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MrNutt

Can separated metallic paint be saved?

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My local gaming store here has a bunch of reaper paints and minis in stock (surprised me because the Reaper website doesn't have them listed, though maybe they are no longer receiving new stock?). The paints look pretty old though. There are a few metallics I am interested in but they seem to have completely separated into a plug of pigment in a yellow fluid. Will these be salvageable? I've seen previous discussions about rescuing old paint but it seems like metallics are in some way different to normal paint.

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Did you try shaking them?  Metallic paints are really just shiny particles suspended in acrylic medium.  I mean, the store shouldn't be selling paint that is actually ruined, although they obviously haven't been checking their paints that often...

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I have some rather old metallics from Reaper (MSP line in a dropper bottle) that are still good.  But I check them at least once or twice a year to make sure they still shake.  You should be able to hear a small agitator moving inside the bottle if they're still good, although sometimes that can get stuck (or sometimes even left out of the bottle).  Sometimes a hard knock against your palm or a tabletop can get it loose.

 

If a paint gets too old, it may require stirring to get things moving.  I've had other brands of paint that were left unattended too long and became plugs of goo/plastic under a clear/yellowish medium.  Sometimes they can be recovered with stirring, but not always.  If they're Reaper ProPaints (actually two lines here, an older one and a new one, both in paint pots), that's a discontinued line, so more likely to have caked up.

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In my Pro Paints (shoo Buglips, mine!), I had some that were Just Fine when I added water and stirred and some that needed more help. The Silks and Satins and primers have suffered more from aging.

 

The primers, I find (especially white), turn into solid rock. Totally unsaveable.

 

If what you're looking at are MSPs, then talk to the store manager and see if they'll let you verify the paints are good before purchase or if they have a return policy. Or haggle for a discount.

 

YMMV

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Only way to tell if they are still good is to shake the dickens outta them and then test a bit, like LB said.

And throw in some vigorous stirring too.  Then again, if it takes more than a few minutes, it may just be worth buying new ones--if you're getting a sweet deal now...

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My experience has been that metallics or stuff like the silks and satins 'go bad' more quickly and more irreparably than standard colours. Probably because the flake that gives it the shine is larger and heavier than any pigment, so separates out more easily.

I would say price comes into it here. If you are paying full price or close to, pass. I am definitely pro local game store, but when it comes to paint, buying newer is always better. For Reaper paints, you get the best formulations, as Anne consistently improves the line as necessary. Also for any brand of paint, as people mentioned, you want to go through the paints, shake (or even better stir) them, and check if they need water added (even in plastic bottles water slowly evaporates out) at least every few years, and more ideally, once a year. It would be unusual for a store to do that. (As it would count as opening the package, though in this case is to the benefit of the product. Also it's a bit of a pain and kind of messy to do.)

 

So if these paints aren't a huge steal money wise, there's no reason to even think about buying paints that are already so old.

If you are getting a huge discount, I recommend doing some testing and then thinking over whether it's worth the extra time to save the extra money. Try tapping a bottle against your palm a few times to get it started, then shake for a few minutes. If you can't get it to start moving with a bit of shaking in the store, it's a gamble on if you could resuscitate the paints at home. You might try buying one or two bottles and seeing what you can do with them at home.

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I was using some "new" Army Painter metallic paint, and compared to some paints from the very old LTPK's, it was the difference between silk and... definitely not silk. Save yourself the trouble and get some new metals. Metallic paints have mica chips in them, giving the paints different properties (none good for storage or mixing!) than regular paints. Vallejo paints also makes a Metal Medium that you may find useful. Do a search on some of its uses, including non-mixed!

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