Caleb

Using Hairspay to Seal? What Madness is This?

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Hey!
 

So I did a video awhile back discussing the issues with using very cheap minis in terms of not being able to prime them properly.  (My point being that it's sometimes better to just spend a bit more money to get miniatures that were made to be painted than to waste time with cheap miniatures that will never be able to handled without the paint flaking)

 

I got a batch of those Tim Mee skeletons where I used EVERYTHING to try to paint them.  Literally everything I ever heard of excluding car primer and minwax.  I assumed they must have had mold release in the actual plastic because nothing worked.

 

So that being youtube I got several haughty responses suggesting different methods.  One VERY passive aggressive response suggested a heavy dose of Krylon or Hair Spray for Sealing the minis.

 

That literally seems like the dumbest idea that I had to come here and ask if anyone has actually heard of anyone doing that?  A quick google search resulted in some uses for texturing with hair spray.  But SEALING?

 

Is there any merit to this at all?  Sometimes the internet throws stuff at me that I have never heard of.

 

Video in question.

 

 

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There is so far as I know little merit to the idea.

 

When I was a student in art school back in the paleolithic there were a million ideas floating around for ways to save money.

 

We did a lot of charcoal, pastel, and soft pencil drawings that needed spray fixatives (think Krylon).

 

Some bright soul had already had the idea of using hairspray instead of the good art stuff 'cos it was so much cheaper.

 

Said it had turned their artwork yellow-brown after a little while.

 

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Yeah--don't do that.  Clear sealer is like $4 a can.  How much cheaper can hairspray be?  It also has the catastrophic downside of being water soluble.  Might be useful to mix in with some wet paint and see what happens, try some crinkle effects.  You can do rust effects with it....  But don't use it as a sealer, please.

 

Next question!

(*_^)

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Posted (edited)

Railroad modelers use hairspray to affix and "seal" flock to tree armatures. It kinda works. Not suitable for sealing miniatures.

 

Cheap Army men type toys are generally made of polyethylene, which is very resistant to most hydrocarbons. It can be stained, but most paints and glues will not stick. Nor will hairspay.

Edited by DocPiske
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The Tim Mee figures are likely made of Delrin or some similar acetal plastic, which are notably difficult to paint or glue.  Acetal plastics have to be etched make a rough or satin surface that allows a mechanical glue bond.  I assume the same is true for painting them.  

 

I'm betting that they can be dyed, however; for instance, by coloring them with a Sharpie permanent marker and leaving them for several days before washing them off.

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Really? Someone makes miniatures out of poly formaldehyde?  That stuff is designed to not react with much of anything.  Why would anyone make minis out of it?

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11 minutes ago, DocPiske said:

Really? Someone makes miniatures out of poly formaldehyde?  That stuff is designed to not react with much of anything.  Why would anyone make minis out of it?

 

It looks like they're intended for use as toys for young kids, so repelling whatever repellent stuff might be transferred from the hands (or elsewhere) of the kids might well be seen as an advantage.

 

Not so much for painting, though.

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Posted (edited)

I may be wrong about the polyoxymethylene -- my experience with it comes from its use in model trains where, for at least a while, it was used for things like locomotive handrails or boxcar stirrup steps, which would have been much more rigid and fragile if they had been made from styrene -- and which were cursed for being completely unpaintable.

 

Looking at the common usages, it appears that high-density polyethylene (HDPE) is the most likely type of plastic used for toy soldiers (and knights and monsters).  HDPE is just as difficult to paint or glue without etching.

 

One site I found suggested brushing a thin layer liquid latex (mold making material) on toy soldiers.  This is just a variation on the old "encase the whole thing in something flexible and paintable" approach, and probably works better than hairspray, though still terrible under handling.

 

I have exactly one painted toy knight made from flexible "army man" plastic, and which hasn't peeled yet.  It may be because it was a PVC figure (I don't know what material, really), or it may be because I primed it in gray Liquitex gesso.  It has survived where others have peeled.

Edited by Grumpy Cave Bear

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Posted (edited)

Wow thanks for all the great responses!

 

It was just such a weird suggestion I briefly wondering if there could be anything to it.

 

I doubt hairspray would be useful in anything I would want to do.

 

And certainly I wouldn't recommend those God forsaken  Tim Mee skeletons to anyone.

 

They are most certainly made out of something that won't take paint and I don't feel like sandpapering them.

