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Kang

Sealing Metallics

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After reading a very interesting thread on painting metallics, I began to wonder about ways to protect such paint jobs without ruining the metallic effects by either dullcoting the shiny highlights or gloss coating the flatter shade tones.

 

You can check the link above to see the whole discussion if you like, but to sum up, Ollikickflip described a way to paint metallics really nicely, but warned not to use Dullcote on it because it would ruin the effect. Using brush-on gloss sealer instead for the metallic areas was discussed, but it seems to me that instead of dulling out the highlights that are meant to be shiny, you'd just end up shining up the shaded areas that are supposed to be more flat. Maybe that's better, but it doesn't sound ideal. I'm wondering if anyone has a method that gives the best of both worlds, be it compromising by use of a 'satin' finish (ie. somewhere between matte and glossy), perhaps using layering/glazes to do a transition from matte to glossy (if that would even work), or what have you.

 

Maybe I'm overthinking things, but does anyone have any tricks for dealing with this? Ideas that have been tried and proven to actually work are obviously preferred, but feel free to post new and untested ideas too; just let us know that's what they are and maybe someone else will have already tried them and can chime in to let us know whether they would work. Worse comes to worse, maybe I can try some of the untested suggestions then come back to report on their success or failure.

 

A little more background:

NOTE: Do not dull coat your mini after doing a paintjob like this, it will kill the effect you just worked so hard to achieve!
How would you recommend protecting the paint job then, or is this technique really only for pieces that will live out their lives safely tucked away in a display case? KatieG mentioned in another thread I read just this morning that you can Dullcote then go back over the metals with brush-on gloss to avoid killing the shiny metal look. Think that would work with your system? Maybe just re-gloss the highlights & leave the color-glazed shades matte? Aargh, visions of trying to accomplish a smooth transition from matte to gloss sealers like they were colors!
You could also just paint the rest of the model, Dullcote, and then paint the metallics and use a brush-on gloss sealer over them. ::):
(Whew! These nested quotes can get a bit tricky!)

So you wouldn't recommend brushing gloss over Dullcoted metallics then, or am I putting words in your mouth? And would glossing the whole metal area take away from the effect of the shaded parts that were intentionally dulled down with the nonmetallic glazes?

 

Thanks,

 

Kang

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I've always felt that putting gloss on metallics makes them look wet instead of metal-shiny.

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That is exactly why I don't do demi-metallics. I love the look when it's done properly, but I haven't found a good solution. Jeremie Bonamont, a VERY talented French painter, doesn't seal his minis at all.

 

I used Future floor wax a couple of times, and you can adjust the gloss with matte medium. It's tricky, but I suppose if you sat down and experimented you could find a good way to blend matte to gloss.

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In those nested quotes at the bottom is a quote from Anne that is good advice (except the part about gloss varnish, as flynn said it's not so good.) Paint your figure, seal it then do the metallics over in areas you want to shine.

 

I think I've always done it that way, but it just seemed to be the only way to do it I guess, so came naturally. Paint mini, seal mini, touch up metallics.

 

*edit: Come to think of it, even with anything I paint, metallics are always painted after the seal, no matter the scale. I use a special kind of metallic paint for the airbrush called Alclad lacquers...and if you seal it you ruin the effect. There have been many ways people have tried to seal it, and when all is said and done, it's best just to leave it unsealed, in my case I paint those areas after the entire piece is done and sealed.

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Okies, just slapped some metallic paint down and put a light coat of Pro Paint Gloss Sealer over it to see if I was terribly wrong in recommending it! :lol: It *is* slightly more glossy but not terribly so, and the metallic effect still comes through. I think it very much depends on how inherently thick your sealer is, the brand, and whether you thin it. But I do remember using some of...I think it was Micro-Magic or something, or something Testors, got it from a model train store...but it was really thick and shiny enough to make really convincing water effects with! :blink: So yeah, you guys are right, many gloss sealers are probably too glossy, y'all should test it on a small part to see if you like the look first. ::): Next I'm going to try to mix RPP Gloss and MSP Brush-on and see if it causes an explosion, or creates the Ideal Metallics Sealer... :lol:

 

In truth, I don't seal much any more either, unless there is a trouble spot where I foresee rub-off with minimal exposure. That's if we are talking display models, of course; gaming models need sealer. ::):

 

Now ask me about the time I was really dumb and did the steel effects on my boyfriend's 54mm viking using the burnished metal technique, only then realizing that of course I would have to veeeery carefully brush-on prime alllllllll the non-metallic parts, and then brush-on seal over that once it was painted, because I didn't think of just masking off the steel parts and doing them last...could have cut some time off of that model, yes indeedy!

