Tuesday, December 27, 2011

From the Desk: Legion Metals

My buddy Lance suggested that I should do a blog post about how I painted the metals on Belphagore, so here it goes. This process is pretty straightforward, but somewhat lengthy. I'm not going to show any in-progress shots obviously since Belphagore is already done. First, let's look at the finished product...

I like to have a good pop to my metals overall, but I'm not a huge fan of non-metallic metals (NMM). So to accomplish a good amount of distinction between metal surfaces, I have to somewhat force and exaggerate the look of the metal plates. My end goal is to have metal that is shaded to represent a normal zenithal highlighting look, but still preserve enough metallic appearance so that it doesn't look overly forced. For this model I also wanted to introduce a little bluish tint to the recesses just to create a little more style. It gives the metal enough variation and interest to the eye.

Ok, so that's the end goal. Now to talk about the process. For the benefit of those who haven't read my older posts about philosophies on metallics, I'm going to go into some detail here on my reasoning. This reasoning has evolved over time and I am sure it will continue to evolve yet further. So here's the process I went through as I remember it for this model:
  1. Basecoat black - I always basecoat my metallic surfaces black first, especially if I primed white. I just find that it helps the metallics to reflect a little better.
  2. Basecoat GW Boltgun Metal - GW makes some of the best metallics out there for my personal style. I start with this darker metallic tone as the basecoat. This is a pretty sketchy basecoat too. A few missed or thin spots helps with the look of the armor I feel.
  3. Wash GW Badab Black - I'm so addicted to this stuff. I use it all the time for metallics. It just helps get those recesses dulled back down and create good separation. This wash doesn't need to be even. It just needs to hit recesses real good. Nothing blows the look of metallics like deep corners that are reflecting light.
  4. Heavy wash GW Asurmen Blue - This is just applied to the recessed sections. This technique works well for Circle armor as well, except using the green wash over bronzes. As I recall, I did at least 2 coats of this wash.
  5. Re-basecoat GW Boltgun Metal - Now I go back and use thinned Boltgun to "re-basecoat" the raised portions of the plates. I use a thinner version of this to keep it from getting too bright. Again, I'm attempting to force some shading here and reinforce the zenithal highlight effect by not lightening up the surfaces that are pointed more downwards.
  6. 2BB VMC Black - Now I do some very deep forced shading by two brush blending in some slightly thinned black into recesses and on lower plates that should be darker.
  7. Highlight GW Boltgun Metal - Now I start working highlights back up. Nothing revolutionary here, just hitting the higher angled plates that would get more light from above.
  8. Highlight GW Mithril Silver - Same as the previous step, just less area being highlighted.
  9. Highlight VMC Metallic Medium - Again, just like previous step. Note that the metallic medium is crazy bright and has no black pigment in it at all. I try to reserve this for specific points.
And there you have it! A mere, uh, 13 steps! Honestly I feel like time invested in metallics, even just 4 steps (basecoat, 1 wash, 1 shade, 1 highlight) really pays off in the long run.

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