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How do I fix a mini that has gone tacky?


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Hello, I got into mini painting through the bones 4 and some of the earliest minis I painted have gone sticky. I did some research and understand that reaper minis on particular don't play nice with certain paints if not washed and brushed with soap and water. These were unfortunately ones I did when first learning so I did not know this.  Some of them had vallejo black surface primer and some just only had reaper paint. Anyways I have tried a number of varnishes and fixes and am not having much luck. I tried washing it with soap and water and hitting it with a toothbrush, I tried vallejo matte and gloss varnishes, I tried army painter matte and testors clearcote. Does anyone have a solution or idea on how to fix this? I appreciate you taking the time to read this and thank you in advance for any thoughts.

 
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paint issues tend to be related to adhesion, not tackiness.  I've not had issues with vallejo black surface primer on bones personally.  washing with soap and water to remove any mold release agents that might still be on the mini.  it also gives you time to examine the mini for mold lines that will need cleaning up.  i'd be extremely wary of any spirit based paints (like testors enamels) though.

 

usually the cause of tackiness (aside from color choices (heh)) is propellants and/or solvents in rattlecan primers, paints, and sealers.  i would wager the varnishes are likely what's that cause.  when trying one, use a sprue of bones material to test on first for any sort of reaction.  reaper can talk about reaper paints not having problems - they're a bones paintline that's actually designed to work exceptionally well with bones.  there are other threads out there regarding tackiness where people share their experiences with non-reaper paints.  i've personally used reaper, citadel, vallejo, and army painter paints without problems.  i've used army painter rattlecan primer and sealer and vallejo rattlecan sealer and i've not had issues.  i've not had issues using brush on sealer from any of those companies either.  come to think of it, i've also tried the citadel rattlecan primers for their contrast line and those were ok for me too.

 

to play it safe, look at an airbrush.  this will let you get the effect of a rattlecan without the problems of worrying about solvents.  airbrushes are their own topic, but suffice to say anything you're likely to want to spray through an airbrush is not going to cause issues with bones.  badger's stynylrez primers are great.  vallejo's mecha line has some airbrush friendly sealers that i've not had issues with, though getting it in the states has been problematic sometimes.

 

none of this helps you in your current predicament though.

 

what i recommend for your current state though is soak them in simple green or super clean (purple) for a day or so then have at them with a toothbrush.  your goal is to strip all the paints and primers and sealers from the mini.  let dry, then a good scrubbing with soap and water.  thorough rinse and dry.  generally, i'd reseal the mini with army painter sealer to get rid of the tackiness, but it sounds like these guys are pretty well gone.  make sure you're letting your paint dry completely and make sure you're letting your sealers dry completely.  i usually give the paints a day before sealing and the sealer a day before putting on a second coat if necessary.

 

 

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Unfortunately, I am not sure if there is a way to save the mini without stripping the paint off, at least not to my knowledge.

 

It's not always the case the case that tackiness is caused by the chemical solvents in aerosol spray cans, but it is usually the case if Bones minis were spray primed with aerosol cans (I've never had a problem with them being varnished with spray cans after painting). Given that you said they were primed with black Vallejo Surface Primer, I'm guessing you didn't use a spray can and that it was brushed on.

 

Depending on how old these Bones minis are, it could just be that the plasticizers in the Bones material are simply leeching out. Myself and a few others on here have noticed that on our transparent Bones from the first KS went tacky, without painting them (my regular Bones were normal). Those are almost 9 year-old minis, so something in the formulation might be what's causing it for the transparents, and they may have already fixed the formulation.

 

I was able to fix the ones that were tacky. I took the unpainted ones and soaked them in 70% isopropyl alcohol for 24 hours, then rinsed them in water and left them to dry. That was a few months ago, and they still aren't tacky. The isopropyl alcohol will pull those plasticizers on the surface off and pull a bit more out of the mini. Parts that were extremely bendy will probably become less bendy (plasticizers make plastics flexible), but the tackiness should go away.

 

*Don't use the isopropyl alcohol for anything else after this. And wear gloves. Follow all safety procedures for using the iso alcohol.

 

Unfortunately, you'll need to do this to your minis without paint on them. I've never tried it with a painted and varnished mini. So you'll most likely have to strip the paint off first.

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Spray it with either Testor's Dullcote or Rustoleum Frosted Glass.  Both are quite good at curing the sticky.   The Rustoleum Frosted Glass has never failed.  I use a krylon spray primer+paint as a substitute for the GW light colored primers for use with contrast paints.  Those paints always remain sticky, but a spray with Frosted Glass fixes it.  

