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Made in fr
Fresh-Faced New User


Hello folks.

I have a recurring problem of tackiness with my miniatures once varnished.

I use either Talens 115 Matt Varnish, or Pébéo Matt Varnish (both in spray) to varnish my minis. Then, depending on the miniatures, they can or cannot be tacky/sticky (even after several days of drying). I fix this with a soft spray of GW Purity Seal - yes, hoping not to see the dreaded white stains, but I keep it light. It makes them instantly good to the touch, and I thought I had it covered using this method.

But I had a game of Zombicide yesterday, that I finished painting 2 months ago. The minis had been varnished for a while now, and they were good even last week. Yet they were tacky yesterday. I did some investigation in older games to discover some others had become tacky, even if they had been good for months ! So, maybe the heat is triggering some reaction.

Though, that's really annoying. I'm sure I could get rid of it with a new spray of Purity Seal... but for how long ?

Is there a know combination that I'm doing and should be avoided ? (I prime with GW white primer)
Is there a know solution of varnish that fix that tackiness for good ?

I do think I use my varnish the way I should. I always wash my minis with soap before priming. I shake the hell out of my varnish for 4 minutes before varnishing. I don't do it in full sun, neither in cold, neither in moist. I keep an eye on my average distance, and I don't abuse on the varnish.

Thank you for any help !

Made in gb
Lord Commander in a Plush Chair


In not sure of the products you're using but you can get reactions between different layers of paint especially if you mix water based and solvent based paints.
Made in fr
Fresh-Faced New User


Thanks for your suggestion.

I mainly use GW paints, and on 90% of my models, I could even say only use.

Made in gb
Wrathful Warlord Titan Commander

Ramsden Heath, Essex

GW paint is pretty inert so I would suggest it will be as a result of the Varnishes reacting to one another.

Have you tried getting an alternate brand? You appear to have 2 different makes of varnish. you are less likely to have a reaction if both Gloss and matt varnishes are from the same company.

Are you leaving enough time between each coat before applying the next. I would suggest 24hrs even for products that suggest they are dry in 2hrs - that may just mean touch dry rather than cured.

How do you promote your Hobby? - Legoburner "I run some crappy wargaming website " 
Made in us
Ultramarine Master with Gauntlets of Macragge

Boston, MA

Are you waiting a while between coats of varnish? I can't imagine what's causing that, but when I varnish minis I usually put 12-24 hours between layers.

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Made in gb
Dakka Veteran

South East London

I have just looked up Talens 115 matt varnish and although it is an acrylic varnish it isn't water based it's spirit based.

It also contains turpentine and white spirit.

This may be your problem, although the product description does state it's suitable for acrylic paint, which in my experience any spirit based product isn't.

I can't however see any problem with the pebeo varnish, but the two could be reacting with one another or the Talens is reacting to the paint.

I would suggest only ever using water based varnished when varnishing over GW / Citadel (or Vallejo, Reaper, P3 etc) paints.

Water based acrylic paints don't tend to react well with any spirit based paints or varnishes so this could well be the problem.

As suggested I would also stick to the same brand as they will have been product tested fully to be compatible.

And also waiting 24 hours between coats is a good idea as it will stop "fogging".

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2013/07/30 15:38:09

"Dig in and wait for Winter" 
Made in fr
Fresh-Faced New User


Thanks a lot for the great suggestions.

I've been using the Talens since it is so often quoted. Whenever I tried to look for a good varnish for miniatures, that always was the top one.

I didn't knew about the water/spirit thing, and will take it into account.

I do wait 24 hours or more between 2 layers.

One funny thing to consider also, is this doesn't affect all games, at all, even if they are all varnished the same. It seems related to the type of plastic (so far, City of Thieves, War of the Ring and Zombicide have been tacky).

Do you have a good, test-proofed water based varnish I may use without fearing the fogging effect (what i mean is I don't want to rely on GW varnish anymore) ?

On a final note, do you think I can get rid of that tackiness with adding new layers of water based varnish ? Maybe a strong layer of bright varnish, and then a matt one ?

