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"What color to paint sci-fi terrain?" Topic


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4,309 hits since 5 Jun 2009
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Comments or corrections?

WQRobb Inactive Member05 Jun 2009 1:49 p.m. PST

I'm trying to figure out a paint scheme for a modular sci-fi terrain set I'm building. I'm trying to decide between:

brown/tan
gunmetal
gray

You can see pics of some inspiration (i.e. what I'm talking about) here:
link

Personal logo Pictors Studio Sponsoring Member of TMP05 Jun 2009 1:54 p.m. PST

I'd go with gray. And then use very light dry brush of a reddish brown/tan over the top. That way you get the metal look to some degree but it could also be rusty slightly.

Grizwald Inactive Member05 Jun 2009 2:09 p.m. PST

Any colour you like, it's sci-fi!

timlillig Inactive Member05 Jun 2009 2:19 p.m. PST

I agree with Pictors. I'd do something like the last two photos on that page.

Covert Walrus Supporting Member of TMP05 Jun 2009 4:00 p.m. PST

The grey and metallic looks pretty good and realistic. I'd choose that myself, but it is your choice. :)

Legion 405 Jun 2009 4:13 p.m. PST

Do What Works For U …

quidveritas Inactive Member05 Jun 2009 4:39 p.m. PST

Get a Zuzzy Matt and paint to match that.

mjc

Mark Plant05 Jun 2009 5:50 p.m. PST

The grey and metallic looks pretty good and realistic.

I have no aesthetic problem with the grey and metal look, but why would it be realistic?

Exterior equipment is painted, to prevent corrosion. Assuming it isn't coloured plastic in the first place. Even much interior equipment is coloured these days.

picture
picture
picture

Realistic would be ensure that all your equipment has a trade name on it in huge colourful letters. Realistic is to have every terrain piece coloured differently. Realistic is to have colourful modern buildings, mixed with drab or tatty old buildings.

Realism is a more likely IMO a Bladerunner future of jumbled buildings and huge neon signs and billboards. We don't have to all go down the 40K route of a future without commerce or individual activity.

I think, generally, realism isn't what people are after.

Personal logo Pictors Studio Sponsoring Member of TMP05 Jun 2009 8:17 p.m. PST

It may be maintained but on massive space ships not every inch of corridor is going to be maintained, just like in massive factories or even in schools and hospitals, a lot of the stuff gets rusty.

picture

Sure plastics might replace a lot of the metal but even in this one:

picture

There is still a lot of that browny-grey colour on the machinery. Even plastic can get pretty crappy looking with time and exposure and if there is air there are microbes most likely.

This one is fairly well kept up with paint but still has a pretty dull gray look to it:

picture

If the stuff is used at all or things are moved through it it tends to get worn from the use or the oil that builds up on things. So if it is corridors it might get scraped from the movement of equipment through it. If it is a work area then people could be using machines that use lubricants that would leave a mess. Sort of like this:

picture

It depends what you want, of course. If it were a brand new facility then things might be all bright and shiny, but if it is the cooridors of some space ship or colonial facility that might have been somewhere for some time before the bug like aliens managed to get in, then there are all kinds of things that could muck it up. The microbes might even learn to feed on the plastics making their own kind of mess.

Mark Plant05 Jun 2009 9:52 p.m. PST

Pictors: where would the rain come from in space? You can be fairly sure that no space ship will rust because it takes surface water to cause rust.

My beef in any case is with the "all the same" look. Real life is indeed messy. Some things are new, some are old, some are rusty, some are half-built. On the whole new things are colourful and shiny.

Do you not tire of the 40K "look", where even new and important buildings are grey, and the rest is rusty, industrial and bombed out? Where there is no sign of commerce or recreation: every second building is a pump room, power station or similar.

Qurchi Bashi06 Jun 2009 2:14 a.m. PST

"where would the rain come from in space?"

Humidity was a big problem on the Mir space station. Moisture from the crews breath collected in the air. After the first couple of years crews said every surface was wet and the air felt clammy. So interior metals could be susceptible to rust.

However, I agree, I do tire of the 40K bombed out, industrial look.

Mark Plant06 Jun 2009 2:32 a.m. PST

I really, really hope that by the time we get to inter-planetary travel that we have overcome the humidity problem! Otherwise it is going to be a very damp trip to Betelgeuse.

(Really, the Soviets should have been able to deal with that. Are the ex-Soviet submarines -- laden with nuclear missiles -- really travelling around dripping with sweat inside the firing mechanisms? That is kinda scary!)

Vosper Inactive Member06 Jun 2009 3:52 a.m. PST

From the pics in the link, I like the colours used in the Space Hulk setup. Makes for a bit of a change from the usual, and expected, grey colours.

