Wargaming Tradecraft: Metallics: Painting NMM as TMM


Metallics: Painting NMM as TMM

Today we're tossing preconceptions out the window. While writing about Colour Theory and Metallics, I've been looking outside the box a lot more. I've always liked Eldar for how much more alien they look in the Warhammer sci-fi universe. But how can I take that to another level?

So I got thinking... what if Eldar, in their alien nature, are meant to be True-Metallic Metal but are just always depicted as Non-Metallic Metal? Right?

The idea is that while so many of us clamour to flip things upside down to depict metallic effects using regular paints, what if artists have already been doing the same thing? Making that assumption, Eldar are supposed to be painted TMM. So that's what I'm going to do today.

I've even included my paint journal page at the end.

Aside from the fact I usually prime with black, it makes a great base coat for metals.

I started with gold for the helmet so I applied a brown base to soften the shadow. For the actual TMM, I painted some darker golds first, then applied brighter golds for the stronger highlights.

As a final highlight, I mixed some bright gold and light beige together to create a Mixed-Metallic Metal finish.

I do the same thing with the blue of his armour... starting with a deep blue in the shadows, applying metallic blue over top, then a final highlight using metallic blue mixed with a light blue.

Observations: The below image is the completed work. There are a few things I took away from this exercise:

  1. I love it, but it needs work.
    • Even as a proof-of-concept, it's still not up to the quality I'd like.. for reasons I'll go into below.
  2. I'd like to use different metallics.
    • I'm trying to picture how this might look if I painted with iridescents instead of standard metallics.
    • The other option is to use airbrush paints. It'd create a standard and smooth way to apply the paint, but might be tricky to work highlights and shadows in.
  3. Metallic paints flow differently.
    • It's hard to paint details with metallics... at least, fine details.

Curious about the steps? Here are the paints I recorded in my painting journal.

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