I also want to add that automotive primers labeled "wet sandable" work well with the white bones material.  One of the best that I've found is the Rustoleum automotive light gray primer.  The dark gray isn't as good and goes on a bit thick, so stay clear of it.  Another alternative is unthinned black craft paint...the Americana ebony lamp (or something like that) was my go to before I found the Frosted Glass trick.

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The only times I have ever had problems with tackiness was on a translucent mini which I had used no primer on but had washed it. I painted it with Reaper Clears and inks and then used Vallejo Gloss Varnish. I used Testor's Glosscote over the Vallejo Gloss and the tackiness is completely gone. The second time was when I primed the behir with Army Painter Black Primer (spray). I use Army Painter all the time and never had an issue before. I spritzed it with Testor's Dulcote and it's fine for me to go ahead and paint now. No tackiness.

 

I always wash my minis after I have removed mold lines and such. I am also a person who primes Bones and those are the only two times I have had issues with tackiness.

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I just had great success at removing the tackiness!

I used Minwax, waterbased, Polycrylic protective finish, Clear Matte.

 

My piece was very tacky.  About as worse as I'd felt it.  I was even leaving finger print indentions in the paint.  Now its good to go.

Thank you to whoever started this thread because it inspired me to think the tacky problem was curable and thus my experiment that turned out to be successful.

 

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On 1/10/2021 at 4:39 AM, CliffordHolm said:

I used Minwax, waterbased, Polycrylic protective finish, Clear Matte.

 

Similar here, I used brush on gloss then matt varnish (both liquitex, but can't imagin brands haveing much of a difference here) to take of the stickyness, seems to work so far.

For washing I find that a dip and swishing around in isopropyl alcohol or acid (vinegar) does a lot more that soap and a brush, but both will likely do even more. Have never tried to let them sit in isoproyl alchocol for an extended period of time.

For priming, brush on primer, gesso or airbush primer seems to work fine. So does (after a proper wash) painting with undiluted (or nearly undiluted) arcylic paint. It can be that, due to the hydrophobic natuer of the bones material, the paint/primer/gesso can draw away from some parts. A second attempt to paint those spots worked in all cases, the better washed the mini is the less this happens of course, but this can never be totally excluded.

 

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On 12/31/2020 at 2:52 AM, Pochi said:

The only times I have ever had problems with tackiness was on a translucent mini which I had used no primer on but had washed it. I painted it with Reaper Clears and inks and then used Vallejo Gloss Varnish. I used Testor's Glosscote over the Vallejo Gloss and the tackiness is completely gone. The second time was when I primed the behir with Army Painter Black Primer (spray). I use Army Painter all the time and never had an issue before. I spritzed it with Testor's Dulcote and it's fine for me to go ahead and paint now. No tackiness.

 

I always wash my minis after I have removed mold lines and such. I am also a person who primes Bones and those are the only two times I have had issues with tackiness.

I was going to offer exactly the same advice. Use a varnish (I use liquitex satin) wait 24 hours, then use testor's dulcote. I use brush-on airbrushed with some airbrush thinner, but they make a can too.

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I have had a similar issue with some bones terrain. I had painted the tree of woe; and even after the brush on sealer had dried it seemed to feel sticky or tacky. I could stick Conan to the tree without glue and he would stay. It also had a slightly warped base. I didn't want to put in hot water to soften the base, because I thought that would hurt the paint job. So I left it on my car's dashboard for like a week. I had forgot about it and I didn't go anywhere because of the pandemic. Anyway after I pulled it out, the base was flat and it wasn't sticky. I don't know if the hot car kiln somehow cooked off some chemical or if it just needed extra drying time. But that's what worked for me. So now I am putting my bones terrain pieces on my car's dashboard and using it as a sort of drying oven

 

    buckyball

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I've had Bones figures get tacky after using some random dark brown rattle-can spray-paint I got at the local S-Mart as a base-coat (Krylon, I believe).  The tackiness went away after I got to work drybrushing Reaper paints on top of the base-coat.

 

After a little research a few months ago, I've come to the conclusion that a lot of the bad reaction between spray-paint and Reaper Bones come from the solvents and maybe also the propellants in the spray-paint, and the distance you spray from can make a big difference:  the closer you spray from, the less time the solvents/propellants have to evaporate before hitting the figure, so that the closer you hold the spray can while spraying the minis, the more solvents/etc. hit the figure and react with the plastic.  I've not done much painting since then, and haven't had a chance to test that theory, but you could try increasing the distance you spray any primers, varnishes, etc. from to see if it helps at all.

 

I've never gotten around to messing with airbrushing, but I think mikem91 is probably right on target with the suggestion to switch to airbrushing instead of rattlecans, just to completely eliminate those solvents and other aggressive chemicals from the equation.

 

 

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