Airborne Bust and uniform patches

Greetings, I’ve been working on the Young Miniatures 82nd Airborne Trooper Bust. It’s a beauty.

I usually spend my time on 1/35 military dioramas, and post on those ‘Armorama’ pages. But every once in a while, to practice other techniques, I switch to large scale figures, and busts – 90mm and larger.
With them I can work with Artist’s Oils (on the faces), and assorted other methods.

One technique I believe I perfected on this bust addressed my age-old challenge with uniform patches. Some of you may have the same issues, so here’s how I handled it with this figure.

BTW: I’m not good enough with my brush to actually paint uniform patches to my satisfaction.

On 1/35 figures, there are several manufacturers who provide decals or dry transfers (Bless the dearly departed Archer crew) for uniform patches - division, rank, collar, etc.
But I’m not aware of anyone who provides similar products for the large scales.

I began experimenting with my ink-jet printer. I pulled images from the internet and arranged them in varying sizes, to fit on a printed sheet.
They came out looking good enough for 90 or 120mm figures. I sprayed over the sheet with a clear, flat acrylic, to protect the ink, and then cut out the proper size for the needed shoulder patch.

The Alpine figure (1/16) with ink-jet printed patches

For this bust I upped the game. I made up a sheet of patches of various sizes (each 10% larger than the previous one,) as a JPEG file and then ran down to my local print shop (‘AlphaGraphics’, in my case) and for $8.00 they printed the page of patches on their high-quality laser printer.

Pic 4

Pic 5

Pic 6

Pic 7
I 'm not happy with his left eye, but…

Pic 3
I used a couple on this bust, and have the rest for future projects – a lifetime supply.

What do you think?



I think they look good and talking with Woody at Archer about it, he did something similar years ago with printing on bond paper with waterproof inks for a 1/12 figure. I need to find them to show you.

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I did something similar with a bust a while ago and found it okay to do. Your versions look much sharper than mine turned out!

I’ve always thought that the bust and figure makers should provide decals for bits like patches and stencilling on equipment but few do unfortunately.


This was for a Finemolds 1/12 project I was trying to work on. The figure was to be a representative of my grandfather, a Tech Sgt with the 63rd. Didn’t get a chance to finish before my Mom passed (he was gone just before my birth) and the project stalled.

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Those look nice Ryan

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That’s all Woody’s doing. He is a great artist.

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Ralph, you nailed it, been doing this myself for years now. If I can’t paint the patch detail to look realistic, I’d rather print them out myself from web photos, spray em and cut and glue in place.

Same for any decal I can’t order, works like a charm.

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