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Working with Rolf the Bones Werewolf - Sharing Some Lessons Learned & Seeking Advice


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I've been having an interesting time learning how to work with Bones. Fortunately, there is plenty of information available online. Unfortunately, sorting out that information is little tricky. Different people report different results when using the same materials and methods. So I decided to do a little experimentation before tackling that big pile of miniatures that showed up at my door early this month.

 

My first attempt was awhile back and used a Reaper Bones Werewolf that I brought for that purpose (this was months before my Kickstarter package showed up). I applied the paint directly to the surface as a base coat. The paint failed to bond with the miniature, producing patchy areas. The paint started coming off with a little rubbing with my finger. My thumbnail scraped the paint right off. A completed paint job would not have survived normal storage and handling, much less time on the tabletop. At the time, I suspected that I didn't do a good enough job cleaning it before painting.

 

I documented the second try on my blog, but here is the short version. The remains of the first attempt was removed with Simple Green. The miniature then got a through washing with dish soap. No primer. Two layers of paint failed to provide good coverage, although it was better than the first attempt. A day later, I noticed some familiar looking patches. Again, the paint came off easily. Again, the paint job would not have survived normal use.

 

For my third stab at it, I decided to experiment with a spray primer or paint for the base coat. Details of the third attmept are on my blog, but the upshot is that the spray paint I used resulted in a sticky surface (Brown Krylon Camouflage Paint with Fusion). 3 - 4 weeks later and the surface is still tacky, but not as bad as it was before. The surface is also shiny.

 

I also named the Werewolf "Rolf" around this time. We've been through so much together, I figured it needed a name. :)

 

Here are my questions:

  1. Should I continue to wait on the Krylon paint or does "Rolf" need another Simple Green bath?
  2. Does the color of the paint matter? Should I try another color of Krylon or give up on using that brand for Bones?
  3. What other spray paints or primers work on Bones? I've seen some good reports on Army Painter, can anybody confirm them?

Thanks for reading!

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A lot of people have reported having issues with Krylon. Not sure if another brand of spray paint would work better, though people have had success with gesso. I've had no issues with paint adherence on bare Bones. A soap and water wash, a thorough drying, and making sure to use undiluted paint has been my recipe for success.

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Army Painter or another ACRYLIC based primer will do the trick. Enamel doesn't mix well with Bonesium.

 

I've painted directly onto bones and had no paint come off and other times it rubs right off. I believe this has everything to do with the raw plastic mixture as its being used in the factory as a higher concentration of one material or another will create different chemical reactions/results when paint is applied.

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What type of paint are you using?

 

Reaper brush on primer has been reported as working well on bones.

 

Wren's topic "Bones: The First Coat is the Difference" has the following info:

 

 

Recommended aerosol spray primers and paints:

Army Painter white and coloured primers

Krylon Dual Paint + Primer

Duplicolor Sandable – slight tackiness possible

Rust-oleam Painter’s Touch Ultra Cover 2x – slight tackiness possible

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I've had paint rub off when using non-Reaper paints - specifically, Vallejo Model Color Green. I suspected at the time that I hadn't cleaned the figure properly. But I've also had issues with coverage with paint - I have had to put on 2 coats of base on some figures.

 

The werewolf figure in specific I haven't tried yet, but it seems to be a typical Bones figure - not soft and flexible like some of the Kickstarters. You mention that you're using craft paint and that might help explain things: did you use craft paint on the first attempt as well?

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To answer one question, I would give poor Rolf another simple green bath. If a primer hasn't dried completely in almost a month then its likely to remain tacky forever. I haven't tried Army Painter primer on bones yet personally but I plan doing so in the fall when the humidity level will allow it. I have some skeleton bone color that I plan to spray on the skellies. I'll report on the results when I'm done.

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I have found that a quick shot of matte sealer will cure tacky primer, and will take further paint well. In fact, you can use the matte sealer as a "primer" of sorts, spraying it directly on the Bones and painting over it. Testors Dull Coat is usually available at WalMart as well as craft stores.

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I've had variable success with Bones. My first Bones mini was the Purple Worm, which took the paint wonderfully and has adhered tenaciously. Others, however, have been recalcitrant and I can't get the paint to adhere regardless of how well washed (scrubbed thoroughly with a toothbrush in soapy water) they are. I've also tried brush on primer with little success - the paint still rubs off with the slightest touch (all RMS paint). I haven't figured out yet why some figures will take the paint and others won't.

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My first worm went nicely until I tried to seal it. I used a polyurithane spray and now its doing the tacky thing. I'll probalby hit it with Dullcoat at some point to fix it.

 

On the other hand I used two different colors of primer, Army Painter black and bone, on my Undead Horde and had ZERO issues with paint. I finished them off with Testers Dullcoat and they are ready for table use, even by a pack of rabid 9-year-olds!

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I'm really have a strong sweating problem in the moment.

 

Not because of the warm weather, because I wanted to check if I can rub of my paint from the bones.

 

I rubbed the nova miniatures and the blue jeans of my chainsaw zombie hunter. No paint was coming of.

 

Phew! Because I didn't want to repaint anything! But the result is, I'm completely wet, now...

 

I do not know if the blue was a reaper color, but the Nova are painted with the colors I got from the Reaper KS.

 

About the patchy areas:

 

Bones hate water!

 

Especially with the Reaper Paints I used.

If you cleaned your brush with water. Use a cloth or something else to dry it!

But I think a 2nd coat of colors is most of the time necessary and a varnish at the end should help to protect the bones.

