We keep receiving questions how some of your favorite works were created or about some aspects of their creation – like NMM gold recipes. Recently painted Black Templars terminators from Irkuck and Benathai caused another wave of such questions.
To respond to popular interest, we asked both authors of these miniatures how to paint NMM gold the way they do. They answered and here are the recipes they shared:
Benathai’s NMM gold recipe
Basecoat: P3 Bloodtracked Brown (or Citadel Bestial Brown)
Highlight #1: basecoat mixed 1:1 with Sunburst Yellow
Highlight #2: Sunburst Yellow + a little white
Shadow: Devlan Mud or Black Wash
Glaze: Yellow Glaze (or P3 Yellow Ink)
Finishing touches: final white highlights
Irkuck’s NMM gold recipe
Wash of Badab Black
Wash of Gryphonne Sepia
Now here is the finished unit – some miniatures were painted by Benathai and some by Irkuck. Do you think they blend together well enough to make a coherent unit?
If you would like to know more, feel free to let us know or ask your questions in the comments section.
Following Mahon‘s suggestion I decided to write my first miniature painting tutorial on Chest of Colors website. It is a tutorial about painting NMM gold my way – fast and pleasant.
Contrast is the most important thing in NMM technique.
This technique is intended for using mainly on tabletop quality figures, but with more layers (I used just 7-8 here, including base color and a wash) it can look quite well even on display miniatures.
I will show my technique on terminator librarian shoulder pad. It is hard for me to give precise proportions, as I use mostly my intuition while mixing the colors.
NMM gold – JerzyK’s way
I start with base color (pic. 1) by mixing yellow with little brown and blue, ending in dirty yellow – it is just the way it should be 😉
Then I make wash color by adding more brown to the mix and diluting it to dirty water consistency and apply it to the surface (pic. 2) – it helps to mark various hollows on the surface, which are afterwards emphasized with more precise application of another layer, which is basically wash color with addition of a little black.
The next step is cleaning everyting a little bit with basic color (pic. 3) – washes can sometimes leave messy areas.
I add a little white and blue to the basic color and focus on areas which would collect more light (pic. 4).
From this step I will be creating more and more contrast, which is the most important thing in NMM technique. Another layer of lighter color (more white and blue) is applied within the limits of the first highlight (pic. 5).
Finaly I use almost white highlight with pure white blicks on highest places (pic. 6).
Sometimes before the last step (white and almost-white highlights) I apply blue or green strongly diluted layer if overall color is too yellow.
You can easily evolve my techniqe to get better results, but even now with just a few layers and little time you can achieve effect which look well on gaming miniatures (pic. 7).
And here is another example of a miniature painted in a similar way:
Maybe the huge hype for SE-NMM and NMM chrome has already passed, but this tutorial is surely still worth publishing. In 2005 I painted a Space Wolves wolf priest and people asked how to paint NMM chrome like the one on that model.
As I was receiving questions about my Wolf Priest and the way I painted him, I spent some time and typed this description for you. Maybe it’s not a typical step-by-step, but it’s the best I could do with the mini already painted and even not having it at home anymore. Enjoy 🙂
After spraying the whole mini black, I applied a layer of white over the kneepads and other elements which were supposed to be chrome.
I painted the internal side of the fur with Vallejo GC41 “DWARF SKIN”. Then I highlighted its protruding parts and the lower parts where more light falls. I did it by adding more and more Vallejo MC918 “IVORY” to GC41.
I painted the fur to imitate the real wolf skin’s colors and patterns, using Vallejo MC992 “NEUTRAL GREY” near the outer parts (the edges), and Vallejo GC40 “COBRA LEATHER” nearer the center of the surface. When the paints were dry, I washed the cape with very thinned black paint.
Before the wash was dry, I applied another layer of white basecoat onto the parts which I wanted to be painted like chrome.
When the paint dried, I decided to add highlights: I used Vallejo MC907 “PALE GREYBLUE” for that, and with the side of the brush with tiny amount of paint on it I brushed along the whole fur’s surface.
I started with basecoating with Vallejo GC40 “COBRA LEATHER” – except for the eyes and deep crevices. For highlighting I kept adding more and more Vallejo MC819 “IRAQUI SAND”. The last color applied was pure MC819.
I painted the steel (or silver) elements with the NMM method. For my basecoat I chose (like I always do) Vallejo MC903 “INTERMEDIATE BLUE”. The shading is done with black paint there, where you don’t need to go overboard with detailing and color transitions. There where I need smooth blending of colors I shade by adding more and more black to the black color. I clean and correct the parts which got messy, and highlight by adding more and more white to the base color. The final highlights are placed with pure white.
