I’ve been commissioned to paint a lot of different Space Marine Chapters. I’ve never been surprised by that, since everyone knows that Marines are the very popular force.
On the other hand, I have been a little surprised at how often I get commissions to do color schemes in the “half and half” style. Half and Half color schemes are very popular among successor chapters, but not so much among the primary ones.
As I’ve gone about painting forces and minis in half and half colors, I’ve found some tricks to get around the pitfalls they could fall into. There are a number of pitfalls for these kind of Space Marines, so it is good to be careful about them.
One of the biggest issues for Half/Half marines is composition. It can be difficult to paint many bright colors onto a Space Marine without him becoming bright and gaudy. For example, the white, red and yellow color scheme of the Storm Lords could easily be overpowering.
The way that I’ve mitigated this is to make the metals fairly neutral (grey and dark metals were used on these Storm Lords). Also, I made the white into a warm bone-white color (rather than a grey-er white like I used on the Eagle Warrior). This meant that I could use the same shading color for both the white and yellow- allowing the colors to tie together effectively.
This is another thing that you’ll want to note is balance in the very non-symmetric color schemes.
This Eagle Warrior’s composition was balanced using the red color. It covers his knee on one side, and the opposite side of his helmet, creating a strong red balance across the mini.
Notice that the blue on this mini is a somewhat neutral color (Ultramarines blue is a little gray). This keeps it from overpowering the cold white on the mini, and leaves the red as the brightest color.
Here is another interesting piece that I got to paint. This Sons of Malice Daemon Prince has a strong half and half scheme combined with the melding of flesh and armor inherent in Daemonhood.
Rather than keep the border between the two colors as clean as possible, on this mini I blended the white and black together around the head. That way, both colors could fade into the flesh tones that I used for the face.
The wings were painted using the same black and white as the armor, allowing them to follow suite with the mini and not seem out of place or tacked on.
For vehicles, it is often good to emphasize the metallic features, as metallic colors tend to remain neutral in the color scheme, and help tie the whole mini together. Here are a few examples: