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Space Hulk Diorama (11) – Painting Metal

Terry Callier ‘Timepeace’

To digress, momentarily: this past week in Britain has been dreadful. It isn’t often that the wider goings-on of the world intrude into the realm of painting miniatures; but it’s been unavoidable lately. The EU referendum debate, and the shocking murder of the MP – Jo Cox – in my home county of Yorkshire have been extremely troubling; and it’s set to reach a climax, or nadir, by the end of the week.

I follow the work of many European painters – from those who are justifiably famous for their artistic accomplishments; to people who simply enjoy painting as a past-time. From Sweden, to Germany, and Austria; through France, Poland, and Spain. I see them as peers; inspirational figures I work hard to emulate; and potential friends. Painting creates a community, in which anybody is welcome; and nobody ever excluded. I hope that whatever the outcome of the EU referendum, those bonds remain intact. I think painting is something which genuinely brings the best out in people, irrespective of where they happen to live; and we need much more of that in life.


So, how to paint metals.

I don’t really like painting metallics, because they’re so fiddly. To simplify matters, I tend to use alcohol-based paints to provide the basecoat, as they provide an even coverage in 1-2 coats; whereas regular water-based metallic paints require at least half a dozen. It is quite difficult to apply, however, and you need alcohol brush cleaner to clean your bristles; so I only use it on large areas, with a cheap painting brush.

These were the colours used – the Vallejo liquid silver as the base:


Regular metallic paints to cover smaller elements – such as the copper pipe; and to highlight areas.


Gold for the brackets:



Smoke and Black to shade:


Flat earth and tank brown to create rust-effects:


Green, turquoise, and rotting flesh to create a verdigris effect:

I also use Leviathan purple to glaze silver areas – but this is purely optional.

Basecoat the metal areas:


To weather the metal, apply several thin washes of Smoke; leaving each one to dry before painting the next layer:


You can see how each layer gradually deepens the colour:



Paint a glaze of black over the whole area:


To create a verdigris effect, paint a wash of dark green over the copper pipe:


Add turquoise to this, and blotch it over the pipe – keeping the mix watery:


Add rotting flesh to the dark green/turquoise mix, and paint this on in patches:


Highlight the copper pipe by stippling-on copper (as it happens, the verdigris effect was a bit vivid, so I glazed it with smoke later on):


Edge highlight the metal areas with the gunmetal silver, stippling it on to the bolts; then highlight the corners/edges of bullet holes and scratches with chainmail:


I decided to paint yellow/black hazard bandings over the metal beam. So, add patches of masking fluid:


Paint over this with dark brown (Vallejo’s USA Olive Brown here):


These were the colours used to paint the bandings:


Basecoat the metal beam golden yellow; then plot out the bands:



Overcoat these with black:


Wash the whole area with several thin layers of Smoke:


Highlight by stipling goldbrown onto the yellow bands; and black + khaki (2:1 ratio) onto the black ones:


Remove the masking fluid:


Edge highlight: the yellow areas with goldbrown + ushabti bone; and add a bit more khaki to the black/khaki mix. Concentrate on the edges of the beam, the frays around the chipped areas, and the bolts:


Give the whole area a thin glaze of smoke; and use the tank brown/flat earth to create patches of rust:


To finish off, I glazed the whole area with matt-medium, which tied it together. Done.

Keep well.


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