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"Best Clear Flat Spray Ever" Topic

21 Posts

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Garryowen Supporting Member of TMP20 Feb 2019 4:55 p.m. PST

I have been using clear flat spray on figures since Dullcote first came out. I have been painting wargame figures since at least the early 60s. The cans kept getting smaller and the price higher.

Then some years ago I started having trouble with it not always drying flat. People attributed that to temperature (too high or too low), too much humidity, too thick of a coat, too soon after my gloss clear coat, too soon after my paint job, and to a change in formula due to meeting EU standards.

Other people said it always worked for them.

I tried a number of others, just about every other clear flat spray with only mixed results.

Then I tried Winsor & Newton Professional Matt Spray Varnish. I started using it a bit over a year ago.

Here are the results after spraying 100s of figures and lots of vehicles, buildings, earthworks and other terrain pieces.

Temperature in the 40s F dried flat.
Temperature in the low 90sF dried flat.
Humidity 92 per cent dried flat.
Thick coat dried flat.
Thin coat dried flat.
Sprayed clear gloss (Krylon or Rustoleum) at 1:30 pm and W/N Matt at 4:00 pm, same day, dried flat.

It has never, ever failed me.

My experience with clear sprays made in the US is that "matt" or "matte" usually means semi-gloss or satin. W/N is made in Birtain and matt means perfectly flat.

The price from Dick Blick is very good. It has always been discounted. Currently their discounted price is $7.99 USD for 400 ml (13.53 ounces according to Siri). That is less than 60 cents an ounce.

The cheapest I saw Dullcote was 3 ounces for $4.39 USD. That is over $1.46 USD per ounce!!

Here is a link to the product at Dick Blick:


Don't be put off by the warning that the paint has to dry for at least 6-12 months before applying the product to the paint. That may be for artists oils which take an extremely long time to thoroughly dry unless a drier is added. I do it within hours of my gloss coat which I put on the day after I finish my painting.

I sent Winsor & Newton an email asking about shelf life as I intended to buy six cans at a time. The response indicated that the question was interpreted to mean a can that had been started. The answer was that there was no known shelf life limitation. What I bought in April of 2018 is still fine.

If you try it, I hope your results are as good as mine.


Dashetal20 Feb 2019 5:23 p.m. PST

Txs Tom. Was getting low on Dullcote so bought some Winsor based on your recommendation. Will let you know how it turns out

darthfozzywig Supporting Member of TMP20 Feb 2019 5:27 p.m. PST

Great info – thanks!

Personal logo gamertom Supporting Member of TMP20 Feb 2019 5:35 p.m. PST

I also just ordered a can. It is usually humid in Northern Florida and I'm curious as to how well this stuff handles it.

JonFreitag20 Feb 2019 5:57 p.m. PST

Winsor & Newton Professional Matt Spray Varnish is the best flat on the market. Several years ago, I began having trouble with Dullcote not dulling consistently. In the intervening years, I have been very happy with the results. Dick Blick often has the best prices too.

Great stuff!

Old Contemptibles Supporting Member of TMP20 Feb 2019 10:04 p.m. PST

Testors' Figure Flat

Big Red Supporting Member of TMP21 Feb 2019 5:48 a.m. PST

Although I have only had occasional trouble with Dullcote, last year I tried Winsor & Newton on JonFreitag recommendation. It has worked great for me.

rustymusket21 Feb 2019 5:53 a.m. PST

Thanks. I need to look into that as Dullcote has been my go-to forever.

Oppiedog21 Feb 2019 7:59 a.m. PST

Will be ordering a can or two next time I place an order with Blick. Tnks.

pzivh43 Supporting Member of TMP21 Feb 2019 8:12 a.m. PST

I second Gary Owen's recommendation. Great stuff!

John Leahy21 Feb 2019 10:10 a.m. PST

Just ordered some.


Fat Wally21 Feb 2019 12:08 p.m. PST

Been using Windsor & Newton Professional Matt Spray Varnish for three years. far superior to Dullcoat et al.

wrgmr121 Feb 2019 2:03 p.m. PST

Thanks very much, I'll have to try some!

ScoutJock21 Feb 2019 2:10 p.m. PST

I apply the WN Matt varnish both with a brush and through an airbrush with consistent results. Much better than my previous varnishes, spray and brush on dullcote as well as Vallejo matt varnish.

von Schwartz21 Feb 2019 6:43 p.m. PST

Whadya mean "usually humid", hell it's ALWAYS humid in Florida whether north or central.
There was a few Dick Blick retailers back up north about 10 years ago don't know if they are still around. Haven't seen any though in Gainesville or Ocala.

Thresher01 Supporting Member of TMP21 Feb 2019 9:59 p.m. PST

Thanks for the recommendation(s).

Anyone know if it yellows over time like some do?

foxweasel22 Feb 2019 2:07 a.m. PST

The website claims it's non-yellowing link I use it all the time and haven't had any problems.

ernieR22 Feb 2019 12:38 p.m. PST

anyone know a Canadian source for this ? most companies won't ship spray can products across the border .

Personal logo Doctor X Supporting Member of TMP23 Feb 2019 1:24 p.m. PST

When I blow through the rest of my Dullcote I will have to give this a try.

Chgowiz28 Feb 2019 1:48 p.m. PST

Be sure to get the "Professional" and not "General Purpose" like I did… the GP matte varnish is not matte.

Blackhorse MP05 Mar 2019 3:23 p.m. PST

Be sure to get the "Professional" and not "General Purpose" like I did… the GP matte varnish is not matte.

Crap. Bought some and was not impressed when I used it. But now that I saw the above I checked the can and sure enough, it's GP, not professional. Oh well, I guess that's what I get for not paying attention to detail.

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