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"Gloss or flat?" Topic

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von Schwartz14 Dec 2018 6:50 p.m. PST

OK lads, its poll time again (isn't this fun?)
Which do you use/prefer as a sealant, gloss coat or flat? Or maybe you prefer au natural?

Addendum, do you black wash your figures, y'know give them that on campaign look?

Oberlindes Sol LIC Supporting Member of TMP14 Dec 2018 7:06 p.m. PST

Flat finish.

Wash color depends on the overall color scheme.

Hlaven Supporting Member of TMP14 Dec 2018 7:09 p.m. PST

Wash, dry Brush highlights, flat finish.

Allen57 Supporting Member of TMP14 Dec 2018 7:31 p.m. PST

I like gloss. Black wash only if the main features of the figure don't show well. This is especially true in the smaller stuff (2-3-6MM) Kind of a toy soldier look.

evbates14 Dec 2018 7:36 p.m. PST

Flat Finish

FusilierDan14 Dec 2018 7:37 p.m. PST

Flat for the most part but my 40mm Toy Soldiers are gloss.
I've also used satin finish which I like.

Kevin C Supporting Member of TMP14 Dec 2018 7:59 p.m. PST


Personal logo PaulCollins Supporting Member of TMP14 Dec 2018 8:13 p.m. PST

I tend to gloss finish. It reminds me that they're toy soldiers.

DisasterWargamer Supporting Member of TMP14 Dec 2018 8:51 p.m. PST


Personal logo Morning Scout Supporting Member of TMP14 Dec 2018 9:06 p.m. PST

50/50 mix of satin and matte on most things

377CSG Supporting Member of TMP14 Dec 2018 9:14 p.m. PST

Flat now and my older soldiers, have a satin finish, which brings out the detail more and not too glossy. I can live with both.

Yellow Admiral14 Dec 2018 10:07 p.m. PST

I usually gloss coat for durability then flat over that. I prefer the flat look.

Some things (bare metal, glass, some airplanes) get re-glossed or satin final finish to make them look right.

- Ix

Personal logo Doctor X Supporting Member of TMP14 Dec 2018 10:29 p.m. PST

Gloss covered by a flat coat

Wolfshanza14 Dec 2018 10:49 p.m. PST

Magic wash then dullcote.

BrockLanders14 Dec 2018 10:56 p.m. PST

Flat for my 28mm WW2 figs but semi-gloss for my 28mm ACW figs. Not sure why that is…

ZULUPAUL Supporting Member of TMP15 Dec 2018 1:08 a.m. PST

I don't use a sealant at all but I do paint with flat paints. Use limited washes mostly sepia.

AussieAndy15 Dec 2018 2:11 a.m. PST

Magic wash, then flat varnish.

Personal logo Artilleryman Supporting Member of TMP15 Dec 2018 2:20 a.m. PST


14Bore15 Dec 2018 3:33 a.m. PST


Personal logo PzGeneral Supporting Member of TMP15 Dec 2018 4:48 a.m. PST

I'm with some of the above. Magic Wash, then Dullcoat.

Garryowen Supporting Member of TMP15 Dec 2018 4:48 a.m. PST

Like Yellow Admiral, I use gloss first for durability and then flat for a realistic appearance.

I then brush gloss on certain items that need that finish.


Walking Sailor Supporting Member of TMP15 Dec 2018 5:43 a.m. PST

Gloss, then flat.
Gloss for the hard protective shell, to stick the decals, and because the wash runs into the cracks and crevices and doesn't stay on the surfaces.
Flat for the overall look, the wash stays on the surface to light or darken the base coat.

Black wash may be too dark. Consider mixing a darker base color.

cavcrazy15 Dec 2018 5:48 a.m. PST


mckrok15 Dec 2018 5:48 a.m. PST

Ditto Yellow Admiral and Garryowen, and I normally black wash. The 'black' wash varies depending on the figure. I wash a micro armor aircraft in black and an ancients figure with a black/brown mix.


jurgenation Supporting Member of TMP15 Dec 2018 6:01 a.m. PST


Vigilant15 Dec 2018 6:30 a.m. PST

+1 Walking Sailor

Shagnasty Supporting Member of TMP15 Dec 2018 11:46 a.m. PST

+ 2 for Walking Sailor.

Chuckaroobob15 Dec 2018 12:52 p.m. PST


Gokiburi15 Dec 2018 1:07 p.m. PST

Flat, and a brown wash.

arsbelli15 Dec 2018 1:14 p.m. PST

Prime white, block paint, wash each paint color individually, highlight with original color, gloss then flat finish.

Bowman15 Dec 2018 2:38 p.m. PST

The idea that gloss varnish is stronger than matte varnish is a common misconception. Here is a good explanation:


If you have info to the contrary please share.

Back to the point, I prefer a matte finish but I do appreciate the gloss "toy soldier" look.

rmaker15 Dec 2018 3:32 p.m. PST


The Tyn Man15 Dec 2018 5:11 p.m. PST

Semi-gloss or satin.

I find it brings the detail and colours out better.

CeruLucifus15 Dec 2018 6:20 p.m. PST

+1 Yellow Admiral.

