One thing that people often get distraught over is how to paint realistic looking metals. Just look around on your local game night, you’ll likely see more than a few people who can get everything else in their army looking great, and run into tons of trouble with the metals.
There are even a good number of people who only paint non-metallic metals because they’re intimidated by metallic ones. (Yes, there are people who refuse to paint NMM for the same reason, but that’s a topic for another time).
The biggest problem with metallic metals is that we see them as being different from other colors. They have their very own special section on the paint rack, and even their very own set of inks and washes.
So, the great secret to getting great looking metals is to treat them like any other color you are layering. They can be blended with other metallic colors or layered over other metallic colors in exactly the same way as your non-shiny paints.
The treads of this tank were painted first in Citidel’s Tin Bitz, and then highlighted to P3 Pig Iron. Starting with Tin Bitz is a good way to get a metal with some good depth, even before adding in any washes.
Treat your Mithril Silver is like metallic white. You can do your final highlights for anything in Mithril Silver, but you really can’t highlight Mithril. You can take any metallic base color, and mix it with Mithril for highlighting.
You don’t really have a metallic black, but your darkest color is probably Tin Bitz. Tin Bitz works amazingly well as a base color for both silver and gold metals. For silver metals, the different color gives you a greater sense of depth to the metals that you cannot normally get from simply starting out with a darker silver metal.
Glazing is another great method to use on metals. Its best use on metallic colors is to tie your metals to the other colors on the mini. It can help keep the metallic colors from looking separate from the rest of your mini. Also, certain glazes can be great for weathering and rusting your metals.
Darius’ metals were all given a strong blue wash, giving them a slightly oxidized look. Washing your metals can tie them to the colors on the rest of the mini rather well.
One quick note- you can wash, glaze or ink your metals in any color you want. You can even base your mini in non-metallic colors and highlight him with metallics. But you cannot highlight your metallic colors with non-metallic colors. Going up to something that is less shiny than the recesses never looks right.
Also, it is best to never dry-brush a metal. The method of drybrushing tends to leave the metal flakes in the paint pointed in different directions, giving you a very spotty and unrealistic look. It may seem like a lot of work at first to layer your metals, but once you get used to it, it is very simple.
Viktor Pendrak’s armor has been painted using all of the techniques below. It was based in Tin Bitz, highlighted up to mithril and washed with a thin black ink and a blue ink to tie it to the blue coat better.