When Black Isn’t Black – Painting Sci-Fi

First 2 figures for my COG team

The Floozy may be a slow painter, but she paints a little each night.  This week I finished 3 science fiction figures and rebased 1 figure.  I made progress on other figures, I just didn’t get them finished.

Painting Black Without Black

I’m painting figures and putting together terrain to play 5150: Infestation from Two Hour Wargames.  The game centers around a COG team (Covert Operations Group) investigating a secret lab which has gone silent.  For the color scheme of the COG uniforms, I knew I wanted a dark color.  Something along the lines of a black, a dark gray or a dark blue.  The figures I will use for the game are mostly from the Reaper Bones line of plastic figures.

COG team members from the back

I often use Reaper’s Walnut Brown for a nice warm black, but this time I needed a triad – a dark shadow color, a base color and a highlight.  Enter Reaper’s Dark Elf Skin triad, it’s not just for skin.  I’ve never thought of using flesh or skin tone colors for anything other than skin until recently.  What happened is that I needed a straw color for the facings and cuffs of a Hanover Seven Years War regiment.  I took an image of the uniform and ran it through Reaper’s Power Palette app on their website.  One of the colors the app recommended was a skin tone.  Curious, I mixed a drop of Reaper Sun Yellow with 2 drops of Ceramcoat Medium Flesh and I got a nice straw color.

A black uniform of purples, grays & greens

The uniform, including helmet, is done with Reaper’s Dark Elf Skin colors.  Usually, I just paint the recessed areas with the shadow color, but this time I painted the entire uniform with Dark Elf Shadow.  The base color, Dark Elf Skin, was applied to the broad areas making sure to leave the shadow color around the edges.  And finally, I applied Dark Elf Highlight on areas that would catch a lot of light.  The visor is painted using Vallejo Game Air Polished Gold with just a touch of orange added.All of the straps, pack and web gear were painted using Vallejo Model Color Olive Grey.  The bedroll is painted Vallejo Model Color German Field Grey.  The oxygen bottle and respirator mask are painted using Vallejo Model Color Russian Uniform.  The rifle is painted using Vallejo Model Color Gunmetal Grey and Stone Grey.

Maureen Kipp

Maureen Kipp – figure by Wargames Foundry

I’m playing a game of 5150: New Hope City PI and needed another NPC.  This figure is from Foundry’s Street Violence range named “Poppet.”  But I will be using her as an investigative reporter – Maureen Kipp.  (Ok, I suck at coming up with names and swiped “Maureen” from Callahan’s Lady by Spider Robinson – a fun read.)Her skin was painted using Reaper’s Dark Skin triad.  The blues used for her slacks, blouse and head band were Vallejo Model Color Dark Blue, Reaper True Blue and Reaper Light Blue.  The coat is Reaper Stormy Gray.

Pearl questions Maureen

I really do need to find a different figure for Pearl.  I mean, she needs to set an example for Jun and if she’s serious about being a PI, she needs something a bit more professional.


Whenever I paint science fiction figures these days, I remove them from their bases and attach them to clear acrylic bases from Litko.  And whenever I’m basing new figures, I try to rebase some of the older ones.  This week I rebased a Nova Corp Rifleman from Reaper’s Chronoscope line.  I’m using the Bones version of Nova Corp’s Security force, but this one is the metal version.I use simple tools to remove figures from their cast on bases: a flat hobby file and an old pair of toe nail clippers.  As I mentioned earlier, the clear acrylic bases are from Litko.  I know it is a bit of a hassle to do this, but I just didn’t like my figures surrounded by a patch of grass when standing on the deck of a starship.  This way I can use a variety of mats and terrain for my games without the figures looking out of place.This figure was painted using a lot of blues and grays.  The Nova Corp figures paint up easily and the color schemes you can use for their armor is only limited by your imagination.

Finally, here’s a peek at what is on the painting table at the moment:As always, thank you so much for reading.  Your comments are always welcome, especially if they help the Floozy increase her hobby enjoyment.

One thought on “When Black Isn’t Black – Painting Sci-Fi

  1. Long ago i was given the advice of ignoring the brand name colors for paints except for reference and archival purposes, and it has served me well so far. GW has helped with this as in their hurry to use weird but patentable names for their paints you no longer see them as something recognizable (“what the hell is an inrik? that’s a blue”).

    As an aside, since i almost evangelize for this in forums these days, looking at the eyes of the topless girl in your painting table, you’ll likely find it not just better looking but *easier* to paint the eyes first, i’ll let Reaper explain: http://www.reapermini.com/TheCraft/12

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