Wednesday, June 4, 2014

How to paint a magical or futuristic power weapon

Hello dear friends, followers and newcomers.

Today I will share a technique I use to paint powered weapons for futuristic models and magical weapons for fantasy themed models. In a certain way, this is a very basic NMM (None Metallic Metal) technique. I used an airbrush for this technique, but if you are adept at glazing or layering, you should be able to get a similar effect.

For this tutorial I used a sword, but you can also use an axe, pole arm or other (bladed) weapon.

First, let's prime the miniature. For this I used a very light grey primer because I did not have a white primer handy. Either one would work perfectly for this technique. The reason I chose a light color, is because I want the colors to be really vibrant.

Let's start with the mid tone. For this sword, I am going for a magical blue effect. For that reason I paint the whole middle section of the blade with spellslinger blue. This is a special airbrush paint. You could basically use any mid-color you want to use. by mid-color I mean any middle blue, green, red, purple and I am sure there is a better term for it.

Try to only cover about one third of the blade (the middle part) for optimal effect. Once this is done and the paint has dried, get a piece of masking tape and mask the sword straight down the middle. For other weapons find a beveled edge and mask one of the sides.

Continue by painting one side with a dark color like dark blue or black and the other side a light blue or white. If you want to use an airbrush, glazing techniques or layering is entirely up to you. Once you are done painting, remove the masking tape to prevent bleeding paint on the other side. Wait for the paint to dry and then mask your pained side and paint the other side in the opposite direction. Again, as soon as your done painting remove the masking tape.

As you can see I achieved a nice blend using my airbrush. Next is to define the edges and the magical runes with white paint. As you can see I struggle with the line down the middle so if anyone has any tips please put those in the comments. We learn from each others experiences right? If you have runes like these you can simply paint them white, if they are engraved into the weapon, it might be easier to make a wash and paint that into the runes. A wash is easier to clean up then straight paint.

There! That is the blade all done! Depending on what technique you use this can be either a relatively fast technique or one with slow process but a very rewarding result. Just make sure you got your paints thin and your blending as smooth as you can. You can proceed by using OSL (Object Source Lighting) techniques to simulate a glow from the sword on the miniature, but I will save that for an other time.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article. If you did and think your friends can benefit from it, feel free to link it in forums or share it on your page.

If you have requests for future articles, don't hesitate to post a comment or message me on facebook.

I hope to see you next time.


  1. If you spray a light clear coat after you put the masking tape down it will stop bleeding.

    1. Good tip! I will try that out for sure!

  2. Nice tutorial mate. How do you find the Minitaire paints in comparison to Vallejo?

    1. As an airbrush range it has more game colors then the vallejo model air range. The minitaire metals are really bad in my opinion, where the vallejo airbrush metals are really nice. In general, I'm bigger on vallejo then minitaire, but I own the full minitaire range so it's very handy having all those colors available.