Colour theory in Malifaux – Part 2

Hi folks,

This week we have another guest post from that lovely Zak chap (you may remember him from such posts as Colour Theory In Malifaux). More painty coloury fun today, but sadly no pictures this time (if I have time in the future, and remember, I might hunt down some good examples of each of the things he talks about… but I’ll probably forget). As for me, I tried writing a post on my thoughts on the different factions (all 6 of them) but it turned out to be one of the most boring pieces of prose I’ve ever read… so I killed it. Next post will be a look at the December Acolyte, which is increasingly becoming my second favourite minion (sorry, nothing can displace RSR… even if it could be argued that the acolyte is better in game, that’s just propaganda). So until then, I’ll hand over to Zac.


Hello readers once again. Sorry it’s not the regular Marcus love today. You’ll have to put up with me again. Recently, you see, I was listening to an episode of Malifools, which has caused me to pick up tablet once more and start waffling on about colour theory again. If you haven’t read my first post on this, it’s probably best to pop back and do that now.

On the episode in question, Mike, Conrad and Joel are discussing painting up a faction, and how to make each sub crew individual while still making sure the models look good together on the tabletop. As last time I looked at how colour theory can affect painting an individual model, I thought this would be a great excuse to talk about it across a crew.

Way one “paint it blue and call it fluffy”

This is the heavy approach to making your crew fit together: use a very limited colour palette for every model and don’t change it for no-one. Actually heavy sounds a bit like I dislike this approach. This can make a crew look very cool, especially if you choose the right one. A legion of skeletal ashigaru marching across the field wearing the same colours as their deceased Lord Izamu, supported by liveried ten thunders archers would be a pretty cool way to carry this off, and crews like Gremlins (who are basically just green and brown) and Rasputina (who works very well with cold colours) would also allow for this approach. The real problem comes when you start looking at the models in the faction that don’t fit with the chosen colour scheme. I’ve never liked the bright yellow torakage, and there are a whole load of Arcanist models that are designed to be colours other than blue.

Way 2: The accent colour.

Slightly more subtle here, you choose a colour and try and make sure every model in your crew/faction has that colour somewhere on them. This can work really well with any of the factions, although you may have to be more creative with some models than others. Generally the models with clothes on are easier to do this with than those without: a wastrel’s kneckerchief can easily be any colour you want whereas there are only so many colours you can paint a giant ape before you start verging on the ridiculous. You can be a bit imaginative with this approach though: things such as vedigris, weathering powder or interesting bases can provide enough of a colour link to tie together otherwise disparate elements of your faction. The factions that would work best with this approach to my mind are the outcasts, ressers and gremlins, although it can work for any.

Way 3: the contrast

Following on from my last post we can return to the colour wheel for my next suggestion. In case you haven’t read the previous post (I did tell you to), opposite colours like red and green compliment each other. Using this we can link the different models across the faction by choosing two opposite colours and making sure each model has at least one of those colours on them. For my Guild faction, most of the models have at least a small amount of red on them, with green tones in the brown. However, for the Death marshalls I swapped that round so that the greens were the more prevalent colours (in their flames) and the red tones were limited to the browns. This can work really well in factions like the guild where there are strong themes to the crews, but still an overall faction flavour. Others I think this would work for are Ten Thunders and Neverborn.

Way 4: The flagrant disregard for anything I’ve said.

It’s kind of cheating having this as an option, but to be honest, there are crews that just work really well with a complete diregard for any attempt to unify them. The Arcanists are so elemental in their build up that it is most likely they would look best being whatever colour they’re meant to be, and leave it at that. Even within some crews, like collettes and Collodis, there is space for a riot of colour and complete free rein with each new model. The only thing you can do with these guys is link them together with their bases and enjoy the fact that Wyrd put out such awesome models that no matter what colour you paint them, they’ll always be the coolest toys in the shop.

Well that’s a brief look. If you want to chat more in depth hit me up on twitter under the handle @zacgoldenhall

All the best.


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