Easy Glow Effects with Vallejo Mecha Colour
I wanted to do a quick, but honest look at the Vallejo Mecha colours and show you what I really think they’re good for. I think they’ve been out about a year as of this writing, and they are defined by a very high contrast, rich colour saturated appearance. This is one of the reasons I don’t use it in my day to day airbrushing/painting. I’m primarily painting Warhammer 40K/ Games Workshop models and only a few armies would suit that level of ‘neon’ appearance overall. That being said, let’s have a look at the paints I do like….
Texture/Quality: It took me a while to get my head around these paints. I do like something that can take a little bit of abuse, and these require a lot of care. Like most airbrush paint, you will have to put a finish on the model, but this paint is extremely ‘light’ in nature.
I found the paints to be extremely thin but have a chemical feel to them that could lead to quick clogs, requiring a little more attention to the tip of the airbrush. No big deal, and you might think, ‘just thin the paints’. And while that would normally be a recommendation I found the pigments a little too…. ‘thin’ to get away with thinning the paint too much. In fact I found with some of the colours they required several coats in the lighter colours to really have a chance to change the tonal quality of an object that already had a colour applied to it. This leads me to my favourite application of Vallejo Mecha paints, painting glow / OSL style effects.
So here is an example of what I mean about the pigment. At this point I figured out I need to be VERY “neutral” with the base colour before applying Mecha Color. I had already made several trial and error attempts before I did these energy cannisters as an example.
Method: I suggest a neutral tone. Above: A medium tone was applied with yellow. Then the outer area of the ‘glow’ was hit with Mecha green (shown above). Then go back to a high concentration of Flash Gitz Yellow, perhaps with a tiny drop of white. (You don’t want the extreme light to look like ‘pastel’ so don’t add too much white.)
Result: See above for my preferred result. It’s very simple, start with a neutral tone, hit the area with your brightest colour, then apply the Mecha Color partially overlapping the perimeter of your bright spot. Finally go in to the extreme source of light, hit it with your brightest colour again, this time with a bit of white, if applicable.
Here’s a great comparison showing how I touched up my Ahriman model…
Original Ahriman: Check out the glow and the base glow from his disk. It looks okay, perhaps a bit more ‘brilliant’ in real life but I wanted a more extreme glow to his arm, base, and Staff. Fast forward to the touch ups…
Post Mecha Touch up Ahriman: So here you see the difference. Aside from my poor camera work, these pictures aren’t really touched up. The Vallejo Mecha Colors work great on something with a foundation of colour already applied to it. So in the above I actually went in with a brush, diluted some yellow paint, and hand brushed the highlights on his eyes, staff, warp glowy entity, and even his robes for OSL. The paint just works a LOT better applied on top of something you’ve already given structure to build off of.
Details: Here you can see where I used Mecha greens ,and yellows, but I always put the airbrush away, pulled out a fine detail brush, and carefully placed some Citadel whites, yellows (very, VERY thinly) on the warp glow, and shoulder pad (for example). Then by going back to the airbrush, I am able to bring those base, extreme highlights back to a nice blend. I finish by hitting extreme highlights with mecha and yellow, thinly with a fine brush.
The exact same process was used to 'upgrade' Ahriman's staff.
Here’s another before and after to show you the Mecha effects in action:
I know I gave you my preferred method above but there’s a few ways to do this, and this was far more time consuming and not recommended, but the effect was still strong:
So the above shows both methods in one picture. The Bases of whispy magic stuff are based in pure white. I then applied several attempts at airbrushing Mecha Color to the white and had a very translucent, sloppy look that I did not like. Remember I mentioned earlier the pigment feels almost…. ‘thin’? Well the result is you want to apply more, but doesn’t work that way and you can end up with some sloppy looking transitions. So I took my time, but the above bases took about 5-8 coats just to cover the white. Then I hit the model with a green wash, then more mecha. Lots of work there for little effect.
The Tzaangor disks were different. Here I took my ‘preferred’ method which is most apparent on the left most disk. I used green paint, and yellow paint to block in the basics. Then used Mecha to finish the effect which seems to work best.
Thanks for checking this out and I hope you found something interesting about the Vallejo Mecha Color line and I’d recommend experimenting with it yourself for some fun applications in your army.