Painting Filipinos

Javier Gómez "El Mercenario"

1898 Miniaturas

Javier Gómez

Painting Filipinos

The range of Filipino figures from 1898 Miniaturas offer various possibilities to the wargamer and the collector to represent various types of troops, from Spanish Native regiments to Katipuneros revolutionaries in civilian clothes, to deserters or even soldiers of the Philippine Republican Army. Their appearance is described in our article Filipino Uniforms (1896-1902). Katipunan and Republican Army, here we will focus on painting Filipinos, for which we will use the usual technique of base color and two highlights shown in the previous article.


For this tutorial we will use different figures from the range of Filipinos from 1898 Miniatures, already available in our online store. We will use Vallejo Model Color paintings (three-digit numerical references, ex. 863), as well as primer spray of any brand (although I always recommend Citadel).


First, although the 1898 Miniatures figures come extremely clean of burrs, with our modeling knife we will clean all kinds of metal leftovers, and glue the miniature with cyanoacrylate to an empty paint can to handle the figure at will during the painting process without having to touch it. Finally, we will prime the figure with a very thin layer of white or black spray, after which we will paint with Black (950).

Rayadillo uniforms

Pintar filipinos: uniforme de rayadillo
As we can see in the aforementioned article Filipino Uniforms (1896-1902). Katipunan and Republican Army, a good part of the Filipino troops dressed in rayadillo. For painting Filipinos with this uniform, we will use the technique already shown in the article Painting Rayadillo.

As we know that these uniforms had a considerable degree of wear, we would prefer to use as a base color French Blue (900), or this mixed with a bit of Cork Brown (843).

For the highlights, we will mix the base color with White (951), although we can also add a bit of Buff (976) to get dirtier shades, which will be more realistic.

White Uniforms

Pintar filipinos: uniformes blancos
Employing the same figures from our range, we can paint Filipinos with the white uniforms used at the beginning of the revolt, or alternate white garments with others of rayadillo.

When we speak of white in terms of uniforms, we always speak of off white. For this we will use Light Gray (990) as base color, that we’ll mix with White (951) for the first and second light. We will never use pure white in the second light, always mixed with some gray, so that the final result is not too neat.

Alternatively, to get a dirtier color, we will use as base color a mixture of Light Gray (990) with Cork Brown (843). My preference is about 70% gray and 30% brown, but I leave it to your choice –we can even use different combinations to give even more variety to our figures. For the highlights, we will mix the base color with White (951).

Civilian clothes

Pintar filipinos: insurgentes Katipunan

Traditional Filipino clothes are mainly white, for which the color combinations seen in the previous section are used. However, we can combine these garments with others of different shades.

First buff yellow, for what we will use as base of Desert Yellow (977) with a pinch of Light Gray (990), mixing with White (951) for the highlights. In addition, we can paint some of the garments of red (it seems that the fact of the red pants was the distinguishing element, and Aguinaldo himself used them). This tone can not be strong, so we will use as base color Cavalry Brown (982) mixed with a pinch of Chocolate Brown (872) to turn off a little the reddish tone of the first. For the highlights, we will add to the base color Red (947) or Scarlet (817) with a pinch of Iraqi Sand (819), for the reasons explained above.

Finally, we can paint any garment of brown, for which we will mix Chocolate Brown (872) with a bit of Neutral Grey (992) for base color, adding White (951) for highlights.

Insignia of rank

As we can see in the article Filipino Uniforms (18986-1902). Katipunan and Republican Army, Philippine insignia of rank go through three phases, early Katipunan, late Katipunan (since October 1896) and Republican Army (since 1898).
For the officers, the figure included in our insurgent command group, dressed in the pleated tunic inspired by the Spanish guayabera, has two options of right arm (stretched and folded) and heads (with hat and cap). With the figure firing, we wanted to represent a Katipunan period official. For this, with a modeling knife we have cut the shoulder pads –in the contemporary photos of officers of this period do not appear– and we have painted red braids of a major in the cuffs.

With the miniature of the white cap, we wanted to represent a post-1898 officer, with the system of shoulder-pads in the branch color with stars employed from that date. In both cases, we have used Cavalry Brown (982) as base color and Red (947) as the only light.

With the NCOs we wanted to represent the three periods. The figure on the right, a revolutionary of the first period, wears a plain civilian blouse and a red armband with a white symbol that distinguishes him as a sergeant. For the bracelet we will use Red Brown (982) as base color, mixing it with Red (947) and a pinch of Iraqi Sand (819) for highlights.

The figure on the left is a sergeant of the late Katipunan, in white uniform, double red chevrons on the shoulders, red lace around the wing of the hat (not exclusive to the NCos) and national cockade. Same combination of colors as in the previous case, although in the case of the chevrons we apply a single highlight.

Finally, the standard bearer is a post-1898 sergeant, with triple green gallon in the cuffs. We will paint it with Military Green (975) as base color, Medium Green (891) for the single highlight.

Skin and ethnic features

Pintar filipinos: insurgentes Katipunan
With its more than 7,000 islands, the Philippines is the most ethnically diverse country in Asia, despite the fact that 95% of the population belongs to Malay-Polynesian ethnic groups, with a degree of miscegenation with Chinese or Spanish populations almost insignificant. These tribal groups congregate in a dozen large ethnolinguistic groups, being Tagalog, Ilochians, Pampangos, Igorotes (these last groups recruited by the Spaniards to fight the Tagalog insurrection) the majority in the island of Luzon, main focus of the war of 1986-1902.

These populations generally have soft ethnic features and skin tones, although in this article we wanted to represent a certain variety of tonalities. For painting Filipinos we will propose three options:

-For a lighter shade, we will use Beige Brown (875) as base color, mixed with Flat Flesh (955) for the highlights. As long as we add nothing of Light Brown (929), we will get a light but sallow tone, different from that of the Spaniards.

-For darker tones, we will use Chocolate Brown (872) for a more dun shade, or Flat Brown (984) for a more reddish tone. In both cases we will mix the base color with Flat Flesh (955) and, in this case, also with a bit of Light Brown (929).

In addition to the tones, to represent the somewhat more prominent cheekbones I have avoided in almost all cases painting the eye bags, and I have painted the lower lip of the color of the second highlight.