Some time ago, I wrote an article about my work with metallic paints, and how I went about shading them. Now that I am safely back from ReaperCon 2014, I thought an update might be in order.
Among the terrific classes I got to take at ReaperCon was a session on the use of metallic paints by Clever Crow Miniatures. While I am no place close to mastering the technique, I thought I'd share my thoughts on how I am trying to incorporate them into my own style. (For a complete rundown of this technique, please ask Clever Crow himself - he's full of helpful advice.)
Chief among the lessons I learned was to preserve the subtle hues incorporated into metallic paints by applying a non-metallic base coat to the surface before applying any metallic paint. The precise shade varies, depending on the metal. As an example, I base coated my test dwarf, pictured above, with a medium greyish-blue before applying the base coat of steel paint.
The effect is quite subtle, but it does preserve a slightly more bluish steel color than a flat black, white or grey primer. In the picture above, the unshaded portions of the dwarf are so colored. This step was completely missing from my technique, but I will be thinking on it when I paint metallic colors in the future.
With the base coat applied, my old technique was to start to shade the metal with very thin glazes of a flat color, and that has not changed. The only real change, as with the base coat, is to pick a color that reinforces the tint of the metal.
With this dwarf, I proceeded with a very dark grey-blue glaze to achieve my desired effect. For this test case, I ran with the blue theme, even and the result is a pretty strong blue tint on the finished product. In future miniatures, I'm not sure that I will always go with a strong tone like that, but I will be considering the final tint when I am done.
As hinted at in my original true metallics article, I tried to place the highlights at the points that reflected back at the observer, rather than at the top of the miniature. The overall highlighting process is also similar. That is not precisely in keeping with the instruction I received, but it works for me.
Painting this dwarf was good practice to get to play with my refined technique, but I need to run through a lot more miniatures before I can get it right at all reliably!