What you will need:
-Size 1 Brush
-Size 0 Brush
-Size 3/0 or 5/0 Brush
-GW Regal Blue or equivalent
-GW Snot Green or equivalent
-GW Scorpion Green or equivalent
-Size 005 Micron Pen, Black
Notable units throughout the Innersphere use various patterns of tartan; arguably, the most prominent of these units include the Star League Royal Black Watch and the Northwind Highlanders. For this tutorial, we will examine techniques for painting the tartan of the Black Watch, also known as the Government sett. The techniques demonstrated in this tutorial are applicable to planning and painting tartans of other patterns in addition to that of the Black Watch.
When planning a tartan, it is crucial to consider the layout of the pattern and the colors that compose it. Black Watch tartan consists of four colors: dark blue, medium green, light green, and black. The colors form a pattern of crossing medium green lines over a dark blue base. At the intersections of the medium green lines, squares of light green form. A single black line bisects each green line, while two dark colored lines that run parallel divide the blue portions. Finally, black outlines each blue square.
While working on surfaces of 1:285 or 1:300 scales, as used in Classic Battletech, some of the detail of tartans is lost—if one attempted to preserve all of the details, many tartans would lose any semblance of a discernable pattern and become more or less a muddled confusion of paint. In the case of the Black Watch tartan, the dark colored pairs of lines that divide the blue portions are not included.
In addition to carefully studying the desired tartan, it is also important to consider the surfaces upon which one desires to apply the pattern. Large, flat, square surfaces are ideal. These surfaces are easier to paint detailed work on, and the shape serves as a guide for laying out the pattern. However, this is not to suggest that these are the only surfaces appropriate for painting tartan; these are merely the easiest.
Step 1: Apply a dark blue (GW Regal Blue) base. Cover the entire surface, without letting the paint drip into the panel lines.
Step 2: Using a size 0 brush, carefully paint vertical lines with a medium green (GW Snot Green) from edge to edge. You may need to apply two or three layers to achieve complete coverage.
Step 3: Repeat Step 2, painting horizontal lines from edge to edge.
Step 4: Using a size 3/0 or 5/0 brush, fill in the areas of overlapping medium green with squares of bright green (GW Scorpion Green).
Step 5: Using a Size 005 black Micron Pen, lightly draw straight lines down the center of each vertical and horizontal green line.
Step 6: Outline the dark blue squares with the Micron Pen. Touch up where necessary.
This Rifleman of the Black Watch sports the appropriate Black Watch tartan, applied as previously described, around the waist, the right arm, and on top of the right fin. As discussed earlier, some detail of the pattern is lost while painting on surfaces of 1:285 and 1:300 scales.
Furthermore, the natural divisions between panels on the miniature such as around the waist aid in keeping the pattern straight. These divisions, in particular those between the two raided panels on each larger panel, act as the vertical black line that bisects the green lines.
With some careful forethought and planning, these techniques make painting nearly all tartan patterns a possibility.