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2013/07/30 21:54:10

Made in sg
Sneaky Lictor

Is it possible to eliminate the fogging effect completely? There's a variety of causes to it, from mixing of the varnish in the can, to the ambient temperature and humidity.

My go-to varnish is Testor's Dullcote. Great stuff, but the cellulose in it tends to pool at the bottom of the can, so you'd need to soak it in lukewarm water for 2 mins or so, then shake the can violently for another 2 mins, prior to spraying. Dullcote also doesn't react well to humidity.

The good thing about it is that if it clouds your miniature, another light dust of it will make the varnish clear again.

If you've got a tacky fig, Dragonsreach on CMON has a good suggestion:

"Put it in the Airing cupboard for a couple of days, the warmth should help with the Varnish 'baking'.
Of course it depends on whose Varnish you used, both GW & Army Painter normally dry within 24 hours................BUT with the unusually hot weather in the UK ATM it may be that the varnish isn't being mixed properly with the propellant. (Just had a Primer misbehave on me because of the heat, kinda my fault should thought and have given it more rattle)"

Made in us
GW Public Relations Manager (Privateer Press Mole)

Moving to painting/modeling---probably better bites in here

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Made in fr
Fresh-Faced New User


We have no Airing cupboard in France, I actually had to look what the heck is this =D

Alright, Dullcote seems to be liked on the web.
What do you recommend ? Spray Dullcote on its own ? A first layer of Glosscote ?

It's an enamel coat, is that okay related to the water/spirit thing ?

Thank you for any tips =)

Made in sg
Sneaky Lictor

Dullcote seems to be safe whether you're using a water-based or oil-based paint. I've used oil washes over standard Vallejo and GW paints, then Dullcoted over with no issue.

If you're gaming with your miniatures, then a first spray of Glosscote is probably in order, followed with a short dust of Dullcote to kill the shine.

If it's purely for display, then you'll just want to lightly dust Dullcote over your miniature. If you want a second or third coat, same thing - wait until the initial coat is fully dry, then dust lightly again. I generally give Dullcote an entire day to dry, but Testors will tell you that a light coat of the varnish will dry in under 15 mins in a dry climate.

Be warned - too many layers of dusting Dullcote will turn your miniature just as shiny as Glosscote!

You can also safely and easily paint over Dullcote without any issues.

Made in fr
Perfect Shot Ultramarine Predator Pilot


Hi compadre !
I use Pebeo mat varnish. I am really satisfied with it on most of my miniatures.

But I painted a toy hydra, made of some sort of soft plastic, for my WHFB army. I put varnished on it, and everything was absolutely fine for months. So I let it in my army case, since I haven't played WHFB for a while.
Sadly, like 6 month laters I discovered it had turned sticky. Not too much, but it's a bit shiny and sticks a bit too. I put one more coat of varnish (pebeo, same as previously). It solved the problem. But only for a month or two. Now it's sticky again.

All I can say is that I discovered it was sticky in winter (february) so I'm not certain it has something to do with the temperature. I guess it's rather some kind of chemical reaction between soft plastics and varnish.

I painted a whole zombicide set last november, for the moment I don't have any problem with the varnish on those models. Neither on the zombies that were dipped in woodstain, nor on the survivors that were painted "normally".

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2013/07/31 14:17:23

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Made in fr
Fresh-Faced New User


Very well very well, good knowledge here !

I've also been very happy with Pébéo (or Talens actually) when it doesn't become sticky. It's an excellent varnish... it works like a charm on metal, that much is sure, and on some plastic. I'm with you on this, it seems related to soft plastic.

I'll go with Dullcote and will try to solve the stickiness issue. I'll report when I have news of this test.

Thanks everyone so far - don't hesitate to keep suggesting.

Made in fr
Fresh-Faced New User


I've tested with Zombicide and War of the Ring (both tacky).

They got a layer of Glosscote, and then Dullcote the next day.
So far they are perfect to the touch, very smooth. The colors remained unchanged.

We'll see if it stays not-tacky !

Anyway Testors varnish seems top-notch indeed.

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