I used the same method to paint gold using Vallejo GC40 “COBRA LEATHER” as my basecolor, washing it with Vallejo MC939 “SMOKE”, and then – when the wash was dry – I highlighted with Vallejo MC877 “GOLDBROWN”. Where I wanted sharp highlights I placed dots of white paint.
I think I can omit the part about the grenade? 😉
I started painting with drawing the horizon on all the chrome elements with Vallejo MC822 “GERMAN BLACK BROWN”. The color of the ‘ground’ reflected in chrome depends on the color of the potential terrain. I decided to mix this basecolor with Vallejo GC40 “COBRA LEATHER” and highlight it by adding Vallejo MC819 “IRAQUI SAND” to the mix. So I painted the reflection of the ground going from the darkest to the lightest color 🙂 and I paint the reflection of the sky in the same way. The upper part was painted with Vallejo GC22 “ULTRA MARINE” (with a slight addition of Vallejo MC807 “OXFORD BLUE” in the darkest part), and then I only highlighted adding more and more white. The sky just over the horizon must be white, just like the edges of the painted part.
The more the surface is leaning toward the ground, the more ground you see in the reflection. On the other hand – if the surface is rather pointing upwards, then you will see more sky than ground in the reflection. The same applies to painting the wolfheads. 🙂
There’s one more thing you need to remember while painting chrome – every ‘tube’ or long round element – regardless on its position – will always have the horizon’s reflection along the ‘axis’ of the element. You can see it on my Liralith (in Hassslefree Miniatures gallery).
And now I had to clean up the black armour, which was stained and dirty after the whole painting. I covered it with black paint, and applied the first highlight. It covers the biggest part of the surface, and every next highlight is placed on smaller and smaller surfaces. But I think it’s obvious, isn’t it? 😀
I highlighted by adding white, but now I know that it looks good if for the first highlight you add a bit of Vallejo MC807 “OXFORD BLUE” to the black paint, and later you add white not to pur white but to this mix. It’s hard for me to describe where I painted the reflections of light, but for sure they were placed on the edges, and protruding parts, but I treated this subject pretty loosely and didn’t care too much for the realism and caring more for the overall effect and composition.
I hope this description contains some of the information you wanted to get, but if something was hard to understand – don’t hesitate and ask me 🙂
Artemis was the model which won me the Femme Fatale II contest. Painting it was a big challenge for me – because of the scale and several problems I encountered. You can read about my Artemis – how I painted the miniature and what I learned from my problems. Maybe it saves you some trouble?
Painting of Artemis was done in the same period when I painted the girl in the eggshell – just one step earlier, but also one step after the sexy female dwarf from Hasslefree Miniatures. I may be repeating myself, but it all was a lucky coincidence at that time, or maybe I just think it was? Anyway the curtain was removed and I saw a lot of new options.
In addition to this we received some secret knowledge ;-))) acquired during a painting workshop with Jeremie “Bragon” Bonamant by our friend from Poland: Illusionrip. In the same time our website – Chest of Colors – was updated with a tutorial (by Morsi) about painting skin, which made my knowledge (acquired from Mahon and Illusionrip more complete. I learned how to “sculpt” and model shapes with colors, and even how to choose colors suitable for certain effects.
But theory is just theory, and what about practice? The dwarf was easy to improve with glazing, so I wanted to test my abilities even more. And the best model to learn painting skin is a nude model 🙂
My perfect Artermis
Artemis was still a new release, but her potential was already noticed by many painters and in a few days new versions kept popping up. I don’t think anybody will feel surprised or will mind me saying that when I visited CoolMiniOrNot in search of inspiration, I found that my perfect Artemis was already painted. Sometimes you just see a paintjob and already knoiw that it’s the perfect version and nothing better will be done with this miniature, because this is THE right paintjob. This harmony and synthesis of the paintjob and the sculpt – looking as if it was made just for that paintjob.
Of course you should know that I am talking about Fluffy’s (Ali McVey’s) paintjob. And not wanting to create a poor copy of her work, which would be too easy, I treated it as a challenge. The new goal was to find the new image for her, to put some new atmosphere into her. And it was a very difficult thing to do is fighting when you feel you already lost… As if it wasn’t enough that my painting quality was inferior, also the choice of the right mood and image for the miniature…. I hope I at least managed to create the opposite of Fluffy’s version – hers is full of power and strength, it is a real threat for the enemies, and the weapon in Artemis’ hand leaves no doubt. So I created a delicate, gentle version…. I wanted people to think “what this mite is doing here?” after seeing her.
