Applying A Black Wash To The White Versatile Plastic

Discussion in 'Miniatures and Scale Models' started by jscott991, Feb 12, 2020.

  1. jscott991
    jscott991 Member
    I recently bought a large miniature starship from a designer on Shapeways in the white nylon plastic (white versatile is the name now I think). Having been averse to this material for years, I was very wary of what it would look like. However, I was pleasantly surprised at the quality (I guess the large size helps).

    I want to paint the ship. I have read in many places that in order to make the white plastic look good, you have to follow some additional steps. The most common suggestion is to apply a glossy varnish to the model before trying to put any kind of a wash on it. A wash is necessary for the ship that I am painting because of all the numerous panel lines.

    Has anyone had experience doing this? If so, what kind of glossy varnish did you use?

    My one attempt to use a wash on the white plastic in the past resulted in the wash simply soaking into the model (even after using primer and dullcote from Testors) and largely disappearing, leaving no shade to the panel lines.
  2. You will need to put something on it, as delivered Versatile plastic is very porous, a wash will just soak in like a sponge and 'stain' for ant of a better word a whole patch. A couple of coats of something gloss should seal it up ready for a panel line wash.
  3. jscott991
    jscott991 Member
    What gloss product do you recommend? I generally use Testors, but I haven't been impressed with their glosscote in the past.
  4. Anyuta3D
    Anyuta3D Well-Known Member
    @ MotorsportTools,

    A "couple of coats" of gloss varnish would (?) seal the the very porous sponge-alike Versatile / WSF nylon, but it would also seal the panel lines too! Not to mention that with just a "couple of coats", there would be no effect at all. The Versatile / WSF nylon surface needs much more than a "couple of coats" sprayed with some thick enamel-based varnish to seal the pores. Same time, the varnish would also cover panel lines and seal detail there. And yes, there IS a reason scale modelers and hobyists who actually care for maximum detail invest just a little more and order items produced with FUD / FXD plastic. IF it was so simple or IF the Versatile / WSF nylon could get fixed with juuuust a "couple of coats" (and keep all panel lines untouched), anybody would do it.

    @ Jeremy Scott / jscott991,

    The quote "buying cheap will cost you a fortune" stands for a reason! Sorry mate, but even if you manage to seal the Versatile / WSF nylon surface by applying multiple (and not just "a couple") coats of gloss enamel-based varnish, the panel lines will be also covered under these enamel-based varnish layers, resulting very low (or zero) effect on dark washing later. Plus, a basic scale modeling rule you should know about says that basic paint (or varnish in our case) thinner should be different type of wash later. To explain better:

    • If you attempt to seal the porus Versatile / WSF nylon surface with enamel-based varnish, the wash mixture later should be acrylic-based.
    • If you plan to wash with enamel-based mix, your attempt to seal the porus Versatile / WSF nylon surface should be done with acrylic-based varnish.
    Considering the above and the fact that best dark washing effect is done with enamel-based mixtures and it will be difficult to seal the porus Versatile / WSF nylon surface with just "a couple" acrylic-based varnish only (so you'll need to use enamel based too), I am very curious to hear your news and see results - OK, to be honest, I already know what will happen, but I do not like to dissapoint you in advance.

    ...not to mention the additional cost for multiple varnish layers AND your personal effort AND the hours of additional work AND the risk to completely ruin the 3D printed miniature. And yes, that's the reason, scale modelrs do prefer FUD / FXD detailed plastic instead cheap porus sponge-alike nylons that can only build pet toys 'n' stuff.

    Long story short: Is it possible to seal the Versatile / WSF nylon surface by applying multiple (and not just "a couple") coats of gloss enamel-based varnish? Yes, it is possible (as long as you apply many coats one after the other), BUT all panel lines will also get covered by same "sealing" varnish layers - so, no panel lines any longer. The technique could be used (under conditions) to seal as possible Versatile / WSF nylon printed items, without expecting to maintain panel lines too.

    Anyuta 3D
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2020
  5. jscott991
    jscott991 Member
    I appreciate the plug for FUD. You don't need to push me for it. I stopped buying WSF a long time ago, but sadly the price changes implemented in 2019 mean that certain size models (with a certain height I think) are no longer possible in FUD. In fact, I think the model that I purchased at $100 in WSF, would be well over $1,000 in FUD and the designer no longer even bothers to offer it as an option on ships of this size.

    I'll have to do my best. I've definitely seen many WSF ships painted in a way that the panel lines are filled in so it is possible.