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"How would you paint scale mail?" Topic

15 Posts

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AegonTheUnready24 Feb 2019 8:53 a.m. PST

I have a Seleucid army waiting to be done, and so I was looking at pictures of Seleucid cataphracts by different painters.

Was wondering how the scale armor was done. Black undercoat, followed by drybrushing the scales with a metallic?

or a metallic basecoat, and a black wash to settle in the recesses?

ow would you do scale?

Aethelflaeda was framed24 Feb 2019 9:05 a.m. PST

A mixture of either technique would work well.

Winston Smith24 Feb 2019 9:17 a.m. PST

It depends on the metal.
For bronze scales, I give an undercoat of GW Citadel Tin Bitz, or whatever they're calling it now. Then drybrush with bright bronze or brass. The equivalent Vallejo copycat color is Tinny Tin.

If you want steel or iron, then black undercoat and dry brush with "chainmail" steel or whatever you like.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP24 Feb 2019 10:07 a.m. PST

Agree that either or both would work. Generally, the smaller the scale, the more I lean toward black undercoat.

Roderick Robertson Fezian24 Feb 2019 11:19 a.m. PST

For Bronze/copper/gold, I use a brown undercoat – it works better with the yellow metals (especially if they are not as full of pigment as they might be). You can then wash with really dark brown or black to bring out the scales.

I use craft paints, so have a number of different shades of "Gold" that can be used as the base and highlight.

For Silver/iron/steel I wash the are with black (I undercoat with white).

Thresher0124 Feb 2019 3:59 p.m. PST

All of the above work.

Personal logo Herkybird Supporting Member of TMP24 Feb 2019 5:09 p.m. PST

I would use white undercoat, paint the metal colour, wash with Agrax Earthshade and drybrush the original metal colour.

Dexter Ward25 Feb 2019 3:04 a.m. PST

Metallic colour (either steel or bronze) followed by appropriate wash (payne's grey for steel, sepia for bronze).
Some scale armour seems to have had alternate bronze and silvered bronze scales, which looks great but is a huge faff to paint.

langobard25 Feb 2019 3:51 a.m. PST

As so many others have said, either method will give you a great outcome.

I think Robert probably makes the best observation that the smaller the figure scale, the more likely a black undercoat is going to work, or at least provide a simple and attractive painting solution.

BCantwell25 Feb 2019 6:20 a.m. PST

Also depends on how many you need to do. All of the methods above work well enough, but I find that a basecoat and wash is faster than a dark undercoat and drybrush,

Trockledockle05 Dec 2022 1:55 p.m. PST

A late reply but another method for metal figures is to paint the chain mail areas black then very lightly run a file or blade over the raised areas to scrape off the paint and show the underlying metal.

Personal logo piper909 Supporting Member of TMP10 Dec 2022 9:10 p.m. PST

I'm pretty well aligned with what Roderick Robertson wrote above.

JJartist28 Dec 2022 2:43 p.m. PST

This link is to a description for an elephant with scale armor but the process is the same for regular fish-scale armor.


Finished piece:


Personal logo oldbob Supporting Member of TMP23 Mar 2023 4:30 p.m. PST

Give "P3" armour wash a try.

vonSchwartz0422 Apr 2023 7:31 p.m. PST

I'm a wee bit confused, are you talking "scale" armor or "mail" armor, I believe there is a differnce.

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