Does gloss varnish actually protect minis better than matt varnish?
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Thread: Does gloss varnish actually protect minis better than matt varnish?

  1. #1

    Default Does gloss varnish actually protect minis better than matt varnish?

    Iv been hearing a few people saying that the notion that gloss varnish protects better than matt isn't actually true and that the quality of protection they provide is equal.
    Is this true or is it nonsense?

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by m0nolith View Post
    Iv been hearing a few people saying that the notion that gloss varnish protects better than matt isn't actually true and that the quality of protection they provide is equal.
    Is this true or is it nonsense?
    Matte medium seems to dry more porous than gloss medium. If you are using matte paints or medium, they may be a little fragile.

    However, there seems to be little to no difference in protection between matte and gloss varnishes.

    https://www.goldenpaints.com/technicalinfo_msavar

    Best practice seems to be a thin gloss coat (of medium) over the paint as an isolation coat and sealer, then varnish with whatever level of gloss you prefer.

    (That way the varnish will evenly cover the paint without soaking in to especially porous areas and changing the paint’s appearance. Also, if there is an isolation coat if the varnish is removed later any fragile thin layers of paint won’t come off with it. If you are not too worried about that, it looks like straight matte varnish protects just as well as gloss varnish.)

  3. #3

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    I don't see any increase in protective attributes, but it adds a non desirable look to my models.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Ghool's Avatar
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    I've never found it makes much of a difference. Maybe in 20 years, after repeatedly handling a model, it might wear slightly faster with a matte.
    But, for the next decade or so, the difference in finish will make little difference in durability.

    The only time I use gloss varnish is on select areas which I want to be shiny.
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  5. #5

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    I've been painting minis for three decades now and I haven't noticed any difference in wear between the minis I have now and the few I still have from years ago. Old minis were protected with gloss varnish and later ones with matte. Admittedly I have never gamed with them but they have seen a few house moves which is brutal. About half were given a gloss coat before applying decals and then finally coated with matte as well and they all seem to be impervious to general handling. I much prefer matte varnish but the only drawback is the porous nature Pigmalion describes. In this case they can be susceptible to oil marks from fingers unless you have recently washed your hands.

  6. #6

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    pfft. you are all crazy - you can taste the difference when you lick your brush. matte tastes waaaaaaaaaaay better
    "Remember, you can't spell paint without a little pain."

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    Senior Member Ghool's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zab View Post
    pfft. you are all crazy - you can taste the difference when you lick your brush. matte tastes waaaaaaaaaaay better
    Well yeah. But I prefer the tangy ambiance of a satin finish myself.
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  8. #8

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    Very droll.

    PSA: Acrylic paints and mediums contain formaldehyde, ammonia, and chemicals such as surfactants and anti-foaming agents, and that’s not even getting into the complex organic compounds that are modern pigments.

    Do not let acrylic paint, varnishes, or mediums near your mouth.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Ghool's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pygmalion View Post
    Very droll.

    PSA: Acrylic paints and mediums contain formaldehyde, ammonia, and chemicals such as surfactants and anti-foaming agents, and that’s not even getting into the complex organic compounds that are modern pigments.

    Do not let acrylic paint, varnishes, or mediums near your mouth.
    All those chemicals are found in our food (especially bread), vaccines and a lot more.
    As long as you're careful you should be fine.
    I have been a two brush blender for over a decade and have not experienced any problems from brush licking.

    Obviously don't eat paint or varnish.

    I guess I should have ended my previous comment with /sarcasm?
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  10. #10

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    I have been gaming for about 40 years, and painting for a lot of that time. My minis all "work for a living" on the gaming table, and get handled and knocked around quite a bit. A long while back after having rubbing & chipping damage to minis, I found the advice to varnish gloss for better protection, and then varnish matte to knock off the shine. It might be superstition, but I have been doing it that way for a couple of decades and I have never yet had a miniature so treated chip, flake, scuff, or rub off paint, even when dropped on the floor. It might be that two passes of matte would do the same thing, but this has worked for me for a long time and I don't see any real downside to the appearance of my minis doing this (though granted, I am not entering them in competition).

