View Full Version : Different Chapters Skin color

La'mour Le Breton
05-09-2006, 08:21
what are the normal skin colors/tones for each chapter?
i know that salamanders are dark skinned or black but thats it, and im not even sure about that. can someone put a list, it would be helpful for painting reference thanx

heretics bane
05-09-2006, 16:17
all space marines skin changes vareying to the amount of sunlight

05-09-2006, 16:27
due to the Melanochrome Organ ( I think it's that one anyway.) They can have any color skin they want.

However, just in the intrest of background fluff, as far as I know the only chapter not made up of a base of pasty white guys is the Salamanders. Well, And the old Dark Angels, as they had the whole America Indian thing going on.

Philip S
05-09-2006, 16:56
what are the normal skin colors/tones for each chapter?
i know that salamanders are dark skinned or black but thats it, and im not even sure about that. can someone put a list, it would be helpful for painting reference thanx
I think it varies as much as in our world, each planet can have quite a mix though some are more dominant than others.

Dark Angels and Salamander have high percentage of dark skinned marines tending towards an West African look, Dark Angels used to have some Native American looking marines, they still have the traditions though whether the marines are still alive from that lost world I'm not usre, but they are bound to find another world.

Blood Angels are a good mix as Baal is a desert (though they are going more vampire and pale but 'Blade' is a Vampire and would suit red armour!) though probably mostly Greek but with blond curly hair.

Space Wolves are more Scandinavian.

Ultramarines would have African/ Asian and mixed looking marines as their world is much like ours, as is some of the others in Ultramar.

White Scars tend towards Asian/ Mongolian but their world is also earth like so a mix.

In most case look at the world, if an extreme climate (like Fenris) it will tend toward one type of cline, if like ours it will be a mix. If the chapter recruits while on the more then it will be a mix.

all space marines skin changes vareying to the amount of sunlight
This is in addition to the base skin tone. It only adds additional pigment if needed not take it away.

Also, I think it's a separate photo-chromatic pigment rather than melanin booster, so fades when the radiation is gone.


Wolflord Havoc
05-09-2006, 17:16
I seem to recall that the Ravan Guard have White skin and black eyes due to a slight defect of the Geneseed.

According to some very old back ground (Space Marine by Ian Watson) the Imperial fists maintain Keeps on both Valhalla (IIRC definatly an ice world though) and Necromunder (where the 3 principle characters were from). So not sure what these peoples look like but Valhalla I suppose is 'Russia' so I would expect a very Slavic looking people - and Necromunder has its different clans from the game so lots to choose from.

The Dark Angels recruit from where ever they happen to be at the time but older back ground namely the Death Wing Short story would have us believe that the Chapter recruited from a 'Red Indian' Tribal Society - subsequant background says that this is no longer the case as the Rock (the chapters mobile Chapter Fortress) has since moved on. Therefore the chapter would have a very Cosmopolitan look.

The Black Templers again maintain many keeps (I understand they build one on a planet where ever they win a campaign?).

Spacewolves skin is tanned as a result of the blessings of Russ's Geneseed as well as wondering around with all that snow reflecting sunlight, high winds etc and would become more 'weathered' and perhaps darker the older they get.

05-09-2006, 18:04
Didn't we just have this discussion?

05-09-2006, 18:29
No, we had a "why is everyone a pasty whiteboy in the darkness of the far future?" discussion, which spiralled into a "how do you paint non-pasty non-white boys in the grim darkness of the far future."

This is asking for chapter specifics.

The Death Spectres (albinoes) and Raven Guard (as well, one assumes, as Raven Guard successors) are white with black eyes, so they're a specific shade generally.

The people of Nocturne are generally portrayed as dark-skinned, ie black (not Arabian/Indian dark).

Apparently, the people of Fenris ARE Vikings.

Otherwise, you can choose- but I'd go with the above poster for using the tributes as a guide.

Ultras: Greek/Roman based.

Blood Angels: I'd call them Turkish based for their desert homeworld, becoming pale blond giants after their transformation.

Dark Angels: Heterogeneous Knightly Order- at one time, a heavy Native American pool of recruits.

Iron Hands: Should start pale (world is permanently overcast). Hate their flesh, so they'd generally hide it unless they're showing off their new bling- I mean, bionics.

Imperial Fists: Foreign-legion style broad range of recruits.

The White Scars: Steppe Horseman, like the Mongolians, Huns, etc.

05-09-2006, 18:45
well what about the chaos marines? or atleast them before the Horus Heresy.. like weren't some of the thusand sons red? as magnus was known as magnus the red.. or something like that.. wasn't he?

06-09-2006, 00:17
The Death Spectres (albinoes) and Raven Guard (as well, one assumes, as Raven Guard successors) are white with black eyes, so they're a specific shade generally.

It is possible though, to have RG recruits with 'black' skin colour type who become pale after initiation. Not so that their skin turns 'white', but just a few shades lighter in accordance with their gene flaw.

Apparently, the people of Fenris ARE Vikings.

It's also possible for Fenris to have a viking culture, but not an entirely scandinavian type ethnicity. In 40k, much like we have Dark Angel knights of Native American appearance, it's plausible that there are Space Wolf vikings of varied appearance as well. Though from the art, you would assume the majority would look 'norse'.

As for Chaos, one piece of pre heresy Death Guard art portrays them as having marines of varying pigmentation (a prominent Marine in the picture has 'black' tone) and I've heard that Perturabo and the original Iron Warriors were of an olive complexion.

La'mour Le Breton
06-09-2006, 08:40
chaos marines would be so tainted by the warp they would all prob have the same pale, leathery skin, they're thousands of years old, all of their skin is probably scar tissue

06-09-2006, 10:15
For Chapters that own big, developed and Terran-like planets with different climes and continents, the marines would probably have a mix of skin colours and ethnicities, much like our own modern day armies.

With regards to homogeneity of skin colour on certain planets, if you look at modern day America, not everyone of African descent (as an example) has very dark skin, with tones ranging from a light coffee right the way across to the dark chocolate look.

I don't really know much about the wonders of melanin in the skin and how it changes over generations (although inter-marrying with lighter/darker skinned people probably has the most immediate effect), but perhaps over the tens of thousands of years that the 40K planets have been settled, people of all skin types who went to colder and less sunny climes have gradually 'lightened', as melanin wasn't required so much in their skin. Likewise, those settlers from the Dark Age of Technology who settled on sunny desert worlds have probably become ever darker over the past 30 millennia - that's a very long time after all!

So we could say that in some cases, Astartes home planets that are largely the same all over (ice-sheets, blistering desert etc), have populations that are closer to each other in skin tone, with only relatively small variations - so Fenris might be Scandinavian, western and eastern Europe (perhaps not mediteranean), Russia and Siberia, where we are generaly pale-ish, but with different tones of creams, pinks, russets, and olives. Where a desert world could have people looking anything like eastern Italians, Sicilians and Greeks, right the way across Turkey, down through the middle east to Africa and probably the Indian subcontinent.

There's also the consideration of the effects of the geneseed upon the marines. Those with pure geneseed wouldn't necessarily be changed in their skin colour, but those with minor and major flaws, like Blood Angels and Corax's boys would be altered in appearance. The same might apply to the Space Wolves, as they seem to encourage some deviances.

Black Templars would have all shades and backgrounds within their Chapter, as would the Grey Knights, as these recruit people from right across the galaxy.

Finally, and as others have said, whatever the base colour of any marine, if their various glands are working properly they can alter their skin colour (or maybe it alters automatically?) depending on the environment they find themselves in and the amount of radiation of whatever sort is hitting their skin.