Metallic Miniature Paints
What metallic paints are the best? There are undoubtedly favored items. Your choice of metallic model paint will depend on the overall outcome you want.
In theory, all metallic paints include metal “pigments” actual metal flakes that reflect light in their formulation.
Regularly applied metallics with a brush give excellent coverage and produce a dazzling finish in contemporary acrylic paint compositions.
Metallic-based paint treatments provide potent completed works when used in conjunction with other painting techniques.
I provide the top 5 metallic paints in this article for you to add to your inventory of model paints.
For painting miniatures, these metallics are the most adaptable, user-friendly, and beautiful acrylic metal paints available.
Here are my picks for the top 5 metallic paints for painting models and miniatures.
- Steel paint by Vallejo
- Leadbelcher Games Workshop Citadel Base Paint
- Gold metal color in Vallejo
- Games Workshop Retributor Armor Base Paint for Citadels
- Copper Metal Color in Vallejo
1. Steel Paint by Vallejo
The price of a dropper bottle of Vallejo Steel Paint is around $5. This is an airbrush-ready paint from Vallejo’s model air series.
But an airbrush is not necessary to apply this steel metallic.
In fact, I like applying this paint with a standard brush the most.
All I need to do to apply the metallic on my figure is dispense some onto my palette because it has already been pre-thinned.
Bright and very reflective, the color. The finished dry metallic looks like brightly polished steel or perhaps aluminum on a smooth surface.
Amazing paint coverage. A surface can be entirely coated with a single application with a standard brush.
This metallic is also tough, so I can paint glazes and a variety of inks over it without first varnishing.
Overall, because of its simplicity of use, adaptability, and outstanding coverage, I heartily endorse this steel metallic.
In my opinion, Vallejo Model Air Steel is a good place to start if you’re unsure of what steel, neutral-colored metallic to buy.
Steel Paint by Vallejo
- Polished, gleaming steel finish
- Simple to use
- Exceptional coverage using a standard brush
- Actually, I can’t think of any
2. Leadbelcher Games Workshop Citadel Base Paint
The Citadel Base Paint from Games Workshop Each dropper bottle of Leadbelcher costs roughly $5.
Its volume is little lower than that of the Vallejo Steel stated above, but it is still a great value.
This is a very pigment-dense base paint for Citadel.
Because Leadbelcher is viscous, it will need to be shaken briefly before use in order to homogenize the paint.
But if you use this metallic to paint, you’ll get a gorgeous, black steel or raw iron metallic surface.
It is not readily thinned.
However, you might only need to keep your brush damp with water to make applying makeup on your model easier.
Leadbelcher can cover a surface in one coat and provides excellent coverage.
I use this metallic paint for almost every metallic base coat project just for this reason.
I’ll add a little Vallejo Model Air Steel if I need a brighter metallic (using my favorite dry palette).
- Metallic finish on black steel and raw iron
- Terrific coverage
- An excellent metallic for base-coating anything that calls for a metallic paint in a neutral tint
- Simple to blend with other acrylic-based metallics to make them darker without changing the color or tone of the mixture
- Really thick paint that could be more difficult to apply directly from the pot
- Before each painting session, strong mixing or shaking is required.
- Can quickly clog airbrushes if not diluted properly
3. Gold metal color in Vallejo
The Gold metal color Vallejo cost of a 32ml b is roughly $10.
My preferred gold metallic paint is this one. This gold metallic paint has every feature I want in a metallic, just like Vallejo Model Air Steel paint.
Although the metallic is pre-thinned for airbrushing, it can also be applied with a conventional brush. It is ready to use after being dispensed onto your palette.
Due to the formulation, most surfaces can be completely covered in a single application.
The details on your model will also still be apparent because to how thin the paint is (it won’t fill them in like much thicker paints will if you’re not cautious).
It almost feels like cheating to utilize this gold metallic.
My only concern with this gold metallic is that it might be too brilliant and bright to look believable, if anything.
