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"How long to wait before varnishing a miniature?" Topic

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532 hits since 2 Mar 2018
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Baranovich02 Mar 2018 11:18 a.m. PST

I know this has been asked a million times.

But I'm in the process of varnishing a number of newly finished wargaming units. I use both spray varnish and brush-on depending on the particular size of the mini. and which method is more practical. Brush-on varnish is great for indoor use in the winter when you don't have a ventilated place to spray. I did about 100 GW dwarves with Army Painter anti-shine brush on varnish and it works awesome.

But those dwarves sat painted for a good month before I varnished them.

So how long should you wait before varnishing? Is there a technical minimum time for acrylic paints to fully cure? Is it days? Weeks?

As a general rule of thumb I've always waited at least 24-48 hours before varnishing and it never seemed to be a problem.

But I'm wondering if you can do it much sooner than that? Like within a few hours. Or are you a modeler that doesn't wait at all and varnishes immediately after finishing a model?

Thanks in advance!

CeruLucifus02 Mar 2018 11:53 a.m. PST

There are so many variables. Read the instructions for the paint you are using. You may have to look at the instructions for the varnish from the same company.

Some paints specify you can topcoat or varnish them after either a small number of hours, for example 2-3, or else after a much longer curing period. I assume that is because there's a window where the paint is touch dry but not chemically cured so a topcoat can bond with it to create a continuous layer, but if you are past that, it's best to let the paint fully cure "hard" before adding another coat.

48 hours seems safe for acrylic paints. 1 week is obviously better. I admit I've varnished after 8 or 16 or 24 hours and gotten away with it. This is metal or hard plastic miniatures -- I've never painted soft plastic like army men.

Thomas O02 Mar 2018 12:09 p.m. PST

I always let them set for at least 24 hours usually longer, since I mostly spray them, I wait for the right humidity/temperature before taking them out to the garage to spray them.

jaztez02 Mar 2018 12:42 p.m. PST

I've varnished over acrylics within an hour of putting the last paint on.

attilathepun4702 Mar 2018 12:48 p.m. PST

I always let miniatures dry overnight before varnishing, and have never had a problem. By the time I get around to such tasks the next day, that is usually the better part of 24 hours, I suppose. There is one exception, however. If you ever decide to try using artist's oil paints, they take MUCH longer to dry completely--up to several weeks, depending on temperature and humidity conditions.

bruntonboy02 Mar 2018 12:58 p.m. PST

I tend to use the Army painter acrylics and can safely varnish using a brush on varnish* as soon as they are dry. Say ten minutes maximum. For a solvent based aerosol I would probably leave it a lot longer, especially as I usually wait until I have several dozen at least to spray anyway. You may need to take longer with metalic paints but suing AP ones I haven't seen anything amiss.

*I use either AP matt varnish/anti-shine or more usually Humbrol Acrylic #35 gloss varnish

Personal logo Striker Supporting Member of TMP02 Mar 2018 1:10 p.m. PST

I usually wait at least a day, not more than a week though.

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP02 Mar 2018 2:06 p.m. PST

I let it dry for an hour then spray. I use a variety of sealers, including Testors, Vallejo, cheap $1 USD store hair spray and scenic cement, depending. Never had a problem with any of them going over acrylic paints (Coat d'Arms, Vallejo, Reaper, Ceramcoat et. al.).

Vigilant02 Mar 2018 2:47 p.m. PST

I usually leave overnight, probably @ 16 hours on average. That's using acrylic auto lacquer over acrylic model paint (mainly Vallejo). Never had any problems.

MajorB02 Mar 2018 3:34 p.m. PST

I never use varnish. Never had any problems.

Joes Shop Supporting Member of TMP02 Mar 2018 4:31 p.m. PST

Usually at least 24 hours.

goragrad02 Mar 2018 6:46 p.m. PST

I have some that have been waiting for months.

Have been waiting to wrap up a couple of BBDBA armies. Probably should just do it.

Giles the Zog03 Mar 2018 2:35 a.m. PST

Usually 6+ hours, often overnight, mostly due to laziness than planned.
Waiting for glue on the base to thoroughly dry is however something I do plan around.

TheWarStoreSweetie Supporting Member of TMP03 Mar 2018 8:02 a.m. PST

I usually give the figs at least 24 hours to dry completely before sealing. And because gloss sealer under the matte sealer, I wait 24 hours between sealing coats as well. And it also depends greatly on temperature and humidity.

skinkmasterreturns03 Mar 2018 8:38 a.m. PST

Depends on the color.Some go after an hour, some I wait a day.Any red based colors get the full 24 hours.

Personal logo Flashman14 Supporting Member of TMP05 Mar 2018 5:21 a.m. PST

An overnight usually works for me – I don't paint in the evenings so probably not quite 24 hours.

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