Tartan is a swine of a thing to paint well on a figure, and there is no fool-proof way of doing it. Tartan was very common in the days of yore. It was an easy pattern for people who made their own clothes to do. When one set up the loom, one put groups of threads of the various different colours on the warp strings, and in the weft changed colour every now and then, and the effect was tartan. This was not unique to Scotland.
Pick three colours. One of them should be pale, one medium, and one dark. Paint the garment entirely in the medium colour. Next, using the dark paint, paint a network of perpendicular lines over the garment. Last, get the pale paint, and make sure that it is fairly thinly mixed, and paint another network of lines between the dark lines. All going well, the dark lines will cover over the medium paint clearly, and the pale paint will show a little of the paints beneath it through its pale thinness. Where the pale paint crosses the dark, you will see the dark line crossing underneath. At this point on the real garment, there would be a small area with inter-woven threads of both the dark and the pale wool, and this effect is simulated.
The three colours I have used here are medium grey, dark blue, and pale orangey sand. These are a fairly sober choice, and I would recommend that you avoid loud bright clashing colours. Subtle heather purples, gorse greens and the like will not threaten to dominate a figure and advertise your every little slip of the brush, as would shades of O'Hara scarlet, and Jezebel puce.
The figure you see here has been in many wargames, and handling has caused it to go a bit shiny. I do sometimes ask my opponents not to eat crisps and greasy snacks while playing, but I seldom bother as they usually blithely ignore my requests. Shiny figures with dust and little bits of fluff adhering to them is the reward of my tolerance.
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