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"Warning Humbrol Enamel Matt Varnish No49" Topic

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8,481 hits since 18 Apr 2014
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Comments or corrections?

Greg G119 Apr 2014 4:53 p.m. PST

Have just used this enamel varnish today and it has turned the 2 models I coated a milky white. I have used this product for several years with no problems. I used the same procedure that I have done many times before, which is to paint the model, coat in enamel gloss varnish, apply decals coat decals and surrounding area in Coat d'arms matt varnish, leave to dry over night, then coat in Humbrol enamel matt varnish. The tin has a batch number 130131 on the base of the tin and the varnish was a different consistency to normal.
I am glad all I was doing was 2 1/300 Typhoon which can be striped back to metal easily, I have just started some GHQ figures they would have been a nightmare to strip back to base metal without damaging them.
I just hope my warning will stop someone else from having this problem.

Mr Canuck19 Apr 2014 5:19 p.m. PST

What was your weather like today?

Similar things will happen with spray varnish and hot, humid weather.


dBerczerk19 Apr 2014 6:10 p.m. PST

Before you strip the models back down to bare metal, try a quick over spray with Testors Dullcoat, outside on a clear, dry day.

It may correct the problem for you. It has for me on several occasions when humidity has clouded over my painted miniatures.

steamingdave4720 Apr 2014 1:04 a.m. PST

Had this problem many years ago when I varnished some elephants for my 15 mm Sassanids. Think it's all down to the ratio of matting agent to solvent and how well they are mixed. Stirring until there is a really even mix seems to prevent it.
Did not know about the Testors trick-the elephants are still in a box somewhere as I could not face re painting them at the time, so might give it a try.

dick garrison20 Apr 2014 3:36 a.m. PST

Had this problem recently with a tin of Matt Varnish from Humbrol I decided it had been to cold so tried a test figure (heroscape plastic) using it in the garage with a fan heater blowing gently across from the side to get it warm (not hot) and had no problem plus dried really quickly! Have been told brushing on a little olive oil will cure white bits but haven't tried it (don't really want oily figures, might try the Dullcoat though, where can you get it in the UK?

Ceterman20 Apr 2014 3:59 a.m. PST

What dBerczerk said… It's worked several times for me also.

Mike the Analyst20 Apr 2014 6:28 a.m. PST

Yes I have had this problem as well. I usually take a lump from the base of the tin (matting agent) some solvent from the tin and mix these in a pallet (old tin lid) but than add some enamel thinner (not cellulose thinner).

paulalba21 Apr 2014 9:59 a.m. PST

Had the same bother with humbrol matt. The revell matt in the same style tub works really well.

Legion 421 Apr 2014 10:14 a.m. PST

Testor's Dull Cote is what I use … And alway spray in warm dry weather. I like to let it dry in sun light if poosible … In Winter I spray in the garage and quickly bring it inside to a warm room …

ddon123421 Apr 2014 12:04 p.m. PST

From what I've heard the matting agent naeeds to be on the surface of the varnish for it to work. This is because it diffuses the light as it exits the coat. So if you dry it quicker then less matting agent will reach the surface. I would think that re varnishing it will remove the white effect. Letting the varnish settle and taking some of the matting agent out of the bottom might make this tin useable again.

NappyBuff23 Apr 2014 4:57 a.m. PST

Before you strip the paint, try this first. If it works, great, if not, doesn't matter anyway.

I had this problem with some miniatures. But out of frustration I tried something radical. I have access to some very strong paint thinner (you can almost use it as plastic cement to glue plastic parts) that evaporates pretty fast. What I did was to dip the figure in quickly (don't soak!), pull out, and shake evenly. Set set until completely dry. Do not touch!

Turns out the thinner fixed it. Can't tell you how, but I guess it melted the top surface again, and when it dry and set up again, it took out whatever was causing the milky appearance (micro bubbles?).

You can brush the thinner on, but you will get brush strokes.

rabbit11 May 2014 4:39 a.m. PST

Try these for information and advice

TMP link

TMP link

TMP link

TMP link

It is not just Humbrol, GW purity seal does it too

The only spray I have heard that does not do it (yet) is Windsor and Newton Artists spray, however, I may be corrected shortly

I will NOT varnish when it is wet

I will NOT varnish when it is Humid

I will NOT varnish when it is Cold.

I live in the UK so don't varnish much!

I place figures by a warm radiator when they are varnished (I have heard some folk use a hair drier).

I feel your pain


cavalry4717 Aug 2014 12:42 p.m. PST


Having tried to soak some bases off of Figures I had bought on line, I fond that they were not detaching I went for total immersion as a solution, which worked.

However on the figures drying I got the dreaded Dull white frosting, initially I thought that this was the varnish washing off as the bottom half of the figure was not as bad as the top. Repeated immersion only made things worse when wet they looked good on drying they go duller and duller.

Having checked these boards I decided to try immersing them in water again to remove the opaque dull sheen then putting them in the oven Gas Mark 4 (190 degrees C). The Test figure came out great I then tried to do them on mass, Having set the 20 or so figures up half of them ell over as I went to put them in the oven. By the time I had them se up again they were already turning Opaque. I decided to do the two excellent painted French Generals, I stood the up right and being Mounted figures gave them 15 mins.

Disaster… The base melted and the figures fell over one the head fell off when I went to pick it up the other had turned one side into flats.

I then temporally based the Figures using superglue as they then need immersing to remove the opaque colour. 15 mins later I popped them in the Oven gas mark 3 (180 degrees C)

This worked, so my answer is

Base the figures so they wont fall down in the over Immerse the figures in water until clear and pop in the oven at Gas Mark 3 (180 Degrees C) for 10 minutes.

All th e figures came out clear again.

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