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"Multiple coats of matte brush-on varnish?..." Topic


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542 hits since 31 Mar 2018
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Baranovich31 Mar 2018 8:56 p.m. PST

So after several posts asking about various aspects of varnishing, I find myself asking more questions than I have definitive answers.

I have pretty much sworn off spray varnishes in favor of brush-on varnishes. Mostly because I can do it indoors any time of the year and not have to deal with outside factors. Only exception are larger individual models for which I use Testors Dullcote spray.

But I am still very much vexed with regards to some of the supposed do's and don'ts. For spray varnish I generally only do one coat of matte, I don't hassle with gloss coat first.

For the majority of smaller minis. aka armies I do as I said brush-on matte. Almost always just one coat for plastics and let it be.

But for metal minis. I wanted a bit more protection. Rather than use gloss first I wanted to try two coats of matte. I tried it tonight on several metal minis. and they look perfect.

Now supposedly one of the cardinal sins is to NEVER do matte varnish in two or more coats because it can cloud or frost or silver the finish, or otherwise cause reflective problems.

Well, none of that happened tonight! They are just fine!

So on some modeling forums people say they do several coats of matte no problem and have always done so. Others say it ruined minis. and it should never be done.

So…what exactly is the deal here??? I don't get it. Are people just reporting their own individual bad experience and then it gets spread as a definitive rule? How can one person say that for an unrelated example auto primer is the best thing to use for metal minis. and someone else says it's the worst, most harmful thing? Both can't be true!! Not two polar opposites that far apart! It can't be both the best thing professionals use and also the worsr thing to use at the same time!

So, how come if you aren't supposed to ever do multiple coats of matte varnish people report doing it as a normal course of their modeling and report that it's no problem whatsoever? Is it a rule for only spray varnish? Is it just BS? Only for certain brands?

Incidentally the varnish I did multiple coats with is Army Painter anti-shine brush-on. And the minis. look flawless. Now guys, here's the kicker!! It says right on the bottle (as does Vallejo's brush varnish) to use in SEVERAL THIN COATS. The manufactuer itself is TELLING you on the bottle that it's ok to do several coats!…please don't tell me this is some secret or that their very own instructions are a trick! WHY would they do that???

More confused than ever!

D A THB31 Mar 2018 10:40 p.m. PST

You may be forgetting that products change over the years due to improvements in formulas of the Varnish.

I once put several coats of brush on Varnish (Humbrol) on a 20mm figure to get rid of a gloss finish. The figure ended up a horrible fat blob so I stripped it and repainted and never used a Gloss coat again.

Lately i spray coat figures using Dullcoat and then use pebeo Matt to get rid of any gloss parts with out any problems.

WarWizard01 Apr 2018 4:22 a.m. PST

I use brush on all the time. Some figures I have done only once, some more than once. Never has any problems. Never ever occurred to me that I could should only do 1 coat.
For my 28mm ACW armies I am using the dip. wait 24 hours. then brush on Testors Dullcote, then brush on matte varnish. No problems so far.

MajorB01 Apr 2018 4:40 a.m. PST

I never use varnish.

Personal logo jeffreyw3 Supporting Member of TMP01 Apr 2018 5:22 a.m. PST

I think the operating word here is, "thin," and I find that brush-on (at least the way I do it) is much thicker than one coat of spray matte varnish. (I'm reasonably careful with the application, I clear up pools, etc.). I also found that when I used two brush-on coats of matte that faces could get obscured a bit, at which point, I switched to a first coat of gloss then matte. After further testing, (I move figures on the table by picking up the mini, not the base), a single coat of matte seemed to hold up quite well on both metals and plastics. It also saved the time to apply one coat of varnish, which can add up with cavalry or vehicles. (This is with Vallejo varnish + Winsor & Newton Spray)

Lonkka1Actual01 Apr 2018 7:14 a.m. PST

If I want thicker varnish layers I first paint with gloss and then finish off with matte

foxweasel01 Apr 2018 12:07 p.m. PST

I do one coat of B & Q gloss, then Winsor & Newton spray Matt, finally touching up any shiny bits with Vallejo brush on Matt. It's a bit of an affectation doing the gloss, but I like to think it protects them more.

Timmo uk01 Apr 2018 2:43 p.m. PST

I think any of us can only offer anecdotal evidence of what works for us and how our ideas have changed either through research or practical experience. For example, I had figures go yellow that was down to the varnish so I won't ever use that brand or type again and yet others haven't had the problem so their experience and opinion differs to mine.

With regard to auto primer, if you spray hi-build primer on a hot day you can waft on ultra thin coats and nobody would know it was hi-build but it is hopeless in cold weather. So there should really be a caveat added. In hot weather on 18mm figures I can get a perfect result using auto acid etch. In the winter it's hopeless. I think the issue is that most of us don't really qualify our statements and sometimes it's hard to recall the tricks used to get the best out of a product. For example, I use a brush on varnish but I doctor it before use. I could recommend the product but unless I tell you about the way I use it you or anybody might say it's the worst product in the world.

Varnish I brush on. I use gloss to seat the surface and to protect the colour. I've found that a direct coat of matt discolours the paint. However, your experience may not give the same result, depending on what varnish you use.

ernieR01 Apr 2018 6:48 p.m. PST

the problem with varnish clouding seems to be related to humidity . some people never have a problem , some always do , and some only have it in the summer months . depends where you live .

being in a place that has high humidity in the summer months , and snow and freezing temps in the winter i do brush on primer and varnish .
for plastics i normally just do matte , using Liquitex Matte Acrylic Varnish from an art supply store .
for metals i do a coat of Pledge 'with Future shine!' floor polish first . never had a problem with wearing paint off by handling minis .

Elenderil04 Apr 2018 5:45 a.m. PST

I have used a number of different brands and types of varnish over the years usually a brush on type. The only one that caused any problems was my original choice of Humbrol Gloss enamel varnish which yellowed very quickly but that was 50 years ago!!!

Nowadays I use a coat of gloss then a coat of matt. In summer on dry days I have used Humbrol spray matt and had no problems with it clouding, but I'm in a low humidity part of the UK. I have used Valejo brush on gloss and Matt without problems and I bought o big pot of artists Matt Varnish (Hobbycraft own brand) which is also working fine over gloss.

I suspect that we are not particularly rigorous in ensuring we always do things the same way every time which is why we get varying results.

Personal logo Sgt Slag Supporting Member of TMP04 Apr 2018 2:47 p.m. PST

My limited research indicated that you can make your own matte clear coat, by adding talcum powder to gloss clear paint/acrylic/varnish. My working assumption is that the talcum particles may vary in suspension, or additional coats build it up to the level where it becomes visible, and makes a cloudy appearance over the paint, beneath it. That's my theory, and I'm sticking with it! Cheers! (Or possibly, Jeers? I'll let you decide…)

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