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i mean do i have to paint an army exactly as the codex makes it look, or can i make my own color scheme?
Give me pen and ill write you a novel, give me a pick and ill play you a masterpiece, give me a heart, and ill give you love.
Paint it however you like, no one will mind and if they do they are arses.
Providing there are no unwritten rules broken then there is no problem, unwritten laws of course being things like Orks tend not to have fluourescent pink skin - you know basic physical game realities.
That having been said though if you are playing a squad as Ultramarines for example and they all turned up in green painted armour or whatever then that would probably raise a few eyebrows, better in that case to say they are another chapter of marines who have green armour and then everyone is square innit?
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Exactly be creative. I believe that you should only follow the codex colour schemes if you want to collect that particular army. Blue for Ultramarines, Green for Dark Angels and the like.
On the note of Orks having pink skin though, could be interesting to create a narrative to give a reason for the skin. Again, just be creative.
On a side note, I always found the codex schemes quite hard to do, so I made my own, apart from special characters and my Grey Knights.
I say: screw the codex colour schemes =) .
I make my GK have a red gore and skull white armour. They metal ones looks so.. ordinary. Everyone does that. Mine look different, and as such, they are noticed. As long as they look good, you dont need to follow a certain scheme from the codex. Just be sure to make your army look like an army. Not have blue ones over here and green ones over here and yellow ones in the back. That might create an army which looks too divided (unless you connect them with some mutual colour).
my GK termies ar blue and Gold... i like it
later im gonna repaint my regular GKs and make them blue and gold also
but im gonna keep my painted land raider at the regular color .... it took too long to paint it....
GREY KNIGHTS RULE!
Of course be creative as everyone else says.
There are times when GWs colour scheams dont cut it. Just because you paint your models diferently dont mean that you take away the "true" feal to what army you play..
I paint my Ultramarines blue of course but i dont like the light blue color GWs Heavy metal guys have painted their UM in so I start with a base of Midnight blue and then do highlights with blends of Regal blue, Ultramarine blue and white, they get close to GWs Crimson fist models then their ultramarines but I like it and thats what mathers
For my Eldars I play with the UlthwÃ© rules but use a different colour scheme
Red, black and blue, for weapons and details i use gold with orange inc and highlighted up to Mithril Silver. Ill posts some pics of my eldar figs when i can.
I do paint my GK in Metal though.. I dont approve of painting them in other colours then metal or grey. that would take away to much feal (its like painting Blood angels blue if you think about it.)
So in one way i represent the side that thinks that its important to be creative but with moderation.