It’s been a long time since I’ve painted any significant areas of true metallic on a mini so I’ve become, if you’ll excuse the pun, a little rusty on the subject. My decision to paint Mole in a muted colour palette, and a less cartoony (than usual) style, meant that true metallic seemed to be the way to go with him. Over the years, I’ve swung back and forth between true metallic metals (TMM) and non-metallic metals (NMM) and finally decided that no one was ‘better’ than the other. For me it’s simply down to a matter of personal preference and what feels appropriate.
In common with many other steampunk minis, Mole provides the opportunity to paint several different types of contrasting metal. That said I think it’s important to plan out a scheme for the metallics. It would be all too easy to go over the top and paint a confusing scheme. I decided that Mole’s drilling rig would consist primarily of steel & brass with a few touches of copper. The metals could then be weathered to different degrees depending on their age and the nature of their use.
The first piece of Mole’s digging equipment to be painted was the hammer. All the metals would be fairly dirty and worn but I decided that the hammer would look slightly newer than the main drilling rig. To do this, I went a little brighter on the highlights and less heavy on the weathering than I planned to do elsewhere.
Next to be painted was the boiler & furnace strapped to Mole’s back. I wanted this to look very dirty. I very rarely use pure black in my mini painting but black was essential to give a sooty look to the weathering on the furnace. Pure black alone would, however, have looked rather flat and dead in contrast to the rest of the mini. To counter this I incorporated several shades of brown & orange into my glazes.
The boiler was painted in copper and brass. I wanted it to look old and leaky which gave me the opportunity to add some verdigris. The green tones that I’ve used to age the brass and copper add interest to the overall colour palette by providing a contrast to the red areas. The overall look might be fairly desaturated but it helps to have a few spots of stronger colour.
The process of painting metallics seems to be fairly straightforward. I’ve achieved my best results by working over a metallic base colour with glazes and then refining this with a combination of metallic highlights and further glazes. This involves a lot of going back and forth between the highlights and glazes to refine the results and build some character into the metalics. As I said in my previous post, I’ve found it necessary to use washes, paints and inks in the glazes to achieve a satisfactory finish. The different materials give me a good range matt/gloss finishes to use as seems appropriate.
In spite of my initial hesitation, I’ve enjoyed using true metallics on Mole. I’d forgotten just how varied and versatile they are and I’m already planning a future project that will require more metal to be painted.
The long Easter weekend gave me the opportunity to crack on with Mole and get some serious painting time under my belt. As a result I’ve just about finished painting him! That leaves me couple of weeks to sort out a display base and takes a lot of the deadline pressure off my shoulders.
I’d feared that project ‘moving Mum & Dad’ would seriously impact on my ability to finish Mole in time for Salute. As it turns out Mole took less time to paint than anticipated and I’ve turned him around in a month.