Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Vehicles Markings - Good or Bad?

Howdy all,

I have been painting up some of my 15mm sci-fi stuff and almost almost done but one detail I find myself waffling over is whether or not to mark my vehicles or not.

The problem, as I can see it, is that marking vehicles adds a nice level of detail and realism, but it also has a tendency to pigeon hole a vehicle.

Now this may not be all that big a deal to most, but for me it really does declare the vehicle as this or that. If a group of vehicles do not share the same or at least compatible markings then it can be hard to see them as a cohesive force.

A few solutions come to mind, though I am not sold on any of them at this time.

1) Don't use markings at all.

2) Keep markings simple, basic, and relatively vague (noncommittal).

3) Go all out but use a system of markings that fits all forces, allowing them to stand on their own or to be grouped into a larger force.

4) Give every distinct group their own specific markings and just use that as an excuse to buy more models so you don't have to borrow from other forces to fill out an army. (This is the weak-willed, gamer boy, rationalization option :))

On a related note, does anyone know of any good suppliers of marking decals that would look right on 15mm vehicles?



  1. Some where in between 2 and 3. Give the vehicle a number at least. And maybe some insignia to mark it's role on the battle field. Something i'll have to think about doing my Post-Apoc vehicles also.

    Perhaps in more unregimented forces the vehicle could also have a name. But 15's may be a bit tiny for that.


  2. Not tried them but read a favourable review of Decals Express who do Sf vehicle decals:

  3. I would go with simple markings, but that' my opinion.
    What figures are you painting? Battletech, Stargrunt?

  4. Hi Eli

    You are right that decals can pigeonhole models. I deliberately only use generic numbers etc on my WW2 armour, no divisional signs.

    With Sci Fi armour, 'human' signs & numbers can limit the use of vehaicles as alien if you are bothered about that sort of thing.

    The secret is to stay generic. But if you have a force you 'love' and want to be the Duke of Epsilon Indi's 412th Hussars go for it.

    Fighting Pirahna decals are great:


  5. Good stuff. Good thing most nations use western numerals on their vehicles - even China.



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