Flat \"protective\" finish
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Thread: Flat \"protective\" finish

  1. #1

    Default Flat \"protective\" finish

    I am fairly new to the painting scene. In fact, I couldn\'t blend colors on an uneven surface to save my life. Hehe. Along with this newbyism comes my lack of knowledge concerning a \"protective\" coat product.

    Right now, all I see are varnishes that make the mini look like it\'s been dipped in oil. Too shiny! I want the mini to maintain the same look that it does after painting with my GW acrylics, yet protect it from the pizza-stained, acidic gamer fingers.


    Veander :bouncy:

  2. #2


    The best solution is probably a thin coat or two of a clear gloss finisher, followed up by a thin coat or two of Testor\'s dullcote. Testor\'s dullcote is probably the most popular flat finisher around here -- I\'ve used it for several months now and have only been disappointed once, when it seemed to react with my superglue after gluing on static grass. The problem was that I didn\'t allow enough time for the glue to dry, so it ended up looking like the grass had little white snowflakes. (5 minutes between static grass and varnishing is not long enough!)

    Make sure you let every coat dry before applying the next one, and make sure every coat is thin.

  3. #3
    Coffin Dodger / Keymaster airhead's Avatar
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    Default concur with Dullcoat

    Two coats of dullcoat will not make them bulletproof, but will protect them from handling. Played minis will get worn on the edges no matter what you do short of encasing them in a cube of resin.

  4. #4

    Default Semi-gloss varnish

    flat varnish tends to cause a \"clouding\" effect on the mini if applied too thickly.

    glossy, yes it looks like it just finish swimming in a pool of oil.

    Semi-gloss varnish, no matter how many layers you apply, it does cause any of the two effects.

    However, I will recommend using different types of varnish for different parts of the minis. Eg. if you want a shiny glossy look to a blade, use glossy varnish. For ghouls (as an eg.), deliberately applying flat varnish to create the cloudy effect can lend a sense of \"age\" to it. After all, they have been six feet underground all this time. :D

  5. #5

    Default Finishing models.

    The first thing I would suggest is to experiment in order to find out what suits you. Find a method that works and try to stick to it. DO NOT use a new technique or brand of varnish on a model you have been working on for days. I know this seems blindingly obvious but I bet most of us have been guilty and have suffered as a result.:~(
    If you are painting a model for display plain dullcote is fine - couple of thin layers.
    If you are painting a piece that will be handled a lot however, an initial coat of clear polyurethane varnish will provide excellent protection, but as you say, will also make it look like it has been dipped in chipfat. This is easily remedied however by subsequent dullcote applications.
    I stress once again however that you will need to experiment. It has been known for varnishes to react with one another!
    Practice on scrappy pieces until you get the effect you desire.

  6. #6


    I always read to put one or two coats of clear then one or two coats of dull.

    Does anyone have any empirical (oh heck, even anecdotal) evidence that the undercoating is necessary?

    Is it just based on the theory that more coats is better protection and the clear stuff is less image-distorting?

  7. #7

    Default Is undercoating necessary?

    (I presume you mean \'overcoating\' not undercoating?)
    I think you have a point, but it depends upon what is going to actually happen to the mini after you have painted it. If it\'s going to go in a glass case or under a glass dome then you probably don\'t need to work about a protective coat. If it is going to be handled then IMO a protective varnish of some kind is essential. Polyurethane is supposed to give the best protection cos it is roughly the same stuff they use on polished floors and boat fittings. Most people don\'t want the gloss finish however. I have given a miniature several coats of polyurethane varnish and it ended up looking like it had been encapsulated in resin - a light coat of the matt spray I used however made it look like it had not been varnished at all. In fact I have a problem sometimes cos I can\'t remember if I\'ve varnished a figure or not and I often can\'t tell simply by looking at it. That sounds like the kind of result Veander was after?

  8. #8


    Yeah that does sound like the result. Matt spray huh? What one do you use exactly? I will buy it and try it too.



  9. #9


    Testor\'s Dull Coat . .
    I do the method mentioned at the top - 1 of Gloss, then 2 of the Dull

  10. #10

    Default undercoat

    I meant \"undercoat\" as in under the final coat. Clear varnish under the matt.

    Finn, your response sounds like the matt finish doesn\'t actually do any protecting and that you need the poly for protection and the spray is just to kill the shine. So just using matt without the gloss under it wouldn\'t protect as well???