 

--Anne ::):

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I think the question is not so much how to do it, but what to use. As Flynn points out, anything I have that's shiny is so shiny it looks wet. Perhaps a sem-gloss could be found that gives the right sheen.

 

I would be VERY surprised to find it couldn't be brushed over whatever dull coat was used to seal the mini.

 

The pros don't seal their display models, but then, they are pros, and their models are usually not man-handled.

 

Just understand that you don't *have* to gloss up metallics - I think mine look fine with the same dullcoat applied to the whole model, but it's a matter or personal preference.

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If you think about the paint itself, in the case of metallics, it's basically little flakes of metal that reflect light back to the eye in a manner that gives off that "shiny" appearance.

 

If I was to think of a way to come up with some kind of sealer that preserved that effect I would probably see if there was a way to mix up the raw metallic flake into a clear sealant base.

 

So for instance, you would end up with a product that would...seal with a protective finish, maybe satin or flat so as to not be overpowering with glossiness, but had the added effect of having neutral metallic flake in the paint so as to not kill the metallic effect over the parts you were sealing.

 

Would have to be a brush on only as you wouldn't want to spray that over the whole mini ofc.

 

Probably could mix your own by taking a neutral metallic flake and blending it in with brushable Testor's Dulcote, then applying over your metallics to protect them. I use brushable Dulcote all-the-time, it's a great thing. Don't have access to any raw metallic flake (nor do I have the foggiest where to get any) or I would test it out meself.

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If I was to think of a way to come up with some kind of sealer that preserved that effect I would probably see if there was a way to mix up the raw metallic flake into a clear sealant base.

 

It actually already exists. There are several "metallic" bases available which effectively use a mica flake as opposed to a metal flake in order to mix with various colors to come up with odd metallic colors. The mica has properties which refract light similar to metal flakes, however they are transparent enough to allow the color pigment to tint the light reflected back at the viewer....however I wouldn't recommend going that route myself. The paints are not normally designed for use with miniatures so the flakes can be a bit on the large size. Over time, you end up with another problem...the flakes get to be too small. Each time you shake the bottle, especially when an agitator is used, the flakes are pulverized a little more. After a few years of use I have bottles of metallic base which look a lot like my bottles of flat sealer.

 

Normally I will paint and seal the whole miniature as normal (2 or 3 gloss coats, followed by one matte coat) and then come back with a fourth coat for the metallic areas. Depending on what effect I am looking for, I will use a satin, semi-gloss or gloss sealer to handle this. Some metallic paints have a higher sheen than others - and I try to choose a sealer that will maintain this look. The key to it all looking right is to make sure that you use very light coats all the way across. The thicker your coats of sealer, the more likely you are to get a look which is more wet and less metal.

 

Now ask me about the time I was really dumb and did the steel effects on my boyfriend's 54mm viking using the burnished metal technique, only then realizing that of course I would have to veeeery carefully brush-on prime alllllllll the non-metallic parts, and then brush-on seal over that once it was painted, because I didn't think of just masking off the steel parts and doing them last...could have cut some time off of that model, yes indeedy!

 

That is what liquid masking is for. Then you can go ahead and spray prime without worrying about the metallic parts. Most of the masking compounds are low tack enough that you can use over very delicate finishes without worrying about pulling the finish off when you remove the mask at the end.

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This is a very good thread that I think all can benifit from. For me, on display models, no dull coat is or will be added in the near future. The reason for that is due to the inconsistancy of the dull coat itself. For example I recently saw my friend John paint one of those huge forge world tyranid monstrosities. He spent a couple days doing a 3 or 4 shade highlight to all the armor plates only to have it almost entirely dissapear! Needless to say he was pretty demoralized after that. Imagine finishing the best piece you have ever done...your all ready for the paint contest at Reper Con and you spray the sealer and POOF hours of work and highlights vanish before your eyes. I'm not saying you can't seal your display models. You can...hell I did for years. Its just not a good idea if you have a bunch of subtle color shifts and to be honest, when you look at the top models on cmon, they are on top because of subtle color shifts. The models look very natural because they are painted that way. The dull coat takes away most of that and leaves you with a far less impressive model. When Jeremie Bonamant was here last year for painting lessons, one person asked what type of sealer he and other European painters used and you should have seen how big his eyes got. Sebastian Archer got the same reaction from the Spanish team painters when he was at GDUK. They dont use any sealers because it destroys their work. Now the catch here is those guys have perfect blends, and when I say perfect, I mean perfect. Now you are probably saying to yourself, I don't have perfect blends thus I need the crutch of a sealer to help smooth things out. I'm telling you, YOU CAN HAVE PERFECT BLENDS! It is possible, and its not that hard!!!!!! Look at GDSpain that just took place, there were sooooo many outstanding models. That can happen here in America too. The key is, we all need to talk, we all need to share, we all need to help each other get better and better and better. Personally I have found that the more I share with people at paint night or conventions, the better I become as well. Many people believe that if you "figure IT out" don't tell anyone so that you can win all the contests...all the prizes... I say screw that! Get better, tell a friend...paint something beautiful and share it with everyone!!!! All those people unwilling to share for fear that someone else will steal their glory will be left in your dust as you fly past them! Sorry, I just went off on a tangent there!