The color scheme also had to be different, so the opposite would be a blonde, and I decided to go into yellows. This also matched the sandy base. And if Fluffy’s work was in warm colors, mine would be colder. And the blue color was added to the palette only when I was looking for a pattern for the shield and I found a painting of a plate decorated with a painting, which I later used as my source of inspiration. I recreated its colors and this decided about the colors of the whole miniature.
I have to admit it was the first time I wanted to create a general vision of my project before painting. Usually I approach painting pretty spontaneously, and I assume that nothing good was created with thinking alone. So when I have an idea for a part of a miniature – I just start with it, and the rest is created as I go on with painting. This work was an exception. Maybe it was like this because I had to create a totally new idea? When I start painting I usually know what mood I want to achieve and what I want to focus on. Here I was off my usual tracks, so I had to force myself to a different vision, and direct my mind to a new direction, new imagination.
Having painted the shield I still had no courage to make an attempt of painting the skin, so I started with the helmet. On the female dwarf I tried painting gold NMM without using yellow, and I wanted to change my tried method because my imagination wanted me to take another step forward and try new things. I won’t go into details, because I am to write about Artemis, not the dwarf. The helmet was a continuation of my struggle with the new method. I often read about other people’s methods and after reading I don’t follow their descriptions step-by-step, but am working my own way – only incorporating some ideas into my method. That’s what I did with the gold NMM without using yellow. I still missed the tint of yellow in my transitions, and I felt they are bland and boring.
You may know that Vallejo “Cobra Leather” isn’t as yellow as Citadel Color “Snakebite Leather”. I noticed it and found my own way of achieving the effect: when I paint starting from white to Cobra Leather, I don’t blend the colors, but just apply glazes of Cobra Leather. If it’s too difficult for you, you can try painting the transition with any method of blending but leaving more highlighted space than necessary and then glazing a part of the highlight with Cobra Leather. This way gold is still yellowish and you don’t need any extra color for this. That’s how I painted the helmet and only now I am bold enough to paint a part of a miniature with glazing alone.
Problems with the skin
While painting the skin I noticed that paints were behaving in an odd way.
Overcoming this cost me much effort and stress, and you can still see traces of this fight when you compare the front and the back of the miniature. I started with the front, and I was unable to understand why I keep peeling the previous layers off when applying next layers of paint. 🙁 I was deperate and the effect was like the sediment on the surface of tea which is left for too long. Just as if the brush cracked the surface of previous layers of paint. And it really was what was going on, because I didn’t find out that my usual mix I used for thinning paints does more bad than good this time. I never experienced anything like that before, but I never used paints thinned so much before.
Generally I use a mix of distilled water and floor wax (the mix called “magic wash”) for thinning my paints, and it breaks the surface tension, improves the flow of paints, and makes painting easier. Somewhere halfway during my painting I realized what the problem was and I started using water alone. When you’re painting with glazes you don’t want them to create additional “layers” but to change the color of previous layers. It’s like painting with watercolors, so when you add pure water there’s nothing to crack.
Now it went faster and much neater! I didn’t have any bigger problems with placement of lights and shadows. First I checked their placement by keeping the miniature under a lamp, and then I stubbornly refused to add more contrast. Now I think that it’s this way when somebody doesn’t feel too sure about their abilities in something, that they don’t want to pay too much attention to it. And I am still learning to achieve this strong effect of a model emerging from darkness. It’s another challenge for me, and I am preparing for it.
But let’s return to Artemis – I think there’s still something I should put in words, something which usually is very controversial and I would like to explain in this article. What I am talking about is the base. I heard many different opinions on this subject. I must confess I didn’t think about it too much because in my imagination it was immediately tied with the whole concept and I couldn’t imagine that Artemis and the base might not create a feeling of integrity. The shape of the column was more important to me than its size, because it just belonged to the subject. Initially I wanted to paint it in a marble pattern, but Mahon told me that the column shouldn’t attract too much attention, as this would distract from the miniature. Probably he was right, so I chose to leave the column almost totally black. I just added a partial pattern and some cracks on the surface, because I couldn’t resist painting such an inspiring block.
I hope you don’t mind not finding any suggestions as for the order in which I painted the miniature here. Especially in the case of the skin it was simply impossible, because – just as it often happens with the first and unsure steps – my actions were not fully considered and studied, but more chaotic and uncertain…
I wish you prolific painting with no fear of entering unknown regions of this hobby 😉