BaM’s TMM Darkened Steel Tutorial

Our man BaM is back with another great tutorial. He paints minis all day every day, and he has refined his techniques over many years. One thing he’s mastered for sure is gritty true metallic metals. This time he’s walking us through the creation of a TMM suit of darkened steel armor on a chaos warrior.

What are you waiting for? Grab those brushes!


The model was primed black with a spray can of chaos black. The base color for the armor was Leadbelcher. When the basecoat was dry heavy I washed over everything with with Nuln Oil.

The picture above shows the effect of three full washes straight from the the bottle .

Then when all was dry in the crevices and recesses, Scorched Brown was applied in random patches over two passes .

After the last stage is dry we’re going to lay a shade in the recesses and that shade is an older one from years ago -none other than Bestial Brown. Nowadays they do make an equivalent and I believe it’s Balor Brown. This shade is laid in the recesses and layered in random patches on and about the flat surfaces of the armor.

Next a few more of applications of Vermin Brown were put down in much the same manner- I’d say that two or three passes each for the Bestial and the Vermin Brown or their equivalents. If you haven’t got any Vermin Brown (last produced circa 500 BC) you can reach for Tau Light Ochre.

After this is dry I start to bring out the shapes I’ve obscured beneath the shades I’ve laid down using silver from Vallejo Game Color. I have made as tight as possible the detailing of the edges of the armor. This starts to bring shine to the model at this stage.

The same steps of edge highlighting, stippling, and small straight lines of varying size and random direction on the flat parts of the armor plates are repeated over and over until they brighten up . I’d say about three different passes making these marks, which represent dents, nicks, and scratches, should do the trick. Build them up more and more in number and more pronounced with a bit more clarity after each pass.

Here I’ve added more nicks and scrapes of even smaller sizes on the armor, both on the edges and the flat parts. Then I’ve gone in and put little stains of bestial brown on the armor in random places.

The next steps have to be done with care.
Very thin glazes of Vallejo silver were glazed over all the armor plates. This is just 1-2 passes depending on how thin the silver has been made.

Once dry, Agrax Earthshade was glazed in several thin (extremely thin) coats onto the armor plates .

The next step is to go back in and reapply the nicks, scrapes, and scratchets of various small sizes on the armor plates and along the edges of them.

At this point small scratches as thin and tight as I can get were painted in different sizes and flowing in different directions. This I do using white paint thinned out a bit. After many thin scratches of diluted white I added another very thin glaze of Agrax Earthshade over the entirety of the armor .

Here is a final pic, which also contains smeared blood. The technique to smear blood is… you paint on a blob of Blood for the Blood God and use a small portion of your skin to smear it in any direction you choose. There are also orange pigment powders that I thinned out with pigment fixer and dabbed on in small blotches in three or four random places on the armor.




There you have it. It’s fascinating how BaM balances precision TMM details with heavy applications of washes, matte acrylics, and technical finishes. It’s easy to achieve tabletop quality using metallic paints, but if you aim for competition worthy pieces, you have to commit to the laborious give and take required to achieve depth, visual interest, and realism. Thanks, as always, for your willingness to pass along your knowledge and techniques!

4 thoughts on “BaM’s TMM Darkened Steel Tutorial”

  1. His style of painting is awesome and I have a feeling is fairly unique as most people don’t think about “layering” the textures in the way he does. I think it is probably about as close as you can get to painting damaged metallic surfaces in a realistic way. Thank you as always for your hard work on these tutorials. The Chapel is an excellent resource for any painter as a result.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for the kind words. I really enjoy working with different artists and trying to bring out something special from each of them.
      As for BaM, he’s one of a kind, both as a painter and an individual. You ALWAYS know when you’re looking at one of his pieces. I can tell you, too, they’re absolutely stunning in person.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re very welcome! And I hope that when all are able to gather in large numbers again that I can view his work in-person. I thought I was going to have that chance at Adepticon but Coronavirus had other plans. I would enjoy the opportunity to see your work in-person as well even if Pennsylvania is a quite a drive from Illinois!

        Liked by 1 person

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