Howdy fellow brickers!
Quite a lot of times MOCs with real potential turn into heaps of rainbow poop, where it could have been a WOW.. is now just a Meh.
Why does this happen? It all comes down to colour choices and the abundance of it.. so today we get into one of the ‘soft’ skills of building.. Technic builders.. avert your eyes, this is about to get pretty!
THE COLOUR WHEEL
We’ve all seen this little fellow at some point in our lives, with yellow, blue and red as the primary colours (that simply means that it is a colour that cannot be made by mixing other colours). Secondaries are the colours made by mixing 2 adjacent Primaries.. blue + red = purple and Tertiaries are colours between the Primaries and Secondaries.. like bluish-green.
Thanks for the science lesson Wayne, how does this make me a better builder?
By following a few simple guidelines in choosing your colours, your MOCs will be more appealing and harmonious and less of a Rainbow Poop McFlurry on a baseplate.
Lets have a look at the various ways of choosing a colourscheme.
This mode consists of 2 colours directly opposite each other on the wheel and makes this the most vibrant mode of colour selection, LEGO loved using it in their ranges, using the same schemes over and over but making different colours the Dominant Colour (DC) or swapping a colour out for a transparent version.
- Blue and Orange: Ice Planet 2002 DC= Blue, Coast Guard DC=Orange
- Red & Green: Octan, Space Police II
Try and remember more of them from old sets.
Here we take the neighbors of the complimentary colour, in this example the base colour is red so we take the azure and lime green next to green. This works well if you don’t want the colours to pop too much but still have an interesting mix.
This method uses 3 colours that are equally spaced on the wheel, here it’s the Primaries and you can see where the iconic minifig gets it’s colours from. So for example.. if your base colour was Green then the other 2 would be Orange and Purple. This is a very balanced scheme.
4 equally spaced colours or 2 pairs of complimentaries, this can be an okay method.. but hard to manage properly.. because the more colours you start to include the closer the rainbow poop monster creeps to your table.
You can also pick a base colour and jump 3 or 4 steps either way to find another matching colour.. Lately this seems to be the method of choice for LEGO designers.
these are a bunch of colours next to each other on the wheel, very harmonious, very pleasing, very boring if used over a large area.
GREYSCALE + 1
This one is simple.. black and or white and or grey plus a single colour. you could also use analogous colours to add some variation to your single colour choice.
These colour combos are all around us, everyday.. and once you’ve learned a few of them you will spot them being used on products and adverts.
Let’s look at an example
This MOC by Labsynth uses a combination of the Grayscale + 1 (with analogous) and a complimentary/dual scheme.
lemmesplaintodju: Black and grey + Gold with the brown and dark red as analogous colours to the gold and then the sand green as a compliment to the dark red, although these are different shades of the base colours, the same principle applies. There are quite a number of colours here but it is pulled off masterfully with the compliments and pops of colour used sparingly to enhance it’s effect.
I hope this has at least given you some understanding of how to work with colour, this is by no means the definitive colour guide and there are many examples out there of folks breaking the rules successfully, but it’s a good foundation from which to start.