NMM Gold: Beginners Guide on Complex Shapes

This very special tutorial features a guest appearance from NMM maestro Lee Hebblethwaite, AKA 10Ball. He’s an incredible painter as well as a great guy. I’m looking forward to trying a few of these ideas around ToadChapel soon!


I was asked to write up a guide on NMM areas that are an unusual shape. Luck was with me as I was working on a fantastic fantasy miniature that just happened to have a complex NMM shape…. a bell!

I always start a miniature by checking out reference pictures, which is one of the finer things about the internet.

The next stage is choosing the right colours. This all depends on the look/feel which you are trying to achieve on your miniature. With this miniature I’m going for a real bright fairytale look that’s not far off a cartoon.

These are the colours I’ve used. Also a quick note on all the other tackle:

Brush: Winsor and Newton Series 7 size 0

Wet pallet with normal tap water and a tiny spot of dish wash soap added.

TIP: I use a hairdryer to quickly dry each glaze/wash of paint to stop the paints going chalky.

Slightly off topic, I can’t stress enough to focus on prepping the miniature, seam lines, joins, dust, etc. It makes Soooooo much difference to the end result.


So with reference photos to hand I start with the base coat of VMC British uniform, keeping the paints watered down over several layers.

Blend up using VMC Japanese uniform, adding only a few drops at first until there is a 50/50 mix.

I’ve shaded by adding a tiny amount of black to the British uniform and glazed in the darker areas. As with the layers add the shade glazes over several layers waiting for each to dry (hairdryer). ‘Drag’ the paint layer from the highest (lightest) to the lowest (darkest) point with the tip of the brush so the colour pigment ends up strongest in the required areas.

Blend up the highlights till you get to pure Japanese uniform. Keep in mind this bell is only around 4mm in size so just the tiniest touch is needed with each layer.

With a very milk-like glaze I’ve dotted the white area highlights, which will look terrible at first, but by a series of glazing back over with the Japanese uniform and some patience you will achieve a smooth blend.

The areas will look brownish in places so again with very thin glazes I went over with yellow to try and get a more gold metal look.

In select places I’ve used the smallest dot of pure white to get a shine. Go easy with this, as it’s easy to get carried away.

Very carefully using some of the colours from the bird I glazed in one or two reflections, which can be very effective or can crash and burn. So be careful but hey ho you can always start again! It’s only paint lol.

I’ve added another example of a NMM reflection I painted, albeit a lot more cartoony.

Hope some of these tips help you out and remember to enjoy the painting 🙂

• Lee (10 ball)

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