Normally, I wouldn’t just leave this model wearing this gold metallic. To give it more depth and contrast, I’ll glaze it or paint a wash over it.
The brightness of this gold metallic will literally outshine other components of your model if some extra effort isn’t done.
Before applying the paint, make careful to shake the bottle.
You’ll want those lovely gold metallic pigments to stay in-solution because it does have a tendency to settle out rapidly.
Gold Vallejo Metal Color
- Very metallic gold shine
- Fantastic coverage (usually a single coat)
- A sizable bottle with an easy-to-use nozzle
- Pre-thinned metallic is excellent for airbrushing or applying with a standard brush without the need for further dilution.
- Possibly overly sparkly
- Shake and combine the product before using.
- Without additional effort, many warm metallic effects, such as glazing and ink washes, may not be helpful.
4. Games Workshop Retributor Armor Base Paint for Citadels
The $6 per pot Games Workshop Citadel Base Paint Retributor Armor is completely worth it!
The greatest gold metallic paint currently available is this.
I use this metallic gold, which has been tried and true for many years, for almost any model that features materials that resemble gold or brass.
I even use this gold to draw attention to metallic copper and dark tin colors.
For optimal effects, mix the paint aggressively, just as you would with Leadbelcher.
It is a Citadel Base paint that is made to quickly and easily cover surfaces. For the vast majority of jobs, one coat will suffice.
Retributor Armor produces a smooth, regal paint job with a warm, gold reflecting sheen.
Simply add some sepia ink to the mix or glaze over it with the appropriate wash to make it darker.
Any miniature painter seeking for a flexible gold metallic should purchase this.
Retributor Armour Metallic Gold
- The ideal warm-toned metallic gold paint
- Excellent one-coat coverage
- Versatile paint that can be applied with various glazing and washing methods
- Simple to match colors using various color schemes
- Extremely thick paint that needs to be mixed before usage
- Difficult to airbrush
5. Copper Metal Color in Vallejo
Each bottle of Vallejo Copper Metal Color costs around $10. This coppery-red metallic fills a void left by the other gold metallics‘ potentially excessive brightness.
This is the copper you get if you want something that feels like a brand-new penny valued at one cent.
Are you searching for metallic paint that has the appearance of a copper pipe from your gas stove, your plumbing, or anything that has a steam punk feel?
Fortunately, Vallejo’s metallic paint perfectly captures the copper look.
This copper metallic is designed for airbrushing and is comparable to the Vallejo Gold Metal Color (described above).
Since the paint has been thinned to the right consistency, it may be sprayed on to create metallic effects.
However, I’ve discovered that a standard brush works just as well. One brushstroke provides full coverage due to how dense the pigments are.
Of course, to keep the metallic flakes in solution, shake this bottle frequently.
To ensure you have a uniform mixture to work with, I advise dispense a small amount at a time onto your palette.
Finally, this copper-colored metallic paint may not be as useful as the other metallic paints on my list.
Because it is already on the darker side, color shifting with glazes and washes is challenging.
I enjoy blending this metallic with other paints to alter their appearance.
For instance, I might combine a small amount of this copper metallic paint with the base gold metallic paint if I want to shade a gold color.
I’ll use this mixture to add a metallic shadow to the nooks and crannies.
This offers fascinating contrast without taking away from the reflectiveness overall (e.g., that a regular paint or shade might do).
Color of Vallejo Metal Copper
- Fills the reddish, copper-colored metal void in the overall metallic color scheme.
- Terrific coverage
- Ready for airbrush
- Excellent bottle design for applying to a palette.
- For maximum results, constant shaking or mixing is necessary.
- It will be more challenging to apply glazes and washes to change the hue or color of this metallic.
- Limited use due to its tone and color (unless you’re using a lot of copper in your painting).
What About Sets of Metallic Paint?
So you’re still unsure on which metallic paints to purchase. Check out the paint sets below if you’re like me and want to have those extra paints on hand.
If you want to start a collection, here are a few metallic paint kits that I suggest.
