Sunday 28 September 2014

Old Dogs, New Tricks, So Throw Me A Frickin' (Reaper) Bone Here

I'll be honest, I'm the kind of painter who pretty much plays it safe where technique is concerned.

I tend to paint in a very straightforward style, lots of emphasis on layering rather than blending (acrylics always dry too quickly for me to get a proper handle on that particular method), and I don't tend to move outside my comfort zone.

Until now.

I've seen some of the work being done around the place by talented painters who have mastered the Non-Metallic Metal (NMM) technique, and it looks brilliant. I am filled with admiration for those individuals who, as if by some sort of alchemy, can transmute grey paint into silver. or browns and tans into gold.

For a while now, I've been telling myself that I'd never do anything as cool as that, ever. But then I thought, "well, if you never try, you'll never know one way or the other." So I grabbed a Reaper Bones Battleguard Golem at my local gaming emporium, figuring that it was

a) a figure with enough metallic surfaces to practice NMM on,

b) sufficiently detailed to make it interesting, and

c) cheap, so if I screw up, no harm done.

The figure is a nice sculpt, and puts me in mind of the old D&D Eberron setting's Warforged PC race. A bit different to working with metal, resin, or hard plastic though, as the softer plastic from which it is cast poses some challenges when trying to get rid of mould lines; it certainly doesn't lend itself to being filed. On the plus side, if any part of the figure is bent out of shape, it can easily be repositioned if you quickly dip the affected area in very hot water and then run it under the cold tap once you're happy with the new look. To give you an idea, my own figure was armed with a wickedly sharp banana until I went to work with the kettle - he's now wielding a straight sword again.

Deciding to go for a 'steel' finish, I undercoated in black, I mixed equal parts Citadel Abaddon Black with the old paint range's Shadow Grey, and applied it as the base layer. I gave it a wash of Badab Black ink and waited for it to dry completely before going on to the next stage.

Adding more Shadow Grey to the base coat mix, I worked it up through progressively lighter layers and began adding small quantities of Space Wolves Grey, which was used on its own to provide edge highlights to the individual armour plates.

Here's the result so far;

"Blue(ish) Steel!"
Of course, he IS a work in progress...

I'd like to be able to give him a few glints of light on the most salient points of his armour, but I'll need to study the fall of light more closely to determine the best course of action from here. and that there magicky-lookin' sword will need something REAL special. Ye Gods, will this figure see another first for Ev, namely Object Source Lighting...?

I'll just have to keep going and see where this takes me!.

Stay tuned...



  1. Good luck, Ev. I've looked at these techniques and always dismissed them as beyond me, but like you say, you'll never know unless you try!

    1. Thanks Nath, I'm going to need it!

      As far as I can see, he still just looks grey; there's got to be that one special touch, that magic ingredient somewhere that will turn him from a stone golem to a steel golem!

      Like I said, WIP, and I dare say there'll be many a slip 'twixt cup and lip before I'm done!

  2. Will follow with interest. Likewise I have ventured into this territory.

    1. Thanks Brendon, the next stage will probably be the hardest...

  3. Nice start on a great model for this technique. I fancied the idea once but got cold feet and went back to painting metals the usual way with metallic colors. I've seen some awesome NMM work, but I don't think I can do it. Best, Dean

    1. Can't help paraphrasing Dune;
      "Many have tried."
      "They tried and failed?"
      "They tried and put away their brushes for a couple of weeks!"


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