Miniatures pt68 – Hyenamen

Where’s part 67? I’ve had some issues with the miniatures of pt67 and pt68. More specifically varnish frosting. I’ve handled pt68 much better, hence they’re ready for photography before pt67, but let me explain.

What is varnish frosting? It’s a dreaded effect that causes varnish to dry in a semi opaque white colour instead of transparent clear.

Why does it happen? generally it happens mostly with spray can varnishes when they’re used in cold or humid weather.

I’m using a brush on water based varnish, so in my case the fault was entirely mine, and the most probable root cause quite different. I’ve been using this bottle of varnish for quite some time, and has almost emptied, and part of the remaining varnish at the bottom had started becoming dense.

I foolishly tried to salvage that part by adding some water, considering that it’s a water based varnish and also that I thin my varnish with water during application for a thin film layer.

This must have ruined some properties of the varnish by either changing the ratio, or reactivated only some part of the varnish ingredients, with some other substances changing in chemistry or evaporating altogether. I’ve come to this conclusion because I never had any issues with this particular varnish until then. And I verified it because it happened in the first set of minis (pt67) and when I used it again in this set.

How did I try to fix it? So at the elves of pt67, I was stressed when I noticed it, and started searching frantically online for a solution. Unfortunately I went with the first solution I found which was the use of a very thin layer of olive oil applied with a cotton bud. It worked! Frosting was like 80% removed! But… olive oil is a non drying oil. Meaning it will remain forever liquid, and go rancid. So I tried removing it, which was quite difficult because I already had applied static grass to the base of the miniatures. I removed most of it with warm water rinsing and carefully use of paper towels. After this, the miniatures had a matte semi frosted look, and some parts looked an tad bit oily. I put them aside and worked with my Hyenamen.

At the time, I wasn’t certain I had ruined the varnish, so I used it with the Hyenamen I got from Splintered Light. Ben Siens has crafted some excellent sculpts and it shows. Loved painting these, but after some time, unfortunately they had varnish frosting too.

This time I was ready to try something else. I considered my options, and although it wasn’t mentioned online, I decided to go ahead and try some clarified linseed oil that I had from my oil paints set. See, linseed oil dries hard. It cures by oxidation. It has some yellow tint, but doesn’t go bad, and it also provides an amount of protection because the layer is tough. So I applied a thin layer of linseed oil to the Hyenamen.

Before and after application of linseed oil

As you can see in my comparison photo above, the results are very good.

So afterwards, I went back to my not-salvaged-yet pt67 miniatures and after using some mineral spirits to further remove any olive oil residue, I applied a layer of my clarified linseed oil.

Linseed oil takes a few days, to several weeks (or even months!) to dry, so they’re not ready for photography yet.

A word of warning, is that after applying linseed oil, acrylics will no longer work on top of the oil layer. Maybe a thicker layer of oil paint if one wishes to paint on top. If you want to varnish, you’ll have to wait a few months and follow up with a non-water based varnish. I have a couple of these (it was a wrong purchase as these have smelly fumes – I thought was buying water based ones) and I may use them in the future. I have no worries though because my miniatures are protected from use as they’re varnishes already under the linseed oil layer.

So, without further ado, here’s my Splintered Light Hyenamen (or Gnolls).

Hyenaman warrior
Hyenaman warrior
Hyenaman warrior
Hyenaman warrior
Hyenaman warrior
Hyenaman captain
Hyenaman warrioress
Hyenaman shaman