  11. #11

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    Not a chemical expert here, I have read somewhere that the agents used to make paints/varnish matt are the responsible for making them somewhat more brittle, less flexible and more porous, this agents are also responsible for making the matt varnish cloudy if it's not well mixed. But this was long ago and maybe things on the industry have evolved enough to skip this.

    In any case I am one of those who do gloss varnish then matt varnish (gaming pieces), and I only had some chipping on a couple of metal bloddbowl team. (it's a game were you constantly handle figure over the course of the game, turning them over and flipping them upside down)

    Here is an article (not written by a brand of paints) that dismantles what it seems to be the myth of varnishes: http://iwillnevergrowup.com/2014/03/...yth-explained/

    Also if it helps you to decide on what to do.. here is another forum's thread with quite interesting info on the issue: https://forum.corvusbelli.com/threads/varnishing.1454/

    I have also found this on the Golden Artist Colors Site:
    VARNISH TROUBLE-SHOOTING

    If milkiness or opacity occurs in varnish layer, then

    • if using a satin or matte varnish, and this only occurs over dark colors, this may simply be the nature of such a reduced sheen varnish (caused by the presence of the matting agent). There is no way of applying a satin/matte finish to a dark color without lightening it (the more matte the finish, the more potential for lightening dark areas). To restore the depth of the dark colors, apply a higher gloss to restore some of the sheen.
    • if this is uniform across much of area, regardless of the darkness of the underlying colors, it may be caused by moisture entrapment. High humidity or a damp surface under the varnish layer often causes loss of clarity. Using a warm, forced air source to blow across the surface should help the moisture evaporate, restoring clarity.
    • if varnish is not properly thinned, or is shaken or stirred excessively, air bubbles may become trapped within the dry film, causing a loss of clarity. The varnish must be removed.
    • if a "frosted" area appears, a satin or matte varnish may have been applied over an absorbent surface (this is common for spray applications). The varnish must be removed, the surface sealed to reduce absorbency (apply gloss varnish), followed by application of a reduced sheen varnish.

    If reflectance is not uniform, then

    • if surface has varying absorbency, this may result in uneven gloss. Ideally, such a surface would first have isolation coat applied to provide a more uniform surface. However if varnish has already been applied, the surface must be sealed by applying 1 or more additional coats of gloss varnish, followed by the desired sheen varnish.
    • improper mix of varnish. The varnish/solvent mixture was not thoroughly mixed. If different sheens were blended together (gloss with matte), they may not have been thoroughly mixed. If the diluted varnish is used over a long period of time without restirring, it may be separating (matting agents settling). To achieve a uniform finish, start with a fresh mixture of varnish/solvent (thoroughly stirred) and apply another coat (may also consider removing the existing varnish layers).

    If brush strokes remain, then

    • the varnish may not have been thinned sufficiently to level during application.
    • the solvent was not compatible with the varnish.
    • if the surface was absorbent, it may have caused the varnish to dry too quickly, and not allow it to level.

    When spraying, if the surface is very pebbly or textured, then

    • the varnish may have dried before reaching the surface. This could be caused by insufficient thinning (add more solvent), an extremely dry environment (add humidity, reduce heat, limit air flow) or by excessive air flow (reduce air pressure).

    If the varnish is sinking in and not developing sufficient gloss, then

    • the surface is too absorbent. Apply additional coats of isolating layers (only if no varnish is yet applied) or gloss varnish. Excessive dilution of varnish may also result in this problem.

    If the varnished surface is too glossy, then

    • apply a satin or matte finish of the same kind of varnish already applied.

    If the varnished surface is too matte, then

    • apply a gloss or satin finish of the same kind of varnish already applied.
    Last edited by Maenas; 04-10-2018 at 11:45 AM. Reason: Adding the Golden artists part.
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  12. #12

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    Yes, matte may taste waaaay better and satin tangier, but gloss slides down the back of the throats like a teflon oyster.

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