 

I think a lot of the people who have said they painted them didn't actually try to handle them for use in D&D or simply omitted the fact that the paint easily flaked off them.

 

I am really happy that there are forums like there where you can get actual informed answers to questions like this rather than people telling you that stuff that you already tried (and know doesn't work) "works fine".

Edited by Caleb
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10 minutes ago, Caleb said:

Wow thanks for all the great responses!

 

It was just such a weird suggestion I briefly wondering if there could be anything to it.

 

I doubt hairspray would be useful in anything I would want to do.

 

And certainly I wouldn't recommend those God forsaken  Tim Mee skeletons to anyone.

 

They are most certainly made out of something that won't take paint and I don't feel like sandpapering them.

 

I think a lot of the people who have said they painted them didn't actually try to handle them for use in D&D or simply omitted the fact that the paint easily flaked off them.

 

I am really happy that there are forums like there where you can get actual informed answers to questions like this rather than people telling you that stuff that you already tried (and know doesn't work) "works fine".

 

We have a bunch of mad experimentalists around here.

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You mentioned trying Krylon primer and it didn't work, but it might be worth trying out "Krylon Camouflage with Fusion for Plastic" to prime these. The Fusion for Plastic paints bond insanely well to plastics. I've been using it for most of my plastic minis lately and it works beautifully. Actually, I only bothered trying it because I read that it sprays very well in higher humidity than other paints (the humidity is almost always high in my area). It's designed for hunters to use on their gear, and survive rough handling in outdoor environments, so it's intensely resilient. It sprays on thin and dries to touch in under 15 minutes. It also works on metal. 

 

My only issue is that my favorite colors are often sold out in the local shops. There's always plenty "Rustoleum Camouflage 2x" (also bonds to plastic) but it's reported to be inferior. I did buy a few cans of the Rustoleum but I won't bother trying them out until I run out of the Krylon. It's much pricier online than the shops. 

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4 minutes ago, CorallineAlgae said:

"Krylon Camouflage with Fusion for Plastic"

 

3rd thing I tried.  2 different spray conditions.  Did not work.  First attempt seemed to work fine and I painted.  Paint flaked off by merely picking up the minis.  2nd attempt in letting it dry for several days it just flaked off with a handling test.  Other spray primers included Testors Dull Cote, Krylon Primer, Army Painter Primer and glossy outdoor furniture primer from the hardware store.

 

I honestly think anyone who says they painted these specific skeletons without the paint flaking off are simply lying or barely touched them after painting them.  Or they might have gotten skeletons from the same mold made from different materials.

 

Legit I tried every cleaning method, and regular priming method I had access to.

 

Maybe PVA or Modpodge, or car primer might work.  Maybe sanding them down and using midwax would work.  But honestly it's just not worth anymore time or effort for me anymore.

 

Frankly I could sculpt giant skeletons from green stuff and it would take less time than trying to paint these damnable toys.

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I've used Liquitex gesso (which Pingo will rightly point out isn't a true gesso) on assorted plastics - army men, juice lids, etc.  It's fairly durable when painted and sealed, but the gesso needs to cure for at least 24 hours with no fudging, fooling around or exceptions granted for good behavior.  It's best to use a sponge brush because the gesso will destroy bristles with zealous glee.  Also, nothing's player-proof.  I swear I'd sometimes be better off at a table of baboons - the monkeys can at least go 15 minutes without spilling a soda.

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32 minutes ago, Caleb said:

3rd thing I tried.  2 different spray conditions.  Did not work. 

 

Holy cow. I want a shirt and apron made from that stuff!  

I see why you gave up. It certainly wasn't from lack of trying. Major kudos for all your effort. 

This makes me even happier that I added the Bones 3 Undying Lords to my pledge. Lots of low cost, easy to paint skeleton minis.

 

About the hairspray, years ago my art teachers told the class to all buy a can of hairspray to fix charcoal and soft pastel drawings. It was just for class assignments but it worked perfectly fine for that task. I still have a couple of them from around 24 years ago and they look better preserved than many of my old unsprayed pencil sketches. I've never heard of using it to clear coat a mini though.

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5 hours ago, Pingo said:

 

We have a bunch of mad experimentalists around here.

I was inspired to try the hair spray.

 

Couldn't find any, so I used hair mousse.

 

Paint didn't stick, but my skeleton minis did get some fabulous perms! :lol:

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