Personal logo javelin98 Supporting Member of TMP06 Jun 2009 6:46 p.m. PST

Grey, and shades thereof. Here's why: picture

Personal logo Pictors Studio Sponsoring Member of TMP06 Jun 2009 8:42 p.m. PST

"I really, really hope that by the time we get to inter-planetary travel that we have overcome the humidity problem! Otherwise it is going to be a very damp trip to Betelgeuse."

As mentioned it won't be "rain" at all. When you have people you are going to have humidity, some humidity is good for people actually. When you have humidity you are going to have some rust. Parts of the ship are bound to have pipes moving water through them and sewage through them and they are going to leak here and there because things aren't perfect.

So there is more water.

"Do you not tire of the 40K "look", where even new and important buildings are grey, and the rest is rusty, industrial and bombed out? Where there is no sign of commerce or recreation: every second building is a pump room, power station or similar."

I'm not sure what you are talking about. I walk around cities today and there are plenty of things that look like the pictures I posted. I don't think it is a "40K look" or anything similar. I think that things get grimy when they get used.

I've seen science labs with a fair amount of rusty equipment in them. The "sterile" bio lab that I used to do large scale pharmaceutical work in had a good bit of rusty equipment. The autoclaves had a perpetually dirty, grimy look to them because the heat cause the metal to do that.

It is possible that to prevent the bacteria from growing on the walls they are occasionally super heated to clean the bacteria off of them on remote parts of the ship, perhaps by a steam duct, that would have the effect of changing their colour.

New things are colourful and shiny but they don't stay new for long. I'd wager that if some sort of war or whatever is going on that people are going to be less concerned about painting the interiors of their space ships on a super regular basis and the space used to transport paint and other materials for making things look new on some of the colonial worlds might be better used to transport things like food or ammo.

Mark Plant07 Jun 2009 1:56 a.m. PST

When you have humidity you are going to have some rust.

You need actual water or the reaction, especially at reasonable temperatures, is very slow.

Rust is a reaction between iron and oxygen. It is catalysed (made to go much faster) by water droplets. Water in the air will not catalyse the reaction. Salt water is even better, which is why things corrode so fast near the sea.

I'm not sure what you are talking about. I walk around cities today and there are plenty of things that look like the pictures I posted.

I walk for hours in my home town and never see a really rusty piece of equipment. A few fences perhaps. Admittedly we aren't by the sea. In any case my point is not that there are no grey buildings and no rusty bits of equipment in the world, but that these things are part of a mix -- alongside beautifully maintained old buildings and brand new ones. There are also parks, plazas, schools, eating places and shops -- all of which are missing from the 40K look.

I also disagree about painting stuff in wartime. Good armies are notorious for not allowing anything to go without painting, oiling or cleaning if they need it. Admittedly they don't go much for decorating, as such, but neither is everything grey.

Personal logo Pictors Studio Sponsoring Member of TMP07 Jun 2009 4:44 a.m. PST

"I walk for hours in my home town and never see a really rusty piece of equipment."

You need to get out a bit further, I think.

"In any case my point is not that there are no grey buildings and no rusty bits of equipment in the world, but that these things are part of a mix -- alongside beautifully maintained old buildings and brand new ones."

Usually I see all brand new buildings and all old buildings in one place. Usually there are derelict parts of cities and new parts. The new parts have all attractive, new buildings, the old parts are mostly all falling apart. The industrial areas are often in the old parts.

"Good armies are notorious for not allowing anything to go without painting, oiling or cleaning if they need it. Admittedly they don't go much for decorating, as such, but neither is everything grey."

But for this purpose we aren't just talking about military stuff. We are talking about far flung colonies, corporate ships traveling vast distances through space, or perhaps even cities on earth that have been around for hundreds if not thousands of years at that point.

If we were talking about the military then I think the gray/brown-tan look would be even more appropriate.

Personal logo John Treadaway Supporting Member of TMP08 Jun 2009 4:02 a.m. PST

I think we all slip too easily into the 'grey primer everything mode' I know I do. When I've built stuff and tried to move away from that (like this link in a more brown look) I've usuall;y been less satisfied than my work on stuff like this link although a Tatooine style desert look like this stuff worked for me link (rusty roofs in the desert and all!).

When we did the scenery for War of the Daleks we wanted it to be retro SF so link and link show a very Silver shiny corridor look (4 different metallics from spray cans and weathering by airbrush).

Bt one could hardly hold Daleks up as being the height of 'realism'!

John T

Legion 412 Jun 2009 8:50 a.m. PST

Great stuff as usual JT … thumbs up Some those look familiar of course … wink

Mugwump18 Aug 2009 4:41 p.m. PST

I'd suggest color by the use of the building. If it is military, in a warzone, camouflage of the local dirt color and vegetation. If it is civilian then it is going to be brighter colors. In fact, the grimmer the environment the brighter the buildings will be painted.

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