Today I am brooding on the subject of dirt in wargaming. No, not the scuttlebutt and rumour, which we all enjoy I'm certain, but rather the physical dirt and dust which accumulates on figures over time.
Now, I am old and well learned on the subject of keeping your figures in tip-top condition and the one thing which perennially gets my goat, is dusty figures.
Dust can be the break point for a buyer when there's a bargain to be had, and believe me, I've repeatedly grabbed a bargain when someone else has dithered because they see dusty figures.
I look beyond the dust and if I see the marks of a tidy paint job, I am in with the wallet. I have literally heard gasps of disbelief as I hand over a four figure sum for boxed of dust covered models, but in the end I have had the last laugh.
Take a look at the following pics (click to enlarge):
In the first pic you can see, the dusted, but still markedly faded models, as they arrived with me from the seller.
In this pic, you see figures from the same collection, now given a coat of GOOD QUALITY anti-UV gloss acrylic varnish. Note how simply by doing this, the colours and detail are revealed. Whipping them off the old and scruffy bases, and mounting them on good MDF bases also brings out the gems in the rubble.
Another over shot of the lot, just to give some comparisons. I have used the 'average' figures rather than the higher end models.
Now, once the basing is complete, I'll matte them down with a professional artist grade varnish, which will give them a strong matte finish without the loss of colour or rough texture you will get if you just matted them. Some say that a quick matte varnish will deal with dust, but it won't I assure you. It will dull them all the more.
Figures treated this way, can - if you allow them to get dusty in future - be held by the base and washed under the tap (faucet) if you have varnished them properly in the first place.
So, I know I am giving away some of the secrets which allow me to get large numbers of figures when others are up against me in the race to acquire them (but of course I always offer more than the others anyway, and try to pay cash on the spot) but it may inspire more of you to take a risk on what looks like a lost cause, but which in the long run will be an army which will bring you a lot of pleasure.