Wargaming Tradecraft: April 2015


Colour Theory: Near-Neutral Achromatic

Similar to Pure Achromatic (Greyscale) schemes, are Near-Neutrals. Since Grey is Neutral, Near-Neutrals are Colours that have so much grey (light or dark grey) that it's almost impossible to tell what the original colour was. "Earthy" is another term given to these colours due to how many browns comprise these tones. Painting in Neutrals can feel pleasing as they're not aggressive, even when you're using a lot of darks.

"Sepia" is a term you might be familiar with for an art style that uses mostly Yellow Neutrals. However, a painting style that uses a single colour is called "Monochromatic", which I'll look at next.

Any of the other art styles I've covered can be used when painting with Neutrals. The mixes of Hues, contrasting lights and darks, softer blended ranges, etc.

The chart here is a good guide on colour intensity. To create Near-Neutrals, you really do want to go past the "Dull" colours, where the colour really starts to disappear and the grey tone becomes apparent.

Colour Theory: Pure Achromatic (Greyscale)

Remember when I said colours of equal value look like the
same shade of grey? Look at the Colour Wheel now.
Achromatic Colours are Whites, Blacks and Greys. Greys are also known as Neutral because they have no colour. (Grey is also what you get when you mix two Complementary colours together - they cancel each other out.) Greyscale can be a very unique way to paint a miniature.

The normal reasons for painting like this is for environments like stone formations or cities, either for terrain or for bases. A practical reason for painting greyscale on a miniature would be some form of camouflage, either natural (mountain beasts) or man-made by people living or fighting in these areas. You'll also find these schemes in nature for general reasons: wolf pelts, seals, whales, polar / black / panda bears, etc.

Some reasons you'd paint these compositions would be if you're painting an object that's normally White and/or Black, painting something that's normally composed of Greys or painting something that should have colour artistically.

There are different ways that you can paint a greyscale miniature or scene, each which has a strong impact on the way it comes across to the viewer.

When you're choosing the amount of Black, White and Grey to use, here's some things to consider:

Colour Theory: Colour Contrast and Context

Comparing light, dark and grey contrasts.
When we look at contrast, it means we're looking at how strongly one colour appears compared to another. Specifically, when the 2 colours are painted next to each other. Advertising and websites pay close attention to the contrast of colours to ensure text and objects stand out against their background.

Another important part of Colour Contrast is when we look at people who are colour blind. (A topic I had a buddy write about once - Colour Blind Modellers.) You can convert 2 different colours to greyscale and they become the same grey, causing details to literally disappear. There are a bunch of websites dedicated to testing how well colours contrast.

When we paint miniatures, we want to make colours "pop". Try to remember:

Getting Started: Removing Mould Lines

If you don't clean mould lines from miniatures, they'll be REALLY obvious when you paint them. There are a couple ways to approach them. I prefer using a hobby knife (X-Acto) but this can also be done with files if kids are involved. However, a file leaves a rougher surface while a knife lets you smooth it out.

I've talked about cleaning mould lines before, but this'll use more practical examples.

Colour Theory: Square Tetradic Colours

I'll be looking at two Tetradic Schemes - Rectangular and Square.

In both, we use 2 sets of Complementary Colours for a total of 4 colours. The difference between Rectangular and Square is how far apart the colours are spread. We have the benefit of more colours to paint with, however it becomes harder to balance all of them cleanly.

Created with painter from Bolder & Chainsword
The Square scheme is more difficult to work with than the Rectangular one because the pairs are spread out evenly around the Colour Wheel. None of them blend closely with another, even though you'll have 2 Warms and 2 Cools. It's similar to the Triadic scheme, but with a fourth colour added. Here are some things I recommend: