Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Shiny swords with an Airbrush!

Today boys and girls, I’m going to be showing you how to get a pretty shiny sword using an airbrush.  This was a remarkably easy process and I completed it in about 25 minutes, total time.  That includes mixing paints, then mixing more, and getting it to match cause I threw out the other stuff, but not including drying time.  Basically what I’m saying is it’s pretty easy.

First step, is to pick a colour.  I went with a turquoise colour that accents the red in my army very nicely.  You can literally pick any colour to give a nice crystalline effect, or probably even go with grey hues for a NMM look.

Next is to tape off any area of the model that you don’t want painted that colour.  It would be easiest to do this with the arm or sword removed from the model and mounted on a pin or something, but I got over excited with building this guy.  I used a rubber glove and put the whole model inside and poked his sword out of a small hole I made.

After that dries, and make sure it dries well, tape off half of the sword, on both sides.  This is typically done down the middle where the blade is the thickest (in a double edged blade).  This may be tricky if your blade is curved or of a strange shape.  You will want to make sure you get a good painters tape that won’t remove the paint that’s under it.

Now, the first step I took was to mix up a darker shade of the base colour.  I simply added some black, but for some other colours you may need to rethink what you use to darken them.  I don’t really have the answers for those questions here, but you could find something on the internet about mixing colours.

I took this darker mix and feathered it onto the blade from the outside in, leaving a section in the middle untouched.  What I mean by feathered is to lightly build up the colour in layers using the airbrush and slowly pull back to the origin.  This, to me, felt very similar to layering with a brush without all the tedious brushwork and skill.

Second step was to darken the paint even further to almost black and feathered it onto the furthest edges of the sword making sure to not go too far down the blade.

The third and fourth steps are almost the opposite of the previous two.  I lightened the paint, I used white, but again you may want to do some research on proper ways of lightening, then I feathered in the lighter colour in the middle of the sword, then I lightened it again and feathered in again just the centre of the blade. 

Now, at around this point I forgot to take more pics, but the ground work has been laid.  Once the paint dries, remove the tape and do the exact opposite on the other side of the blade.  This provides a stark contrast along the blade.

Once that is done, you will undoubtedly notice some areas where your taping wasn’t perfect or some paint bled under the tape.  This worried me a little until I started the final step which was to highlight certain areas with pure white.

After looking at the finished product I am very happy with how it turned out, but I should have gone  lighter on the light areas to add a little more contrast.

Good luck and Happy Gaming!


  1. -1
    not a single beer was mentioned.

  2. I don't drink and paint. I care what my painting looks like.

    Gaming on the other hand, as long as something cool explodes i'm happy.