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Note: the paints in the following article have since been replaced:
  1. Thraka Green = Biel-Tan Green
  2. Skull White = White Scar
  3. Sunburst Yellow = Flash Gitz Yellow

People, online and in-person, have asked me several times about the technique I use for my ethereal models and it's deeply flattering.

I'm almost embarrassed, however, to admit how dang easy it is to do!

People see my Banshees, or whatever and assume that something which looks so striking (at the risk of sounding immodest) must be difficult, and it's really not.

Let me walk you through it.

You'll need only four paints - white, bright yellow, green wash and 'ethereal in a bottle' Vallejo Premium Fluorescent Yellow.

The fluo paint is not cheap - but it comes in a huge bottle and I doubt I'll ever need to buy another one.

You'll also need a ghost butler (NOT buster. that's something different).

As a general thing, the more wibbley, crinkly and varied the surface of the mini, the better this technique works. In fact, Ghost butler there is a little bit too flat, but he was the best candidate I had in my bitz box...


Spray him white.


And then drybrush him white too. The spray will be generally not leave a metal mini stark-white. Drybruush the undercoat until the high points are bright white, and leave the recesses the duller white of the spray.


And then paint the whole lot yellow. The slight variations in the white will show through the yellow - which I admit is not at all obvious in this picture.

Feel free to panic at this stage because it looks terrible and you've obviously ruined the mini. No matter how many times I use this technique, I always feel the same at this stage.


Wash the hell out of it with green wash. I really find that one cannot over-wash at this stage, go nuts. Hang the mini upside down to dry. If a drop of wash builds up at the lowest point, absorb it with a scrap of tissue, but don't remove more than you absolutely must.

It'll take a long old time to dry.


But when it is dry it'll look rubbish.


So wash it again and let it dry the right way up, this time. that'll give you something more like this, which looks better, but it still doesn't feel right, does it?


Break out your Fluo Yellow.

It's a very, very thin paint. Almost a wash itself, and it needs a lot of shaking before use. I put a couple of scraps of metal sprue in the bottle to help mix things.

It comes in a flip-top, but just unscrew the lid and paint directly from the bottle.

Load your brush quite heavilly and paint the raised areas. And I mean PAINT them. You should see liquid standing on the mini. Paint all the raised areas, any parts of the mini that are still more yellow than green and any places you want to glow.


The flue Yellow is almost a wash, so it will flow a little into recesses, but that's okay. It's so thin and so light that it is simply lost on dark places. That thin, light quality is why we're applying it so damned thick.

Let it dry and do it again.


And again. Any high points, any yellow patches and anywhere you want to glow. We don't mind if a little flows into the recesses and dark areas, but try to avoid them.


The paint dries like a wash, too, in that it is stronger (in this case, brighter) near the centre of the painted area, and more subtle towards the outside.


After a while - a couple of cycles of applying Fluorescent paint and letting it dry, you will have built up distinct highlights.


And you're done.


Like I said, Ghost Butler isn't the ideal mini for this, but I think you get the idea. I possibly could have taken a little more time and attention over things too, but the Banshees at the top of the page show what can be achieved with good models and more care.

If you try this for yourself, I'd love to see the results. Post them and post any improvements you have to my methods.
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