MERCS – Several guys in my group have picked up MERCS starter boxes and have asked me to paint them up for them. The first one to come across my table is the USCR which I ironically just finished painting my own. Luckily my client didn't want the white color scheme and wanted something primarily red and black. Taking this cue I decided to base them on the old Soviet Flag. Red armor, with yellow marking and black/grey cloth with a deep brown leather for the pouches.
For the bases I chose to use my "Imported from Detroit" asphalt bases I think they work better with the support details that the models are standing on then my ice bases. Learning from painting my own it became obvious that the models have too large of a footprint to mount to jagged edges without some significant tweaking and gap filling.
To paint these up I blocked in the red areas with a deep crimson, the areas that will be black with a dark grey and the pouches with a chocolate brown. I've found the easiest way to paint black cloth is to paint it a dark grey and wash with one or two coats of black. This adds the natural looking shading and is easier than trying to paint the highlights directly. Of course after the wash I go back in and pick out the highlights anyway but it's easier to see them after the wash as well as making the blending feel natural.
The red armor plates were painted the same way as I did with my sefadu, after the crimson base coat I used and earth shade and baal red to deepen the tone and then went back in with the base to pick out the edges. Once that dried I used the fluorescent any color red highlight I have to make the highlights pop. Next I'll add some simple yellow striping to denote the squad members.