For shading wash it depends. When speed painting I use dark brown stain on warm colors and black stain on cool colors, then if too dark, lighten by drybrushing back the original color.

When painting more carefully I generally use a darker shade of the same color, but sometimes use cool black + warm brown as above. And I sometimes blackline, most usually with black, but sometimes with thinned dark brown, again observing the cool/warm divide.

This is all 28 mm.

nnascati Supporting Member of TMP15 Dec 2018 6:43 p.m. PST

Satin, usually followed by matte. Washes depend on the subject. Lately I've been using dark brown more than any others.

Martin Rapier16 Dec 2018 1:19 a.m. PST

I rarely bother with varnish these days. Modern paint seems to stick well.

When I do though, matt for historicals and satin for toy soldier look.

Garryowen Supporting Member of TMP16 Dec 2018 6:22 a.m. PST

Regarding Bowman's link:
I read something similar by a chemist a few years ago. I am no scientist or engineer.

However, the last time I was at a paint store for durability they recommended gloss. Who wants shiny walls. Most people want flat walls. The idea is to avoid having to wear sunglasses in doors.

But flat paint was described as being the least durable. So eggshell, satin, or whatever term they used for something between flat and glossy was commonly recommended as a compromise.

BUT! Gloss was recommended for wood work which would probably receive more handling and might need scrubbing.

Now I don't scrub my figures, but they do get handled repeatedly.

So, maybe I am wasting time and money by putting the gloss on first. But both seem insignificant to the prospect of rubbed paint and touch up.

At the very least, I am getting the protection of two coats rather than just one. Thicker protection seems better to me than one.


von Schwartz16 Dec 2018 10:29 a.m. PST

WOW!!!! once again the response was overwhelming, thank you all for your input.

Bowman17 Dec 2018 3:47 a.m. PST

BUT! Gloss was recommended for wood work which would probably receive more handling and might need scrubbing.

Tom, you hit the nail on the head. Gloss can appear to handle touching better because of the shiny oils we secrete. Matte figures that are handled a lot begin to look shiny. We assume that is because the dullcote has worn off and the stronger gloss undercoat is showing through. But in reality oils from handling have made the matte surface look glossy.

I suspect that is why a satin paint is more recommended, not because it is actually stronger, but that it'll tolerate handling and hide the oils.

At the very least, I am getting the protection of two coats rather than just one. Thicker protection seems better to me than one..

Absolutely, and I think that is confirmed in the article also.

skipper John Supporting Member of TMP17 Dec 2018 12:33 p.m. PST

Satin Dude… makes everyone unhappy!!

von Schwartz17 Dec 2018 3:48 p.m. PST

Do you guys do your dull/gloss/satin coats before the wash or after?

Yellow Admiral17 Dec 2018 9:11 p.m. PST

Do you guys do your dull/gloss/satin coats before the wash or after?
Yes. grin

I don't put water-based washes over glossy surfaces, because watery washes tend to bead and don't settle into low areas correctly. For miniatures decorated entirely with acrylics, I normally apply a water-thinned wash before any clearcoat, wait a good long time to let everything dry, and then clearcoat over the finished piece.

Some kinds of chemical washes flow and adhere reasonably well to satin or glossy surfaces. I'm finding that my AK Interactive washes might actually work better in some circumstances over a gloss surface. On a matte/flat surface they tend to be too strong, and stain and muddy up everything in sight; on a glossy surface they settle into seams and cracks better, and can be wiped off the highlights before drying or soaking in. This is convenient for painting airplanes, which require a glossy surface to adhere decals to, and another clearcoat over that to protect the decals before the wash goes on.

- Ix

Osterreicher18 Dec 2018 11:49 a.m. PST

Ix, I would recommend using "filters" rather than "washes" from AK for most work, and only washes when a strong covering is needed. For example, for Austrians, I use Vallejo "ivory" then use the AK gray filter, which gives a nice subtle appearance. I would only use the AK gray wash when I really need a deeper appearance.

Garryowen Supporting Member of TMP19 Dec 2018 7:36 a.m. PST

vonSchwartz, I do the spraying after the washes and the highighting. So it is after all painting.


Bowman19 Dec 2018 9:04 a.m. PST

My wash is with Future Floor acrylic, which is very satiny (not quite fully glossy). I then highlight and final touch ups. Then I do the final varnish with Flat if I can find it, and Matte if I can't.

So I also have two coats of protection. With sensible handling, my figures look great for years.

Old Contemptibles Supporting Member of TMP19 Dec 2018 10:16 p.m. PST

Matte flat finish.

von Schwartz30 Dec 2018 8:13 a.m. PST

Alright you guys, I just finished 2 units, abeit very small, of Grenz hussars and am ready to seal and wash. Going to rely on your experience and gloss coat first then black wash and finally dull coat, in that order.
We'll see how that works out.

von Schwartz31 Dec 2018 6:52 p.m. PST

OK then!! it worked well, gloss, then black wash, then dull coat.

von Schwartz02 Jan 2019 4:26 p.m. PST

Needed two coats of dull coat to get the sheen off though.

Chgowiz04 Jan 2019 1:25 p.m. PST

I varnish with gloss, then with matte varnish over that. The gloss brings out nice colors, the matt kills the shine. Two coats of varnish help to protect the paint job.

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