Todays post is more of a rant than advice, though I will try to finish with some. I was recently on Ebay, looking at some miniatures, where I spotted a pro-painted miniature for sale. For one thing, the person wanted almost 100 dollars for a miniature which only costs 18 unpainted from GW... must have been an AMAZINGLY AWESOME paint job. Sorry, I digress. In the description for the miniature, I noticed the phrase no metallic paint used, and thought that was a little weird. Why would someone mention that there is no metallic paint used? Does metallic paint weaken a paint job? Do pro's not use metallic paint?
I asked my good friend Andy, and his view was that some people feel that "real painters do not use metallics". This was really interesting to me, as I personally use and love metallics for two of my four armies (Orks and Grey Knights, refer to tutorials). In fact, I could not imagine not using metallics for these two armies. I do know that some people prefer to build up shades of grey and yellow to represent silver and gold, but they do not look as realistic as using the real metallic paints.
Another reason I was told recently is that some inexperienced painters merely paint a gun with 1 colour (e.g. boltgun metal), then stop there. However, those that do not use metallics are forced to build up layers of colours, leading to more complex details and shading. Also, metallic paint tends to be easier to scratch. This I can kind of understand.
Therefore, I feel that we should fight this taboo, and make AWESOME LOOKING MINIATURES WITH METALLIC PAINT. That leads me to the question, "How can I paint like a pro and use metallics?". Well, my advice to you is:
1) Use several colours. Do not just stop at a simple boltgun metal or burnished gold. Build up from darker shades to lighter shades, usually with a wash in between.
2) Use washes. Plain and simple. As you can see in my tutorials, I always give the metallics a wash after the foundation colour. Typically, the two best washes for metal are badab black or devlan Mud, or a combination of these two. Either 1 will provide much needed shading to the metal parts. However, do not be afraid to use other wash colours, like blue or red. In my Grey knights tutorial, you can see how I use a blue wash to give my figure an overall bluish tinge, that really gives the armour an older look. You can use a red wash to give your metal a rusted appearance, though I recommend watering down the red wash just a little. Too much red may not be a good thing.
3) ALWAYS HIGHLIGHT. After the wash has dried, build up the edges with at least 1 or 2 highlights of lighter shades. This step will really make the details POP!!!
If you follow these steps, the metal parts on your models will look excellent, and together, we can remove this Taboo of not using metallic paints. I will need your hope though.
If you know any other reasons why people tend to avoid metallic paints, feel free to leave comments below.
Thank you for reading and have fun painting.