Whenever you are about to start a new 40k project, be it a detachment or a full fledged army, you have the opportunity to try an entirely new paint scheme. Sticking to the Games Workshop paint recipes and color palettes presented in their videos, app, and on the back of the box is always a safe bet. I though, prefer to create my own regiments and color combinations to fit the visual atheistic that I personally envisioned when first considering the army and creating a list. I tend to love gritty, realistic paint jobs no mater what chapter or army I playing. And often times, I want there to be a link to a real-world uniform or set of colors. Creating your own color scheme and finding the actual paint colors to make it happen can be extremely daunting though- You want to make sure all that time and money that will be spent on this project will lead to the results you want! Here are three step that I have found to be amazingly useful when trying to achieve a brand new paint scheme.
Research. It may sound like a chore, but it will pay dividends in the long run and hopefully inspire you to find a scheme you love. Do a Google image search for the minis you are about to paint and see what is already out there. Search various Facebook group posts for ideas. “Paint All the Minis” is a group I follow pretty closely as there are constantly impressive paint jobs posted. Recently I was introduced to https://www.reddit.com/r/impcat/ which is a thread filled with great ideas that you can use to help you create your own sets of colors combos. I also like to find real world examples to base my armies off of and then replicate the colors on my minis as closely as possible. For my new AdMech stuff, I am going to base the colors off of the 7th Cavalry which will be totally unique from any other paint scheme I have seen on a 40k army. Pop culture references can be a lot of fun too! I keep thinking about doing a Star Wars themed army, but the idea of painting so many white storm troopers terrifies me.
Test. You ready do need to test your scheme out on a single model before you just go ahead and start batch painting entire units. But before even testing on the actual model you plan to use, I recommend throwing on some paint onto a junk model that you don’t mind covering up with layers and layers of paint as you try to get the right paint recipes to create that perfect highlight you envision. Or use the junk model(s) to try out various uniform color schemes to see what looks the best. For my junk models, I have a range of old and secondhand minis that will never make it to the table top and whose purpose is purely to be test models. GW stores have a push fit Age of Sigmar Storm Cast Eternal model that they give away to new players (and also come in countless start collecting kits) that make PERFECT models for trying out new techniques on various surfaces. This one model has cloth, armor, textured elements and little details to allows you to get practice trying many new things before going on to the actual models you are going to use for your army.
Poll. Get on your local Warhammer Facebook group and share a pic of your concept on a test model(s). Make sure to have good lighting, ideally daylight. Do a closeup shot showing details and do a shot from 3 feet away as the model would look during game play. Ideally you have a few test models painted different and can ask people to pick their favorite. If you ask an open question to 10 different people you will likely get 10 different responses, but if you simply say, “pick your favorite”, then you can get a good idea of which scheme is in the right direction. Of course you can totally just ignore everyone’s opinion, but I always find value in just asking my local hobby group because people might comment on something that I was not seeing myself. The next thing to do is ask your painting “mentor”…someone whose models you are always admiring. Ask this person for their honest opinion and to critique what you have done. Stay open minded and respect their thoughts. Look at each detail and see if your mentor has a better technique or could recommend alternative colors to achieve a cool effect.
By going through each of these three steps, hopefully you can get a new, totally unique, paint scheme for the next ITC Major you attend, and have something special to show off to your opponent.
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