  11. #11


    I jus tried out the one gloss - 2 dull method on me latest mini last nite.. and it works really well...... colours are all clear and it actually gives a nice smooth but matt feel.......:)

    thanks to whoever suggested it:)

  12. #12

    Default spray or brush?

    do you think it\'s better to apply the finish (glossy or flat) by brush or spray?and why?

  13. #13


    I personally prefer the spray - mostly because it\'s quicker . . . I selectively brush parts after my second coat of dull coat dries - like gems, etc, if I want a sheen seperate from the dull cote.

  14. #14

    Default Varnish

    Sorry Veander, I can\'t recall the name of the matt finish I use. It\'s not that I\'m senile, just a continent away from home. I live in England and Testors isn\'t common there so I found a German matt spray in a \'proper\' art shop and found it worked perfectly. I think the name was something like \'Efbe\'? But not sure.
    Vince, the matt varnish I use does give a considerable amount of protection and is more than adequate for most models. It\'s really a \'belts and braces\' approach. The polyurethane gloss gives \"a diamond hard\" finish. (At least that\'s what it says on the tin:D). And I know from my boating and fishing experiences that there is no matt finish that will stand up to EXTREMELY hard useage that\'s why I double up. A big advantage is that if damage should occur you can patch up and dust off with matt again - good as new!
    If I was using matt on its own I would give two to three thin coats for protection. If I have polyurethaned first I only give a very light dusting, just enough to remove the shine.

  15. #15


    Originally posted by Lai
    do you think it\'s better to apply the finish (glossy or flat) by brush or spray?and why?

    but no matter how many coats I put on.... personally I like a matt finish unless its specific areas I wanna glossy look....
    then I apply with a brush separately....

  16. #16
    Big Mean Elf

    Default Future is your freind if u dull coat after...

    I often add a tad of Future floor blah blah in my paints as it is a fine acrylic seal I mean you can walk on the stuff with boots on,lol...:D

    This keeps paint from rubbing off on you,for those of us that hold m`em while we paint `em.

    I do.
    I like to touch things you know.

    The bennies of this is that your paint runs smoother,and when in a wartered down wash or glave it works mo betta to,specially if your adding a tad of white glue to keep your washes in the deep recesses of your work.

    Any how,this will keep your junk from rub`n off while you work,but it helps the paint flow to,O.K. I`m rambl`n on now,ain`t I...Point is you can get the same effect with this method as you can in drownding your figure with 35 layers of sealer.
    But you will need to hit `em with a light dusting of Dull Coat,after the painting is completed,as Future leaves a bit of a gloss look.

    Then just come back with a brush on gloss for eye peeps and tounges,slim ect.


  17. #17
    Big Mean Elf

    Default Well...I ain`t no expert...but...

    Originally posted by vincegamer
    I always read to put one or two coats of clear then one or two coats of dull.

    Does anyone have any empirical (oh heck, even anecdotal) evidence that the undercoating is necessary?

    Is it just based on the theory that more coats is better protection and the clear stuff is less image-distorting?
    How`s that eye ball?

    Well I have done both...painting on bare metal,and on primed metal..

    I find that the primed stuff works better...I have even done the future over a figure,then paint approach.

    I know painters that just wash there figures and then paint with no primer.

    I guess it depends on what your try`n to do.

    I mean I have had great results from doing a clear future wash with a touch of black and a bit of white glue,on a all armoured figuure,then just painting the leathers and skine right over the glaze.

    Then you can also polish your stuff or glaze it after,just to many ways to paint,best thing to do is what works for you !

    I think....


  18. #18


    Like i have said before and will say again..washes are not your friend! to do a kick butt figure avoid washes if at all possible.

  19. #19

    Default two coats

    I always subscribed to the 2 coat method for gaming figures that were going to be handled - a gloss coat followed by a matte. It works for me.

    However I noticed two side effects: it tends to reduce the effect of subtle shading - evening it out. Sometimes this isn\'t a bad thing but you do need to allow for it. Secondly some of my really old minis now look distinctly darker and dingier than they did when they started out.

    The varnish I used was Humbrol, pretty much all you could get at one time, sometimes sprayed and sometimes brushed on. Polyurethane tends to be less prone to cloudiness than acrylic varnishes, in my experience, but both require really thorough mixing before application.

    Personally I love Dullcote for display figs but I wouldn\'t trust it to protect a figure that was handled.

  20. #20
    arthur jermyn


    Seems like everyone is recommending testors dull cote. The question is - can I get some in the UK? I can\'t find it and some mail order companies tell me that importing it from America isn\'t possible because of restrictions on the export of solvents! Help! I\'d love to try it...

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