Wednesday 27 December 2017

Workshop: NMM with Andy Wardle

December has been a manic month, personally and professionally, so it's nice to finally get a little downtime and update the blog.

At the start of December I went on a NMM course in Cheltenham, hosted at Incom Gaming ( and run by the super talented Andy Wardle (, to learn more of the tricks for painting non-metallic metals. The big difference from painting fabrics and skintones is the sudden push up in contrast from dark to light for the purpose of fooling the eye into believe you're seeing metal.

The venue was a small upstairs bar in a nightclub, repurposed for the daytime. Bar a couple of corners with strange cheese smells, it was a decent venue with loads of lighting. Funny to see how everyone basically has the same painting setup these days too.

We spent the full Saturday working on the basics of colour application, choice and understanding shapes and contrast, then applying it to gold. Genuinely surprised by what I managed to achieve.

So it won't be winning me any awards soon, but it's a significant step up in quality and speed.

Saturday night was the obligatory Nando's, a few beers, witnessing possibly the world's first fight in a family-centric Harvester, and chewing the fat with the excellent Haychdee ( about painting in general and what we learned from the day.

Sunday was more of the same, but focused on steel and copper effects - and the different thinking required to create the effect. My steel wasn't pushing the colour far enough, but that's fine - I could see the improvement as the morning went on, and will come back to finish this piece in time.

Copper was the one I was really interested in, and funnily enough was probably my poorest attempt. I didn't understand the shape and the effect isn't believable. No matter - we move on and I'll be repainting this as steel in the future anyway.

Happy with the colours, but less so the use of them. Can't win them all!

This is the first 75mm figure I've painted, not including 28mm monsters, and it's a gorgeous sculpt from Black Sun Miniatures ( Big differences between painting this scale and 28mm, but I was happy with learning the techniques on such a big area - and getting them wrong and trying to fix it. Bringing this down to a smaller scale will be a fun challenge.

Here's he is with the arms temporarily blu-tacked and a slightly steadier shot when I got home.

I won't lie. I was super nervous going in to this. Andy is a world class painter and the output from his previous workshops had set a high bar, and I don't like to fail at things. Just to give us an idea of what the techniques can achieve, we were able to see his recent award-winning pieces up close, and HOLY SHIT they're amazing. Check out his Magnus progress on Instagram for an idea of how far he can push the NMM concept.

Big thanks to everyone else who attended the workshop too. Pretty much everyone was a higher standard than me, including at least one Golden Demon winner in the group, and there was a lovely, relaxed vibe to the whole weekend. People wanting to improve their painting, and offering helpful, constructive criticism - weekends like that really reinvigorate my love for the hobby.

In summary, Andy did a great job explaining the theory, helping us to push outside our comfort zone. While there's no point trying to encapsulate all the learnings, I will say that if you get a chance to go on one of Andy's courses then you definitely should! He's a good teacher, inclusive, helpful and approachable.