June 14, 2016

TRENCH RUNNER REVIEW: Steven Lowenthal Takes a Look at AK Interactive's Learning Series no.5 Metallics Vol. 2


AK Interactive’s, Metallics Vol. 2 is the 5th book in their Learning Series and their follow-up to Metallics Vol.1. Where the first book was about metallic paints and their application, Vol. 2 takes that knowledge and focuses their use on miniature figures. Using both metallic paints and the Non Metallic Metal (NMM) method.

The book contains 88 pages of the same 6.75 x 9.5 glossy, high quality photography as the previous volumes in the series. Here’s a look at the at the book’s contents:
1.     Introduction
2.     Paint Types
2.1 Acrylic Metallic Paints
2.2 Enamel Metallic Paints
3.     Techniques
3.1 PMP
3.2 NMM
3.3 Gold and Silver Threads
3.4 Non Metallic Metal Techniques Using Acrylics on Warhammer Figure
3.5 True Metal and NMM Mixed System
3.6 Painting Metal Without Using Metallic Paints
3.7 Dotting or Stippling
3.8 The Bluing Technique
     4. Samples

The chapter on paint types is a quick two pages and explains the difference between the two types of paint formulations metallic paints come in. This quick explanation will help you choose which type you may want to work with.

Techniques starts off by explaining the fundamentals that the rest of the book is based on; Base Color, Highlighting and Shading. This also includes what they call Effects and Atmosphere. With statements like “Using the usual highlighting method”, and no explanation as to what that method is, it is clear this is a book meant for those with some basic knowledge of figure painting. While this doesn’t diminish the value of what AK Interactive is trying to accomplish with this book, I mention it for clarification. The section ends with an interesting chart of metals (Iron, Steel, etc.) and talks about the colors these metals turn as they weather. 

The first technique explained is the Non Metallic Metal or the NMM method. Using matte paints to represent a metallic surface. Where the “shine” of the metal is a painted on effect as opposed to being a natural occurrence. After an explanation of what this method is trying to accomplish, you are introduced to the first figure. How to paint the metallic threads on an English uniform. Another method discussed is  using a combination of metallic and NMM paints. A metallic paint is used as a base color and NMM paints are used to define the lighting effects. This is demonstrated on a Warhammer figure. If you have a white metal figure to paint, you may consider another technique where you can use the figure’s own material and accentuate it with inks and varnishes. Of particular interest is what they call the Bluing Technique. Using a Predator Helmet, you are shown how to use a double action airbrush with its tip removed to spray a speckled pattern. Then different combinations of black and silver paint are sprayed to achieve the look of “magnetite” on steel. Very cool. The chapter concludes with how to use a natural sponge to create a quite convincing alien coloration. It made me want to find a Predator figure just to try out these techniques.
The book culminates with demonstrations of the previous techniques on several well known figures. C3PO, T-800 Terminator, a Cylon, and a Cylon Raider among them. I found this to be an uniquely fascinating section because of this. It is particularly eye catching showing how they apply many of the discussed methods on the Horizon T-800. I think this section will you leave you anxious to try it yourself. While the figures follow the familiar step-by-step paradigm, keeping with the books focus, they are more illustrative in nature than explanatory.

I found Metallics Vol. 2 to be an engaging and worthy follow-up to the first volume. It flows logically and builds upon lessons and facts previously presented. However, it leans more towards inspiration than education. The step by step directions are not as complete as their FAQ books are. Through the work on the figures, it shows what was done and how certain looks are achieved. It speaks more to those who are at least somewhat  familiar with the procedures and tools. As such, the book strives to show what can be done and can be explored by your own imagination. Something worthy of all skill levels.

The proper application of metallics can be a difficult skill to master. Often requiring many hours of trial and error. The AK Interactive Metallics books (Vol. 1 & 2) represents the best way to acquire the necessary knowledge beforehand. Providing the reader with the insight needed to produce advanced results in less time.
Steven Lowenthal 
06.2016
View & Order in our web store HERE
Read Steve's Review of Volume 1 HERE

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