Painting Miniature Horses and Farm Animals in 1:72 Scale

Painting Miniature Horses and Farm Animals.

Italeri’s French Carabiniers are excellent heavy cavalry figures, mounted on large horses which paint up very nicely. The rider shown here has been converted to an eaglebearer.

Tools and Accessories

  • Size 1 and 2 paintbrush
  • Artist Acrylics
  • Plastic palette
Undercoated horse and rider.


Prior to painting, the rider needs to be firmly mounted in the saddle, using a short pin cut from 0.6 mm pianowire. Brown horses should be undercoated in light khaki which will act as a highlight after the horse has been stained in a darker brown. We use artists‘ acrylics as an undercoat, because they bond well with the plastic. Allow the undercoat to dry overnight.

Horse after staining.


When the undercoat has dried, apply a thin wash of burnt umber acrylic paint. The diluted paint will run off the raised areas and into the engraved detail, shading these areas noticeably. The texture of the horse’s hair will be nicely defined after staining, reigns and saddle straps appear outlined, making them easier to paint.

Mane and tail painted black.

Legs, Mane & Tail

Dark brown horses have dark legs, darker manes and tails. Black or very dark brown paint may be applied immediately over the wet stain, resulting in a nice blending and shading effect.

Blaze and socks painted white.

Blaze & Socks

After the horses have dried thoroughly, apply 1-3 white markings on the legs, sometimes all four legs may have markings. Most horses carry blazes on the forehead, they may be diamond-shaped or elongated, extending all the way down to the nose.

Reines and saddle added.

Horse Furnishings

Finally, add reigns and straps in black or dark-brown, with metal fittings in brass or white metal. After the horse has been completed, the rider’s upper body may have to be undercoated again in the proper uniform base colour. Mounted troops usually wore fawn coloured breeches or grey overalls on campaign which may be painted over the original khaki undercoat.

Horse Colours

  • Black: A very noble looking horse with shiny black hair, mane and tail. Some black horses have a very dark-brown sheen.
  • Bay: The most commom horse colour ranges from very dark-brown, chestnut, red-brown to a fawn or light brown base coat colour. Bay horses have black legs, manes and tails, which differentiate them from Chestnut horses.
  • Chestnut: red-brown hair, mane and tail.
  • Dun: Yellow or mouse-grey horse with black legs, mane, tail and a dark stripe down the spine, or a cream-coloured horse with a light mane.
  • Grey: Black mixed with much grey or white, light tail.
  • Dapple-grey: Grey horse with dark rings around a lighter base colour.


Brown or brown and white spotted animals are painted in a similar way to brown horses. The umber stain will bleed into any white spots that are applied later, shading them slightly. Black and white spotted animals should be undercoated dark-brown and stained black. The white spots need to be touched up several times to correct the excessive bleeding of the darker base colour.


Feral pigs should be undercoated in a medium brown and stained dark-brown. Stripes in the coat may be drybrushed with a lighter colour. Domestic pigs are undercoated in a medium brown and drybrushed in skin colour.

Sheep and Goats

Animals with white hair are undercoated in a medium grey and drybrushed white. In order to improve the shading effect, a dark-brown wash of airbrush retouching colour may be applied after drybrushing.

Painting Miniatures