What do you use to seal and protect your minis?

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What do you use to seal and protect your minis?

Postby geekgrrrl » Mon Apr 10, 2017 6:39 am

This is something I have very little experience with. My old Warhammer models were durable enough and me inexperienced enough that I never knew sealing was a thing. The only thing I've actually used since was GW Purity Seal on the soft plastics I painted for D&D - that helped a bit to reduce the chipping I mentioned in another thread but didn't fix the problem entirely. I also own a can of Tamiya TS-80 Flat Clear which I have never used, but was going to try on the batch I'm currently working on.

As a bonus question, are sealants harder to strip off than regular paint? My first batch of self-painted 15mm's are very chippy/rubby and I was thinking to try sealing them as an experiment, but eventually I'd want to strip and repaint them once I'd sat at the feet of the wise of Warhammer Generals. :-P
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Re: What do you use to seal and protect your minis?

Postby Severian » Mon Apr 10, 2017 8:14 am

Seal with regular gloss varnish out of a rattle can. Then matt it with matt varnish. I use Testors thinned down with a lacquer thinner out of an airbrush.

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Re: What do you use to seal and protect your minis?

Postby Golf Alpha Zulu » Mon Apr 10, 2017 8:48 am

Agree with Sevarian: for serious durability, I think the trick is to get a hard enamel coating over the acrylic (assuming you are not using enamels or oils for brushwork) which does the protective work. And then a thin flat coat over that.

If you can combine those in one coat, all good. For a while I used a variety of Humbrol varnishes that were rock hard, and the matte was super matte/flat. Sold both in bottles and rattle cans. But I found I couldnt use it in the middle of the Cape winter - got some clouding when applied on rainy days.

I now use Vallejo Matte varnish applied by airbrush, sometimes over a gloss acrylic artists sealant, sometimes over Army Painter Quickshade dip (which works like a gloss enamel varnish), but often straight over the paint.

As soon as enamel paints are used on a figure, stripping them off becomes a little tougher. Your solvents need to be more aggressive.
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Re: What do you use to seal and protect your minis?

Postby The BAG » Mon Apr 10, 2017 10:11 am

Severian wrote:Seal with regular gloss varnish out of a rattle can. Then matt it with matt varnish. I use Testors thinned down with a lacquer thinner out of an airbrush.



I have had major issues sealing with a regular varnish. I found that I lost a lot of shading and highlighting from the varnish "dissolving" the paint and making my models look flat.

I started using acrylic sprays with as little solvent as possible and found that the more expensive acrylic matte varnishes preserved my colours best. but they aren's as durable and "hard" as the regular varnishes so zap the whole army now and then with a fresh coat.
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Re: What do you use to seal and protect your minis?

Postby Azimyth » Mon Apr 10, 2017 10:38 am

Golf Alpha Zulu wrote:If you can combine those in one coat, all good. For a while I used a variety of Humbrol varnishes that were rock hard, and the matte was super matte/flat. Sold both in bottles and rattle cans. But I found I couldnt use it in the middle of the Cape winter - got some clouding when applied on rainy days.

Try re-varnishing on a dry day to fix this. I had this happen a couple times with different varnishes so the problem is not related to the varnish but the humidty and temperature.
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Re: What do you use to seal and protect your minis?

Postby Golf Alpha Zulu » Mon Apr 10, 2017 11:00 am

Azimyth wrote:
Golf Alpha Zulu wrote:If you can combine those in one coat, all good. For a while I used a variety of Humbrol varnishes that were rock hard, and the matte was super matte/flat. Sold both in bottles and rattle cans. But I found I couldnt use it in the middle of the Cape winter - got some clouding when applied on rainy days.

Try re-varnishing on a dry day to fix this. I had this happen a couple times with different varnishes so the problem is not related to the varnish but the humidty and temperature.


Understood. I just found the Vallejo is more forgiving in this regard. I dont have to wait a week for a north west gale to blow out before I varnish....

Another point that might be relevant... if you are using the gloss enamal+acrylic matte coat method, its important that the enamel varnish layer is both dry and cured before zapping the acrylic matte coat over it. Bitter experience has shown that any solvents still leaching out of the enamel can fog the acrylic... I leave army painter dip at least 48 hours before varnishing over it...
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Re: What do you use to seal and protect your minis?

Postby The BAG » Mon Apr 10, 2017 12:58 pm

Golf Alpha Zulu wrote:I leave army painter dip at least 48 hours before varnishing over it...


useful advice there.
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Re: What do you use to seal and protect your minis?

Postby geekgrrrl » Mon Apr 10, 2017 6:36 pm

Thanks for all the feedback guys. As The BAG says, lots of great advice.
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Re: What do you use to seal and protect your minis?

Postby Hyogai » Tue Apr 11, 2017 11:46 am

Purity seal. For best results you need to do it in a very humid environment.
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Re: What do you use to seal and protect your minis?

Postby Captain Sensible » Tue Apr 11, 2017 4:06 pm

I use these two guys over here:

seal.jpg
seal.jpg (14.1 KiB) Viewed 1835 times

protect.jpg
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