Instanced static meshes, no material change update

Imported a Datasmith scene.

Selecting a geometry in my content browser, of which there are multiple static meshes of this in the level as it was an instance within 3dsMax before export.

I go to edit the mesh, I change the material, on say the chrome elements, to a duplicate I’ve pre-made in Unreal, (as these are lost on re-import) and save the asset. Why is the change of material only applied to the geometry and not the mesh actors??

Am I missing something? Do I have to select every necessary actor and apply the material, seems a bit of a long way around.

If you add the correct material to the mesh in use it will be used on any actors you set it on by default.

However, I believe if you have previously set the material to something else, other than the default one for that mesh it will use that one.

There should be a little orange/yellow thing next to the Material on your actors, which means setting a variable back to default. This should use the material used on the mesh.

Thanks. I read something like that but wasn’t sure about how it works in practice. I’m now discovering how to use materials correctly, whether on the geometry or the reference in the level, along with material instances.
The Datasmith re-import process does seem a little flawed though. I’ve just discovered something else that’s not working as I understand it should.

I made changes within my max scene and re-imported the whole Datasmith file, without materials or textures.

Image 1 is how it came in. We are looking at the line of balcony sections with chequers. They should have the same timber floor material as the corner, a duplicated and edited Unreal material.

I selected the asset, reset that element material to chequerboard, re-applied the timber slat material, and here is the result, it’s not visible on the mesh.

Strangely, if I add any other duplicated and edited material from my Unreal scene, it does become visible.

I do not understand what’s happening here. I read Felix’s comments on another thread about making a duplicate and re-applying to re-imported assets, but what’s happening here?? The whole scene was exported. Only models I altered or added were imported without materials, as I expected them to. I have materials to apply to them within my scene, but what’s happening with this balcony?

I can view element 0 if I apply a new mat, but not the timer slats in element1. I’m doing things correctly?