How to paint: non metallic metal silver and lighting effects on Space Marines

Space Marines in Warhammer 40,000 are a highly metallic faction of battle-hardened soldiers. One easy way to paint these models is with black primer and silver spray paint. When painting on top of the basecoat, use white or yellow lightening effect paints for highlights.

This is a tutorial on how to paint a non metallic metal Space Marine. It also includes lighting effects and other techniques.

How to paint non-metallic metal silver on Space Marines and lighting effects: Learn how to paint non-metallic metal silver and lighting effects with Listerpaints in this tutorial. The procedure described in this article is straightforward, effective, and repeatable. Phil does a fantastic job of breaking down the procedure into eight easy phases.

Step 1: Prime the model with black or a dark grey primer. Vallejo German panzer gray was utilized in this project.


Step 2 – Mix 50/50 dark sea blue and black in a block, leaving the darkest recesses and greatest shadow regions black.


Step 3 – Mix in roughly 50/50 Stone grey Vallejo and begin applying the primary highlight regions and edge highlights to each panel. Blending is not a priority at this time; it will be addressed later. When arranging the highlights, it’s helpful to think about how light reflects off various shaped metallic surfaces and where the primary light source will be. Because the main light source is immediately above the model, the primary reflections will be on upward-facing surfaces and edges. It’s also crucial to include some secondary reflections, such as the inner leg and the little brushstrokes on the kneepad.


Step 4 – Using pure Stone grey Vallejo, add additional highlights and begin mixing the highlights and shadows by glazing a 70/30 combination of highlight and shadow hue. Instead of pulling the glaze away from the highlights, try pulling it towards them.


Step 5 – Continue highlighting with Green grey Vallejo, progressively tightening the area you’re highlighting so that your lines become thinner and narrower, and the edge highlights are centered more on the higher facing sections and corners.


Step 6 – Using Greenish white interactive, continue with the highlights and mixing. Creating a significant contrast between the highlights and shadows helps in selling the nmm effect. In phases 2-5, ‘warmer’ grey tones were used, then a ‘cold’ white was used for the final highlights. Focus on color selections and light positioning, which are more critical to the impression, than than having everything flawless. 


Step 7 – Using Cold white Vallejo, add final highlights to the edges and corners. These should be extremely minute, almost dot light highlights. 


Step 8 – While not strictly required, this step aids in the ambient impression. I used an airbrush to glaze over the reflections on the interior of the leg with a 90/10 combination of water and Brown, Gw Cygor contrast paint. Weathering pigments on the lower leg and base also serve to make the model appear more at home in its surroundings.


Colors used:

  • Black Vallejo 
  • Dark sea blue Vallejo
  • Stone grey Vallejo
  • Green grey Vallejo
  • Greenish white interactive
  • Cold white Vallejo
  • Brown, Gw Cygor
  • Pigments from Forgeworld

Applied brush:

  • Windsor newton size 1 series 7

Check out our other painting lessons as well!

The “non metallic metal axe” is a weapon that is used by Space Marines in Warhammer 40,000. It has an iconic look and it’s easy to paint with silver and lighting effects.

Related Tags

  • how to paint nmm sword
  • non metallic silver paint
  • how to paint nmm gold
  • non metallic metal guide
  • what is a non metallic metal


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