Warhammer Quest: Silver Tower, Metallics Vs Non Metallic Metal

So, Warhammer Quest: Silver Tower, Metallics Vs Non Metallic Metal. Thus far NMM is a topic that has always caused a fair amount of friendly debate (and I daresay unfriendly debate too!) in the painting community. So for the absolute beginner, what’s the difference?

Metallic paint contains literal flakes of metal (usually aluminium) suspended in coloured pigment.  The flakes reflect light, causing the paint to look shiny once its applied and the size of the flakes varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, so its up to the painter which brand he/she prefers. There’s a lot more science that goes into these paints, but quite frankly its boring so I won’t.

Non metallic metal isn’t a paint, rather its a style of painting, using standard paints in high contrast to trick the eye into thinking the surface is reflective, in exactly the same way a 2d artist would do (both traditional and digital), check out this video from Sephiroth Art to see what I mean.

this isn’t a tutorial post, there are people far better equipped than I to explain it in detail. Here’s a link to a fantastic NMM guide by Darren Latham.

and for good measure, one from Gareth Nicholas. (yes its about shiny armour, but the technique to produce the shine is the same)

Ok so now we have the two terms defined, why exactly am I waffling on about them? To be brutally honest, this is a cautionary tale for all commission painters out there.

Not too long ago I was commissioned to paint up the Silver Tower set of miniatures from GW, with a reasonably free brief I decided to do the whole set in NMM.

yes yes I know, sharp intakes of breath all around, and not in a good way.

This turned out to be a monumental exercise in futility.

To begin with it was progressing nicely, the main characters were turning out well, but the troops started to become a massive time-sink, negating any profit I may have made from doing a high standard with a reasonably speedy turnaround (its not all about the money, but eating is a nice thing to be able to do, so I have to make profit). and then it happened. I hit a major problem, the NMM on the Tzaangors just wasn’t working.

Had this been a personal project, I would have done some more research, practiced more and kept picking away at them when I had time. But it wasn’t, and taking the perseverance route would mean extended time until delivery for the client. As the song says “you gotta know when to fold ’em”.

So I re-did everything in normal metallics, and the results are pretty good!

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