a greater extent) is fact and so why would you colour it differently unless it of course wasnt history?

    Ive no problem playing against alternate looking army but writing this it seems this is how i think about historical gaming, and for me its mostly about the look.

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