The past month has been really busy between work and other things. (Fun fact: I just bought my first brand new water heater!) Fortunately, things seem to be settling down, and I have had some time to get modelling. With my AWS-8T project in the can, so to speak, it is time to tackle something new!
Back in March I posted some thoughts about working with metallic paints and how to highlight and shade effectively to bring out a shiny, three dimensional surface. At the time I referenced 'non metallic metals', or NMM, but I didn't have much to say on the subject. Since then, I have done some reading on the subject, and I took a great class from Martin Jones on the subject at Reaper Con. I can't claim to be any kind of expert on the subject, but I have taken my first tentative steps into the world of NMM.
The picture above shows the basic pattern I put down during Martin's instructions at Reaper Con. As you can see, we went through two NMM recipes, and, at the same time, got to practice on both flat and curved surfaces. The work I did on the practice mini above is pretty crude, but it was enormously helpful in working out the basic approach and principles. Refinement and detail will come with practice.
This week, I started work on an old Ral Partha character figure, using the steel formula I picked up at Reaper.
I have to say that, for once, the picture actually looks a bit better than the physical article, but I am still pretty pleased with it, for a first attempt. I need to refine my blends, especially across tiny areas like the blade of her sword. Selling the metallic effect really depends on smooth blends from the darkest shadows to the brightest white highlights. As you can see, she is still a work in progress, but I have finished about half the metal surfaces on the model.
In many ways, NMM follows the same principles as shaded metallic paints. Much of the model should be covered with your darker tones. You want very bright highlights and very dark shadows, etc. The big difference is that color choice is a bit less obvious, and the placement of light and dark is much more critical. With regular metallics, the natural shine will partially make up for sloppy light/dark placement. With flat paints, there is no such forgiveness.
I should have some extra free time next week, so I plan to finish up then. For those who are curious. here is the steel NMM formula I have been using:
As you can see, most of it is blue paint. The white is just there to make sure that the brightest highlights and reflections are as bright as possible. The gold setup shown above is mostly brown; the yellows only appear in the bright areas.
I'll try to post more of my progress on this project when I can.