When someone says ‘Victorian’, certain images will spring to mind – cobbled streets, sputtering gas lamps, wrought iron railings and billowing fog. These are the things that, if in evidence on your table, tell people that they will be fighting for Queen and Country in the Heart of the Empire.
Namely, things wot are made of brass.
So, in order to rectify this, this week I’ll be looking at that staple of Steampunk Victoriana – the brass automaton.
Our first subject is this:
“But Jez,” I hear you cry, “surely that’s the latest iteration of the Cybermen, the cutting edge of cyber-conversion and therefore should be silver!”
Strictly speaking…Yes. However, as with any model you purchase, the overall colour scheme is entirely down to you…and if I choose to paint mine brass, who’s going to stop me?
Anyway, our second subject is this:
This is one of the plastic Halloween lights I picked up recently, removed from its light. Examining the sculpt, I realised that it didn’t have any eyes, so two disks of plastic were cut from an old spear shaft and glued into place. I know spiders are supposed to have multiple eyes, but as this isn’t a real spider, two would suffice for my purposes. I also decided not to fill the socket in its rear, as this will be a steam-powered automaton and we need somewhere to shovel coal in.
So…brass paint. There are several options when painting brass – buy some actual brass paint, which can be called anything from ‘antique gold’ to ‘tarnished brass’ or just use gold paint and dirty it up a bit. However, there is a cheaper and easier option – mix your own.
I took a fair amount of GW Shining Gold (other gold paints are available) and added a small amount of brown paint. I can’t tell you what this particular paint is called, as the label’s fallen off. As it’s a GW paint, it probably has a fancy name, but it’s a mid-brown colour, similar to tobacco. It doesn’t really matter, to be honest. Just add a bit of brown to your gold, until you get the brass colour you’re looking for. Because you’re adding a non-metallic to a metallic paint, it mutes the shine, so whilst you get a metallic look, it’s not so pronounced as a pure metallic, giving a more realistic brass look.
Ooooh, shiny-ish! The next stage is to give your models of wash of dark brown – I used Docrafts Burnt Umber, which is a brown similar to the colour of dark chocolate. And you get this:
A cursory look would suggest that there isn’t that much diffetence between this stage and the previous stage, but a closer look will show that the wash has deepened the colour and created a greater ‘depth’ to both figures.
Now, you could, at this stage, give them both a careful dry-brush of gold, just to enhance the models further, but I was happy with them as they were, so just moved on to a bit of detailing.
For the Cyberman, I added some red to his chest light, eyes and mouth, to suggest that he had an internal furnace, like so:
And the spider had his eyes painted Mithril Silver, folowed by Bogey Green:
And the rear ‘vent’ was painted internally red, with a bit of black ‘smudging’ around the rim, to suggest smoke-staining:
And done. Not bad for an evening’s work.
Join me next time, as we return to the streets of Blackwell to see what further perils await the brave men of the Black Museum.