Non-Metallic Metal Hybrid

Hazel GOW Plus, originally uploaded by JasBrick.

Hi, this fig is a good excuse to start blogging again as it would seem that quite a few people are interested in how I created the detail on this piece without using anything other than painting technique.

As I may have mentioned previously my dark ages were filled with a lot of 28mm wargaming and a fair amount of model painting… I even restore antiques for my wife where paint has been chipped off or removed completely. Anyway I would love to say that the technique I am about to explain is easy… but in reality it takes a bit of practice to get it right.

The technique is a hybrid of NMM (Non-Metallic Metal) painting that you can google to get more detail on. However in short the technique is to create metal looking effects on models without using metal paints…. seems a bit daft when there are so many metal coloured paints?! Well actually it is not as painting a model of fig with pure metal paints creates a pile of poo 9 times out of 10. The reflections and characteristics of the metal paint just does not look good in miniature.

The main problem with NMM is that it takes absolutely ages to do properly and requires patience and a good amount of skill. In this case I decided to take a shortcut (laziness has its virtue too you know!). I used metallic paint on the piece and then applied basic NMM technique to create an illusion of detail.

Here is a step by step guide:

1. Get one of Hazel’s (Amazing Armory) amazing GOW armour pieces as soon as you can as I think he has stopped producing these;

2. Get an appropriate reference image, in this case there are loads of GOW images of the armour I was recreating;

3. UNDERCOAT… in this case Hazel’s pieces come prepainted black. However they can still have a slippery surface so I tend to use a spray undercoat (Games Workshop Chaos Black is my undercoat of choice);

4. BASE COAT… as I want this to be silver like the real gears of war armour I use the following paint on the entire piece: Games Workshop Boltgun Metal. This is a dull silver colour that is great for coverage and setting the darkest shade for the armour;

5. BLACK LINING… I use a standard brush to draw lines on the armour plates where they do not actually exist on the armour piece. These lines will be the joins between the plates. Try to keep your lines as tidy as possible, however don’t worry if they get a little thick as the next stage will sort that;

6. CUTTING IN… If you have not had the practice to get your black lines perfect first time don’t worry. All you need to do is use Boltgun Metal again to cut on on both sides of the line to make it thinner and straighter. Cutting in is easier than trying to get a perfect line as all you are worried about is one side of the line. Practice this as it is a great way to make your lines look crisp and thin;

7. FIRST HIGHLIGHT… you will now have a very strange looking piece that looks terrible… please don’t give up as so many do at this point… this is where you start adding a 3rd dimension to your piece. I now add a line of GW Codex Grey paint alongside every black line or natural ridge. The thickness of this line is not huge however you need to remember that 2 more lines will be going inside this one. The effect of this line and subsequent ones is to make the black line drop back into the piece and make the plate you have created seem real ;

8. SECOND HIGHLIGHT… As before use a thin line of GW Fortress Grey over the first Codex Grey line leaving some of the latter still showing. This gives a gradiation with it getting lighter towards the edge of the plates. In real NMM you might go through a number of blended lines each with a progressively lighter mix of paint… however for a piece of Lego that ain’t something you really need to do;

9. THIRD HIGHLIGHT… I use 2 paints at this stage first I use GW Mithril Silver (a very shiny silver) on the absolute edge of every one of my plates (real or created via the black line and highlights). Then finally I use pure white on the corners and tips of any plates that I think would shine based on an imaginary light source somewhere to the front of the fig;

At this point you sould have a flat piece of armour that visually looks as though you have stuck lots of plates onto it or scratched on the ridges… which you haven’t.

To really create the illusion of detail there are a few tricks you can add:

RIVET HOLES… these holes at the corners of the plates really add to the illusion and are so easy to do. Just get a tiny amount of black paint on the tip of your brush (standard size) and then just touch it to the surface in the correct points. This if you are careful should just create a small round dot. My advice is to not get too fancy adding the screw to the dot as this level of detail is just lost on something so small;

CHEST PLATES… the black circles on the armour break up the excessive silver scheme and add much needed contrast. The white marks are small triangles painted onto the black. If you have trouble painting thin lines just paint a small solid triangle and then dab a dot of black paint in the center that creates the effect that the triangle is made from lines;

COG SYMBOLS… The Cog symbols are the ultimate level of detail for the fig and are actually quite simple to do. All you do is add dots of white paint in a circle roughly where the teeth of the cog would be. Then draw a circle connecting the dots leaving half to 2/3rds of the dot showing. Hopefully you should have a enough space in the centre to add a big dot for the skull. Practice this a bit before doing on the fig and you will soon have it down easy.

That is a basic run-down of how I did it. Sorry to go on, however I think that with a little practice there is no reason why anybody could not do this.

Any questions just comment and I will do my best to help.


4 responses to “Non-Metallic Metal Hybrid

  1. HAZEL- Lazy2010

    Good , Thanks to share with us ~

  2. mazing have allready started on with the few hazel pieces i have how did you do the blood on the gun

  3. As I said on Flickr, fantastic job. But what I really loved about this is how you told us your process on how you paint. Thank you for this valuable information Jas.

  4. I have painted up quite a few of these for sale now at FireStar Toys

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