Friday, July 13, 2012

Really Struggling with Purple

This is not the epic post that was promised. 

Against my previous promise, I am starting an auxiliary Sister army despite them being an all metal army. I went with a Husky theme of purple and gold. I've never painted purple before and I am having trouble getting what I want out of it.

I started with Hormagaunt Purple over a black primer. I did a heavy overbrush Liche Purple and I think that was my big mistake. There is nothing wrong with LP but it is a very dark color. The next step of washing everything black did not help. The modle ended up almost black. That would have been great if I was doing an off-black Dark Eldar army but I wanted my sisters bright. The gold and cloth turned out so bright that the purple is overpowered. I touched up the washed LP with straight LP but that did nothing to help. It is still a deep and lustrous purple, but it may as well be black next to the gold and cloth.

To try and highlight it, I tried to use Warlock Purple but it looks really bad and cheesy. WP has too much pink in it or something and the result looks like something out of Tron. So I tried to mix them and a 2:1 mix of LP to WP gives this nice glowy result like you can see on her left boot. I want to widen the area of the mix color and then do hard edge highlighting with straight WP but I still do not think that I am going to get the result that I want. 

From The Back 40k
I found a good article on painting purple that skips the Liche Purple step entirely. They do Hormagaunt Purple over black followed by a 1:2 mix of HP and WP. That gives a brighter purple base to work up from than the straight Liche Purple. From there, the paint on a black wash into the recesses. The next two stages of highlighting use the same 1:2 HP to LP but each successive stage adds in one part Skull White. I am going to give this a shot as soon as I finish this mini.

Rather than learning to paint purple with the old paints, I should get some of the new purples and learn to paint that way. Just eyeballing the colors, it looks like there may be a little more room in the purple department with the new paint as opposed to the old paints. In the long run, I'll have to switch over to the new paints anyway. Maybe I'll give the Black Shirts another chance.

I highlighted all the hard edges with Warlock Purple and massively dislike it. It looks like a bad 80's commercial and still too damn dark! I started painting sans Liche Purple with this guide and already love it. More on how awesome that is when the mini is done and maybe after I've had a chance to paint one with the new colors. 


  1. Seems like a difficult color choice to sort out. For what it's worth, I like the last pic the best so I reckon you're on the right road at least. I'm holding out for plastic Sisters myself.

  2. It's really an easy color to work with much like green or blue. Add black or wash for a shade. Add white to your mix for a highlight. Where I am struggling is getting my purple pallet right. Warlock Purple just has too damn much red in it to be a straight highlight for Liche Purple. Now, I like the glowy and unearthly effect it generates but Liche Purple turns out too damn dark when washed black.

    I used the Pre-heresy Emperor's children guide and it worked well. I don't knwo about two stage highlighting though. I'm too lazy for that.