No. 103 – the Shoe Cream method

Step by step guide

For the smallest quantity you will require one pot of Tarrago shoe cream no 35 (Khaki), one pot of Tarrago shoe cream no 48 (Willow Green) and one pot of Citadel Castellan Green (was Citadel Catachan Green) and a measure set and stubby brush.
It makes more sense to make a larger quantity (see lower down the page for details).
103 blanco mixing

Add 15ml of the Willow Green to the jar of Khaki.
103 blanco mixing

Then add 2.5ml of Castellan Green
103 blanco mixing

Now mix thoroughly…
103 blanco mixing

Here you can see a colour comparison. The lid of the jar shows unadulterated Tarrago 35 and 48 colours alongside the new colour mix. Neutral grey card in background for colour reference.
103 blanco mixing

Now to apply the ‘Blanco’ using stubby brush. I use an old stencil brush but a chopped down 1″ paintbrush will do fine. This allows a thorough scouring and smoothing application of cream. Don’t use a normal paintbrush else to will apply too much and waste loads in the bristles (and don’t be a martyr and use a toothbrush – it will take ages and in any case, toothbrushes are made to remove stuff, not apply it).
The application technique can be seen in the KG3 section here and 97 section here

Apply the cream in small quantities to dry webbing, working it into all the weave with circular and criss-cross motions. Do not let it dry thickly on the surface or apply it so thick that it obscures the canvas texture. Being a cream this doesn’t soak into the fibres as much as real Blanco does but it does hold very well on the surface. The shoe cream is pleasantly scented and much less messy to apply than proper Blanco. Indeed, almost a pleasure!
103 Blanco colour comparison
Comparison of colours alongside neutral grey card, top to bottom:
1. Treated with crumbly Blanco KG3
2. Treated with crumbly Blanco 103
2. Treated with tinned Pickering’s 103
4. Treated with tinned Quippy 103
5. Treated with 103 shoe cream method
Note: colour difference between the 103’s is much less marked to the eye but Pickerings 103 is slightly darker and a stronger yellow/green than Blanco 103. Quippy 103 is slightly less green than Pickerings 103.

Larger quantities

It makes more sense (and is far easier) to make up a larger quantity. Simply dump the contents of three jars of Khaki into a cup, add one jar of Willow Green and 7.5ml Castellan Green and mix well. Make sure to scrape all the jars clean so as not to waste a drop, give them a wash then return the mixed product to the four clean jars. Simples!
103 blanco mixing
Note: Although the Shoe Cream Method gives a waterproof coating and will not wash off in use, Tarrago will scrub off webbing with some effort – soak in hot, strong solution of oxy-action for a while then scrub with a nail brush. There will, as with Pickerings, be some colour left behind. It has to be said the original Blanco block product comes off easier but this applies to use in the field as well!
Further info at the bottom of this page:
How to remove blanco from webbing
Tarrago 35 (Khaki) and 48 (Willow Green) currently costs £2.60 per 50ml pot (plus postage) direct from the Tarrago UK web site
“Citadel” Castellan Green £2.40 per 12ml pot available from Games Workshop across the UK or by mail order Games Workshop
Tarrago 34 (Olive) currently costs £2.60 per 50ml pot (plus postage) direct from the Tarrago UK web site
“Citadel” Castellan Green (replaced Catachan Green in March 2012) £2.40 per 12ml pot available from Games Workshop across the UK or by mail Games Workshop

Photographed and written by David Pratt