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Gloss Varnish vs Matte Varnish Spray 
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Joined: Fri Dec 02, 2011 8:40 pm
Posts: 145
Ok all you fancy painters out there... I have a question. Do you need to use a gloss varnish before washes, pin washes, and powders (such as MIG) or can you use matte varnish throughout the process instead?

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Sat Dec 17, 2016 1:05 am
First Sergeant

Joined: Wed Feb 15, 2012 5:04 pm
Posts: 2207
Location: NoVa
"Do you need to use..." You do not need to use any varnish before a wash. Based on the way a wash works, gloss gives you a better puddle.

"...can you use matte varnish throughout the process instead?" Yes, but why would you? Are looking at ways to cut costs?

Vehicle (nor infantry) models do not need that wash to start with. Save money and just paint then varnish. Otherwise, spend the money on the gloss varnish and the matte varnish.

Mon Dec 19, 2016 2:14 pm
Staff Sergeant

Joined: Tue May 08, 2012 2:38 am
Posts: 552
So ... my opinion ... it really depends on the model ... with large flat spaces ... I tend to like to gloss coat first ... wash ... then matt ....highlight .... then matt again. For models without large fat spaces or have a lot of definition ... I do not feel the need to gloss first ( since the wash will easily find the crevices. Example ... so a mid war or early late model Panther with zimmerate ... i dont gloss .... later late late war Panther without zim ... I will gloss.

Not saying this is a good method ... but just what I do :)

But in general ... i dont gloss first before I wash.

Just try it out sir


Tue Dec 20, 2016 2:48 pm
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Joined: Mon Oct 03, 2011 12:39 am
Posts: 1353
Gloss and matte react differently to the washes. My experience has shown the the color will change more if applied over a matte finish. Over gloss, almost no change.

Also a matte finish won't pull the pin wash down as well as a gloss.


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Wed Dec 28, 2016 3:18 am
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Joined: Thu Oct 20, 2011 9:45 pm
Posts: 4181
Location: Fortress Knox
I use a "Future" floor finish mixture for the a gloss layer with the wash mixed right in. I do decals on top of that, then use matt to seal it up and take the shine off.

Thu Dec 29, 2016 2:28 pm
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First Sergeant
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Joined: Mon Oct 03, 2011 2:31 pm
Posts: 2840
Location: Madison, WI
This may be slightly repetitive, but here is goes anyway:

A gloss coat will help any wash flow into the lower parts / crevices. It basically allows water to flow much better, which is why folks strongly suggest applying a gloss coat before decals - the decals will slide much easier and the risk of tearing is reduced. It also seals in any work done prior to the application.

A matte coat (dullcote is the Testors brand) will also seal anything in that was applied before. However, it does impede the ability of a wash to flow. The amount of the restriction can vary based on the actual properties of a wash - like is it water based or oil based.

The future mix is awesome and does combine the gloss coat and the wash step, but only to a point. In 15mm, this is generally not a problem at all - although it is rare when I do not apply the gloss coat. In 6mm, I have yet to apply a gloss coat prior to the wash - it just isn't required. In 28mm, I would absolutely view the gloss coat as a required step.

Hope this helps.

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Thu Dec 29, 2016 4:50 pm
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Staff Sergeant

Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2012 6:18 am
Posts: 409
Location: Cary
Definitely gloss before wash. The wash pools better, mistakes are easier to clean up, and gloss makes your paint job more durable. Plus decals work best with gloss coat, they are less likely to have that silver glare to them. Gloss coat will save you time in the long run.

Thu Jan 05, 2017 1:43 am
First Sergeant

Joined: Wed Feb 15, 2012 5:04 pm
Posts: 2207
Location: NoVa
"and gloss makes your paint job more durable." Actually any clear coat works. Gloss is no better at protection then a matte coat.

Adding gloss then adding matte = adding 2 separate coats. So of course 2 coats works better then 1. I think that is why there is a myth about gloss being a better protector.

Thu Jan 05, 2017 2:49 pm
Technical Sergeant
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Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2012 6:57 am
Posts: 1595
Location: Fort Collins, CO
Evan at Battlefront says it is only true (stronger) with enamel gloss finishes not acrylics.


Thu Jan 05, 2017 6:48 pm
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