Monday, 30 October 2017

Painting Non Metallic Metal (NMM) Power Swords - My journey!

I have previously posted about painting power swords (here) a few months ago as I experimented with painting a lightning effect:
Death Company with lightning effect power sword

At the time I thought that it was cool but I am having second thoughts as I have decided to paint another 6 Death Company all with power swords and having 2 squads with 3 power swords in each squad.

On close inspection my power sword looks a bit lame and so I did a bit of research online to find some that I might like to emulate. My favourites were these:

I particularly liked the Non-metallic metal technique used on these as the blending between the colours is seamless and gives a great glowing effect. With these examples I began looking for tutorials on how to get this awesome look....

Nothing except tutorials with an airbrush!!! I don't have an airbrush!!! And it looks so easy if you have one too!!!

Just to state now - I have no intentions of getting an airbrush - no room to paint with it or store it and my wife would definitely divorce me if she found a few hundred quid spent on yet more Warhammer stuff!!!

Feeling quite frustrated about this as I have issues when I get an idea in my head and I can't think of anything else until I have actioned that idea - I'm sure I am on the autistic spectrum somewhere. Note: I am qualified to say this without causing offence, I am a teacher in a special school!

Anyway the bottom line is that I got fed up and had a go with just a simple drybrush:
1st try - Drybrush

1st try - Drybrush
I went down this route because it is dead easy and I have tried wet blending before and vowed  I'd never do it again - I was rubbish!

However the drybrushing style wasn't great and didn't do it for me so I conceded that I may have to wet blend and searched online but couldn't find any tutorials in the style of NMM that I wanted without using an airbrush. This was quite frustrating and so I put a help message out on twitter (@4dadsapocalypse) and Reddit for some help.

Thankfully this cry for help came back with quite a few tutorials:

1 - Duncan (Of course!) -
2 - Duncan (again!) -
3 - Tabletop minions -
4 - Tale of Painters -
5 - The Painter's Room -

They all use different techniques and are all great in explanation and presentation.

Duncan's tutorials are good but not the effect that I was looking for and a bit too simple for the effect I wanted. Table top minions tutorial was good too but again wasn't quite the effect I was looking for although closer than Duncan's. Someone recommended The tale of painters which really took my fancy and was much closer to what I wanted. Also this technique could transfer easily over into power axes of which I have a couple to paint too. And finally The Painter's room was posted up which was a great straight wet blend tutorial for swords.

I have 3 blue paints in my paint box and figured that I could mix them up a bit if needed so got my wet palette ready and settled in for a couple of hours with Regal Blue (Kantor Blue), Enchanted Blue (Caledor Sky) and Ice Blue (Lothern Blue).

I initally tried the Tale of Painters tutorial and after 2 attempts that got painted over I found that my wet blending was getting better (Practice is everything!) and, more importantly, my understanding and manipulation of the paint and the thickness I needed was coming together. The paint really needs to be incredibly thin when wet blending and you need time to dry in-between many coats. I knew this in advance but don't think I really understood how much time and patience I would need!

Anyway below is my first completed effort which was somewhere near what I wanted.
Wet blending Pattern 1

Wet blending Pattern 1
Now this wasn't perfect and will get redone but looks ok enough to take a picture! My criticism here is that the alternating pattern needs to be square with straighter lines. I was following the tutorial which has a circular spot pattern of blending that really works on the axe thing but with the sword being so straight a more circular pattern doesn't quite work.

I was also still unsure of using the alternating pattern on the sword and so I thought I'd also try out a straight blend pattern that I had found on my internet example (the 3rd picture on this post).

This I found much easier to paint as it's one straight blend on each side of the sword but also I think that this style suits the power sword on my marine a little better.
Wet blending Pattern 2

Wet blending Pattern 2
Overall at the current time I am going to retry the first pattern in a squarer fashion and see how that works. I'll also have a go at this pattern on the axes that need painting. However, I think that I will probably stick with Pattern 2 for my swords as I think that this suits the sword types I have and also is easier to do!!

I'd be quite interested to know what you all think of my journey so far and of any suggestions you may have. Also I'd like to know what your power swords look like so I can steal some ideas. If you want to please post them up on twitter (@4dadsapocalypse) tagging us in and I'll retweet them.

Finally thanks so much to the Tale of Painters and The Painter's Room for such brilliant tutorials. They were really simple and easy to follow yet very informative - great job!

See you soon

James – A blog about Warhammer 40k and the Horus Heresy by four Dads

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