Gloss varnish 'melting' paints
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Thread: Gloss varnish 'melting' paints

  1. #1

    Default Gloss varnish 'melting' paints

    I'm basically a beginner painter, and while varnishing my mini's I've noticed a few times that it seems to have 'melted' my paint job in places and removed the nice detail I had added. I mostly ignored it thinking I was maybe imagining it, but seeing it happen while varnishing this guy made me stop and want to know what I was doing wrong, since I've spent a long time on him:

    Looking at the fur on his back, you can see that nearer the head, where I did not apply any varnish, the white highlights from dry brushing are still visible, but towards and on the tail, it's just transformed into a mostly flat grey mess.
    I'm using paint-on Vallejo Polyurethane Gloss Varnish with Vallejo Game Color paints.

    Does anyone know what I might be doing wrong?
    I expect it's either I'm applying too much varnish or I'm applying it too forcefully, but I'm scared to experiment now.
    It's also possible that Polyurethane doesn't mix well with acrylic, but I couldn't find anything that says that is the case. Note I also have Vallejo Matt Acrylic Varnish that I'd been using on my other models after applying a coat of the gloss, to stop it from being shiny.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Ghool's Avatar
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    I'll ask, what do you need the gloss coat for?
    Do you want your models to be shiny?

    If it's messing up the paint jobs, then don't use it. Unless of course, you want things to be super-shiny.
    I'd just use the matte varnish and ignore the gloss. It's an unnecessary step you don't really need anyways.

    As for what's going wrong? It appears to be re-activating the paint but I have no idea why it would.
    Are you priming the models?
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  3. #3

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    The gloss coat is because I'd read in various places that the way to get the best protection from varnishing is to apply a layer of gloss, and then a layer of matte. The reasons given were that the matte varnish is generally more brittle, and so the gloss adds a layer of good protection, then adding matte gives the finish that you want and a second layer of maybe not so good protection.

    I had primed the models - I'd used tamiya fine surface primer. I can also say that the paint was definitely dry because it had been at least a couple days between when I finished painting and when I got back to start varnishing.

  4. #4

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    Mayte varnish isn’t brittle, it is more porous than gloss varnish and affords less protection.

    If your varnish is reactivating the paint, it probably means either the paint is not fully dry or it does not have enough medium in it to protect the pigments.

    If you have already let the paint dry at least 24 hours before varnishing, then it probably is the not-enough-medium problem.

    It is possible to protect paint under those circumstances but it requires a really delicate touch, stippling on the varnish lightly or using an airbrush.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Ghool's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phanttas View Post
    The gloss coat is because I'd read in various places that the way to get the best protection from varnishing is to apply a layer of gloss, and then a layer of matte. The reasons given were that the matte varnish is generally more brittle, and so the gloss adds a layer of good protection, then adding matte gives the finish that you want and a second layer of maybe not so good protection.

    I had primed the models - I'd used tamiya fine surface primer. I can also say that the paint was definitely dry because it had been at least a couple days between when I finished painting and when I got back to start varnishing.
    While gloss will afford a little better protection, it really isn't worth the extra step.
    Any varnish is going to protect your models from repeated handling. Unless you eat super-greasy foods while playing or painting, or you have naturally oily hands, most of the time, a single coat of matte will do the job just fine.

    I've been painting and playing with minis for over 30 years, and I have never understood the reasoning nor need behind adding that extra step for 'protection'.
    If your model hits the floor, or you drop it, no matter what kind of varnish you use, it's going to more-than-likely chip.
    I will also say that Vallejo paints are some of the most fragile of all of the brands I have tried, and rubs off quite easily if you even look at it wrong.
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