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WFB Hobby – Basic NMM tutorial

5 Minute Read
Jul 6 2011

This tutorial covers how to paint ornate armor using a Non Metallic Metal method.

I have never been very good at using metallic paints, so instead I have always preferred to paint models with the alternative NMM method. The model I selected for this tutorial is part of the Rackham elf range, but the color scheme used here is something I want to apply to my blood knights.


After a white primer the red armor was base coated with Vermin Brown (GW), the golden trimming with Ilyanden Darksun (GW.) I also base coated the tunic, face and plume – but since I later chose to repaint these areas I will save the description for it later. I almost always try out different things for models like this – experimenting to see what will make the best end result.


I wanted the armor and trimming to have a unified feeling and for this reason I gave the whole armor a wash of Scorched Brown (GW). The wash was created by mixing equal amounts of paint and Vallejo Game Color Thinner with water (approx 1x1x2). This was applied generously so that it could fill all the recesses. The model was dried upside down to let the wash find the “right” places to dry in.


The wash shaded more than the recesses and the thinner gives the paint a glossy finish. So, I cleaned up all the red armor with a fresh coat of thinned down Vermin Brown on the areas hit by light, and the most visible parts of the trimmings were given a fresh coat of Ilyanden Darksun (as Scorched Brown is the base shade for both it was kept untouched in the recesses and shaded areas.)


Next I highlighted the red armor first by mixing vermin brown with Ember Orange (P3), then pure Ember Orange. In a few points that I envisioned directly hit by the light I put a few dots of Ember Orange mixed with white. By not Having pure white on the red armor (which I do on the trimmings) I am creating a difference between the two.

At this point I had found the contrasting color I wanted for the tunic and plume, so they were both given a base coat of Violet (Andrea).



The armor was shaded with thinned down Scorched Brown (overlapping parts of the previously re-covered vermin brown to create a smooth transition), then with a mixture of Scorched Brown and Exile Blue (P3). The key with NMM is contrast, so I always  make the transition to shadows a little “sharper” than I would with fabrics or skin.

The tunic and plume were highlighted with a Violet and Underbelly Blue (P3) mix and then shaded with Black and Violet (I never let the paint go fully to black in the deepest shadows.)


The gold trimmings were highlighted with a mixture of Ilyanded Darksun and White, then pure white after which I shaded them with Snakebite Leather (GW) and then Scorched Brown. The thought behind where to put the highlights is: where any two edges in the light meet (like a corner or two ornaments) is where it is the lightest. Then I just worked out the shadows from there. It is also easier to cover a light color with a dark so I normally shade after my highlight (I have a few exceptions – skin,  for instance.)


The sword was given a base coat of Greatcoat Gray (P3). It was then highlighted by mixing more and more Sacred Blue (Rackham) with the basecoat until it was pure Sacred Blue. The highlights were focused on the edges of the sword, especially at the tip of the sword and the bottom of the hilt. Final highlights were done by mixing White with the Sacred Blue, pure white was only used at the absolute tip of the sword.


After the sword was highlighted I shaded it with Greatcoat Gray mixed with progressively more black. The shading on the edge of the blade not directly hit by the light was made darker in the same direction as the lightest parts while the ones hit by light was shaded in the opposite.

As a last step the blade was glazed with purple to simulate color reflecting of the metal.


The last step was to give all the gold trimmings a Beaten Purple (P3)/Ilyanden Darksun mix glaze (to cool down/give color reflections of metal) and the tunic was given a Violet/Skorne Red (P3) mix glaze to deepen the shades. Then I finished the base and gave the whole model a coat of matte varnish.

I am not one of the NMM masters so I hope that this little tutorial still was helpful and that anyone who has not tried it will want to try it out in the future.

Do you have any tips for someone trying this technique?

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