Friday, 31 August 2012

High elves colour scheme

I've mentioned in a previous post my idea for paint-effect high elves, specifically making them highly reflective chrome effect. So let me show you how that might work.

A few ground rules

First of all, whatever colour scheme I choose mustn't just fit in with the overall GW universe, but also with my vision for "total warhammer"(ie an all-encompassing aesthetic applied to all armies, scenery and accessories in my collection, with a believable narrative linking them all).

I intend to collect a number of armies and so having light and shade, not just aesthetically, but also in character, will be important to giving each army its own distinct identity in the collection. However, GW are keen to make every race either "properly evil", or just "not-evil-all-the-time"; they don't really have any white-hat-wearing good guys.

High elves have traditionally been the closest you get to filling that good-guy slot, though in GW's universe, while they may fight a lot of bad guys, they aren't particularly nice conversationalists. So while they are white-hat-wearing good guys, they'd break your face if you got any mud on their nice, bright, white hats.

I want my high elf colour scheme to show that dichotomy. So my idea is to have an army whose armour and robes look not of this earth; angelic; nothing like the grubby horsehair shirts of the Empire.

This works for me because:
1. the whole glittering supermen thing suits the elite nature of their army composition and units.
2. there's a simple black vs white relationship with their evil counterparts, the dark elves. I like the idea of pushing that to an extreme: an all-white army vs an almost identical, but all-black army. Kind of like Spy vs Spy.
3. the high elves get paint-effect armour just like their dark elf counterparts. Again, the symmetry of that I find appealing.
4. I haven't seen it done before. To push the colour scheme to a total absence of colour would hopefully  be original and garner fame and kudos with my entirely imaginary audience.

So here are the rules:

1. Impossibly white clothes
2. Impossibly shiny mithryl armour
4. An overal light and bright tone, avoiding dark shading.
2. No other colours (other than perhaps magic-effects)
5. As much white as possible, or shades of white (for animals, wood etc).
6. At a push introduce grey (for shadow warriors, patterned fur etc)

All white now

Games workshop have a nice little pdf template you can use to test your high elf colour scheme.

I used it to see how this colour scheme would look, and here's what I came up with.

You'll notice there's an awful lot of grey, but that's because chrome paint will give a very high contrast of light and shade. But notice that I've stripped the rest of the detailing of colour - no shiny red jewels, no blue sashes and ribbons. Just white. Heck, he's even wearing white gloves so that as little flesh is showing as possible.

I like it. But the picture doesn't look like a real life figure. So I found a picture from ebay of some painted units and fired up photoshop. Here's what I came up with...

Now we're talking. Okay, I'll be very lucky if the chrome paint gives me that super bright silvery look, but overall those colour scheme rules are working. Note that the hair isn't pure white, but so blonde as to be a shade of white. Importantly, the sea-themed detailing hasn't lost any of it's character, despite being bleached of colour. The unit has a really strong visual identity. It's attention-grabbing and (hopefully) original.

Game on!