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Subject: Removing protective varnish from minis? rss

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Alex
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A noob asks your advice, fellow painters:

I need to remove the varnish from some plastic and some metal miniatures I've painted, because the film is too dull and thick.

1) Is that possible without removing the paint as well? If so, how?
2) Do I just apply less next time? Will it still protect well?
3) Is varnish even necessary?

Any advice greatly appreciated. Hope you can help.

Thanks,

Fritz
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Michael Barlow
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Oh, good, great fun questions.

re: 1) What sort of paint did you put on? Acrylic or enamel? That will help you first off. Varnish, typically wears off by handling over time anyway, but no, to my knowledge, even by painting on solvent slowly, you'd be hard pressed to be able to tell when you've gotten through the varnish and into the paint. You'll end up with a far better result if you strip the figure right down to its bare plastic or metal and paint the grand thing up again. It's very important to know what you're starting with. You don't want your choice of solvent to melt your figures, now, do you? This is usually just a worry with plastic figures. If you are very uncertain, in the UK, I'd ask someone like Steve Weston. Someone there will be able to advise you on successful stripping. whistle

If you are a lover of miniature painting, and like me, not particularly masterful at it, this will be depressing as you start, but exciting once all the old paint is off and you've got your brushes and paint and bare canvass before you.

2) Yes, apply less varnish next time. What scale figures are they? Dipping works best for larger (28mm+ ) figures, (grand for 54mm figures), but for wee'r figures, dipping can be disasterous unless you wipe alot of excess away (which is wasteful and expensive). You must always wipe (with a brush) away the excess varnish if you dip. Do not rely on gravity to wick off the excess, as you'll end up with an uneven result, much like you've already got perhaps? I usually paint on a varnish with a small brush trying to make a little go a long way, like using the last of the butter to cover two slices of toast.

3) While I do varnish (I like the Micro-sol family of coatings), whether or not you need it is up to you. Do you handle the figure directly, or do you handle the base? Is the base substantial enough to allow your mitts to move the figure about without releasing your fingers' oils onto the figure itself? Is you base painted and therefore requiring protection?

Hope this leads you on the way and at least inspires other helpers to totally refute my advice.
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Alex
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They're Warhammer minis (I think 28mm or so) painted with acrylics.
Thanks for the advice!
 
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Michael Barlow
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Warhammer plastics are pretty indestructible. I'm sure the Warhammer zombies would have good advice about some product of theirs for stripping. My method would be to leave the things in vinegar for a day, then scrub them with an old toothbrush. Maybe a stronger acid, like Windex. Anything stronger and you'd have to water it down to minimize "softening" the figure. Takes a while. But it works.
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Tom McThorn
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newsguy wrote:
A noob asks your advice, fellow painters:

I need to remove the varnish from some plastic and some metal miniatures I've painted, because the film is too dull and thick.

1) Is that possible without removing the paint as well? If so, how?
2) Do I just apply less next time? Will it still protect well?
3) Is varnish even necessary?

Any advice greatly appreciated. Hope you can help.

Thanks,

Fritz

There isn't a good way to remove only part of the coating, you'll most likely damage the paint underneath. You're better off stripping them down to bare metal/plastic.

I recently had to deal with some pre-owned mini's and stripped them down to the bare metal. The way I did it was I disassembled them, put them into a ziplock back and sprayed with Easy Off oven cleaner (do this in a WELL ventilated area..like outside.) Let them soak for 3-4 hours then scrub with a toothbrush and rinse with soap/water. You'll have bare miniatures that can be cleaned up (if they have mold lines/etc) or primed/re-painted.

After I paint a mini I spray with 2-3 coats of a matte finish clear coat to protect it from dings or wear from being handled.

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Brian Forsythe
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As someone else said, removing just the varnish would be next to impossible.

I've tried a lot of things for stripping minis over the years, from paint remover to brake fluid, and the best thing I've found is Simple Green. Use it undiluted. Works great, and it's also biodegradable and non-toxic. Simple Green works great for cleaning tasks in general. You should be able to find it in the automotive section/store.
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Richard Johnson
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megasycophant wrote:
As someone else said, removing just the varnish would be next to impossible.

I've tried a lot of things for stripping minis over the years, from paint remover to brake fluid, and the best thing I've found is Simple Green. Use it undiluted. Works great, and it's also biodegradable and non-toxic. Simple Green works great for cleaning tasks in general. You should be able to find it in the automotive section/store.


I'll second the Simple Green. Doesn't seem to destroy plastic models ether.
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Greg CZ
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just Google and you will find a dozen forums dealing with the topic.

I use nail polish remover for metal figures, and a kitchen fat remover for plastic miniatures.
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Paul Dale
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Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn
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Soak them in caustic soda solution. Far cheaper than most paint strippers and just as effective. Plus it won't harm the miniatures.

- Pauli
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Slev Sleddeddan
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What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?
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Yeah, no way to just remove the varnish.
Remove the paint and varnish by soaking in Dettol, then rubbing the figure clear with a cheap toothbrush.
Next time, apply 2-3 thin coats for best protection and appearance.
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Alex
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Hey, many thanks for the tips.
Now I've got a little job on my hands .....

Fritz
 
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