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I've had paint rub off when using non-Reaper paints - specifically, Vallejo Model Color Green.

In my relatively limited experience, Vallejo paints have pretty terrible adhesion. It may be due to the fact that they (the Model line) are formulated for models which aren't typically handled after painting, but it's been an issue I've read about many times now, and experienced myself more than once.

 

As to Bones and primers - I've painted... about 12 Bones now (if you include multiples as separate - skeletons, kobolds, etc.). with all but the first 2, which got a coat of Bob Ross acrylic gesso, and are fine, I have simply washed them with a toothbrush and dishsoap, left them to dry, and basecoated them with unthinned paint. Sometimes it's P3, sometimes it's RMS, or AP, but I haven't had problems with paint adhering or with anything becoming tacky after the fact. If you MUST prime your minis, it appears that gesso works quite well, though I would no longer suggest that any sort of primer beyond standard paint is necessary.

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Thanks to everybody for the responses! Now to respond to some specific points:

 

Army Painter or another ACRYLIC based primer will do the trick. Enamel doesn't mix well with Bonesium.

 

I've painted directly onto bones and had no paint come off and other times it rubs right off. I believe this has everything to do with the raw plastic mixture as its being used in the factory as a higher concentration of one material or another will create different chemical reactions/results when paint is applied.

 

Your theory fits what I've read: not every Bones miniature reacts the same to a given method.

 

I've had paint rub off when using non-Reaper paints - specifically, Vallejo Model Color Green. I suspected at the time that I hadn't cleaned the figure properly. But I've also had issues with coverage with paint - I have had to put on 2 coats of base on some figures.

 

The werewolf figure in specific I haven't tried yet, but it seems to be a typical Bones figure - not soft and flexible like some of the Kickstarters. You mention that you're using craft paint and that might help explain things: did you use craft paint on the first attempt as well?

 

My first attempt was with either Citadel or Model Color, I don't recall which. I'm inclined to believe it was Model Color, given that it is a Vallejo paint.

 

The switch to craft paint was an experiment - I just wanted to see what happened.

 

To answer one question, I would give poor Rolf another simple green bath. If a primer hasn't dried completely in almost a month then its likely to remain tacky forever. I haven't tried Army Painter primer on bones yet personally but I plan doing so in the fall when the humidity level will allow it. I have some skeleton bone color that I plan to spray on the skellies. I'll report on the results when I'm done.

 

I had to turn Rolf away from the screen - you know how some dogs feel about baths.

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I started painting my Wolfie the other day and had no problems:

werewolf3.jpg

I only gave him a scrub with water and soap before I started painting, no primer or anything.

I started with a layer of slightly thinned paints, it didn't go on well and it was patchy but when it dried I put another slightly thicker layer over the top and the the paint started adhering nicely. I think this base coat was done with 3 or 4 layers? I took special care to make sure each layer was dry before adding more so I wasn't just pulling off the paint I'd just put on.
I haven't had any problems handling him and paint coming off.

Not sure if my experience is unusual but I certainly didn't give him any special treatment.

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I've had paint rub off when using non-Reaper paints - specifically, Vallejo Model Color Green. I suspected at the time that I hadn't cleaned the figure properly. But I've also had issues with coverage with paint - I have had to put on 2 coats of base on some figures.

 

I was not able to test non-Reaper paints extensively during my Bones experiments, but I did do test swatches of every brand I had at hand, and the Vallejo Model Color was the only one that displayed notable rub-off. It is, as mentioned, known as a more fragile paint and was formulated for display only figures.

 

A couple of other possibilities for the original werewolf problem. Do you mount the mini on any type of handle when you paint? If not, and you're handling the figure directly, you may be getting oils from your skin on the figure that affect the paint adhesion. Also while acrylic paint is dry to the touch within moments, it continues to cure for a day or more after painting, so it's more likely to have paint rub off during or just after painting, and a handle helps prevent that.

 

People's results with spray products seem to vary (definitely affected by climate climate, probably influenced by technique, and possibly by different plastic mixes), so my recommendation would be to try Reaper's brush-on primer or Folk Art Glass & Tile Medium on this problem figure and see if that works a little better. Or try painting him under a full moon. ;->

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A couple of other possibilities for the original werewolf problem. Do you mount the mini on any type of handle when you paint? If not, and you're handling the figure directly, you may be getting oils from your skin on the figure that affect the paint adhesion. Also while acrylic paint is dry to the touch within moments, it continues to cure for a day or more after painting, so it's more likely to have paint rub off during or just after painting, and a handle helps prevent that.

 

People's results with spray products seem to vary (definitely affected by climate climate, probably influenced by technique, and possibly by different plastic mixes), so my recommendation would be to try Reaper's brush-on primer or Folk Art Glass & Tile Medium on this problem figure and see if that works a little better. Or try painting him under a full moon. ;->

 

 

I did use a handle during the second attempt, not sure about the first. More to the point, I did not encounter the issue during or immediately after painting. I encountered it after giving the paint a day to cure. The paint did not flake off as much as it "pulled" or "peeled" off. I've seen something close to it before, when I clean dried paint off the dish I use as a palate. Some paints flake off the palate, others peel off the glazed ceramic surface intact.

 

What I suspect is that the paint did cure, but that it did not adhere to the surface.

 

I've actually been toying with the idea of switching to brush-on primer for a little while. Having to check the humidity every time I get to that point on a project gets old quick.

 

Finally, Rolf is already a werewolf, so what happens during a full moon? Does Rolf become a double-Werewolf then? :)

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