Troubles with varnish
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Thread: Troubles with varnish

  1. #1

    Default Troubles with varnish

    I've been having problems with varnish for some time now, and I'm looking for thoughts and advice on how to improve my technique. Typically, when I'm just about finished with a model I spray it with Vallejo gloss coat un-thinned through an airbrush. The gloss coat goes on without a hitch and the surface works well for the proceeding oil wash. Once I get that worked out, I come to the tricky part, sealing the wash and knocking the shine. I've learned to spray about 9" from the model in quick passes with the airbrush and straight vallejo satin varnish. I then wait a few minutes and hit it again. I try to keep the layers thin, and I usually do one of the layers with the model upside down for better coverage. This seems to work pretty well for 2-3 passes, but then I reach a point at which parts of the model are still quite glossy. If I go in close to just hit them the color gets desaturated. If I keep doing passes the color gets desaturated. Sometimes I even get the lose-lose situation of desaturated color with remaining gloss.
    Is there a good remedy for this? Perhaps thinning the varnish and/or waiting even longer between coats? or perhaps I should just brush on satin varnish for the tough areas?
    Any help would be greatly appreciated. So far I love all of the help and advice I've been getting on this site.

  2. #2

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    Depending on the size of the job I thin my vallejo matte with water and brush it on in a few thin layers letting each dry completely. Not sure if it would work with the satin. It could also be that the gloss and the satin have too much surface tension and as the satin dries over the gloss it is pulling away from higher areas.
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  3. #3

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    I don´t rember where I read it, but a coat or 2 of testors dullcote takes out the glossy finish.... also there is a you tube video from the painting clinic that says the varnish gets reactivated once more varnish makes contact with the surface, so that maybe a reason of your problems (tough he used spray varnish, not brush on, so I cant say for sure......)

  4. #4

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    Varnish will nearly always change how a paint job looks. I've had some really impressive blends from an airbrush before, hit em with a varnish and completely washed them out :/

    However what I tend to do is to hit my model with a satin varnish (normally GW purity seal/'ard coat or whatever the hell it's called now) from a can, do my oil wash, hit it again with the canned varnish and then use daler rowney matt varnish with a handful of thin passes to remove any trace of shineyness. I find that using a satin instead of a gloss makes no difference to the oil wash and decals but means I get no high-gloss areas to try and hit back. As Zab says, the gloss finish could well be preventing adhesion.

  5. #5

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    Do you use canned varnish because you feel that it works better than airbrushed varnish? Hugo from ichiban painting said that the solvents in the canned stuff make it work better in one of his videos, but I have yet to try it.
    When you oil wash over satin do you carefully pin wash it? When I try over satin I tend to get staining in surrounding areas, but while I don't mop the wash on, I could probably stand to be more careful with it. I might have to switch, as the satin sounds like it would help with wash adhesion. Right now on a lot of surfaces I feel like the whole brush load dumps out onto the surface, and then when I go back in with the dried brush it sucks everything back up. In addition the wash settles too much at the bottom due to gravity.

  6. #6

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    Is there no method of eliminating the "nearly always" of changing paint jobs? I have only used testors dullcote (accidentally used a satin 'primer') on a painted mini and it definitely muddled / blurred the paint job. I did recently get a can of testors glosscote but with what I'm reading on this thread, feel hesitant to spray it on any completed jobs. But I know I've seen some sharp painted, varnished minis so there must be a successful method?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by dispake View Post
    Is there no method of eliminating the "nearly always" of changing paint jobs?
    Not really. Dullcoate along with every other varnish will alter the reflection index of the underlying colour.It's the same with canvas painting despite how CLEAR the varnish is the colours alter slightly. If you've ever watched any programmes about restoring old paintings they often talk about revealing details unseen for ages.....it's the same in our process.Now I know there are some high level competitors around the world who DON'T varnish their models but I'm not that brave.
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  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by GTTechnics View Post
    Do you use canned varnish because you feel that it works better than airbrushed varnish? Hugo from ichiban painting said that the solvents in the canned stuff make it work better in one of his videos, but I have yet to try it.
    When you oil wash over satin do you carefully pin wash it? When I try over satin I tend to get staining in surrounding areas, but while I don't mop the wash on, I could probably stand to be more careful with it. I might have to switch, as the satin sounds like it would help with wash adhesion. Right now on a lot of surfaces I feel like the whole brush load dumps out onto the surface, and then when I go back in with the dried brush it sucks everything back up. In addition the wash settles too much at the bottom due to gravity.
    I use it because I'm pretty lazy Canned is quicker than airbrushing it on and means I don't need to clean out the airbrush!

