It’s a mournful Saturday for me and my proud Space Marines…
Today was the day that my local GW hobby center was hosting Armies on Parade. I had intentions on attending to exhibit my army as well as get in a game or two, but to do such was not my fate. My entire army has not been matte varnished and I thought I should probably do so before showing it off. As you’ve probably already guessed and/or cringed… they frosted.
I did start with a test model that came out perfectly fine, so I proceeded to spray an entire squad of ten. All of my hard work ruined. The once brilliant red dulled and defaced. See the originals. I did recall a tip; to get rid of the frosting use rubbing alcohol. Big Mistake! The below is what rubbing alcohol will do. It exacerbates the issue ten fold.
There is actually two entirely different things which are both generally referred to as “frosting” and these occur in one of two ways. Cloudiness – After the varnish dries it takes on a cloudy or milky appearance. This is an adhesion problem. When the varnish does not properly cling to the model surface. Frost (above picture) – After the varnish dries it looks like it was just removed from a deep freeze. This is a surface issue where thousands of microscopic pits develop and refract light in all directions. This could be due to the surface the varnish was applied to or an uneven coat. To tell which is the case; take a clean brush with some clean water and go over the whole model. If the cloudiness does NOT go away than you have an adhesion issue. If the frosty look DOES disappear than it’s a surface issue. The water fills all of the microscopic pits to create a smooth surface that light can bounce off of in a single direction.
If you have an adhesion issue than I’m sorry to say, it’s time to get the Simple Green and start over. (Some have had success using rubbing alcohol to remove the cloudiness, but I strongly discourage this unless you have nothing to lose. See the above picture.) However, if it’s a surface issue you’re not entirely out of luck. To try and correct the surface issue you need to fill in all of those tiny pits. You can varnish the model again with a gloss varnish and then try a matte medium again or if the frosting isn’t too bad, you can try Microscale Industries Micro Flat.
Micro Flat is a liquid resin that dries crystal clear. It can fill those microscopic holes and help get rid of the frosty look. Here’s an example of a frosted Space Marine and then one I went over with Micro Flat.
Micro Flat does have a bit of a shine to it, but it’s not bad and could most likely be reduced if diluted with a bit of water. I painted the above model with Micro Flat straight out of the bottle. Micro Flat’s true design is actually a decal finisher. If you’ve ever used decals you’ll know that once dry they tend to have a close to gloss finish. Micro Flat can be applied to tone down the decals shine and seal it into place.
Unfortunately I’m still going to bin the whole squad that got frosted. So the next couple of days I”m going to be in full throttle hobby mode trying to pump out another tactical squad so I can get this army back onto the table top.