Thursday, November 7, 2019

Mixing Your Own Colors

Mixing colors while you paint is a time honored tradition. Back in the day when the paint range didn't have 30 shades of green this was a necessity as well. What do you do though when the mixed color is a vital part of your army's color scheme though and not just a one off?

I've always mixed paints, and I still do a lot. Mixing Screaming Skull into any color to get a highlight version of it is something I do quite a bit. It's easier for me then searching for another pre-made color and if I mix the same highlight color into a lot of my other colors for their highlights it helps tie them all together. This can just be done as a one off while you're painting, but when you have a mixed color that's vital to your whole army it's a little different.

I remember back in the day GW used to sell empty paint pots specifically for you to mix your own colors in. The first time I remember mixing up a pot of my own color was actually for a small Ogre force I had back when Ogre Kingdoms first came out. I was going for an army aligned with the Chaos Dwarfs and so I wanted them to look a little more chaotic. To get this across I went for a more sickly and unnatural skin tone. I can't quite remember what colors I actually used to make this mix, but after painting a few ogres I knew it would make more sense just to mix up a pot of this. That way the skin would be consistent across my entire army.

The next time I recall mixing my own colors was for my Astral Claws Space Marine army. They're mostly two colors, silver and blue. Originally I painted the silver with a basecoat of Boltgun Metal followed by a wash of Badab Black (the OG Nuln Oil). This gave me a slightly darker, and more sinister silver perfect for the Astral Claws. The only problem was that a wash isn't super consistent on flat surfaces like armor panels. I would have to go in and clean up with a Boltgun/Black mix wherever there was weird pooling and such.

To cut time I ended up mixing a pot of Boltgun Metal with a little black and just basecoated them with that. I then went in and lined the armor panels. I also wanted a somewhat unique blue for some reason. I believe it was a mix of Enchanted Blue and Regal Blue. I mixed both these colors up, put a label on them so I would know what colors they were, and used them for the rest of my army.

My Nighthaunt are probably the army I have used mixed colors on the most. The key to their color scheme is Nihilakh Oxide mixed with a lot Lahmian Medium. When I started the army I would just do this as I needed it, but after a couple of Spirit Hosts I once again decided it would be easier to have a pot of this ready. This saved me time on the mixing, and also made sure my army looked consistent. It's about eight parts medium to one part Oxide. Once I started painting models with more flat surfaces, like the Hexwraiths I ran into the same problem I had with my Astral Claws where I would occasionally get odd pooling and tide marks. To clean these up I would mix a little Oxide into Ulthuan Grey, which was the closest color to the Corax White spray basecoat at the time. Once all the new Nighthaunt models came out that have a lot more flat surfaces it just made a lot of sense to have a pot of this ready to go as well.

The newest color I've mixed is for my Bonereapers. The way I paint my bone is with a wash over white, so once again, on larger surfaces there can be some odd pooling from time to time. To clean it up I used a mix of Ulthuan Grey and Seraphim Sepia. I'd been doing this for awhile with anything Skeleton related in my death army, but knowing I'm going to go all in on the Bonereapers it made sense to have a pot of it mixed up, especially with models like the Gothizzar Harvester and the Mortek Crawler.

There are a few key things to remember when mixing your own pots of paint though. The number one rule is that consistency is key. Always make sure you mix up a new pot of the color before your old pot runs out. This ensures that you can color match the two mixes to get them as close as possible. The other important thing to remember is that you'll want to make sure you can identify your mixes. If the color is unlike anything else you have it may be easy just to do by sight alone, but in my case a lot of my colors are just slightly off from a real color. My Oxide mix for example is indistinguishable from a regular pot of Oxide since I'm just mixing Medium into it. My old Astral Claw paints got a new label made with paper, while my current batch of Nighthaunt paints just have the word "Mix" painted on the top of the pots in the appropriate color. I decided to go all out with the Bonereaper paint though and made it a fancy new label. This is something my Nighthaunt paints will be getting too once I need to make a new batch. This also lets you get a little creative and give it an appropriate Warhammery name.

Do you mix your own colors for your army? What are some of your favorite mixes?

Until next time,

Tyler M.

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