Brushwork – Monday 18th November

Neoterran Capitaline Army - click to enlarge

It’s the final week before the Winter Challenge and I’m relieved to say that I’m all prepared – bases are marked with vision arcs, my list is complete (and by the time you read this should have been submitted for checking), my models are painted and also varnished.

Additionally, after some list-tweaking and discussion with Ian, the tournament organiser, I was able to order the models I needed and have them arrive in time for the event! What a legend!

The only downside to my weekend was a terrible experience with varnish. Over the years I’ve used GW’s Purity Seal to spray my models for a coat of varnish – up until a few years ago I’ve never had an issue, although back in 2008 I did get some problems with the dreaded ‘frosting'(an example of which can be found here on From the Warp).

Back then it wasn’t such a problem as my frosting was limited to the back of the model near the feet, so a bit of drybrushing could disguise it as dust/dirt, but this time I was affected so badly that I was worried my entire PanOceania force plus a few Aleph models were completely ruined and might need stripping and re-painting.

My face when I discovered the frosting
My face when I discovered the frosting

After taking a minute to calm down slightly, (and kick myself for being stupid enough to spray varnish models in damp, cold conditions) I got straight onto that magical font of wisdom known as the internet to try and find a solution which wouldn’t involve buying Fairy Power Spray and crying. Lo and behold, after a few minutes on Google I was presented with a couple of options:

  1. Re-spray them and have a heat-gun/hairdryer on stand by to ‘melt’ the frosting as it dries
  2. Lightly cover the models with olive oil to create a sheen and hide the frosting (bake at 200 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden brown)

Neither of these options really appealed to me – the hairdryer method was a bit unwieldy seeing as I was at my parents doing the spraying (I live in a flat and so we don’t really have a suitable area for spraying) and is a bit hit and miss – I could overheat the model, causing a join to fracture or melt the plastic, and it’s not a guaranteed fix, whilst the olive oil method, while proven to work, did leave me worried that over time the oil might go off, or become sticky and horrible over time.

In the end, it was after a bit more research into why the varnish frosts that I discovered the simple method of using a gloss varnish to cover it. Apparantly the frosting is due to the spray particles drying before contacting the model, which means they go slightly opaque – as these build up after a couple of coats, they refract the light in such a way that the surface underneath appears ‘frosted’. Apparantly, adding something glossy over the top fills in the tiny areas between the particles, stopping light refraction and allows the original colour to show through. Result! I could simply fashion some gloss varnish from watering down some PVA in a spare paint pot I had at home and brush that on! I knew the PVA solution would be just fine as that’s all the old GW Gloss Varnish was – slightly thinner PVA glue – I’d used it in the past and after accidentally getting the models wet while transporting them from car to gaming hall, had noticed that the varnish had reverted back to a liquid state, much like PVA glue does! Once I arrived home yesterday afternoon I immediatedly got to work and coated every single frosted model with the PVA/water mix, and I’m happy to say they look much better.

Due to my panic and being far from a camera at the time of ‘Frost-gate’, I don’t have any images of the frosted models, but as you can see from the shots below, the PVA fix, while effective, isn’t 100% perfect, but it’s good enough for me and means my models are all painted for the tournament next week! (It’s most evident on black areas, where some of the frosting still shows, slightly). The models are a little glossier than I’d prefer, but given the choice between all the effort of stripping and re-painting, or living with models that look like they just came out of cryogenic storage, I think it’s a reasonable compromise (and hey, it means they’ll stand up to being handled without the paint wearing off a little better).

First up, here are the pair of Hexas which I decided to add in at the last minute to my list:

Hexa with Multi Sniper Rifle - click to enlarge
Hexa with Multi Sniper Rifle – click to enlarge
Hexa with Multi Sniper Rifle - click to enlarge
Hexa with Multi Sniper Rifle – click to enlarge
Hexa with Spitfire - click to enlarge
Hexa with Spitfire – click to enlarge
Hexa with Spitfire - click to enlarge
Hexa with Spitfire – click to enlarge
Hexa with Spitfire - click to enlarge
Hexa with Spitfire – click to enlarge

One of the models that took the biggest hit was my recently completed Aleph models, including Penthesilea, all of which I’d put a fair bit of effort into, and I wasn’t about to let my hard work get erased, so they also got the PVA treatment to fix their frosting:

Penthesilea (with PVA varnish) - click to enlarge
Penthesilea (with PVA varnish) – click to enlarge
Penthesilea (with PVA varnish) - click to enlarge
Penthesilea (with PVA varnish) – click to enlarge
Devabots (with PVA varnish) - click to enlarge
Devabots (with PVA varnish) – click to enlarge

A few of my friends wondered how I got my models to stay on my custom-bases with any degree of stability, and that’s an easy fix, so I figured I’d show how. It’s a simple procedure that uses the models’ base tab rather than an actual pin – I simply clip and file it down to a fairly round shape, then drill a hole in the base to fit – this is especially handy on models which have tiny feet or ‘combat heels’, such as the female Hexa with Sniper Rifle:

Hexa with pins - click to enlarge
Hexa with pins – click to enlarge

Finally, here’s a group shot of my Neoterrans ready for the weekend:

Neoterran Capitaline Army - click to enlarge
Neoterran Capitaline Army – click to enlarge

Now, for some strange reason I really fancy a cupcake. It must be all this talk of frosting!

If only the frosting that had covered my models had been this type...
If only the frosting that had covered my models had been this type…
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7 thoughts on “Brushwork – Monday 18th November

  1. 40kterminatus says:

    The easy option for sorting out varnish problems is to simply just re-spray them again at the correct temperature. If you re-spray the old varnish starts its chemical reaction all over again giving you the chance to get it right this time. Saying that I went through the internet panic search when I first made the mistake,lol.

  2. Leeman says:

    Yeah, I think if I didn’t have a tourney coming up this weekend I’d have just stuck with the frosting until the weather here warms up again. I’ve also got a small can of Testors Dull Coat, but I didn’t use it in (misguided) favour of the can of Purity Seal I had. Never again! lol

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