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Painting British & Pakistani Camouflage

Pakistani ‘Bhutto’ Pattern
This is a very distinctive cam pattern, designed by the Pakistanis in the late ‘60s for their armed forces (Photo 9). Its original designation is unknown, but it gets its unofficial name from General Ali Bhutto’s military regime that came to power in 1970. It was used throughout the ‘70s and into the ‘80s in several forms, before being phased out in 1987 by the Zia Al-Haq government because of its obvious connection to the previous regime. It was replaced by the British DPM. The Bhutto pattern has seen somewhat of a resurgance lately, however, with the return of a military government, particularly in the Special Service Group and other special operations units.

The Bhutto pattern has also seen limited use by military forces connected to Pakistan – it was used in Bangladesh in the ‘70s, and later by Baluchi mercenaries in the Middle East; it has also been spotted in use by Kashmiri terrorists and various factions in Afghanstan over the years. In 1986, Pakistan began a special operations and airborne training programme for Sri Lankan special forces, and many Sri Lankan officers and men who rotated through Pakistan returned to their own country with various pieces of acquired Pakistani kit, which then saw use in combat.

There are three distinguishable versions of this three-colour pattern (it is arguably four-colour, but we’ll discuss that later). While the pattern remains the same, the colours vary according to version. The earliest pattern had rather bright colours, with a leaf green and a reddish brown. These were later darkened in the second version to a sort of dark olive and medium brown. The third version replaces the brown with a light olive green. I will be painting the second version.


As stated earlier, ensure you get good ref pics; tutorials are well and good, but it’s advisable to use your own eyes to judge a shade rather than something recommended by me. Get a good close up pic for details and colours (again, Brassey’s is a good source), and front and back shots of the garment you are a painting so that you can see scale and overall pattern. There are many available on the internet, and while they may or may not be originals, they are good enough for our requirements.

So what are the distinctive characteristics of the Bhutto pattern? Unfortunately, unlike DPM, there isn’t anything that stands out. The patches are reminiscent of the larger background blotches in German WW2 Oak and Dot, but has tiny tendrils leaking away from the patches that look a bit like British Dennison.

As I said in the section on DPM, look for the central template in the pattern which will then be repeated. While this is useful, it isn’t essential when painting the jacket of a modern soldier, as a large portion of the upper body will be covered by flak vest, webbing, radios, etc. However, painting according to the template will give your work an authentic feel. This is the template area (Photo 10), easily visible on the back of the jacket.

Starting off with the background, again I used Revell #16 mustard, but this time, lightened with flat white (Photo 11).

As with DPM, let the background shade dry overnight.

Then, trace the outline of the brown patches before filling them in. The outlines of the blotches must be wavy and amoeba-like. I used Revell #84 dark brown, and added #16 mustard, #12 yellow, and #36 red (Photo 12).

Once this is done, you can paint in the fine grass-like tendrils that spread away from the blotches. Unlike the DPM dots, these would be visible at 1/16 scale (though maybe not at 1/35), and so are a necessary detail. These are not straight or curved lines, but are wavy, like seaweed, and they’re bunched together in varying densities across the cam pattern.

Next (after letting the brown dry somewhat), do the same thing with the green patches. For this shade I used Revell #42, which is a medium olive. The green patches (and their tendrils) must overlap the brown ones (Photos 13 & 14).

Here is where there is some argument as to whether this is a three- or four-colour scheme. Where the green overlaps the brown there is a change in colour, and whether this is real or perceived is the debate. I have never seen an actual sample of this pattern, and therefore must go on pics. In Brassey’s Book of Camouflage, it looks as if the underlying brown has been allowed to show through the green in small patches. On most internet pics, this cannot be seen, and in the better pics, it looks as if the green is transparent where it passes over the brown (a fourth colour, in other words). I will leave it to your judgement as to how necessary this detail is, depending on your fig’s scale. I chose to change the green where it passed over the brown, and added black to the mix for this (Photo 15).

Unlike DPM, when you look at the completed Bhutto pattern, the pale background tone should be the dominating colour (reflecting Pakistan’s arid landscape).
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About the Author

About David Blacker (spooky6)

My background is ex-Sri Lanka Army (infantry), and I am now an advertising art director, and parttime writer. I am a military history buff, and am specifically interested in the 20th Century to the present. I am primarily a fig modeller, concentrating on 1/16 because I love all the extra details ...


A good read - cheers David.
AUG 16, 2006 - 05:20 PM
One of the best DPMs I have seen in scale... great details on DPM "brush marks". Well done mate! Mario
AUG 16, 2006 - 06:29 PM
Thanks, guys. I love DPM
AUG 16, 2006 - 06:48 PM