A Quick Guide to Silver Metals – Method 1

In this week’s tutorial, I’ll walk you through one of a few methods that Kendon uses to create realistic silver metals to represent steel, aluminum, and various other structural alloys. I’ll be demonstrating this week’s tutorial on the chassis of my Forge World Acheron. To give you a better focus and perspective, I’ll save you from all of the details that goes into doing the rest of the mech – we’re only focusing on the areas of the torso.

As an overview, I’ll be applying an acrylic metal color, followed by an application of a wash, then by a wax-based metallic color, concluding with a pigment wash. Let’s kick off.

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I began by basing the Acheron usingVallejo’s gloss black primer applied in several very thin coats. I used a gloss black primer due to the way the glossy sheen works with the metal colors I’ll be using next. Once the coats were dry, I applied Vallejo’s Metal Color Burnt Exhaust and Dark Aluminum to the model. These are acrylic paints and are airbrush ready out of the bottles. I was keen on creating a smooth finish for each color and did so by keeping the coats light. If you apply the metal colors too heavy, pooling and drips can occur which kill the overall effect. I was sure to keep the darker Burnt Exhaust colors in the recesses with a hint of the black primer showing through to sell the shading effects.

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With the metal colors laid down, I began the next phase: adding definition through grime. While imagining the concept of this Acheron, I wanted to present a machine that was well-used. If you ever look at equipment used in country, it’s seldom clean. Dust, dirt, and all sorts of other good stuff accumulates in all sorts of recesses. I’d assume the same would apply in the distant reaches of the 40K universe as well. To create this effect, I used Abteilung 502’s Brown Wash oil paint and ran it through the airbrush in two thin coats.

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Believe it or not, oils can be shot through airbrushes to good effect. The trick is to get a good quality oil with fine pigments and also to achieve the correct mixture of thinner to paint. In this case, I used 502’s quick drying matte thinner in a 50/50 ratio to the paint. If following along with me, you may panic that all of the metal details are now obscured, but hang with me on this one. When I first saw Kendon do this, I shook my head as well. At this point, I let the oil wash dry for about 35 minutes.

Once the oil wash has dried, I took a cloth and dampened it slightly with mineral spirits. I then began to lightly polish off the wash on the details that protruded the most from the chassis. The harder I scrubbed, the more wash came off. As I scrubbed, I changed up the pressure in certain spots to leave gradients of grime left on the chassis.

Once I removed as much of the wash as I wanted, I broke out the wax metal, AK Interactive’s True Metal Steel. Wax metals are interesting in the fact that they behave a lot like oil paints but do not need to be thinned. The only caveat about using wax metals is that you cannot use mineral spirits over them once they’re applied unless you seal the metal with varnish or apply another medium (such as a water-based product). If you apply another product over the wax metal that does use mineral spirits, do so at your own risk. You can actually reactivate the wax metal and you’ll end up with a ton of mica chips floating around your model. It’s impossible to clean up and you can actually ruin your model that way.

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I went about applying the wax metal with a larger flat brush to the chassis in a dry-brushing manner. I started by loading my brush up and then removing most of the wax metal on a paper towel. A little of this stuff goes a long way and it doesn’t take much to build up on the model. I went around catching the edges and details that needed accentuating.

At this point, I was happy with the results. I let the wax metal dry for about a day before applying a final wash of pigments. I took pigment fixer with my choice of pigments and created a very light wash. I applied the light wash to recesses and details as necessary around the chassis.

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After letting the wash dry for about a day, my work on the chassis was done.

Achieving realistic metals is easy to do using the method. It’s important to know that this isnt’ the only method of achieving such a look. In next week’s article, I’ll show you a different method that Kendon uses starting from black primer as the actual base of the metal’s color.

Some of the materials I’ve used here can be found on Zatcaskagoon’s Website! If you need to grab any of these materials check out zatcaskagoon.com and use the coupon Jake01 for a 10% discount!

Until next time, keep weathering.


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