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Painting Metalics


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Hi folks,


So there's a lot of experienced painters on here, and I'm not only rusty, I was never that involved in the technique or method of mini painting.


Lately however, I've found myself painting a lot of metals, and I find that I'm basically just placing a metallic pant down and then shoving a wash on top of it.. Is there any more to it? 

Does anyone layer multple shades of metals on top of each others? Does anyone use non-metallic paints to paint their metal parts of models?


I'm mostly just curious about how you guys go about painting metals.



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For blades I often like to do a simple colour gradient going from near black on one end to very bright silver on the other. Plenty of ways to achieve the end result but I tend to start with a wetblend (Vallejo Metal Colour line is great for this, superb acrylic metallics if you're into any "advanced" techniques). Then do some glazes to reinforce the dark and bright extremes.

If I want a more beaten look I like to stipple my highlights on. Stippling if you don't know, is basically painting in tiny dots instead of large strokes & sweeps. This gives a bit more uneven result, which in the case of metal gives it a nice dinged up look. Used, but not bloody and rusty (unless of course you add such effects afterwards).

I sometimes glaze in some extra colours to keep it from being strictly "grey". Browns always work, and if you keep them subtle it won't end up looking like a rust bucket. But I've even used green, blue and purple at some point to reasonably good effect. Glazing at its most basic is just the application of really thin paint. Great for slowly (or not so slowly, you can go thick or thin with your glazes) building up shadows and highlights. Great for creating some colour filters or variation.

Even when I'm not doing anything in particular, I still do some shadows and layered highlights like I'd do for any other surface.


Sure, for basic tabletop use you can halfass metallics and still look decent. But if you want to, there's plenty of things you can do for that little extra oomph.

Here's a nice example of the dark-to-light gradient I mentioned in the beginning:


The effect only took me maybe 5-10 minutes to do and looks plenty more eye catching than an all over monotone grey metallic with an all over black wash on top.


Another funny thing you can do is coloured metallics. Here's a pair of mecharachnids I did earlier in the year:


Way I do them (mix Vallejo Metallic Medium with inks) makes them a bit harder to work with when it comes to "fancy" highlights and such. I still highlight & shade them, but it tends to just be simple 1-2 step process in either direction and relying a lot on the metallic finish doing most of the work in the end.


NMM (or some basic tabletop approximation of it) is what I've been meaning to take a crack at.  Just haven't put any consistent effort into it yet. It can look pretty rad though. One thing's for sure, plenty of roads lead to a finished mini. Do whatever keeps you chugging along.

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