- Vallejo Metallic Set 75 Scale Color Model Air Paint
- Scale 75 Scale Color Metal ‘N Alchemy – Steel Series Paint Set
- Scale 75 Scale Color Metal ‘N Alchemy – Golden Series Paint Set
- Paint Silver Metallics Triad (Reaper)
- Paint Gold Metallics Triad (Reaper)
1. Metallic Set Model Air Paint by Vallejo
This is the entire Vallejo Model Air line of 16 metallic colors.
This has every metallic paint shade you’ll probably ever need for your model and miniature painting projects.
Each of these paints is designed to work with an airbrush. All you have to do to get started is pour these metallics into your paint cup.
I anticipate that these will perform admirably with standard brush applications as well, if they all behave as the Vallejo Model Air Steel paint I described above.
2. Scale 75 Scale Color Metal ‘N Alchemy – Steel Series Paint Set
For a variety of reasons, professional miniature painters consider Scale 75 Scale Color Metal ‘N Alchemy to be the best paint line.
Within the category of paint colors known as “steel,” this metallic paint kit contains 8 metallic paints.
This ranges from warmer colours like amethyst to cooler hues like cobalt.
These metallic paints are more viscous than those from other paint brands, just like other Scale 75 paints.
This indicates that you must thoroughly shake the bottle before using it.
Although many Scalecolor paints can be airbrushed, it might be more difficult to thin the metallic paints in this set for spraying.
These paints should be applied with standard brush methods, in my opinion.
3. Scale 75 Scale Color Metal’N Alchemy – Golden Series Paint Set
Using gold metallic paints, this is comparable to the Scale 75 Steel Series paint set.
The Scale 75 Golden Series Paint Set includes eight golden-colored metallic paints.
They are compatible with a wide range of sophisticated miniature painting techniques.
Although you can airbrush these paints, I like to paint with Scale 75 paints using a regular brush.
4. Paint Silver Metallics Triad ( Reaper)
Three Metallic Steel paints are included in this paint set.
This triad reaper paint scheme is practical since it gives you access to the precise dark-to-light colours you might need to increase contrast on your miniature.
Reaper Master Series paints, in my opinion, are the best model paints available for painting miniatures.
Their metallics, though, aren’t as helpful or simple to utilize as the ones I previously described.
They don’t cover well and need a lot of extra effort to apply evenly.
However, this is the best metallic paint set you’ll find if you’re looking for one that includes the shadow, midtone, and highlight for steel painted material.
It won’t hurt to give them a try since this paint set is also reasonably priced.
5. Paint Gold Metallics Triad ( Reaper)
The Gold Metallic triad paint set from Reaper is equally hit-or-miss as the Steel Rriad from that company.
While some people adore these paints, others find them problematic.
For my miniature paintings, I think I like using other gold metallics better. As before, I do suggest all of the additional Reaper non-metallic paints.
Buying this paint set enables you to paint a variety of gold materials without giving much thought to how you will shade and highlight them.
Because this is a triad (Reaper has many triad combos).
Yes, you can glaze and wash your metallics to add contrast. However, using other metallics for shading and highlighting is the only way to keep that metallic sheen.
Reaper triad sets are inexpensive, so I occasionally buy a few to experiment with different color schemes when painting miniatures.
Metallic paints are eventually necessary if you paint miniatures or scale models. This is especially true if you wish to authentically paint your models.
There are many metallic paint options available, whether you’re painting machines from the Warhammer Universe or arcantrik machines from the Iron Kingdoms.
I’ve discovered through painting a variety of models over the years that you don’t need to buy them all.
Simply choose a few basic metallic paints and alter them to suit your wider needs, such as by glazing, washing, or mixing.
Even though I only suggest five metallic paints, I’m sure I left out a few of your favorites.
The information in this article might help you get started or just give you a different perspective on using metallic model paints.
In either case, the excitement of learning what works for you is a big part of the fun of painting miniatures!
Everyone has a unique way of painting.
Have fun drawing!
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