Friday, August 26, 2016

Candy Metallic Painting Tutorial

Well, felt it was time to get back to the Calth boxed set and start finishing off the Word Bearers force. It has been nearly a year since I started into that project!

I had painted the Ultramarines in a pretty traditional manner (as you can see here), and I was going to do the same with the Word Bearers. That is, until I saw a beautiful candied red metallic armour effect over on the Hotdrop Studios Facebook page.

So, here's the first tacticl squad and the Dreadnaught.

The method for getting the metallic armor effect has several steps...and it is pretty unforgiving, so if you try this, note that "going back and touching up mistakes" is pretty much impossible. Here's the step-by-step process.

Step 1. Assemble the models, clean up mould lines, leave off the guns and equipment, and mount everything on rods for easy handling (I used toothpicks).

Step 2. Apply a gloss black primer.

Step 3. Spray a thin layer of gold. I used the new and most excellent Vallejo Metal Color. This line of metallic paints is absolutely amazing. Best available airbrush metallic paint by a mile.

Step 4. for the secret sauce. Spray a thin coat of Minitaire Ghost Tint. I used Fresh Blood. Ick. Note: Minitaire Ghost Tints are unlike normal acrylic paints, inks or washes. They are very gummy and do not dry into a durable solid surface. Spray very sparingly, as it is easy to plug up detail on the model's surface.

Step 5. After the first coat is "dry" (and this is an aphorism), spray a second light coat to get a deeper colour.

Step 6. Now, under a number of different lights, the Ghost Tint red will look like a very hot pink. To get the proper red colour, and add some visual complexity and colour depth to the model surfaces, spray on a light coat of red wash. I used the Citadel Crimson shade colour, which is actually a very nice wash.

Step 7. OK, time to proceed with the rest of the painting. Start with the silver and black fixtures on the models. Unfortunately, you have to be really careful from here on in. Any overpainting onto the red metallic surface cannot be fixed (at least, not without a lot of work). I used Game Air Silver and Model Air Black Grey.

Step 8. In anticipation of decal application, I sprayed on a gloss varnish at this point.

Step 9. Here, all silver areas got a black wash, and then (numerous!) decals were applied to the armour.

Step 10. While working on the main figures, I also did the shoulder pads. I kept these on the sprue as there are many of them, and they are small and fiddly. Easier to manage when they are all held in one place.

Step 11. All armour shading was done with Vallejo Smoke. This is a relatively transparent colour that sort of acts like a wash. I added some glaze medium to the Smoke to get it to behave well on the figure surfaces. Using it very thin, I ran the brush around all the armour panels and pin washed the recessed lines in the figures.

Step 12. At this point, I added the miniatures to their bases (Micro Art inserts from Cool Mini or Not). Shoulder pads on. I then prepped all the weapons and equipment and got them ready to add to the models.

Step 13. After final assembly, it was time to go in and highlight the models with silver scratches. Green eye lenses were also painted in. Two layers of Testors Dullcoat where then sprayed onto each model to bring the finish down to a scale-realistic satin.

And the project was done. Personally, I really like the metallic effect you can get with the Ghost Tints. You just have to take your time with them and understand that it's pretty much impossible to correct mistakes. So...slow and careful!

One more tactical squad to go. And this time, I have Forge World resin parts to incorporate.

'Til next time.


  1. Excellent tutorial and the finished project looks really good. Nice effect indeed!


  2. Wow, they look amazing.
    I wonder if there is any way to achieve a similar finish using brush only?