Recently I’ve been having a lot of fun painting up some of Soda Pop Miniatures’ anime-inspired Relic Knights line. If this is the first time you’ve heard of Soda Pop, you should consider visiting their online store. They’ve got a lot of really cool unique sci-fi minis that are worth checking out.
While the game that accompanies these miniatures won’t be officially released until this year’s Gencon, I’ve played demos of it at a couple of conventions. The model count is pretty low, maxing out at around five minis in an average size game. So I’m happy to spend some extra time painting these great sculpts. This means a chance at practicing my non-metallic metal techniques; something I’m still trying to master.
Navarre here is one of the Shattered Sword Paladins. I haven’t deviated too much from the studio color scheme for mine. I’ve gone for a somewhat more blue-tinged NMM effect with the armor, and kept my golds a little warmer in tone. With all the different shapes making up his armored form I knew Navarre was going to be a special challenge to paint in a non-metallic style.
There’s a reason why painting NMM can be so daunting. Doing it properly means creating an illusion of light reflecting off of a metallic surface. This means all the usual wisdom about highlighting and shading is going to get turned around a bit since every metallic surface reflects light differently depending on its shape. Whenever I’m working on a project using Non Metallic metals, I find myself becoming more keenly aware of the metallic surfaces I see in everyday life. I’ll catch myself staring at metal faucets, or the chrome bumpers of cars ahead of me when I’m stuck in traffic. Even the most mundane objects will help instruct on NMM techniques.
To complicate things even further, different types of metal require different methods of painting. I wanted Navarre’s armor to have a reflective appearance somewhere between steel and brushed aluminum. Getting the appearance of different metals will require you to increase or decrease the level of contrast between highlights and shadows, and the amount of color in those highlights and shadows. Pure steel for example looks good when painted with higher value contrast and less color. So… darker darks and brighter highlights, but more of a pure grayscale when it comes to the colors. For something like aluminum you would keep the contrasts less extreme and the values a little more pale. Finally for a chrome effect, you would kick the contrast up to maximum and incorporate a ton of colors into your tones. In fact really good chrome NMM is done by painting a mock landscape: a blue sky that meets up with a dark horizon line that then blends down into a lighter warmer brown.
Then more. Once I’m satisfied with the armor I add the gold basecoat. I also pick out a few details with Codex Gray. I’m going to highlight these areas with just gray to try to give them a little visual distinction from the rest of the armor.
~ This one’s going to take a little more time I think.