March 11, 2014

Tips & Tricks: Using Vallejo Smoke To Create Leather & Wood Effects

Question- I purchased some Vallejo Smoke after hearing that it was a great product. I have a friend who told me that it is supposed to be a wash, however, when I went to use it the consistency was much thicker. After doing some research, it seems kind of confusing as to if this product is a wash or a glaze. I'm still fairly new to modeling, and I was wondering if someone might be able to point me in the direction for using this product. The Vallejo website has it classified as a transparent, which sounds interesting but confused me even more. I could not find a good tutorial on how to apply Vallejo Smoke, I would greatly appreciate any help provided.

Vallejo Smoke (70939) is a satin finish transparent paint/stain that is perfect for creating leather and woodgrain finishes, for shading golds and adding rusty shading to steel/iron colors, for weathering metals and dirtying up most colors. When thinned and applied as a wash, it provides a worn, weathered look to the paint underneath. Smoke is a viscous substance that looks a little like used motor oil. It’s full of gritty little flecks, so it requires a good shaking before use.

Brown Leather: Base coat belting, rifle sling, boots etc... with Vallejo Mahogany Brown (70846) and let dry. Another excellent base color is Vallejo Panzer Ace Leather Belt (70312). Apply a drop of Smoke to your palette and thin down with a few drops of water so that that you have a "inky" transparent puddle of paint. Dip your brush in the puddle, then wick the excess water away on a tissue then apply to the areas you want to stain. It is advisable to repeat this process (once dry) and apply more to to certain areas than others to vary the leather effect. You will find that it creates a very natural, slightly satin finish and will darken the recesses, stain the Mahogany Brown a deep brown color that looks like real leather.

Black Leather: Same basic process as above except base coat leather areas with Vallejo German Camo Black Brown (70822), Shade shadows with Black, highlight with Burnt Umber (70941) or Mahogany Brown. Let dry. Apply Smoke using the repeated steps as above. This will unify the base coat, shadows and highlight and create a very realistic finish.

Light Woodgrain: Base coat with Vallejo Iraq Sand (70819) or any light tan color. Let dry. Apply repeated coats of thinned Smoke - you can "streak" the Smoke to create grain effects.

Dark Woodgrain: Similar to painting Brown leather and the perfect finish for rifle stocks, furniture and other dark colored woods. Base coat with Vallejo Mahogany Brown

Vallejo smoke is great for weathering metals and dirtying up most colors. When thinned and applied as a wash, it provides a worn, weathered look to the paint underneath.


  1. Nice little explanation. Been a while since I used my bottle of it as I was more of a noob when I first got it and couldn't really figure it out. Think I will need to take it off the shelf again and give it a whirl! Cheers for this!