Painting miniatures Mantic Games mech weathering

Mantic Games finished

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Who doesn’t love a mech, eh? Giant fighting suits and robots have always captured the imagination of wargamers and miniature painters. And this stealth operative from our friends at Mantic Games is no exception! This ‘Spectra’ from the Asterian faction of Mantic’s Deadzone game is a perfect testbed for how to paint robots and warsuits etc.

Painting Mantic Games miniatures: priming stage

Mantic Games Spectra zenithal prime
Even a tall mini on a 50mm base can be held by the RGG 360!

This is a resin model, so I started by giving it a quick clean in warm, soapy water. I also had to assemble it using superglue rather than plastic cement. Because I already had the superglue, I did a quick basing using superglue and bicarbonate of soda, for scale-appropriate rubble. It also hides the join between the base of the miniature and the base it is standing on! I primed the model with a black/white zenithal prime, as this is quick and shows all the values and with all these futuristic panels on the armour to cover, it will also help modulate the color of the basecoats I apply next.

Painting Mantic Games miniatures: basecoat stage

Spectra mantic games blue basecoat
I chose a nice cool blue for the basecoat that felt futuristic.

I have never been much of a painter for copying the boxart of models. Whilst I liked the look of the Spectra on the box, I wanted to do my own version. I like painting for the creative expression it grants me! I went with a tropical blue as my midtone, as the cool temperature suggested to me ‘future robot’ vibes. Artistically, too, it would offer a good contrast to the warm tones I planned for the sword and rubble. Color contrast helps with visual interest, dear reader! To re-emphasise some of the shadows from the zenithal priming stage, I added an ultramarine blue to the shaded areas. Now to make things pop…

Painting Mantic Games miniatures: panel lines & filter

Spectra Mantic Games panel line oil wash
Before (L) vs After (R) panel lining to show how it adds definition.

Scale modellers used to painting vehicles know the challenges of making flat planels more interesting. Using some of their advice, I did a quick panel lining trick using oil & mineral spirit. Thinned to a wash consistency, the oil still offers more control than an acrylic counterpart, and the capillary action makes defining panels with my dark blue oil a breeze! I also used a little grey oil paint in some joints and shadows. With a size 00 brush soaked in the mineral spirit, I removed most of it leaving only a subtle ‘tint’ behind. In tank modelling circles this is known as a filter, and adds more interest to big flat panels.

Painting Mantic Games miniatures: highlights stage

Mantic Games edge highlight
Contrasting light and shadow is another important tool painters can engage in.

I wanted the shadows and panel definitions to be more effective. I also knew that on this very futuristic model there were lots of sharp, raised edges. Whilst I am normally loathed to do lots of ‘edge highlighting’, I did think this was a prime opportunity for some. It would really help things ‘pop!’ You often hear painters talking about making a model pop, and this means the lights and shadows are giving all the details maximum definition. When you stare at a model on the gaming board and see all the best bits clearly, it has definitely popped! Edge highlighting every panel is not necessarily very realistic, but here at least it was fun and effective to do. A good brush for this is so important, so I used the edge of my Redgrass size 00 and some thinned pale blue.

When you stare at a model on the gaming board and see all the best bits clearly, it has definitely popped!

Time to weather!

Mantic Games weathering stage
A drybrush is a very good tool for applying pigments; not just drybrushing!

Now for the fun part! Using a corner of packing foam, I mottled some orange-browns onto joins and sharp edges that I felt would get damaged and rusted over time. The irregularity of the foam helps give a truly random, natural appearance to the chipping effect. To some of the larger blobs I added dots of dark brown or bright orange to help suggest more depth. I also edge highlighted some of these with the previous armour highlight to help suggest a raised edge. With a little burnt sienna oil paint, I dragged some vertical lines from these rust patches to suggest streaking and grime. Finally, I mixed up some rust oxide pigment on my glass palette for the rubble base. But I also made sure to drybrush some onto the feet of the Spectra, to suggest it was being affected by its rubble environment. That’s all I would be doing on this model for now, as I had been focussing on the weathering rather than the whole figure! – James

The finished piece!

Mantic Games finished

James is using:

  • best dry palette miniature painting

    RGG Glass Palette – Studio XL

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  • redgrassgames-brossage-sec-figurine-site

    RGG Dry brush

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  • RGG-brush-2/0-00-miniature-painting-kolinsky

    Brush: Size 2/0

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