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    I’ve been painting my Cthulhu Wars miniatures, which are made of PVC.  I use GW and Vallejo acrylics, and brush coat them with Vallejo matte varnish.

    After painting around 30 of them, I noticed that they are slightly sticky to touch.

    Do I have to worry about this getting worse over time?

    Is there anything I can do with them to reduce or eliminate this?


    Is it the model or the varnish that is sticky?


    Noel I have had a similar problem with Caesar plastic figures, normally I matt varnish my figures.  Sadly with Caesar figures after a few weeks the varnish turns from matt to gloss and the figure goes sticky.  I undercoat all my figures and I think it must be the oils used in the making of the figure that is causing the reaction, I have tied to re-varnish but after a few weeks it go glossy and sticky again.  My solution is not to varnish the figures and they stay matt and don’t go sticky.  do you undercoat your figures, I thought it might be the acrylic paint/ varnish reacting with the plastic / PVC oils.  I tried using enamel undercoat but the figures went glossy after I had varnished them, so it seems to be a reaction between the varnish and the plastic PVC?


    I feel like the model is okay prior to putting on the varnish, with just the acrylic paint.

    I don’t prime the models with anything other than acrylic paint, although I did buy a Vallejo primer to try out recently.

    This hasn’t happened with metal or other plastics.  I’ve used these two paint brands for twenty-ish years.

    I normally varnish for protection from rough handling.  I feel like the paint comes off of these guys a little too readily, so the varnish seems extra important to have.  I’ve even washed them prior to painting, which I’ve never done with other models.

    The cultists that have been painted and aired out for a year or so don’t seem (as) tacky.  Perhaps a nice layer of dust has settled on them?  I think I could live with it if this is not going to be a continuous reaction and the effect will reduce over time.


    Although my friends and I love this game, for me it was extra cool due to all the miniatures that I’d have to paint and port into other settings.  Now that I have so many done, I feel stuck/committed to finishing them!

    I should have taken more chemistry in school…



    I have had a similar problem with Caesar plastic figures

    William, are Caesar figures made of PVC? I don’t have any, but have been considering them for some time.

    I have no idea what plastic material they are made of Tim, I can’t work out why they go shinny and tacky after using varnish.  I like Caesar figures and can highly recommend them they are excellent figures, as I said I don’t varnish Caesar figures and always use a sharp knife when trimming of the few flash lines.


    Sane Max

    I have an awful lot of Caesar figures, and have never encountered a problem with them. I paint with Coat d’arms acrylics, which are pretty similar to Vallejo in make-up, however I use a different varnish to you – I won’t say the name, but it really DOES do exactly what it says on the tin.

    I HAVE encountered a ‘figure feels sticky’ problem with some figures – they were metal. so I wonder if the problem is the PAINT not getting on with the varnish. My chemistry qualifications are, I hasten to point out, a ‘U’ in Chnistry O’ Level, so I am prepared to be proven wrong on this 🙂

    I am not sure models are made of PVC either 🙂

    Mr. Average

    What’s the weather like when you apply the paint? That sometimes has an effect on it. Paint binders sometime won’t evaporate completely when it’s too warm or too humid, and that will leVe the paint slightly tacky. Also some formulations of resin (not plastic, but still as an example) have emulsifiers in the, that are kind of oily, and they work their way to the surface when the temperature rises beyond a certain point.

    And also, some plastics have a heavier than usual mold release on them,which can also reject paint. If worse comes to worst, you could strip the figures, five the, a good degreasing, and then spray prime them before painting them again.this has given me good results in the past. Watching the weather and aiming for a warmish day (60-75 degrees Fahrenheit) and humidity in the 40-50% range, gives me better results with priming and painting.


    Tim, when I bought the game I only knew “plastic figures”, much like the kind that many boardgames have.  I’ve seen a lot of talented painting of them on line (Duff has an entire thread dedicated to these on LAF).  They are a soft plastic, like William’s Caesar models (I had Caesar samurai a long time ago).  I didn’t expect the highest quality plastic, but they seem better than some others.

    The publisher refers to them as PVC.  Perhaps they are wrong.

    Mr. Average, I’ve painted these over the course of a year.  I am not sure the conditions for when I painted each of these.  But I will try to avoid hot and humid days.



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