Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Trouble with varnish: Crumpled horses

Yesterday evening was one of those time which should better be concealed. My wife was exhausted and kind of bad-tempered, our daughter was sleeping unsettledly and I mucked up my hussars' horses. Probably the it would have been better to go to bed early...

However here's the shocking result of the evening:
Two of the blemished horses.
What really preys on my mind is the question, how this reaction occured.
Actually I did the same as a dozen times before: Painted the horseswith Vallejo paints, covered them with Army Painter Quick Shade, let it dry for a day and then applied a thin layer of matt varnish. But yesterday I tried Army Painter Matt varnish for the first time. Therefore I presume that this varnish and the Quickshade underwent a fatal. reaction. I'm kind of angry and surprised alike since two product of the same producer shouldn't do that...
Did anyone of you make similar or differing experiences?

However I think I'll drop the Armypainter guys a line and ask if it's a known problem or if I've a got a "bad can" accidentally. But it wont bring my horses and the time it took painting them.

But meanwhile I'll try to make the best of this bad job. On one of the horses I'll try to etch the dimpled skin a bit with turpentine. Maybe it works. If not I'll have to paint the highlights disregarding the defects and hope the best.

Thankfully the highlanders which I varnished during the same work step haven't been affected that much. Only some really small wrinkles...


  1. A most unfortunate occurrance.
    Are the horses plastic or metal?
    If plastic, is it the plastic of the model itself that has reacted or is it just the paint surface?

    I have experienced bad effects with spray varnish before but its usually been a 'misting effect'.

    I've only come across this kind of thing when a plastic reacts with some kind of solvent/propellant...

    1. Those are plastic horses, but I don't think that it was the plastic that reacted. Either the Quickshade or the Vallejo paint below I presume...

  2. Oh darn.. They look like dried-out bodybuilders...
    Drop that new varnish and get on... There's still much to paint. Stuff like that happens, don't let it get you down!

    I was wondering if you'd join us in Mainz at "Inspiration Modellbau" this weekend?
    Drop me a line on my blog or the forums! Would be nice to meet you!


    1. I'll try to make the best of those horses since I cannot replace them without loosing a whole unit of hussars...

      Unfortunately Mainz is a bit far for a one-day-trip. Additionally I'll visit a kind of Medieval-Fantasy-Convention with my wife this weekend...

  3. Temperature is usually blamed for these results, I'm sorry to see this, it's happened to me once or twice but mostly clouding the figures paint job!

  4. That's a lot of crackling. I paint metals only so I don't know if you can strip plastic. If you can, I'd strip it and start over.

  5. I cant say I have had the same problem happen to me but I can suggest a way to remove the paint and start again. I have had quite a lot of success with brake fluid. It removes the acrylic paint from plastic and resin models in about a day's time and dosen't harm the model in any way. Then after a bit of soap and warm water your figures are ready for a repaint. Turpentine and plastic is a bad mix, I wouldn't try it.

    1. Unfortunately breake fluid is a rather nasty stuff. If nothing else is faourable I'll try ethyl alcohol.

  6. It looks to me as though the varnish has grabbed the quickshade and pulled it up into those ridges. Perhaps the quickshade hadn't dried as fully as you thought?

    It's a real shame, because the underlying paint job looks really good. As Mojo says, don't let it get you down.

    1. Yes, it seems that the Quickshade wasn't completely dry. But I had it dry for about 30 hours.
      In the past even 20 hours was enough...

  7. Not fun at all!

    Apply a gloss varnish again and then let it dry. Once dry apply another matt varnish and it should be ok.


  8. Thanks for your kind comments and helpful advice!

    My plan is...
    ... first I try the gloss varnish trick.
    ... then if it didn't work I'll try to correct the wrinkels with some thinner.
    ... then if both didn't work I'll propably stripp the horses with white spirit and start again.

    Mayby the guys from Armypainter answer my inquiry and have some helpful advide.


  9. What a bugger, hope the gloss varnish trick works for you.

  10. That is tragic! They look as if they were coming along beautifully too.

  11. Not seen that before! I've had varnish mist on me, which a very light brush of olive oil fixes - see http://troubleatthemill.blogspot.co.uk/2012/02/de-misting-figures-solution.html

    Dunno if it'd work on this, but I doubt it can make it worse.

  12. This is tough luck, Monty!

    I've had some minor wrinkles as well.
    I think it's because of the quickshade has not dried completely as well.
    Sometimes it feels like it is dry but some kind of reacts with the spray varnish.

    I switched to brush-on matte varnish some time ago and never again had those problems.

    Keep my fingers crossed that the gloss-varnish-technique does the trick!


  13. I feel your pain

    On the upside you are on the verge of a fantastic discovery for fantasy figure painting and mummified zombie undead .. er I was trying to make you feel good

    As Phillip II of Macedon
    Retreat like a ram only to butt the harder

    Have another go son