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Posted by ArkenTyre

Metal effects

Throwing a quick and fun one at you guys this time. We’re going to look at some metal effects that can be applied to give your models a more realistic look. I’ve got a few different styles here and some interesting information on metallic paint itself. Lets jump in.

That Old World feel

After seeing Todd’s style of NMM oxidized bronze, I was curious to give it a shot myself. But instead of doing it the NMM style I wanted to see if I could recreate the basic conceptual feel (that of oxidized bronze) with actual metallic paints. The key was going to be knocking down the shine of standard metallics. I wanted to tone the glimmer down, but not kill it completely. I got lucky, and nailed it on the first shot. Here’s how I did it.

I base coated in Citadel’s brazen brass. Coverage doesn’t need to be perfect, but I wanted to make sure I had a base coat that could shine through and give some depth to the metal. Next I mixed in Vallejo’s chocolate brown with the brazen brass. This was roughly a 50/50 mix and is kept pretty thin. When you thin the chocolate brown, it goes pretty transparent. It’s got a nice, low opacity paint, but it’s also dead flat. A perfect mix when you’re trying to dull the bright shine of well applied metallics.

Understanding how this works means we need to understand the medium we’re working in. Let’s take sidetrack for a minute and get some background:

“Acrylic paint is made by suspending or dispersing pigment in a synthetic acrylic resin. This resin is made by the polymerization of acrylic and methacrylic acid. It acts as a binder, or glue, in holding the pigment and bonding it to the surface.”

Okay, so that was a little deep. Postcard version: they put a bunch of junk in some glue. In the case of standard acrylics, the ‘junk’ is usually super finely ground particles, essentially plastic dust. These paints can usually thin down to a very fine state, where you get not much more than colored water. Now metallics are a little different, the key thing to remember about metallic based acrylic paints is that the pigments are comprised of little flakes (mica platelets to be more specific), and that all the flakes are a given size. They can’t be thinned further or dissolved. Essentially you wind up with glitter suspended in water when you thin it down too far. You can use this to your advantage to blend one metallic into another with ease, but it takes some practice.

Now to the point of all this: If you MIX the two (a metallic and a standard acrylic) you can get the best of both worlds; a nicely thinned, muted shine that still applies color. See?

Time to get back on track; I now have a muted brass. We need to turn up the volume back up on the color, and nothing does that better than ink. I apply a thinned coat of coat of brown ink to richen the color and to really capture the feeling of dirt and oil captured in a hand beaten polished metal, this will give it that slightly pitted look. I want to give the impression that the metal is cared for as best it can be, but takes a back seat to its functionality. To capture that, I’m going to tarnish it a little with a bit of patina in the deep recesses. This part is so easy. Take some Citadel scaly green, and thin it to the point where you have deeply tinted green water, and apply it to all the rivets and creases. Any place an oiled rag couldn’t reach when sitting around the fire setting up camp. Once more with a jade green wash and boom! You’re done. Fast and easy oxidized bronze.

So what else can we come up with?

Smoke ‘em if you’ve got ‘em

I’ve got a real quick and easy one for you. Oily metal. Paint up your silver metals as normal. Let it dry completely. Drying is important here because the next step will damage wet metallics. Once your metals are dry, it’s time to play with a magic ‘paint’ called Tamiya Smoke. Tamiya Smoke is great right out of the bottle. It’s a thick brown-black semi-transparent gloss varnish that adds a great effect to metals. It’s a great shortcut, or a nice finishing touch. The trick with it is to NOT paint it on, but to kind of dab it. Smoke is very thick but can be cut with water. Experiment! One of the fun things you can do with it is layer it. Want a deep pool of oil? Keep layering it on. This is a great trick to use on the floors of scenic bases or dioramas.

Boiling Oil

You Menites will like this next one. This next one is great for things like flame throwers/belchers, inferno maces and the like. It’s also great for smoke stacks and other filthy burning things. Start off with painting the piece with Citadel’s Chainmail . Once dry paint on some Citadel Shining Gold. Keep it thin, this is supposed to represent heat discoloration, not material, so keep it smooth.

This next part is something I reserve for this effect alone. Drybrush (yes I said drybrush) on some black paint. It will NOT go on smooth, but that’s ok, you don’t want it to, you want to create a bit of texture to create the sputtered greasy feel of a burned crude oil. Think greasy diner, and you’re getting the feel. Once drybrushed on, you’ll find that the black has dulled down and should be fairly flat, this doesn’t really drive home the greasy feel. We do this by painting over the black with brown ink. This richens up the black and creates a thick greasy soot filled look by making it very deep any drying shiny. (A caution to those who dullcote, do this step AFTER you have dullcoted or you will have ruined the whole effect.)

–Ark–