Help support TMP

"Russians in Afghanistan: green or brown uniforms" Topic

19 Posts

All members in good standing are free to post here. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the posters, and have not been cleared with nor are they endorsed by The Miniatures Page.

Remember that you can Stifle members so that you don't have to read their posts.

For more information, see the TMP FAQ.

Back to the Modern Painting Guides Message Board

Back to the Cold War (1946-1989) Message Board

Areas of Interest


Featured Hobby News Article

Featured Link

Featured Showcase Article

1:48 AMX 10-RC Tank Destroyer

Looking for an armored car with some punch?

Featured Workbench Article

Adam Paints Gangstas

Adam practices his white techniques on some Thugs.

Featured Profile Article

Dung Gate

For the time being, the last in our series of articles on the gates of Old Jerusalem.

Featured Book Review

3,594 hits since 23 Sep 2019
©1994-2022 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

alan L24 Sep 2019 1:29 a.m. PST

I am undecided how to paint up my Russian infantry.

Some sources show them in a brownish kit and Vallejo English Uniform seems fairly close.

However, other pictures have them in green with sandy splotches.

Which should I go for, for ordinary infantry? I am considering going with the brown for them and the green camo for VDV. This would give some nice differentiation between them, as well as grey for the DRA infantry.

Any thoughts/suggestions would be appreciated.

Barin124 Sep 2019 1:55 a.m. PST

If plain (non-camo) uniform, then yellowish-green


if camo "afghanka", then smth like this:

alan L24 Sep 2019 2:35 a.m. PST

Thanks for those. Any suggestions for Vallejo paint colours?

irishserb24 Sep 2019 2:39 a.m. PST

I agree with Barin1, the plain uniform samples that I have seen or have had are more a yellow green, than a brown.

Travellera24 Sep 2019 4:59 a.m. PST


Would not the camo version be a bit more green?


Barin124 Sep 2019 6:59 a.m. PST

I have a camo coat from 1986 and its colours are like on second picture I've posted.
Yours might be issued to VDV in "greener" regions or may be it is due to colour balance. VDV beret is light blue, not blue as on your pic


Cuprum224 Sep 2019 9:04 a.m. PST

Camouflaged uniforms could have (not necessary) paratroopers, special forces fighters, reconnaissance units.
Ordinary infantry will most likely have a standard yellow-green uniform. The color is almost the same as for the Soviet uniform of World War II. The uniform quickly burned out in the sun to very light shades.

And this is the uniform of the GRU special forces (Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff of the USSR) in Afghanistan. The best of the best…

alan L24 Sep 2019 10:00 a.m. PST

Many thanks to all.

stephen m24 Sep 2019 4:28 p.m. PST

I am building up forces for this in 6mm. Here is my take.

At the start of the war all Soviet forces were in Khaki (yellow brown, etc.). Soon after the invasion elite units began to be given the green with yellow uniforms. Generally they also used the soft hats (resembling US state trooper hats in shape). The rest of the forces used helmets and a few forage type caps. As the war went on more troops were equipped with the green camouflage uniforms usually starting with the more elite forces then further down such as paratroops, border guards and eventually armoured infantry. A large part of the lowest level conscripts probably never had these uniforms in Afghanistan. During the cold season the "fish fur" caps and heavier coats with the same material on the collars would be worn.

The Afghanka is a slang and generally meant a warmer cold weather uniform. It came in both khaki and gradually the green with yellow markings. There is a name for this camouflage pattern but I can't find it now. If I remember correctly it's name is a description of the shape of the yellow markings.

Indigenous Afghan troops seemed to have a darker khaki uniform with a BDU like cap. I haven't seen any photos with them in other uniforms. There is some info out there on Afghan commando units which had a camouflaged uniform but I haven't researched that far yet so they may actually be post Soviet period or even post 9/11 forces.

Please note I am not an expert but this pattern seems to match the photographs I have found. Cuprum is Russian and has access to and knowledge of this much better than the rest of us. I am using the above for my purposes especially as a way of differentiating between my forces at differing periods and quality levels.

BTW I have yet to find photos of paratroops in country wearing the characteristic blue beret. The few period pictures seem to be either troops in training or in transit. Having said that I am using these figures with the blue beret for my in country paras regardless, they look too cool!

Cuprum224 Sep 2019 6:37 p.m. PST

Camouflaged green clothing with gray spots is a special full-time suit for military operations. He has a special cut (loose wide clothing, hood, light fabric).
Camouflage clothing with yellow spots is a different cut and thicker fabric. The main uniform (the same as the yellow-green color) was sewn from this fabric. It has the name "Berezka" (Birch). This uniform was used only by Soviet border guards (they could operate in areas of Afghanistan bordering the USSR).

Blue berets were not used in combat. At least officially.

Check out the topic here. Something we have already discussed.

TMP link

Personal logo Legion 4 Supporting Member of TMP25 Sep 2019 11:59 a.m. PST

Good intel !

irishserb26 Sep 2019 4:24 p.m. PST

Many thanks for sharing the info!

stephen m, I'm a bit rusty on Afghanistan, but was thinking that the Afghans used a sort of a warm grey color uniform, a little darker than most khaki colors, at least when they were new. Maybe someone can correct me if I'm remembering this wrong.

Barin127 Sep 2019 2:18 a.m. PST

I haven't seen DRA uniform with my own eyes unlike mid 80s uniforms of Soviet Army. The books suggest that they were wearing grey uniforms.


stephen m27 Sep 2019 5:26 a.m. PST

The Osprey book shows grey but a couple pictures I have seen looks like a dark khaki. Again a lot of my colours, although based on what real world I can find, reflect my want to make the various units stand out wrt each other on the game table.

As another example using H&S I base better quality units with fewer figures. I figure fewer troops would make up an elite fire team and it's inherent firepower than would a similar group new to the theater.

Cuprum227 Sep 2019 6:46 a.m. PST

Both gray uniforms and khaki were used. Of course, it's more interesting to use figures in a gray uniform on the table.

stephen m27 Sep 2019 7:31 a.m. PST

Just goes to show you. That last picture shows as very dark khaki in the version I have seen.

stephen m30 Sep 2019 1:50 p.m. PST

Just to keep beating this dead horse.

I work in 6mm and prefer to prime my minis with their final uniform colour. For many armies including the Soviets I have been using a rattle can of khaki camouflage made by Krylon which is available in a number of big box stores here in North America. It tends towards the greenish side of khaki. It also matches very well with Model Master FS30277 "armor sand" so I can use that to touch up over paint and mix missed areas, etc.. Mine ran out and I bought a similar can from Rustoleum. This kahki is probably closer to Cuprum's yellow brown. I still needed to match the old can and bough some Beauti-tone (house brand of Home Hardware a Canadian hardware retailer).

I only mention this as I said I use rattle can paints to both prime and give the bulk of colour (usually uniform) to my 6mm figures. I have also used a primer grey for WWII Germans. I hope this helps someone.

BTW in the last picture it is interesting that the Soviet forces are in a grey appearing uniform. And Humbrol 72 khaki drill is a pretty close (good enough for me) match to the DRA uniforms.

Henry Martini03 Oct 2019 3:54 p.m. PST

For the DRA, the greyish uniform was winter issue and the light khaki was summer issue.

FugazzaWithCheese14 Oct 2019 11:27 a.m. PST

According to testimonies I've read, Soviet soldiers would call their Afghan Army allies 'the Green' because their own uniforms were a more yellowish tone.

Sorry - only verified members can post on the forums.