Tuesday, 11 January 2022

Varnishing Disaster! Help Urgently Needed Please?

Warning,- I'm going to name names in this article. I'm at once both distraught and furious! I have never had a varnishing disaster like this before in all my decades of experience.

Help! In order to preserve my dwindling supplies of the superb Winsor and Newton Professional Matt Varnish I ordered some Minibits Deluxe Matt Varnish from Pendraken Miniatures. Five cans in fact. I used this over my normal Humbrol Gloss coat and the results were very satin! A far cry from what I am used to which is a very flat matt I get with the Winsor and Newton Professional Matt Varnish.

I then tried to brush on some matt varnish and it just ran off the model like I was pouring water on! 

I had one can of Colourforge Matt Varnish, which  I was going to try out on some terrain, and applied it over the Minibits Deluxe Matt Varnish. What you see below is the result! Not only has there been extreme frosting but the varnish has actuelly cracked on the models!

I am absolutely distraught. As I have said, I have never had such a terrible result with any varnish in all of my painting days which amounts to over two decades- longer if I include my youth!

Normally, if I get a bit of frosting I would re gloss then repeat with the Winsor and Newton Professional Matt Varnish

If anyone has a solution to this please, please contact me and let me know.

Here's the mess:















19 comments:

  1. Something to cautiously try. I've never had cracking, but have had quite bad dusting / filming. A layer of the "gloss" version of what you're using can sometimes rectify it. I use acryllic varnish and paints these days, and gloss varnish over filmed matte often does the trick. Might try it on part of one figure, and see how it goes?

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    1. Thanks mate. That's my normal method for dealing with frosting but this is way beyond anything I have ever seen before. It's stopped me painting in my tracks. The Late Romans were a special project meant for The Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge. I don't think I can go on. It's ruined the whole thing for me. I doubt I can even make the deadline now.

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  2. I hate this kind of thing. I believe this has been caused by humidity. It’s why I only mostly use brush on varnish now.

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    1. Not humidity either as I sprayed the varnish in my conservatory where the air is always quite dry. I' have a dehumidifier and a heater on there. It's basically a horrible chemical reaction caused by the various varnishes. Baically, if Pendraken's "Delux Matt Varnish" was matt, there would have been no need for me to wait a week, then try out the Colourforge Matt Varnish. I'm quite furious as I was promised by Leon at Pendraken that the varnish was the same old forumula as the old HMG Matt (which was a very flat matt). I'm always very careful about my painting and take my time. I have a ton of experience (many decades) and I've honestly never seen anything like it in my life!

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  3. Oh dear I’m afraid I don’t have a solution, as others I have got used to brush on varnish and a slight satin look. The cracking is really bad but is looks like some incompatibility between the two different varnishes or humidity variation when the second coat was applied ?

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    1. Not humidity either as I sprayed the varnish in my conservatory where the air is always quite dry. I' have a dehumidifier and a heater on there. It's basically a horrible chemical reaction caused by the various varnishes.

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  4. I am very sorry for your problems. Hope you will solve it quicker than you think. I usually find myself in the same situation, when trying something new, without checking reviews... Good luck with solving the problem. If you do, hope you will share your solution. All the best!

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    1. It can't be solved Bartek. It's going in the bin.

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  5. Silly question, it seems to be affecting the washed brown area's the most.. is it a wash/varnish combo issue rather than the varnish alone. But yes.. I tend to use brushed varnishes now too

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    1. No. Humbrol Enamel brush on DIY is about as hard a coat as it is possible to get on a miniature. There's no way the paint could have reacted with the varnish unless the so called Deluxe Matt varnish (actually virtually gloss thus having to re-varnish which caused the problems. I'm convinced that their was reaction and that is what fucked up the miniatures.

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    2. I'm afraid I don't have a solution to the cracking, but it is interesting that it seems to mostly be on the brown horse flesh.
      Some minor varnish issues ive had recently is with W&N matt spray drying satiny, but I realised it was either only an issue or at least only noticeable on certain colours - large areas of brown horse flesh, similar tones to what you've got here, and possibly only on areas that had a wash as the final painting stage. I'm wondering if matt varnish onto a wash struggles to get matt enough for some reason?
      But then I understand you gloss before matt, so this is probably not too relevant.... Surely the gloss provides a hard barrier between the paint/wash and the matt.

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    3. 99.999999% of the time the gloss had been a solid protection for later layers. It's never happened before. I'm stumped except to say that it had to be a reaction between the last layers of varnish, forced on me by the almost gloss finish of the so called Deluxe Matt Varnish. :>(

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  6. Since other options have already been discussed, what about careful application of something designed to remove varnish? Maybe refined turpentine applied with a cotton swab? Perhaps you can get some guidance at a specialized art supply store. That said, I understand your extreme frustration but your painting is stupendous! Even with the crackles. Please don’t throw out the figures (if that is what you are contemplating). They are still lovely.

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    1. They're not in the bin yet, but at the standard I prefer to paint I would have to strip them so they're in the "years time if I'm lucky" box!

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  7. Ouch, I feel for you.

    One ray of sunshine is that the Windsor & Newton Professional Matt is back in stock at Cass Arts

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    1. Correction Cowling & Wilcox: http://www.cowlingandwilcox.com/

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    2. Cheers Paul. I ordered nice cane direct from W&N straight after the varnishing debacle.

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  8. Hello,

    I'm sorry for you.
    I had a problem like this before with a Games Workshop Matt Varnish but I had in addition a fine white dust... Have you tried dabbing gently with acetone ?
    To solve my problem, I decided to stop varnish all my new painted miniatures....
    Nikkobourges

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    1. I'be boxed it all up Nikko. I just can't face that project at the moment.

      I'l come back to it eventually but for now it's best it is boxed up and out of sight LOL

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