Wednesday, June 2, 2010

HOBBY: The Word on Seal Coats pt. 2

If you have not read part 1 do that now. This time around we will discuss paint on sealers.
Paint on sealers have plenty of pros and cons. The quick pros are that you can use them at any temperature and humidity. You never need to set up a spray area, and you can use them like a save button while painting. The cons are army application can be time consuming. If you paint it too heavily or brush over it too much while wet it will look clouded or glossy. Also drying time may be longer.

Application of paint-on sealers is no different than painting, except you will need to pick a starting point and paint without going back over previously painted areas. Too much agitation of the wet sealer can cause clouding, and nothing short of stripping the figure down to the plastic/metal will help. If the paint on sealer dries too quickly it can sometimes produce a crackled paint effect, so accelerating the drying time is not recommended

Paint-on sealers can also be pushed through an air brush. Thin it with no more than 25% distilled water or airbrush medium. When you apply you should make as few passes as possible and allow each coat to dry before applying the next. Clouding can occur more frequently with an airbrush but only if you spray too much at once.

Strangely enough paint-on sealers are more equal than their spray on cousins. I think that is because spray on primers use different recipes and propellants, while paint-on sealers have a more standardized recipe. What I have found is the major difference is how matte a matte sealer really is. Sometimes they can be dead matte, while other times they will have a bit of satin sheen to them.

I have used three brands of sealers: Liquitex, Vallejo, and Reaper. Reaper Master Series “Brush-On Sealer” is dead matte if you apply it thinly. It is unfortunate that they only offer a matte sealer right now because gloss sealer does have its uses. Liquitex and Vallejo are pretty comparable. They offer matte, satin (semi-gloss) and gloss paint-on sealers. The only differences I have experienced are Vallejo seems thicker, and Liquitex Matte Varnish is not dead matte. I tend to prefer Liquitex because I can get more for a better unit price, which is handy for terrain projects.

Besides being able to seal your miniatures in any weather condition paint on sealers can also fix the frosting that can come from spray on primers, and the occasional mineral deposits from hard water. I prefer to use a satin finish for this and then spray Dull Cote over to knock the shine down. The trick is to apply a few thin layers over the entire figure. Each successive layer will cause the frost to disappear until it is all gone. I have also noticed that it helps with frosting from super glue repairs.

A word on Future Floor Wax and other liquid floor waxes: There is nothing it can do that real sealers can’t do better. I’m sure that one can use the advice given here with floor wax. The reason people use floor wax is that it is inexpensive. However, floor wax doesn’t come in matte and it is very difficult to paint over floor wax if you are using your sealer as a save point. Also some paints do not play well floor wax. I suggest waiting for a sale at your local hobby craft store and get real sealer formulated for protecting paint. When I have used coupons and waited for sales I’ve gotten sealer for 40%-75% of retail price.

That wraps up part 2. As a reminder these two articles were based on reader requests, so feel free to request articles on hobby topics. 

Thanks for your patience with me. I’ve been busy over the last month plus moving into a new house. The up side to this is that the new house has a converted garage that will be a devoted hobby/game room. So I’ll be able to address some requests like setting up a hobby area, and building a game table. So feel free to get your requests in.



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