Non-Metallic Metal (NMM) Sword (Blending with the Loaded Brush Technique)

Non-metallic metal (NMM) painting is the technique of using regular paint (without metallic content) to give the illusion of a metallic, reflective surface. In general, NMM requires high contrast painted with smooth transitions from light-to-dark. There are many technique you can use to blend color in the NMM style of painting miniatures. You can wet-blend, layer and glaze, or use the loaded brush technique. Keep reading below to see how you can quickly paint NMM on a miniature sword using the loaded-brush approach for blending acrylic paint.

Things you’ll learn in this article:

  • Understand how to create reflective surface using a high contrast painting style
  • Use an advanced painting technique, i.e., loaded brush blending, to create the NMM miniature painting effect
  • How to blend color quickly without an airbrush

In this article, I show you how I use the loaded brush blending technique to paint a NMM sword.

Loaded Brush Blending for NMM

I felt it best to make a video of how I paint miniature swords using NMM. There are a number of other sites with great tutorials. I tend to borrow a number of techniques and mix them all together whenever I feel it fits the need.

Non-Metallic Metal (NMM) Sword (Blending with the Loaded Brush Technique)

In this case, however, I have found that the loaded brush blending approach is the quickest for small surfaces that are flat.

With video it is easier to visualize the actual application of paint. Check out the video here (about 7 minute runtime):

Loaded brush blending involves the use of two paint colors “loaded” into a single brush.


The key factors you should keep in mind when practicing this technique are as follows:

  • Use a kolinsky sable brush (see article about these brushes here)
  • A hair dryer can speed up the process of each paint application (see here for why and what I use).
  • Start with small, flat surfaces, like swords or other blades.
  • A smooth base coat layer is very important for the loaded brush blending process.
  • It is easier to load a darker color first, then use a highlight color on the brush tip
  • For non-metallic metal (NMM), contrast is more important than color.
  • Use a “kick” color as a glaze in the final step to “tie” the blended transitions even further into a smooth-looking surface
  • Practice, practice, practice!
Non-Metallic Metal (NMM) Sword (Blending with the Loaded Brush Technique)

Miniatures Painted with Loaded Brush Technique

I paint a lot of miniatures with swords and other semi-reflective surfaces (a completely reflective surface). Here are a few of my favorites in various states of completion.

Non-Metallic Metal (NMM) Sword (Blending with the Loaded Brush Technique)
I blended the armor with a loaded brush
Non-Metallic Metal (NMM) Sword (Blending with the Loaded Brush Technique)
The daggers and the cloak used a mix of loaded brush blending and glazing
Non-Metallic Metal (NMM) Sword (Blending with the Loaded Brush Technique)
The entire sword used the technique I show in the video
Non-Metallic Metal (NMM) Sword (Blending with the Loaded Brush Technique)
The headpiece….blended using a size #2 kolinsky sable
Non-Metallic Metal (NMM) Sword (Blending with the Loaded Brush Technique)
The horns used a size #2 Raphael 8404 brush loaded with the dark and light colors

Final Word

The loaded brush blending technique is a fun, fast, and fairly straight-forward approach. The reason I would recommend painters learn how to use it regularly is because loaded brush application of paint is versatile. It can become the foundation for producing high-contrast quickly, which you can then use for other neat effects.

If you found this article helpful, let us know! Have a question or feedback, feel free to leave a comment below.

For more articles related to the miniature hobby, subscribe through email or follow us on Facebook or Instagram.

Happy painting!!!

Enjoying Your Visit? Join Tangible Day

Free newsletter with monthly updates (no spam)

Leave a comment below! Follow on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Free photo backdrop bundle for miniature photography - tangible day - backgrounds for photographing miniatures - free gift image
Grab your FREE photo backdrop bundle for miniature photography in the shop.
Best Alternative to Winsor & Newton Series 7 Brushes for Painting Miniatures - cheap sable kolinsky sable brushes for painting miniatures - good budget brushes for painting miniatures - blick masterstroke brush for model paint
Favorite tabletop miniature and wargaming finds on etsy - tabletop miniature and wargamer favorites on etsy image
135 Unique Hobby Gift Ideas: Fast 2 Days or Less Shipping!

4 thoughts on “Non-Metallic Metal (NMM) Sword (Blending with the Loaded Brush Technique)”

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: