International Flat Figure Society - British Flat Figure Society

Flat Figures Painters Forum => Techniques => Color Recipes => Topic started by: marko on December 22, 2012, 05:11:37 PM

Title: Armor - metal effects
Post by: marko on December 22, 2012, 05:11:37 PM
Another frequent question
Title: Re: Armor - metal effects
Post by: marko on January 15, 2013, 02:04:36 PM
Fantastic article by Graham Dixey on painting armour in oils -

Title: Re: Armor - metal effects
Post by: Glen on January 19, 2013, 11:08:17 AM
If you are painting a metal figure, you can try polishing the metal with a motor-tool and napped polishing drum or polishing cloths. Then add a stain of black-brown oil paint, let it sit for 20 minutes or so, then wipe it off using a q-tip to wipe off more or less depending on where your shadows fall.

Title: Re: Armor - metal effects
Post by: marko on January 20, 2013, 01:14:21 PM
Interesting tip Glen.  I will have to try it on some of the army of knights I seem to have collected!


Mark 8)
Title: Re: Armor - metal effects
Post by: PJDeluhery on April 20, 2013, 10:50:35 AM
I use this technique on rounds with great success, but I find it looks funny - to me!  - on flats.  For a realistic look, I think the NMMs (non-metal metals) style is the way to go on flats.
Title: Re: Armor - metal effects
Post by: Glen on April 21, 2013, 04:33:45 PM
PJ, I think part of that is because rounds, being three-dimensional, get a lot of ambient light. The three-dimensionality alters the way the light falls on - say a helmet - the top surfaces which catch the most light, then the sides, which catch less. If there's an undercut, it'll catch even less. All of this contributes to the look. Flats OTOH have no real three-dimensional aspect to them; the light is constant across the piece. I usually wipe off less paint in the shadowed areas; more in the highlighted areas. I final burnish with the side of a pin can create a high catchlight. This last is also effective on the light catching edge of a weapon blade.


Title: Re: Armor - metal effects
Post by: PJDeluhery on April 23, 2013, 10:01:23 AM
Ummmm..... if you say so, Glen.  ;D :o 
I love the look on rounds  - but can't make it work on flats. Hats off to you for your talents.
Title: Re: Armor - metal effects
Post by: marko on April 25, 2013, 07:43:09 PM
Nice advice pulled from old site -

Originally posted by zinnlover

Carlo ..beautiful and the boot tutorial most instructive .. now if i may ask .. the Gold .. any words on colors used and technique .. again a great paint job.

now that painting bright gold and silver is a subject that is discussed frequently and I believe there is no single way to approach this topic. For me, bright gold continues to be a personal challenge and here is how I’m doing it, (today).  To begin with, I refer you back to my earlier comments on painting the boots.  I spent some time studying still life works of art by the old masters and also color plates in the Don Troiani book, Soldiers of The American Revolution. I then did my best to emulate what I saw.

Get up close to one of these paintings and it’s amazing how many different colors can be seen in one golden goblet or helmet. Now stand back a few paces, look again, and magically the different colors work together in a way that makes the same item looks so real you think you can reach out and hold it in your hand.  There is also some very helpful information on this subject written by Greg DiFranco but I don’t know how to access it at this point.  Maybe one of the other members can help here.

The colors I used for the gold were:
•   WN Gold Ochre
•   WN Burnt Umber
•   WN Titanium White
•   WN Cad Orange
•   WN Naples Yellow Deep
•   WN Cad Yellow Light

The paint was applied over several painting sessions, allowing each coat to dry before applying the next coat. This means overnight. By the way, since patience is not one of my virtues, I’m always working on several figures at one time.  When I need to let a piece stand to dry overnight, I set it aside and move on to another piece. Using this approach, I am not tempted to continue tinkering with a piece that I know must be allowed to dry. This also helps avoid the tedium that can set in when working on a complicated area of painting. Also, I’ve got into the habit of keeping careful notes of the paint mixes I use for every item on every figure I paint, and that makes it quite easy to duplicate a color at any point in the future.

Of course, all paint was applied in minuscule amounts of micro thin layers. I started with one or two foundation coats of WN Gold Ochre and let them dry thoroughly.

I’ve found that it’s best to work with two colors at a time, allowing these to thoroughly dry before going on to the next two colors. For example, first work the middle value and the first level of shadows. Allow this to dry and at the next painting session work in the first level highlight and perhaps the second level shadow. Allow this to dry and then work in the highest highs and perhaps touch up the shadows. After each painting session I hold the figure at arm’s length and decide whether or not I’m headed in the right direction toward achieving a realistic looking bright gold. This approach allows me to add interesting color variations side-by-side, in very tight areas while not having the colors all run together into a nondescript mess.

I like to experiment using different combinations of the above colors to achieve my end.  Referring to the Troiani book, Soldiers Of The American Revolution , on page 72, I tried to duplicate the variety of colors that can be seen in the brass face plate of the Grenadier’s cap.  In this same book, on page 77 is a photo of a brass drum, and on page 78 is a photo of a brass gorget, all of which I found helpful as reference material.

Before painting, I de-oil my colors on a piece of index card paper. This allows me to get good opacity. When a color is too thick to work with, I use a tiny drop of Grumbacher medium  # 1 to get the color into a more flowable state.

One final thought.  I also paint “rounds” and for those I don’t think this technique of  simulating  a bright metallic finish, works quite as well as does the application of a real metallic paint such as a printer''s ink.  Regarding this figure, I’m more pleased with the gold crown than I am with the gold gift on the rear of the figure.
I welcome all feedback and comment.
Title: Re: Armor - metal effects
Post by: PJDeluhery on June 12, 2013, 10:29:05 PM
Two great articles on this subject in the latest Journal. I've saved both to my reference file.
Gianpaolo, if you're out there, I don't think  I quite understand your technique as presented in the Journal. Could you (or anyone else!) explain in more detail??