Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Knight Models Iron Man [WIP - Gold Armour]

Continuing with my non-metallic metal (NMM) work on the Knight Models Iron Man miniature, I was now faced the task of trying to paint the gold portions of the armour. Referencing the same triad of light sources as described in an earlier post, I proceeded to tackle painting non-metallic gold. My main challenge was trying to maintain a fine balance between having a smooth transition and having a stark contrast between the colours. A task complicated by the many angled surfaces of Iron Man's suit which made predicting how light reflects off the armour extremely difficult.       

Knight Models Iron Man - Work-in-Progress (WIP) on gold armour

Using only four Citadel colours namely Scorched Brown, Bubonic Brown, Snakebite Leather and Skull White, I tried to achieve non-metallic gold to somewhat mixed success. To say that NMM is a very difficult technique is a huge understatement. It not only requires a painter to have good blending skills (something I am working on) but also know where to put the highlights and shadows which is basically a good understanding how light reflects off metal (my knowledge is rudimentary at best). 

Colours for non-metallic gold

If you Googled for images of 'Iron Man Mark 3', you would have been bombarded with loads of pictures showing how light reflects off the armour. But rather than helping it actually makes things more confusing as you can only roughly guess at where the actual light source is coming from. Nonetheless, it did provide some surprising images that showed light reflecting in ways that I did not anticipate. That was something I consciously tried to incorporate when painting NMM for Iron Man.

Knight Model Iron Man's thigh gold armour

As with the red armour, the brightest highlight had to be pure white to simulate metal. Of the two colours - red and gold - the latter is much easier to paint as NMM. There are perhaps still some sections of the armour - both red and gold - that I could revisit to improve the NMM effect. Some parts may need a higher contrast gradient between the highlights and shadows but more research on my part is needed to determine for sure or I would just make things worse than it already is.   

Back view of Iron Man's armour, with the gold portions painted
Angled sideways view of Iron Man's armour, with the gold portions painted

To get a good idea of whether the NMM has achieved its desired effect, it's best to see how both the red and gold armour look together as a whole - in terms of the much sought-after metallic effect (see last photo below). While I am generally happy with the results so far, I am under no illusions that I should do much better to get a more realistic NMM effect. The solution to that is more practice.   

Right side of the right thigh gold armour received the least highlights based on light sources
Overall shot of how the gold and red metallic armour interplays with each other

Other than touching up the NMM effect, work remains to be done on the base, arc reactor, hand repulsors and some minor object source lighting. It feels good to be making further progress on my Marvel Universe project, and I hope to post more updates on Iron Man in the coming weeks.


  1. Great look and paint , i like your style for paint , great work !
    Cheers ^-^
    Vincent .

  2. I love your job on the red colour !!

    Your yellow is amazing too ^^

    1. I am slowly improving on my reds and yellows with more practice. ^_^

  3. this is nice! you seems to get a good grasp of how to do MNN

    1. You are way too kind limp thanks for the feedback. =)
      The key words are "seems to" ... lol ... my NMM needs a lot of work yet, if not this model then maybe some others in the future. ^_^

  4. You're doing great there.. good job :)

    1. Thanks Lord AK ... I still lack the patience to paint smoother blends but I am working on it. =)


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