Airbrush Tutorial – How to Create Mirror Chrome Effect by Nanxnei Studio
Remember the HGUC 1/144 Banshee Gundam with the great purple-blue-black reflection effect? Here’s another great modelling tips shared by Nan Nei (南寧工作室). This technique is specifically for airbrush user to create mirror chrome effect, one of the popular effects applied to all kind of Gundam models, cars, bikes and other mechanical models.
Mirror Chrome Effect Overview
How does it work? The overall idea is to create the mirror chrome effect with the MGM Chrome Powder. However, the powder can only gives 1 single chrome effect and extremely weak against touch or moisture. In order to create Chrome Red (or other chrome colours), we spray a layer of clear colour to seal the powder (refer to the tips below), then we apply another layers to get the colour we need.
- Gaia EX-02 Black (Gloss)
- MGM Prime Electroplating Powder (a.k.a. Chrome Powder)
- Zippo lighter fluid (as thinner for enamel paint)
- Tamiya Enamel Clear colour series (Clear, Clear Red, Clear Blue, Clear Red…)
How to Create Mirror Chrome Effect – Step by Step Tutorial
Set up the base colour
Spray a layer of Black (Gloss) as base colour.
Create the Chrome Effect
Apply MGM Prime Electroplating Powder (a.k.a. Chrome Powder)on the base colour (use cosmetic puff for better result). Simply rub the powder on the surface.
Prepare the Clear Colour
Mix the clear colour that you wish. You can spray multiple layer of clear colour for the effect you want. However, Tamiya’s clear colour seems dark with this technique. It is recommended to finish it with less layer, as the more layers it is , the less reflective it will be.
This technique requires lighter fuel as the thinner for the enamel colour. The paint need to dry fast so it won’t wash away the Chrome Powder. The mixing ratio for the dry layer is 1:2 (clear colour : lighter fuel); For the wet layer is 1:2 or 1:2.5. Feel free to adjust the ratio as you see fit.
Apply the Dry Layer
The dry layer refers to the airbrush spray settings with higher PSI and less paint flow from the cup, where it creates a rougher (misty) coat on the model surface.
Spray it quickly but make sure all surface are covered. During this stage, the paint and lighter fuel will dry quickly before it can wash away the Chrome Powder, so the powder is sealed. Don’t worry about the rough or misty effect on the surface, it will be fixed at the last step.
Secure the powder with more dry layer
You may spray additional dry layers to ensure the powder is sealed properly.
Last Step – Apply the Wet Layer
Once the powder is sealed, spray with more paint and low PSI (a.k.a. Wet Spray). This wet layer will fix the rough / misty layer and gives great clear chrome reflective surface.