    I've not had any issues with staining when oil washing over satin. I tend to apply a fairly "thick" wash in places and then use another brush to blend it in however as all the oil washes I use are weathering ones (water stains etc)

  9. #9

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    Here's an update for anyone facing the same issues. I tried oil washing the two different models gloss and satin varnish. Despite my prior experience, I actually really prefer satin. The wash adheres a bit better making it a lot easier to control. In addition, as stated before, it's easier to get a satin finish over a satin finish rather than trying to knock down the gloss shine. It can stain more, but that just means it requires a bit more vigilance when waiting for it to dry enough for cleaning.
    In addition, I also tried painting on sating varnish to target trouble glossy areas. I watered it down about 1:1 and it worked like a charm. All in all I think I may have this varnish thing sorted. Thanks for the help guys!

  10. #10

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    Please pardon my noobness but do you separate painting and washing with a varnish layer because it's a different paint type - oil vs acrylic)? Or is there another reason?

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by dispake View Post
    Please pardon my noobness but do you separate painting and washing with a varnish layer because it's a different paint type - oil vs acrylic)? Or is there another reason?
    The varnish has a few purposes. First and foremost, the varnish is to protect the acrylic paint from the mineral spirits in the oil wash. Without it the oil wash could eat into the paint. Second, the varnish allows us to manipulate the way the wash behaves. Gloss in theory should make the wash slip into the crevices (at a price I found out) while matte is more likely to stick to the wash. Finally, the oil needs to be sealed in (and can be a bit glossy) so a second layer after is necessary.

  12. #12

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    How long are do you guys typically wait before painting over varnish? I've been reading that people wait 24 hours before cleaning oil washes, but when I wait more than 20 minutes the oil wash becomes very stubborn. I'm wondering if it has something to do with me waiting less than an hour for the satin varnish to cure. Perhaps the varnish is more porous at that point?

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by GTTechnics View Post
    How long are do you guys typically wait before painting over varnish? I've been reading that people wait 24 hours before cleaning oil washes, but when I wait more than 20 minutes the oil wash becomes very stubborn. I'm wondering if it has something to do with me waiting less than an hour for the satin varnish to cure. Perhaps the varnish is more porous at that point?
    I generally give it overnight in a normal temperature room (i.e. not a garage ; ) - that's for cans of varnish anyway. Just means that you know it's dried through properly. I think doing it too quickly could mean that the varnish will soften/react with the spirits.

  14. #14

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    Not that this is aimed towRds any companies well painted box art of monthly minis , but I have an issue of white dwEf that stipulates none ...YES N O N E OF THE GAMES WORKSHOP MINIS are varnished at all as it can SIGNUFICANTLY CHANGE the index of reflection (how sharp a color is portrayed to the eye) in a way that doesn't favor it's aesthetics of viewing! I am mainly a competition /display painter and I DO NOT varnish any of my entries! EVER! It's the chance you take for the best possible outcome of how well preserved you intend your hardwork to be seen. Variations that are smooth due to hours of well placed blending and much time smoothing out your transitions because of very thin brush controlled coats! Spray varnish does the opposite no matter how little you feel your putting on. IMHO even thinned down brushed on varnish washes out the seemless gradation we work so hard dedicating our valuable time to achieve! Just don't do it if displaying your pieces!

  15. #15

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    Some paints varnishing is easy and some have very tough but i have no idea that you have any suggestion to add or remove in Varnish paint?

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