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Pingo

Bones Rats and Mummies - Varnishing Experimental Subjects

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I'm planning to test some different ways of varnishing Bones, since there is some confusion and some materials seem to dry sticky, or turn sticky after some time.

 

This is going to be a long-term experiment because of the aforementioned change over time.

 

I have a dozen rats and five mummies from the first two Bones Kickstarters which I have painted up in colors known for their shininess (the blacks and reds on the rats) and their matte qualities (the grey bases and the linen color on the mummies).

 

These are super quick paints, just there to test the results.

 

Once they are fully cured I plan to number them under their bases and experiment with different combinations of matte and gloss finish, including at least one unvarnished of each type.

 

I plan to report back after some time has passed.

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So, I can tell you from first-hand experience that the Liquitex Gloss Varnish remains tacky...pretty much forever. Once you put a coat of Liquitex Matte over it, the tackiness goes away. Other varnishes I have no experience with, but since Liquitex is my go-to brand because of price, and "gloss-then-matte" is my go-to method for paint job durability, I don't suffer from any problems with varnishing BONES.

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Yeah, I've had bad experiences with Liquitex finishes in the past. :unsure:

 

For this experiment I'm focusing in on some types of finish I've had semi-successes with, including various acrylic mediums (which are not meant as final varnishes although we use them that way) and actual acrylic varnish, which is solvent-based and rather nasty, to see what results I get.

 

I also have some paint and finish tests on card from a year or two ago which I plan to fold into this experiment.

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What varnishes are you using?

Taking stock of what I have on hand, it will probably be some combination of:

 

* Golden Self Leveling Clear Gel

* Golden High Solid Gel (Gloss)

* Golden Soft Clear Gel (Gloss)

* Golden Polymer Varnish With UVLS (Gloss)

* Reaper Brush-on Sealer

 

* Golden Fluid Matte Medium

* Golden Soft Gel (Matte)

* Golden Polymer Varnish With UVLS (Matte)

* Liquitex Mattte Medium

* Testor's Spray Lacquer (Dullcote)

* Winsor & Newton Matt Medium

 

I will probably also use some known failures for comparison, like:

 

*Golden Soft Gel (Gloss)

 

I appear to have chucked out most of my Liquitex mediums at some point in the last twenty years, so I won't be able to compare them.

 

I have also pulled out my paint test cards from two years ago. I should finish them up and take pictures.

 

They are acrylic gesso-primed white Crescent Board cards with three rows of paint: one Reaper "Gem Purple" (very matte), one Golden Matte Fluid Acrylic Ultramarine Blue (also very matte, as the pigment is naturally matte), and one Golden Heavy Body Acrylic Red Oxide (a naturally shiny pigment, has a sort of satin gloss).

 

Each card is coated with a single gloss finish, then columns of matte finishes are tested over them. I was originally going to test all finishes in all combinations, but it quickly became clear that some were unsuitable and needn't be tested beyond the first strip.

 

On the plus side, it meant I was ready with advice and a remedy when someone accidentally used Reaper Anti-Shine Additive as a matte finish.

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Hmm... I did a CMON article that's now three years past on three Bones orc spearmen. It was meant to be a test of different colored primer, so one was unprimed, one was done with grey Krylon automotive primer, and the third was black Krylon. The black spray had immediate adverse effects, but they were all sprayed with Krylon Matte Finish and the other two became tacky after time (around six months).

 

So I'm pretty sure that's the culprit in my case, but I offer it up here that it may take quite a bit of time to develop the tackiness.

Edited by Pegazus
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Hmm... I did a CMON article that's now three years past on three Bones orc spearmen. It was meant to be a test of different colored primer, so one was unprimed, one was done with grey Krylon automotive primer, and the third was black Krylon. The black spray had immediate adverse effects, but they were all sprayed with Krylon Matte Finish and the other two became tacky after time (around six months).

 

So I'm pretty sure that's the culprit in my case, but I offer it up here that it may take quite a bit of time to develop the tackiness.

I'm not planning to use Krylon products on these (all I have is some ancient charcoal drawing fixative anyway).

 

However, I am planning on doing this for the long term. I am planning to leave the figures near a warm window for the better part of a year to see what happens.

 

I've done long-term experiments before.  I still have ageing oil paint test strips from 1989.

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This is an excellent idea Pingo as I have come across quite a few people who have had this problem with BONES figures.  I don't know enough about chemistry to understand why a varnish could react with the BONES material through layers of paint.  Is there something in the BONES that is capable of leaching out? And if so is that a safe thing?

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This is an excellent idea Pingo as I have come across quite a few people who have had this problem with BONES figures.  I don't know enough about chemistry to understand why a varnish could react with the BONES material through layers of paint.  Is there something in the BONES that is capable of leaching out? And if so is that a safe thing?

It seems to be a reaction between some compound, possibly one or more plasticizers, in Bones and something in certain acrylic finishes, especially aerosol ones.

 

Plasticizers are commonly used to make otherwise brittle plastics more flexible and soft. They are not intrinsically bad (although some types have proven problematic). They can, however, leach out since they are not an intrinsic part of the plastic, but rather sit between the long polymer molecule chains like sauce between strands of spaghetti.

 

The stickiness does not imply that anything is wrong with Bones plastic. It does suggest that there is something in some varnishes and solvents that does not play nice with Bones.

 

I had a perfectly ordinary vinyl belt that went all sticky several months after I spray-painted it for a costume.

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It's been about five months since this experiment was started, and I'm curious to know how it's going.

 

In fact, I had almost completely forgotten about it until now.  I just had a bad experience with using watered-down Liquitex airbrush medium as a wash medium on a Bones mini.  One piece of a multi part figure had a wash finish using the Liquitex medium, and had issues with tackiness and the paint rubbing off.  The other part was unwashed and had a bulletproof primer/paint finish.  I was looking up any references to Liquitex mediums giving problems with Reaper Bones minis, and came across this thread again.

 

So...  What's the prognosis so far, Pingo?

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I used to use liquitex flow improver/ dry retardant, but my mix got used up and haven't pulled bottles out. I've been using golden airbrush medium for washes lately, though not fond of the gloss.

I want to follow this too.

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Still looking for a true matte varnish...I have tried tamiya, mr. super clear and vallejo matte varnish so far. I think application is my biggest problem, its kind of tricky not to use too much.Mr. Super clear works great but fumes are a bit of a problem and its not very stable in different temperatures (meaning the balcony in winter is sub optimal). FOR SCIENCE! 

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