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Painting Medieval Plate Armor

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  • Member since
    March 2017
Painting Medieval Plate Armor
Posted by widowson on Thursday, August 1, 2019 12:42 PM

I'm re-constituting my old Aurora knights. I'd like to custom paint the "Black Knight" so his armor looks like metal, rather than black paint on metal. For the "Silver Knight," I'd like to make him just steel, maybe polished. And for the "Blue Knight," I'd like blued steel. I have no idea what to do with the "Red Knight," but I'm willing to listen to suggestions.

I know these are extensive topics. I'll take help on any or all. Or can someone direct me to a site that has techniques described for these issues? I can't be the first guy who's done this.

  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Thursday, August 1, 2019 2:00 PM

Hi Bill,

Assuming you have or have access to an airbrush.

Look at Alclad II lacquer paint. It's very popular for Natural Metal Finish aircraft models.

I've used it quite a bit on that, and also on some motorcycle models.

The general drill is to get the model as clean as you can of any build flaws because the paint is really thin and by nature of it's colors will show any seams or other flaws. 

Prime the model with a good black gloss paint. That gives the metallic paint coats some depth. Alclad makes a black primer, but I don't care for it and use Testor's enamel in those little square bottles.

There are all kinds of colors. I like Airframe Aluminum; it's pretty shiny.


Good luck,



 Modeling is an excuse to buy books.


  • Member since
    November 2005
  • From: Formerly Bryan, now Arlington, Texas
Posted by CapnMac82 on Saturday, August 3, 2019 5:30 PM

Check your local craft store for the Rub-n-Buf line of pigments.

They come in tubes as a wet paste, which lets you controll where they go.  Cotton swab (cotton bud) was my preferred applicator.  You spread it out, and let if dry, then buff it with a rag or the like.  If it's still "wettish" you can buff it down to alomost invisible over the base coat.

Several metallic colors available.  Sliver, gold, bronze, black, blue and a couple more off the top of my head.  The effect is semi-clear, so you can vary the effect per the base color you use.

  • Member since
    July 2019
Posted by Robotism on Sunday, August 4, 2019 4:01 PM

I don't know how large the Aurora models are but this video maybe of use to you.


  • Member since
    June 2014
  • From: New Braunfels , Texas
Posted by Tanker - Builder on Thursday, September 19, 2019 12:40 PM


      I have just gotten into figures in a bigger way. I do remember when I learned weathering, that's when I built those. I used a mixture of Model Master's Anthracite and Clear Flat.

  • Member since
    May 2011
  • From: Honolulu, Hawaii
Posted by Real G on Thursday, September 19, 2019 12:59 PM

Alclad has a "Black Chrome", so give it a try if you have an airbrush.

“Ya ya ya, unicorn papoi!”

  • Member since
    October 2004
  • From: Orlando, Florida
Posted by ikar01 on Saturday, September 21, 2019 9:35 PM

Just how shiny would the armor be to begin with?  I didn't think they would be very glossy.  WShat did they use to color metal back then?

  • Member since
    March 2013
  • From: Brantford, Ontario, Canada
Posted by over47 on Friday, November 1, 2019 7:14 PM

Hi. I recently purchased those same models on e-bay to do the exact same thing.

However I was always sceptical about the different colours mentioned and always thought that the red knight, blue knight etc. were made up as a gimick. That is until I saw a documentary on Netflix on how to make armour and in the show it also showed how to turn the metal blue. It is a heat process and the armour was acually quite impressive. It also showed how they made the gold etching that covered the edge of the armour.

I tried to find it again so that I could post the name properly it but have not had any success. I will keep looking for you.

I also checked out Youtube which had a few shorts on how to make armour and also had some on how to turn steel blue, black (they use an oil) and of course polished steel. So check out Youtube.

The blue was quite shiny and looked very nice. The red colour is also possible but I can't rememeber how they did it. But I have confirmed to myself that these colours are possible. As to how shiny they would be, quite shiny. I now feel that the armour portrayed by Aurora would not be fighting battle armour but ones used to be shown off at tournaments and jousting matches. And of course worn by only the wealthest of nobles. So they would be highly polished, gaudily coverd in feathers etc. to show off how wealthy they actually were.

I have been looking at differnt paints in order to match what I saw and I think that the lacquers mentioned earlier will be the best for my own project. You may want to experiment with them. Again check out Youtube. They have loads of shorts on model painting.

I am now also looking to buy a few more knights so that I can build them in the most disrepair possbile, just to see how far I can go in the opposite direction.

Hope this helps.


On the bench;

Converting a 74 gun Heller kit into HMS Sutherland; 1/200

Converting Bomb Ketch into HMS Harvey; 1/200

Cleaning up an Aifix lot of 54mm figures, for converting.

  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Sunday, November 3, 2019 3:46 PM


       Battle damaged Armor suits? Interesting idea. You could have lots of scrapes and dents. remember if range and bolt was iron it, a crossbow, could dent or slightly penetrate chest and back Armor. the grieves( leg Armor) would be severly worn and dented in a Battle suit and don't forget some used woven chain link armor under the hard stuff.

     Can you imagine wearing all that weight and still trying to fight? It's no wonder many nations approved when it went out of fashion. After a twenty mile ride then a Fifteen minute scrimmage, you would be exhausted!

 I used to feel sorry for the Armored war horses. Wearing some armor plus carrying that heavy Human. Yoiks!

  • Member since
    September 2006
  • From: Bethlehem PA
Posted by the Baron on Monday, November 4, 2019 1:15 PM


...Can you imagine wearing all that weight and still trying to fight? It's no wonder many nations approved when it went out of fashion. After a twenty mile ride then a Fifteen minute scrimmage, you would be exhausted!...

Actually, the weight was distributed all over a soldier's body, so it wasn't as bad as we might think.  And what the average man-at-arms carried, across most of the armies, was heavy but not so heavy as to render him incapable of fighting.  I remember an episode of "Conquest" on the History Channel, that focus on the late medieval soldier and the armor that he wore.  Its design allowed a soldier a considerable amount of maneuverability in combat.

Full metal armor really fell out of use as firearms became more powerful.  At the same time, formations opened up, too.  And even though firearms became more powerful, some armor remained, like the cuirasses of heavy cavalry, which were proof against musket fire at close ranges.

In the First World War, we see body armor for foot soldiers return, as protection for trench raiding parties.   And then we see the flak vests of aircrews in the Second, and the body armor available today.

So it's never really gone out of fashion, but just changed to meet the conditions at the time.

The bigger the government, the smaller the citizen.




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