I’ve been asked for advice on painting on a few occasions and have always wanted to write a Bloodbowl specific guide focusing on the mid-level techniques. There is already a lot of resources out there on the basics (drybrushing, washes, undercoats etc) and a lot of the high level stuff is something I am not very experienced in (Non Metallic Metaalics, dynamic lighting) or specific to just doing that exact model.
I have a rough draft of an expanded version with parts about taking inspiration from real life sports teams, classic bloodbowl teams or other model ranges. I am also thinking of writing about converting models for use as Bloodbowl players. However for these I may need to make or paint up specific examples to help illustrate points and don’t have time to do that at present.
Feedback would be appreciated on the usefulness/interest of those who read this. If it is seen as useful I could post it to TFF or submit to the NAF site to see if they are interested.
3 Colours minimum
A key difference between painting Bloodbowl and fantasy and sci-fi models is that the players wear sports kits. Whilst you do get brightly coloured uniforms or outfits in other games it is not quite the same. Bloodbowl is also deliberately quite silly and cartoonish meaning bright, clean colours are more “acceptable” than gritty realism. Of course that is possible too, so adding battle damage and dirt may be a later article.
I have always preferred a limited colour palette when painting Bloodbowl players, if you look at sports kits then they tend to avoid mixing too many colours as the kit is designed to allow fans and officials to easily distinguish between the 2 teams. I also feel that using a lot of colours can overload the model and has a greater risk of it looking garish.
I have a pretty simple and robust system I use when I don’t have a specific colour scheme in mind, it is designed to handle the diverse array of armour and player types available.
It has 3 categories; colours, shades and metals.
Red, Blue, Green and Yellow
White, Black and Bone/Cream
Gold and Silver
Then it is just a case of picking 1 from each category, usually the primary part of the uniform (shirt and/or shoulder pads) uses the colour with the shade being secondary (shorts, socks or accessories) and the metal used for the metallic bits like, spikes, studs and chainmail pieces.
In this example we have norse with blue armour with gold metal parts and cream clothing.
These Chaos Dwarfs have primarily red armour with gold scales and edging and black details.
Using this method you can very easily end up with a simple and pleasing colour scheme. The only tricky areas to watch out for is if the “natural” parts of your models are bright colours too, such as green skin of orcs or brightly coloured scales of lizardmen. Another potential difficulty would be using both yellow and gold in the same uniform as they are quite similar, in this case it is best to have a large amount of the shade as contrast
If this list above is too restrictive then the following can be added:
Maroon, Pink, Purple, Orange, Turquoise, light and dark versions of Green and Blue
Grey and Brown
Metallic colours are an option too and they can be put in either the colour or metal category.
These extra options give a lot more variety but also greatly increases the risk of picking something that clashes or are too similar.
In this example the Slaaneshi chaos warriors have Purple, silver and black armour, note their very pale almost white skin. Unlike if a more natural Caucasian flesh colour was used, this could be an issue if white was chosen in place of black on their uniform.
These Amazons have more cream clothing with dark green armour to contrast and bronze metal parts since these better represent the more limited metallurgic options in Lustria.
There is a high likelihood your model will have lots of extra bits that may not really be part of the uniform such as boots, gloves, belts and other decorations. These can be painted in the team colours, something neutral like brown or a 4th option picked from the list above. This is a good opportunity to experiment with something that contrasts the rest of the strip since it will just be a small area so easily fixed if you dislike that colour.
These High Elves are mainly traditional blue, white and silver, however their boots and gloves are dark brown and they have gold armour pieces as well as yellow decorations. I could have painted the dragon parts of the blitzers green or red, but thought that would have clashed too much with the rest of the team. The armour decorations were already enough to differentiate them from the linemen and throwers. Although I used quite a lot of colours there is no red or green on these models, white and silver are similar to each other as are yellow and gold with dark brown being neutral.
The pro elfs were painted in mainly red and blue with silver for the metal parts and small areas of white to brighten them up. Again white and silver are similar colours and used in moderation.
Bringing a team together
In some cases teams are not all one type of creature or wear vastly different amounts of armour, Chaos Warriors compared to Beastmen are case in point, with Undead, Chaos Dwarfs and Lizardmen being other prime examples. In these instances you will often have players that look very different from each other and wear considerably different amounts of armour, so it is even more important that they have an easily identifiable uniform.
In these cases think about what you can do to help unify the players, it could be deliberately giving them all similar hair colours or ensuring all their accessories are the same colour. Conversely if the team is made up of the same race then altering the colours of some of the non-uniform parts can be done to help differentiate between the positions. All the blitzers having special crests or a different border on their shoulder pads for instance, this is a useful tool if your team is converted from other fantasy or sci-fi models and might not be readily identifiable.
These hobgoblins play for the same team as the Chaos Dwarf above. Instead of traditional green skin they were painted grey as not only does is suit the more polluted and industrial homeland of the Chaos Dwarfs but also is closer to the black team colour. Since they wear so little armour their accessories were painted neutral brown.
This human team used the 4th edition metal GW humans and is based on the Mighty Lavino Fighting Hellfishes. Team colours are orange, white and silver, and as a change from my usual painting style I added mud to their lower legs. I felt the blitzers and linemen were not easily distinguished so added yellow finned crests to the helmets of the blitzers.
breaking the rules
Bloodbowl players are well known for flagrantly breaking the rules, so there is no need to stick rigidly to the guide above when painting them either. Below are a couple of examples that did not follow the colour/shade/metal process.
These savage orcs show how colouring can be used in addition to conversions to differentiate positionals from each other. The models have little in the way of uniform and are mostly flesh or natural items such as bone or brown leather so they only have 2 team uniform colours, yellow and silver, they do all have red tattoos so this is sort of the 3rd team colour. I used the classic positional colouring (green for blockers, red for blitzers, grey for linemen, white for throwers and yellow for catchers) to subtly indicate the differences. The animal skins of the linemen have grey fur or scales whilst the blitzers have red and they all have red topknots too. These colours were kept consistent on their base numbers to further emphasise this.
This Chaos pact team has a diverse array of armour styles and skin colours, being made up of 7 different player types. Their uniforms break from the formula above and have nothing from the colour option aside from a few items in red and have black, bone and gold with some silver details. This helps tie the brown skinned lightly armoured minotaur and green skinned goblin to the heavier armoured pink skinned chaos marauders.