Monday, 23 May 2011

Picking a colour scheme: Aleph

I thought it might be interesting to show the thought process (random crap) that goes through my head when trying to pick a colour scheme for a miniature I'm painting. Plus if I start on this path I'll have people nagging me to actually fecking paint something!!!

Where to start?

You see back in the good olde days before the internet I used to like looking at a miniature uncluttered by the influence of other people's paint jobs... well that's well and truly out of the window nowadays. So the process goes something like this:

  1. Look at studio paint job and worry I can't do better (I know I can't)
  2. Paralysis and nagging self dou... erm no I pick the aspects of it I like, tone, colour, theme neat touches
  3. I then try and see if I could change the palette or if I just want to bloody copy it!!!
  4. If I want to change it I start looking for source material

For the Aleph lets be brutally honest the art work is pretty damn striking, but what I actually Liked about Angel Giraldez's paint job was the almost monochrome tone of them and the neon pink/purple lines:

But because I'm such a very macho man (yes I know I have a girls name and long blonde hair) I wasn't so keen on the idea of having a neon pink army (funny how I've ended up with a neon pink websit though). Now I was looking for source material to help shape my next move, although I thought perhaps neon green or orange might go nicely...

Inspiration (theft)

Now I have been playing a lot of Mass Effect 2 lately and I quite like the colouring of the Cerberus outfits, the crisp white and black seemed to ape the Aleph look but obviously being more stark and 'colder' I also like the orange detail work on many of their outfits, it just added a nice bit of 'warmth' to an otherwise 'cold' aesthetic. Its also an excuse to post an image of the best ass in computer games. Look at it!!! Magnificent I'm sure you'll all agree. There were also straight black PVC type suits Miranda and Jacob wore (hey I'm not here to judge anybodies sexual preference, what a hunk) with orange pipping. I liked it, and quite frankly it must have been in the back of my mind when I subconsciously got out the old Vallejo paints and started painting colour swatches onto some card. However I quickly realised that a really 'cold' pure white wouldn't really cut it next to the bright orange / yellow I was planning on using for my neon accents. I needed more inspiration and I needed it fast because I was starting to really want to put some paint down on these miniatures, luckily Hollywood stepped in and gave me the inspiration I needed.

Now its pretty damn hard not to have noticed that there was a really big reboot of a very well known and very much loved, well by geeks and nerds like me, Disney IP recently. Yes I'm talking about Tron, what else could I possibly be talking about? The Little Mermaid!!! I am not however going to use this as an excuse for dumping in gratuitous pictures Olivia Wilde or Beau Garret into my blog because I'm not like tha... hey how the hell did they get in here!!! That totally wasn't planned!!! However, these pictures do show how utterly awesome tight fitti... erm... blue can be with white or black as a neon accent. They also show how to do a properly 'cold' and clinical neon style wardrobe. However for me it was Clu, Rinzler et al that convinced me I was 100% right about neon orange!!! It just looked so cool on the screen that it had to be done.

There might not be much in the way of a white in their undeniably cool suits but that was OK, I could live with my Aleph being predominantly black, after all black is cool. However there was absolutely no way I was going to do a 'Tron meets Aleph' colour scheme, just wasn't / isn't going to happen, so sure there was possibly going to be more black than the studio's paint jobs, but white would still make up a very large proportion of what I would paint. So I needed to do a little more digging and see if I could find anymore images which might show a colour palette of an orange and white together, maybe alongside a black that actually worked.

So I turned to another sci-fi film, this time the excellent District 9, and in particular the weapons. Which actually had the colour palette I was after! First up is the AMR-B43... It showed me that perhaps if I muted my orange just a little bit that I could go with a cooler white, and it kinda worked. But the white itself round the muzzle or whatever its called on this thing and the shadows are more of a tan brown, so that was that, my whites would be highlighted to a cool white finish but have a tan brown shading and I'd mute my oranges... a bit!!!

I hope this has been an interesting read into how I put together my 'inspiration board' sometimes I actually print these sorts of thing off and pin them on the walls around me with Vallejo paints daubed on them trying to match various colours. I'd have taken a picture of my final colour palette card but I've sodding lost it so I'll have to do a new one... but back to neon green, you see I hadn't forgotten about it; I knew I'd need an accent colour for things like blades and blue would be too 'cool' and red too similar to orange and I'd already decided pink wasn't manly enough, so...

...fits quite nicely in a garish kinda way, sort of like a particularly bad taste Irish national flag, and no its not an advert for Sony Vaio's!!! Peace out.


  1. The X-men have done several variations of blue and yellow/black and yellow. Any could be taken over to an orange and black scheme, possibly even to a white and orange scheme. I think people are going to see Tron if you go with black suits.

  2. If you read the inspiration, I'm not going with black suits, I'm going with black panels and areas, it was the white I was worried about. Because the white is really important to making the other colours work. Miranda's suit is still the core inspiration and design I'm going for the other things were just used to help visualise the other elements to overlay on top of that. You'll see when I start my WIP this week!!! :)

  3. I originally tried a white ALEPH. It really didn't turn out well. White is hard. In the end, I decided that it wasn't worth it, stripped my Deva down, and started again. Right now my ALEPH is gray, with dark green highlights, ridiculous-colored anime hair, and I just use a silver metallic for the metals. The overall effect is a lot like the studio ALEPH, but a little grittier, including green (which is the superior color in all ways), and a lot easier than white.

    1. I'm not too bad at painting white, and the whit I've managed to achieve on some of my mini's has been fine so far. We'll see as I start finishing one or two of them off if that remains the cases. lol.