The Quest for Gold

For a long time I have searched for a suitable, convincing gold color to apply on models. This is particularly important for my army the Black Legion, where having a strong contrast with the black underneath really makes models pop. Take a look at what I think about the few gold colors I have used after the jump. 

Games Workshop was the first company that I tried out for metallic paints when I got my ork Battleforce. Back then I had little idea about what pigment density, coverage and luster meant and just slapped the paint on models casually. Now that I consider myself a bit more mature, I look for a little more bang for the buck spent on simple paint pots. Don’t get me wrong, I still use the GW metallics, especially the silver hues due to the flaky effect they achieve so perfectly. But for models that have an overwhelming amount of gold as its flair the GW golds just don’t cut it in comparison. Using water to thin the paints separates the metal flakes a lot and makes the gold look very weird and patchy.

Vallejo Liquid Metal set.

I have met the Vallejo Liquid Metal (VLM) series when browsing the web for painting ideas, on BuyPainted’s tutorial about how to paint Black Legion terminators. The ease of coverage over a black undercoat and the crazy shine on the models really impressed me and I decided to give it a try. I mean, take a look at the video and judge the paint for yourself. Below you can see the possessed marine that’s underway, I applied the VLM Old Gold on the left shoulderpad and the GW base gold Balthazar Gold on the other. Suffice to say, the metallic effect is a lot more convincing on the VLM. Take my word for it, the pictures really don’t do the paint justice.

Now this paint is very different in application compared to the acrylics we GW followers use. VLM series paints are alcohol based and need at least 95% alcohol to thin and paint. Apparently the paint particles literally rust, contaminating the entire pot, if any water is introduced to it. I have not gone as far as testing this claim, but I prefer not to do wild tests on my models and equipment. The proper thinning (and probably cleaning) agent here is isopropyl alcohol. It is 99% alcohol, making it ideal for the job. For my fellow Turkish hobbyists, both the VLM series paints and a bottle of isopropyl alcohol can be acquired from HobbyTime in Ankara. They ship super fast (1 day post with MNG or Aras Kargo) and are very responsive to phone calls. For non-Turkish hobbyists, Vallejo has a list of retailers on their website for online shopping and walk-in stores.

A few things to keep in mind when using VLM paints:

  • Just be sure to close the lid of the alcohol and the paint pot real tight when not in use: the medium and isopropyl alcohol evaporate very rapidly.
  • Try to use a syringe or some other kind of dropper to use isopropyl alcohol. I used way too much on my test run, which made the paint very runny. To my surprise though the coverage did not suffer at all.
  • Use a plastic or similar paint pot that won’t act like a sponge. For my test run I used a disposable cardboard cup which immediately soaked most of the paint (I felt like Midas, turning things to gold).

This will be the preferred paint for the Heldrake competition piece. I’m already excited about how shiny the demon engine will prove to be. All in good time I guess.


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