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Sunday, 24 November 2013

A New Army and a Fresh Start, Matching Colour schemes.

A new army, a fresh start and matching colour schemes.

This post really is just about how we can paint our armies and have them look like they belong together on the table.

One thing that I often see with armies is a mix and match of colour schemes. Different hues of colour where one units chosen colour just doesn't match another. I think you guys know what I mean. The Ultramarines armies we've all seen with one dark blue squad and a lighter blue squad next to it. They just don't match, the basing is usually different and I think it lends an untidy appearance to an army.

If you want to have a good looking army that's cohesive in its colour scheme then you need to work out your colour scheme "recipe".What I mean by this is once you've decided on your next army and you've painted your trial model (we all do this right ?) then we need to write down and keep safe a list of paints we've used. You could as I do and separate the colours you have used from the rest of your collection and keep them together. For example the paints I am using for my Iyanden army are all kept in a plastic tupperware box. In that box is my recipe.

Of course you may need to use these paints on another project, no problem. Because you've written down what your recipe is you can happily grab what ever you want without the worry of forgetting which "red" or whatever colour  it was you used as your highlight.

I speak from experience. As many of you know, this years project for me has been an Iyanden army. As like me many of you have busy lives, it can be days or weeks before you get another chance to paint. This summer was exactly the case for me. I hadn't painted for quite some time and decided to paint some Wraithguard. Grabbed my paints and started. I didn't check my recipe and just got stuck in.

It wasn't until after I had finished painting, and put these guys along side the rest of my army that I realised they were a different shade of yellow and really didn't match the rest of my army, Was it the end of the world ? No. Was I disappointed ? Yes.

What I realised I had done was I had used the wrong red/brown pre shade colour. This basically changed the colour of the yellow going over the top enough that it was noticeable. I should have used "Red Clay" I used "Blood Stained Mud" instead.
Here's a picture of the two different units.

I usually write everything down in my hobby diary and I encourage you guys and girls to do the same. I use it for getting my ideas and plans down on paper, keeping a track of my progress and making lists of recipes, techniques and just general reminders of what I use on each army I'm painting. Even how I do my bases and the materials used on those. It all goes in.

I know there are some armies that are a bit more flexible in paint schemes, Eldar as one example with all those Aspect Warriors. But guess what I would keep a note for each and every colour scheme used for those as well. You may start off with five Warps Spiders, but if you wanted 5 more 3 months later, well with your notes you know you will be able to get them to match.

There are other areas I don't think this is so important, Flesh tones is one area I just go with the flow really. We all have very different skin colouring and I think the same would be said of the various races that inhabit the galaxy of 40k. Not just humans either but Orks, Eldar, and Tau would all have various shades of skin tone in their races. Tyranids not so much and Necrons really benefit from looking as uniform as possible.

Some of us who are so dedicated to one army (not me) that they have been adding to it for many many years will say that their painting skills and styles have changed quite a bit since they began. That's great and it's nice to see how we improve over time, but stick to your recipe of colours and even if the painting styles changed you will still have that cohesive look that benefits any collection.

Here's some pictures of a Salamanders army I painted a couple years ago, this will show what I'm talking about. It was painted during the time I was just getting into airbrushing and so I went from blending to airbrushing. But I stuck to the same colours for the armour and it helped them look like they belonged together. I did play about with the thunder hammers, power weapons and eye lenses but for the most part they looked nice when I played them. Looking back had I stuck to a detailed recipe they would have looked so much better.

Obviously fingers crossed GW won't decide to throw a spanner in the works and completely change it's range again for some time.

So when you next embark on your new army, please keep this in mind and either give it a go and be pleased with your results or just mix it up throw caution to the wind, use all the colours of the spectrum and ignore my rather OCD approach to painting.