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painting True gold with metal acrylics (TMM)

Discussion in 'Acrylics' started by franck edet, Feb 2, 2020.

  1. franck edet A Fixture

    Hello painters

    please take the time to read this before as this will be the base of the work !

    1/ with metals, we're speaking about a material reflecting everything around it (whatever the metal is) and we're speaking of very high contrasts.
    this is truly major to understand this.

    2/ all the steps to come are done ONLY with acrylics of the best quality, forget about trendy stuff or cheapo acrylics from the dollar store (remember : i'm talking about metals)

    3/ NO : Alclad doesn't work correctly in our scales, it's perfect for large surfaces like a plane but nothing else. (trust me : i tried for the last 20 years)

    once this understood, it's then a question of scale : in 1:1 you could use pure gold, but in 1/10th or 54mm it won't look right. why ? because the paint will reflect way too much light.

    let's take a rough example :

    if i want to paint an MG42 on a german AFV in 1/35 scale, i will use first a very dark gun metal, then i will highlight the edges with silver lightly. this way i will have a "in scale" effect
    because i've played with contrasts. here we will have just 2 steps : dark and highlights because it's 35 times more little than in real life.

    on a 1/10th bust, your metals need to have much more definition so :

    we have to apply the very same steps than on fabrics or skins : primer, dark shadows, midtones and finally highlights (you decide of the intensity and numbers of highlights)

    so for example, if i want a dark gold, i will mix my darkest gold with any dark hue depending of the final light i want it can be deep blue, dark red ... whatever ... in a mix of 50/50
    then i will progressively add lighter golds to this mix and work with my brush exactly the same as when i'm painting a face or a cloak ...

    remember here than you want to be going slow and work little by little : as the SEALS say : slow is fast, fast is death.

    important : use a satin black primer : it will show you the highlights easily, take pictures, and don't hesitate to watch them .. they will guide you

    do not stress on a "source light" ... in real life, light is everywhere ;) just stay coherent :)

    for this sbs i will use a brand new Winsor and Newton series 7 number 1. a good and steady point is really necessary for the tiny little details.

    one point : i use scalecolors paints because i love them, i'm in no way getting any advantage or salary or sponsorship for this.

    let's start :
    at first i will work my base color, as with any step of painting, i want it to be a dark shade in order to work from darkest to lightest.
    here i will use Negro Gold mixed with a deep blue :


    i will mix those 2 colors near than : 2/3 gold - 1/3 deep blue :


    now a key point : as i used a satin black as primer, i won't have to dilute my paint so much, just dip the brush into tap water and go ! i won't take a great
    care of painting in all the little recesses as i want to keep high contrast. if you "push" the paint everywhere you'll loose the volumes and molded textures.
    here it's up to you and your creativity to judge where to stop :)

    first coat applied :

    i hear you saying : well, it's like painting usual gold ... at this step : yes. but take note how the gold is dark and not looking shinny.
    in fact the non metal color, after giving us a different shade of hue, as tone down the shinny state of the basecoat, that's exactly what i am after.

    now let's go for highlights, as i said i want here a "dark" gold because ... Anubis is the Prince of Darkness ... he is not a Parsifal in all his glory !

    for highlights i will first use : Dwarves gold


    it is like a "midtone" but because we are speaking of metal it is really a first highlight.

    I will use it the same way you would play with your midtones on a cloak for example. one point : there is no glaze here, you cannot glaze with true metals, it would separate the metallic pigments and give a weird look
    much more like a "disco" make up. keep this in mind : never dilute metallic ! never !

    one tip here : go slowly and work from the highest areas going down to lower parts.
    another tip : use as much as possible the side of the brush to avoid the paint to flow in the recesses.


    once this step done i will go after my final highlights, the so called "points of lights".

    for this i will use Elfic gold, mixed with Alchemy citrus


    and here i will work only on the most enlighten parts of the figure, this step i find it easy as my "midtones" are yet naturally showing where to put the highest lights.

    once again i will rarely use the tip of the brush apart on really small details, so : take your time, do not rush and let each step dry correctly before deciding to add more on a same point !

    finally here is the result after a 2 hours session with the brush :)


    as you can see i managed to break the Ankh ... nothing major anyway as it would have been in the way during the whole process, i will put it back in place later and probably paint it
    at the very last step, once the bust in place on its final base :)

    that's all folks, i hope you did like this little sbs. If you have any question please feel free to ask here, i will answer with pleasure :)
  2. Venko Well-Known Member

    Hi, thanks for the sbs!

    I have the Scale75 flesh set and they are very nice paints, I'm searching for a long time for good acrylic metallics, so are those colors from Metal alchemy range of Scale75?
  3. franck edet A Fixture

    yes all my metals are from the Scale colors sets : i have 2 sets, iron and golds
    Venko likes this.
  4. Nap A Fixture

    Hi Franck

    Excellent SBS and great reference as well

    Thanks for putting into this part

    franck edet likes this.
  5. franck edet A Fixture

    if it can help i'm happy :)
  6. Alex A Fixture

    Excellent tutorial Franck !
    franck edet likes this.
  7. franck edet A Fixture

    thank you very much Alex :) i feel humbled by this comment from you !
    Alex likes this.

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