Pint Sized Evil: Chaos Squats!!!


Of all the decisions to make about painting any army, the most important is color scheme. Funny enough, White Dwarf is currently running a series of ‘expert’ articles on painting, all of which are total pants. His methods of color selection by color wheel is bizzare and totally wrong- he’s using first semester art student theory to paint by, and it couldn’t be more inapropriate. Look, the guys suggests painting Vampires in green and red- enough said, right? What a maroon.

There are 3 things to think about when choosing a color scheme:

  1. Main colors
  2. Moreso than any single model looking right, the entire army has to look good at a glance. The color scheme should be cohesive, consisting mainly of 2 colors, with details enhancing these 2 primaries. Any fewer than 2 won’t give you enough contrast to make for interesting models, any more will make them too busy. The 2 you pick should NOT be opposites on the color wheel, despite what White Dwarf says- opposite colors vibrate when placed next to each other, and make for lousy combinations. What they should do is contrast like vs. dark. If you pick 2 colors close to each other in ‘gray value’, your models will be confusing to look at, and nothing will stand out.

  3. ‘Real’ vs. ‘Fantasy’
  4. Lots of GW stuff, especially the older stuff, is painted with a super-colorful comic book palette. Much of the newer stuff is painted more realistically (as realistic as orks shooting lasers can be, that is), using earth tones and referncing real military color schemes. Now, this is mostly a matter of taste- mine leads to ‘real’, but I’ve seen some nice looking fantastical colour schemes as well.

  5. AimTrue to Character

Just like Vampires should NEVER be red and green, and orks should never be blue (except Ken’s smurf-goblins!), pick colors that make sense to your army theme (what’s that- no army theme? Get one- this is MANDATORY)


As I intend for this to be the 40k version of my Fantasy army, I choose red and bronze for a colour scheme. (The fantasy ones are red and bronze). While this makes them look very chaotic and evil, the scheme doesn’t quite jive with me- this is because I forgot to think about #2 and #3 in my 3 rules.

The red and bronze theme looks to fantastical for the ‘steampunk’ look I’m trying to achieve. My models should look ‘real’, as if they are the tradesmiths of this bizzare, arcane mechanical world.

Also, the focus of the model is all wrong. The bright bone color of the shoulderpads distracts from the face — the natural focus point of any model (or person on the street) is the face, and to have another part of the model ‘get more attention’ goes against someone’s natural tendencies- this is bad for the overall composition of the model. Looking more at these embossed shoulderpads, I decide to ditch them for standard ‘flat’ ones. They look too ‘I will kill you and bathe in your blood’ type evil, and not enough ‘Oooh! Let’s make bizarre robots and take over the universe!’ type evil.

The reds and metallics all over the place also called attention to the patchwork nature of the model- it was obvious (to me at least) that these parts were not meant to go together.

Finally, this army will be confusing enough for my opponents with all the custom models, so anything I can do to make it easier on them is a good thing. The Squats play as Thousand Sons, who have an existing color scheme- blue and gold- which I will use as a starting point. So, with all this in mind:


I started with blue for the armoured bits, keeping with 1000 sons colour scheme, then tried gold for the trim. This proved to look too fantastic again, so I switched to a duller version — Beaten Brass had enough ‘goldish’ tone, while looking beat up and mechanical as well. Good so far. I knew the skin and beard had to be gray, as my fluff says these guys have turned to stone.

Once I had these colors on, I stopped to address the problems I ran into the first go. I decided to paint the rest of the model in muted, realistic colors. This would call attention away from the legs, which definitely looks a bit off due to the chainmail they had, and give the model a focus on the upper body and head. I picked browns for 2 reasons- it gave them a ‘real’ workshop, leather, mechanic look for one thing, and that went back to my army theme. Secondly, black would have been the easier, obvious choice, as it would have set off the blue and brass colors- but that would detract from the dirty, clumsy, misshapen look I was trying to achieve.

Next I address those big, blue armour plates. I was inspired by a few models I saw at Shore Con, and thought it would be cool (and in character) to go for a beaten up Millenium Falcon/Star Wars kind of look. After all, these guys have been around for 40,000 years- they would have taken some damage! I used extra Imperial decals to add 3 insignia markings- 1 for squad # (1-3), one for trooper # (1-10), and one for ‘troops selection’ (the little arrow). Then I beat the hell out of the models, with gun holes, sword slashes, and other miscellaneous battle damage.

With a few models finished, I’ve noticed that the positioning of the shoulder pad is key- having them square on the arms reveals too much of the chest plate. This is bad because the Chaos Space Marine molds are really old, with deteriorating detail, and the chestplates are all but mush at this point. Having the pads angled forward and upwards covers the whole chestplate, and also make the Squats look sturdier- much better. I won’t trash these 2 ‘bad; models, but will make sure to assemble the rest of the squats correctly.

Having now settled on the color scheme, I’m off to the races!

Created by: system. Last Modification: Sunday 25 of January, 2009 01:06:30 PM EST by ZiggyQubert.

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