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Saturday, September 1, 2012

Dark Ages Color Palettes

I've been noodling the idea of starting the Dark Ages / Norman Conquest /
Normans in Italy / 1st Crusade
period, but since it's on the back burner I'm taking my time and planning out how I want to tackle Yet Another
Period. I read some really good posts on Model Dad's blog
about dark ages dying techniques and color
schemes.
Using that as a base, I've decided to work out the color schemes for the various armies I
might be
painting up for my 10th - 12th century Normans, Anglo-Saxons and Vikings. This is a pretty massive post
where I go into historic dyes, hobby paint equivelants, color schemes, and samples. All this and more after
the jump.

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Fabric Colors of the Anglo Saxon World
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1000 Foot General: Dark Ages Color Palettes

I've just started researching Dark Ages color schemes, but I've found Jenny Dean's website a great resource
(thanks to Model Dad for pointing me there). Jenny has a number of posts dedicated to Anglo Saxon dying

techniques. Along with descriptions of her dying methods and examples
of her experimental results, she also
drops cool tidbits like this:

Dark Ages
(15)
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(25)
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(4)

"The analysis of dyes in textiles of the early Anglo-Saxon period seems to indicate that reds, like
purples, were mainly used for narrow woven bands, headdresses, embroideries and accessories,
such  bags, rather than for larger fabrics. Where dyes were used in larger fabrics (and dyes were
detected in only one-third of the larger fabrics analysed) these were mainly dyes that give shades
of yellow, blue and brown, plus green from blue and yellow dyes used in combination. It is also
possible that, at least in the early Anglo-Saxon period, reds and purples were colours reserved
for people of high status."

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Followers

Ms. Dean seems pretty reliable regarding natural dying techniques of early Britain, so I'm going to assume
her description of colors and their frequency in the archeological record is accurate. This gives me a good

place to start for planning out color schemes (dyed textile images from Jenny Dean's site).

Common Colors(60% of cloth)

Undyed Fabric in Off-white, Gray, Tan, and Brown

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Uncommon Colors (30% of cloth)

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http://1000footgeneral.blogspot.com.au/2012/09/dark-ages-color-palettes.html[8/24/2015 9:59:43 AM]

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1000 Foot General: Dark Ages Color Palettes

I had read a bit of wargamer wisdom that said the color green was not available as a dye color during the
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With these Anglo Saxon color samples
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so I can't promise an exact correlation, but hopefully it's good enough
for the tabletop. The Games Workshop colors appear to be more vibrant on the whole, so many of these GW
colors would probably need to be desaturated by adding some white or brown to the shade.

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1000 Foot General: Dark Ages Color Palettes

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About Me

John
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1000 Foot General: Dark Ages Color Palettes

Creating Color Palettes for Dark Ages Armies

Now that I've narrowed down the colors I'll be using for my dark ages figures, I've combined them into a few
color palettes.  Although information about warfare during this time is limited, it's unlikely vikings, normans
and anglo saxons adhered to any sort of uniform, each man providing his own gear, painted and dyed to his
own taste.

On the wargame table though, I find treating each figure as an individual turns the board into a visual mess.
My goal was to create a color palette for each army that would visually tie them together, without implying
that they were wearing uniforms or livery. I wanted these color palettes to be fairly generic so I could assign
them to armies at a later date, so I've gone with four simple color themes based
on the seasons of the year.

The common colors will appear most prevalently within each army. One or two uncommon colors may appear
as well, with the rare complimentary colors reserved for decorative items and borders on elite figures.

Germantown,
MD, United
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907 Pale
Greyblue

963 Medium
Blue

916 Sand
Yellow

4 hours ago

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915 Deep Yellow

961 Olive Green

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Green

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Autumn

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Goldbrown

918 Ivory

876 Brown
Sand

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Orange

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http://1000footgeneral.blogspot.com.au/2012/09/dark-ages-color-palettes.html[8/24/2015 9:59:43 AM]

RoadSweeper
Day Three

1000 Foot General: Dark Ages Color Palettes

Quindia Studios

Painted Examples of Viking Bondi

I'm hoping to start playing SAGA this winter starting with viking and

norman warbands. I painted up a few 28mm bondi from Wargames
Factory's "Vikings" as samples to see if this technique would work.  When I
think of vikings one of the first images that comes to mind is the viking
longship with its striking red and white striped sail. 

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I decided to assign my autumn color scheme to any vikings I paint up, with
particular emphasis on ivory and a rusty red color. The bondi were viking
farmers, and unlike the more heavily armored huscarls, the bondi are
wearing simple tunics and breeches providing a good range of fabrics
to
paint up. As lower class warriors, they shouldn't have a large amount of the rare red fabric, but I made sure to
include at least one bit of red on each. A red cap on one, but only a simple belt or pouch on
the others with
some red being incorporated into the simple geometric designs of their shields. I also included a bit of ivory in
various tunic borders as well, using the two "team colors" to tie the whole army
together.

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I still need to paint up more vikings and some opposing normans in a different color scheme, but already I'm
happy with the result. By forcing myself to limit the color palette and pay attention to how I could incorporate
the ivory and rust red colors I think the end result should appear suitably archaic but with enough pops of
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Buying Dark Age Vallejo Paints Online 

The paints above are available from your FLGS, but my FLGS is pretty lackluster and constantly seem to be
out of stock. I tend to order more frequently from Amazon and The War Store and a number of the paints

mentioned above are available there:

http://1000footgeneral.blogspot.com.au/2012/09/dark-ages-color-palettes.html[8/24/2015 9:59:43 AM]

Show All

< >

1000 Foot General: Dark Ages Color Palettes

918 Ivory

Vallejo Model Colors: Ivory #5

883 Silver Gray

Silver Grey

28mm Wargames Foundry
painted ANCIENT

916 Sand Yellow Sand Yellow
877 Goldbrown

$64.00

Vallejo Model Colors: GoldBrown #126

876 Brown Sand Brown Sand
963 Medium Blue Vallejo Model Colors: Medium Blue #57
953 Flat Yellow

Flat Yellow

ROMAN CAVALRY 28 MM
SCALE SET BY

961 Olive Green Vallejo Model Colors: Olive Green #82
817 Scarlet

Scarlet

959 Purple

Purple

$20.95

911 Light Orange Vallejo Model Colors: Light Orange #22

There are also a few paint sets that offer a good place to start if you need to pick up more than a few bottles
of paint to add to your collection.
Panzer Aces Wood & Leather

The Vallejo Wood and Leather set contains a variety of earth tones, a great place to start for the
common colors that appear in dark age armies.
The Vallejo Earth Tones set  looks like it provides a good initial set of muted natural colors too.
Amazon's Vallejo Game Colors Paint Set: Undead
The War Store's Vallejo Game Colors Paint Set: Undead

The undead set comes with a metallic silver and bronze, white and black as well as a shade of red,
parchment, purple and violet. Along with a few individual bottles of earth tones, this seems like a good basis
for a
generic dark ages color palette.

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