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Baldur8762

Do I need to seal my Wargaming Minis?

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Simple question. Many complicated answers it seems.  I just finished painting my latest mini and it will be used often on the game table.  Honestly I don't know if I am comfortable with using sealers for two reasons: 1) I saw a lot of reviews that said they change the properties of the mini and especially True Metallic's which I will be using a lot of on these minis.  2) I have seen that you can screw up your mini badly with spray sealant and I worked so hard on it, I don't want to screw it up.  Do I need to seal my minis? I know it's probably a good idea but I have too little experience to know how much damage minis get when traveling and being used so I am not certain if it's worth it. 

 

IF it is, or if you think it is a must, what do you find works best? I am thinking that brush-on probably would be best right now, but I can do spray as well.  

 

Thanks folks!

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If gaming they need to be sealed!   I would use brush on as it has the least amount of issues.  Start with 1 or 2 light coats of gloss and then apply satin or matt tell it looks right to you.  DO NOT put them on heavy as this will cause issues.   If you want shiny just hit up those spots with the gloss at the end while leaving the rest matt.

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If gaming they need to be sealed!   I would use brush on as it has the least amount of issues.  Start with 1 or 2 light coats of gloss and then apply satin or matt tell it looks right to you.  DO NOT put them on heavy as this will cause issues.   If you want shiny just hit up those spots with the gloss at the end while leaving the rest matt.

Why a gloss coat and then a matte coat?

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Gloss makes a harder protective coat which you need for the ham fisted players!   It is a more pure medium which is what I believe gives it that strong sealant coat.   The matt is to knock down the shine the gloss gives the mini.

Edited by robinh
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As has been said, for gaming purposes you need to seal them.  Though I will say that it has been my experience that it's not the gaming that is so hard on the mini, but the method of transport and storing them.  Tumbling them all into a box between games is a sure way to wear off a lot of paint.   And handling them as you set up and tear down games will cause wear as well..don't grab them by the handful.

    I use a brush on varnish followed by a spray of Testor's Dullcote on mine.  I encourage you to visit my "All Bones About It" blog (linked in my signature below) to see how vanished figures appear.

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I seal everything I paint, sometimes with coats in between painting sessions so that I can 'erase' errors the next time....

 

I use spray on DullCote, and as long as you do not do it in a very cold, or very humid area, you should have no problems.

(I used to take minis out into my garage to seal them in the summer (Humid) and winter (cold), and I would spray them, and immediately bring them back into the house to let them dry completely)

 

I use 2 or 3 light coats.....

 

Heavy coats (of anything!) are always bad.....

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You can also go back over the metallic portions with a gloss sealer to unmatte them if desired. I don't seal miniatures I intend to enter in paint contests because it can slightly alter the appearance of the figure, and for a paint contest I've been pretty specific about what I want the figure to look like. I absolutely seal minis that are going to hit the table, and for those I do the 'candy coating' (gloss coat followed by matte).

In addition to sealing, I'd like to mention some tips earlier in the process that help make for much sturdier paint jobs.

* Scrub the figure with dish soap and a toothbrush prior to priming/painting. Release agent is used on the moulds, and oils from handling also interfere with sturdy adherence of primer/paint. This is especially important for resin figures, but helpful for all. (And for Bones, the paint sticks better once you do this.)

* Give your primer some time to set if possible. Primer can cure dry to the touch in minutes, but takes a day or three to cure to full hardness. Heat also helps. I've skipped this step many time for deadlines, but if there's time, it can only help.

* Place the figure on a holder while painting it, and handle it as little as possible. Paint also takes time to cure to full hardness so will rub off more easily while you're painting, and you don't want to add oils back from handling.

* Like primer, paint will cure to full hardness over a few days. Again like primer, I have skipped this step for deadlines, but it's nice to do if you can. It's also a chance to come back with fresh eyes for a final look at your figure to spot places you missed or slipped or might want to bump up the highlights or whatever.

* Then seal as described in previous messages.

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I'm gonna go with a "do as I say, not as I've done" approach here.  From my experience, if you are gaming with them, then absolutely put some sealer on them.  I haven't done so yet, but also haven't gotten very far in my painting yet.  I can tell you that transport to and from the game may or may not cause problems with your minis.  It just depends on what you use to transport them.  IIRC, you are playing Warmahordes right?  I use a KR Multicase to transport my army to and fro and it does a good job of protecting the minis.  However, once you are at the game, it becomes a different story.  You are handling the minis constantly, your opponent might as well.  The minis might topple over, terrain pieces might fall over and hit them, etc.  All of this can affect your paint job.  Additionally, if you are playing in a tournament, you might be having to quickly pick up your army and move to a different table (generally harder to do without a tray as opposed to just using a case).

 

As an aside, I did encounter my first instance of paint rub off this weekend.  I was working on the base part of a mini (Dire Bear) and was holding the bear by the nose and rear.  As I did so, I noticed a little bit flaked off of the nose.  Not a lot, but then I also wasn't holding it for very long.  Take it to a gaming table and things can only escalate.  RPGs can be particularly hard in this regard as the players (in my experience) like to pick them up and look at them, move them around, etc.  

 

Now as for actually doing the sealing, I would probably start with a cheap mini that you don't care as much about.  That way you can work on the thickness and technique before trying it out on a more expensive piece for WMH.  

 

Oh, and for the record, I do intend to start sealing my minis (at least the ones I intend to use a lot).  

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The other good thing about applying a gloss coat under a matte coat is that when the matte starts to rub off you'll notice it getting shiny before it actually damages the paint underneath.

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Depending on the figure I'll use different methods, but I always coat the mini. For more detailed or special ones, I'll spray it with Floquil Figure Flat (think old model dull cote - I found a place with lots of cans of this stuff. It's old but still good. I bought 18 cans for $10 and have given away several of them)

 

Lately I've been testing spraying mooks with Liquitex Matte Acrylic Varnish through the airbrush, since I can do this indoors without worrying about the weather. This worked out well on my skeleton army. It's not quite as matte as the spray cans, but it's less glossy than satin, so it's been working for mooks and game pieces.

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I wonder if adding matte additive to the Liquitex matte varnish would help.  I need to start working on my Bones figures and pushing the matte coat through an airbrush would be preferable to painting it on.

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If gaming they need to be sealed!   I would use brush on as it has the least amount of issues.  Start with 1 or 2 light coats of gloss and then apply satin or matt tell it looks right to you.  DO NOT put them on heavy as this will cause issues.   If you want shiny just hit up those spots with the gloss at the end while leaving the rest matt.

 

A bit late, but when you say light coats, does that mean you thin them with water, or just try to lightly run the brush over the mini?  I ask because unfortunately spraying isn't really an option for me.

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lightly brush   ... i never use water when sealing as a thinner...    do not slop it on or overbrush and create bubbles.

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