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Paint chipping with light handling

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I tried painting my first bones black figure recently, and I’m running into some paint chipping issues after light handling. I base coated the mini with vallejo black acrylic surface primer, used mostly vallejo model color paints, and then varnished with multiple coats of vallejo polyurethane matte varnish, all of which I’ve used on prior bones models together without issue. (I do have lots of reaper paints too! Just didn’t use them here)

 

You can see the chipping on the ogre’s knucles. I’ve touched up and re-varnished that and about four other high spots maybe three times in the last two days- I really want to just be done!!! Any ideas on what I can do to keep this paint on? Thanks!

 

 

D71526E0-BADE-4D9D-B3E2-753478CE1344.jpeg

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You didn't mention washing him before priming--to remove any residual mold-release.  That can cause flaking/beading sometimes.

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17 minutes ago, BLZeebub said:

You didn't mention washing him before priming--to remove any residual mold-release.  That can cause flaking/beading sometimes.


Fair point. I did wash him as well. It looks to me like the chipping doesn’t get down to the grey mini plastic, just to the black primer.

 

Another detail: one of the paints was a new bottle and color to me, but I did try and agitate it well before application.

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You might need to try a gloss varnish coat before the matte varnish. Since gloss varnish doesn't contain particles to disperse the light like matte does, it cures to a more solid coat (as it's all uniform). That's why gloss tends to offer better protection than matte varnish. It might work here, but it's just a guess.

 

The Vallejo Model Color line, which I have several of and enjoy, is also known to be prone to chipping/rubbing off. Another reason I gloss coat first. Sometimes two coats of gloss, then a matte coat.

 

EDIT:

Another thought: how long are you waiting to varnish after you finish painting?

Edited by ManvsMini
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10 minutes ago, ManvsMini said:

You might need to try a gloss varnish coat before the matte varnish. Since gloss varnish doesn't contain particles to disperse the light like matte does, it cures to a more solid coat (as it's all uniform). That's why gloss tends to offer better protection than matte varnish. It might work here, but it's just a guess.

 

The Vallejo Model Color line, which I have several of and enjoy, is also known to be prone to chipping/rubbing off. Another reason I gloss coat first. Sometimes two coats of gloss, then a matte coat.

 

EDIT:

Another thought: how long are you waiting to varnish after you finish painting?

 

Thanks for the insight - many of my other minis included a satin varnish, and that was another difference here where I only used the matte. For this model, about 2-3 hours between the repair touch-ups and the varnish coat. I think for the original coat, I waited overnight. 

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If it keeps chipping in the same spot that you keep touching-up, I'd wait longer than 24 hours before attempting to varnish. While acrylic paints dry very fast, they aren't fully cured for a few days (depending on factors, temp/humidity/etc). Waiting the extra time will give all the remaining water and binder (which is minimal, but still traces remain) from the paint time to evaporate and let the paint resin cure a bit more.

 

In my experience, I've never had to wait more than 24 hours between paint finish and then varnishing, but if you are having problems with chipping it might be worth trying.

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22 hours ago, ManvsMini said:

If it keeps chipping in the same spot that you keep touching-up, I'd wait longer than 24 hours before attempting to varnish. While acrylic paints dry very fast, they aren't fully cured for a few days (depending on factors, temp/humidity/etc). Waiting the extra time will give all the remaining water and binder (which is minimal, but still traces remain) from the paint time to evaporate and let the paint resin cure a bit more.

 

In my experience, I've never had to wait more than 24 hours between paint finish and then varnishing, but if you are having problems with chipping it might be worth trying.

 

To add to this, ideally you want to do the same thing between the primer coat and painting. Letting the primer cure before painting would eliminate another potential reason for the the chipping.

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That's true, but I didn't bother adding it. Didn't figure it was his primer, since he said the paint was chipping off, but not the primer.

 

Not really sure what else could be causing the chipping, aside from the aforementioned known issues with the Vallejo Model Color. Seems as though everything was done properly. Washed with soap, primed, painted, and varnished. Adding the gloss varnish coat is the best advice I can think of after the paint has dried/cured thoroughly.

 

Do let us know how it turns out, @Bobicus.

Edited by ManvsMini
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@ManvsMini will do! He is currently sitting in quarantine before a satin varnish attempt (I don’t have gloss unfortunately). Some buddies are social distancing while attempting to exorcise the moisture content.CCB5F64C-6441-4C1A-B0DF-FE5413D2E2BC.jpeg.7588e765811cb24c3b18ab90d9fdfe64.jpeg

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I'm not entirely clear on your timing between steps, so just mentioning various factors FYI not as a for sure problem.

 

Acrylic paint is touch dry in minutes, but it doesn't fully cure for a day or two. (Probably quicker with heat and/or drier air,  and slower with cooler and/or more humid air. Just basing that on general experience with other chemicals that cure and the fact that the curing is largely evaporation of the water content of the paint.)

 

Ditto with sealer. Whatever time it says you can touch it in doesn't necessarily mean that's full cure.

 

As mentioned by others, gloss sealer is more protective than matte. 

 

Storage matters.  Bones don't need to be treated like fine china, but you also want to store them in a way that avoids them rubbing together, rubbing against the storage option (like a small foam square that you're squeezing a larger figure into) or in a way that bends parts. Standing like on your shelf is great. Immobilized between layers of bubble wrap for travel storage also works.

 

So for the most game play durable miniatures you want to:
* Wash before painting. (Which you did, mentioning for other readers.)
* Minimize handling the figure during painting by using a holder to avoid getting skin oils on unpainted areas that could affect adhesion of paint. (Which it looks like you did.)
* Let the paint cure for a couple of days before sealing/playing with the figure if you can. 
* Use gloss sealer, and then go over it with matte later if you don't like the shine.
* Let the sealer cure a few days before playing with the figure if you can.
* Store the figures so they aren't knocking together.

I'm not going to say you're doomed to have paint flake if you don't do every single one of those things every time, just that each of them contributes to a more sturdy paint film.

There are a couple of experiments you might try going forward to see if you get results that are less frustrating.

One is to skip the primer. You can paint directly on the Bones surface. I haven't repeated my original tests with the Bones Black, but nothing I know about the product from Reaper suggests it should have less paint adhesion than the original Bones. The polymer used in acrylic paint was originally intended to be a glue. It doesn't stick to everything, but it does stick well to the kind of plastic Bones are made out of. If you like starting from black, just use black paint.

Two is to try a figure using only paint brands other than Vallejo Model Color. Like any other brand of miniature paint, including Vallejo Game Colour (and I think Air Color). I don't have a wide experience with it myself, but over the years it is the line of paint I have consistently seen the most comments about rub-off from a lot of different people. The fact that your rub off is just the paint and not the primer suggests this could be an issue here. (The other most likely culprit to me is the possibility you got oils on the primer on those spots. You could try putting a little rubbing alcohol on a brush and gently wiping those areas prior to painting them again to see if that helps. Rubbing alcohol will damage paint if you use a lot or rub though!)

Lastly sometimes it's just flukey. I have had miniatures where there were a few areas that suffered rub-off that I never really seemed to get super sturdy paint on. Though typically those have been metal and gone right down to the metal, not just down to the primer like you're having. I hardly ever seal miniatures, but I'm pretty consistent about doing all the other stuff I mentioned and I still get it happening occasionally. 

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Thanks all for the suggestions! I touched up Mr. Beefsteak and followed up with a coat of satin varnish followed by a round of matte, with the extra curing time suggestions from above. So far, it seems like it has held up well. Thank you again for the help!

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