Back to metallics and sealers. If you must use a sealer, here is something that may help a bit to restore that shine. Paint your basecoat, shadows and highlights like you normally would. Dull coat the model and then when dry, come back with a very very thinned out glaze of your highlight metallic. You are going to want to thin it to the point that there is basically just metal flakes floating around in the water. Paint this on your highlight areas. you may have to apply two or three layers to get it shiney enough but it will get there. Now your model is protected and you have shiney surfaces in your highlight areas! Of course don't come crying to me when you dull coat and lose all of your hard earned detail ::P:

 

Now all that being said, when I am painting an army such as my Iron Warriors 4th company, I did my metalics (basically they are all silver and gold) and then just washed them with a few different colors of Wonder Wash [i think it was brown, black and purple] (great stuff by the way). The last step was a nice fat coat of dull coat! For armies, I actually prefer my metals dulled out not to mention the dull coat helps to deaden some of the harsh effects of the washes. Anyways, thats my 17 dollars worth of info on the subject. If any of you are coming to Reaper Con, I would be happy to sit down with you and go over different techniques for metallic painting. Honestly I think it is the next big frontier in miniature painting. I think you will start to see some of the "trick" nnm techinques done with true metalics...and that will be fun!

 

... and as meg maples used to say "aaron, you think to much!"

 

I'm out!

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:unsure: I don't think you think too much... I just think that May and ReaperCon are too far away... Plus there's the whole opposite sides of the country thing keeping me from attending your paint night.

 

Does this mean no chance at all of a tutorial or perhaps WiP here on metallics? I can beg y'know...

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Ollie great post. I will say many of my display pieces are game pieces. If I want display pieces only then I guess I should only paint 54 and 72 mm figs. :upside:

 

On to the discussion at hand: When I am sealing metalics I tend to paint on gloss metalic areas first, matte varnish other areas second, dust with dull cote third, and then hit metalic areas with thinned down paint on gloss. The last step is the key: thinned down gloss. (I also use Liquetex additives and varnishes for almost everything.) Experience has taught me that multiple thin layers of paint on varnishes produce better effects. With metallics controlling how "glossy" things get is the key between the wet look and the sheen of metal.

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Also remember that multiple layers of brush on matte sealer will become shiny. You can always hit the highlight areas of your metallics with multiple layers and see if you get the effect that you want. Just remember the more sealer you put on, the more you obscure!

 

Now, for display pieces being gaming pieces, I have some of those as well and they are dull coated however, they are models that don't have a lot of "shiny" areas so it works. For example, here is my Iron Warriors Vindicator. The fact that there is so much rust and weathering makes it ok that the metal is not shiny and the dull coat protects all that hard work from the rigors of gaming...and believe me, this one is fun to game with!

000_1822.jpg

000_1821.jpg

 

As for a tutorial on metallics, I am currently finishing up the Reaper Con sophie for anne and then I will do the metallics tutorial. Just remember in your head, its not as hard as you think it is and it doesn't take nearly as long as you think it should. Once you learn the basics to blending properly, the rest is putting the right colors in the right spots! So I guess the tutorial will go over blending and metallics which will be cool!

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I went ahead and did a few product tests last night. There are a variety of metallic sealers on the market from companies like Gunze, Tamiya, Testors and others which are designed to deal with the delicate nature of metallic paints but not cause changes in sheen. I tested ModelMaster's Non-Buffing Metallizer Sealer on a couple different metallic paints (two from Reaper, one from GW, one from Privateer and one from Iron Winds). They all carried about the same properties before and after (there was a slight increase of sheen on some - but this looks as though it was more because the surface was leveled out as opposed to normal gloss coating). It helped the durability some - though not a whole heck of a lot. I was still able to get metal flake on my finger tips when I gave it a hard squeeze and pull.

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