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Getting a smooth surface on metal minis


cthulhudarren
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Nope. Reaper's brush on sealer is semi-matte. (Thin it with water for it to be fully matte when used as a sealer.) Lots of people have been using the brush-on sealer for this purpose for a while now, you're good. I tend to file and deal with mould lines and stuff, then prime. If a surface is only slightly pebbled, priming often takes care of it. If it doesn't, I paint the sealer over the primer. Or if I don't notice a problem until I start painting a section, I use sealer over the base coat, then add another coat of base coat (since the sealer is transparent it can smooth the surface but not appear smooth until you paint another coat of opaque paint over it.) Michael Proctor uses it straight on the metal and then primes, and I'm not aware of his having had any problems with that.

 

I have actually used it for mould lines (and pock marks and similar problems), though only minor ones that I missed in prep. You build up the sealer next to the mould line. It takes multiple coats (ditto to fill in pock marks,), and you have to be careful to smooth the opposite edges. My understanding is that there are painters who use gloss sealer in a similar way, and that being thicker it is better/quicker for these types of uses, but I haven't had a lot of gloss sealer about, so I haven't experimented.

 

Many of us also use Reaper's brush-on sealer as a substitute for matte medium to dilute paint (along with some water) for washes or glazes. It results in a less runny mix and holds pigment in suspension a little better, though I rarely have a problem with pigment falling out of solution with master series paints. I don't know the exact chemistry, but I believe that in large part it is acrylic medium (the non-pigment part of paint), with matting agent added to dull down glossiness. That it works as a 'primer' for Bones also contributes to my belief it's mostly medium.

 

On the other hand, I think Dullcote is something a little different. (The spray, anyway.) Lots of painters use it as a sort of 'save button'. For example, if you finish doing the highlights and shadows on a cloak but you want to do freehand on it, you can spray it with Dullcote. Then if you mess up while painting the freehand, the Dullcote gives you a little time to scrub off the mistake with your brush. (You can often scrub off mistakes in this way anyway, but the Dullcote makes it easier and gives you more time.) That in my experience does interfere with the integrity of the paint. The one time I tried it, some areas of the mini were painted and some were just primer. The paint rubbed off fairly easily on the primer parts once I started to work on them. Similarly, using Dullcote to prime Bones does give you a surface that you can immediately paint on without needing to wash it or anything, but the durability of the paint is very poor compared to any other primer I tested. (Including no primer and just using paint straight on the Bones.)

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I have used the brush-on sealer straight on the metal (after it has been washed with warm soapy water) and have never had an issue. I have also used it after priming when I have missed an area during my prepping.

 

As Wren can attest, I am a very lazy prepper so I use quite a bit of the brush on sealer.

 

It does take a few coats to cover some areas but I have found I get better results than with watered down milliput or any other techniques.

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Dremel Stylus with brass wire brush tip for polishing. 

 

For pockmarks, milliput slurry used to be my favorite. I just hate the process of preparing the slurry. Now I use either Vallejo White Stone Paste, Vallejo Putty 401 or even PVA glue.

 

For shallower pockmarks, I use gloss varnish. One problem I have with this though is I find it really hard to tell if theres an improvement since it's transparent. How do you guys solve this?

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