Thursday, 2 June 2016

Non Metallic Metals Painting - First Attempt

My first attempt at painting a NMM (Non Metallic Metal) sword. This is a model I painted about a year ago as a captain (with Relic Blade and Artificer Armour) for my Salamanders. I tried to follow a tutorial online, but it was for an airbrush - which basically made it useless as at the time I didn't own one. It did give me an idea of where to place the light/blends though - although it is so much more labour intensive with a brush!

Anyway, the real challenge with any NMM is really twofold. First you have to work out where the light should go on the model. Second is the challenge of actually painting it - which is mostly about building up a blend slowly to make it as smooth as possible. It's worth noting that this is a technique designed for two dimensional images (like an old painting where they've done the shining armour in greys, blacks and white or a modern day comic book hero's metallic shoulder pads).

Working with an airbrush the blends are really easy - but the accuracy isn't. If you're doing a large area or a vehicle you can get some crazy results, but the smaller your target the more finesse you'll need. My top tip is to buy a roll of cling-film. If you want to airbrush a sword on your model you can just wrap his body in cling-film and then go to town on the exposed sword without having to worry about overspray!

Back to the model at hand. I painstakingly built up the blend with layers of thin glazes. With a fine blend it's important to consider the direction you move your brush in. You should always move the brush stroke to the area where you want the colour to be it's brightest. Meaning that for mine it was always towards the highlight on the sword. For some reason the paint brush deposits the most paint at the end of the stroke, so that's why. Remember to keep the paint super thin too because you really want to avoid it building up.

Overall it's not perfect, but like I always say you have to test your limits to progress. Just keep saying to yourself "I'll do better next time" and you'll get there!

Interestingly, despite all of that effort I still get more compliments about his base. I guess it just goes to show how important bases are - have I mentioned you should be painting those too? I mean I dry-brushed the damn thing and people still notice that first!

For some actual painting advice worth reading check out my article on the basics:

Painting Basics


  1. Niiiiice! :D I do like it a lot.

    1. Thanks. I actually entered him in a painting competition and came second. I was robbed! (I actually lost to my own brother, but between us we got every single vote, so I can't complain)