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Airbrushing Matt Varnish

Discussion in 'Painting Techniques' started by Showlen, Jul 31, 2012.

  1. Showlen Active Member

    I'm hoping I can get some advice on matt varnish. I'm about to complete a piece and need to dial down the sheen on a section (painted w/ acrylics - Vallejo & Andrea). I've done some experimenting on a test bust and it seems like I ended up with more sheen. So far I've only used Vallejo's matt varnish. I tried thinning with just water and then with acrylic airbrush thinner (Andrea). I've altered the thinning ratios with both agents, but pretty much the same result.

    Should the matt varnish drastically remove the sheen? Perhaps I'm expecting too much. Are there other matt varnishes that I should work with for this instead of Vallejo's? Next time I'll incorporate more x-21... I'm still learning to use this in right proportions, but staying away from going overboard.

    Thanks for the help!!

  2. housecarl A Fixture

    Testor's Dullcoat Ronnie.
  3. T-34/85 PlanetFigure Supporter

    I have to agree with Carl. I've used Testors dullcoat with good results. Not very expensive either.
  4. sippog Active Member

    I would 'third' that. Dullcote has not always been easy to get in the UK (you can get it now - at a premium) but it's easily the best matting solution.
    I even used to trade kits for cans of it with US modelers once upon a time :sneaky:
  5. Hi

    One of the best matt coats I have ever used through my Airbrush is The Enamel one from Xtracolor, it gives a totally dead flat finish with none of the milkyness of other matt coats, don't know how there acrylic version compares though as I have never had any need to try it as the enamel one is so good.

  6. FigureLover A Fixture

    Testors/Modelmaster Dullcoat by far, just dont spray it too thickly as it can become cloudy
  7. Einion Well-Known Member

    With any matt varnish you're supposed to stir or shake it really thoroughly to ensure the matting agent is evenly distributed throughout the liquid, if you didn't do that then it's worth trying but have to say my experience with the Vallejo product was similar to yours.

    Yes, pretty much - even one of middling quality should take the shine down a few steps. If we imagine surface gloss as a 7-step scale from wet-look gloss at 7 to completely matt at 0 you should have no trouble going from a 5 or 6 down to a 3.

    Since you have some X-21 you can add this to the thinned Vallejo varnish, should be no trouble to improve on the stuff straight from the bottle!

    Dullcote works brilliantly (could easily go from a 6 to a 1 on the above scale for example) but it's relatively expensive and not as easy to get as some alternatives. Plus it's reduced with a solvent, which you may prefer not to airbrush with. If you want a similar product that's diluted with water Testors also make an acrylic matt overcoat in the ModelMaster range, seen the results of this in many magazine articles and it's good stuff and one or two of the authors say the results are as good as Dullcote's.

    Various modellers in the UK swear by one or two of the matt varnishes made for artists so they're worth considering also. There are versions thinned with mineral spirits as well as acrylic ones which are water-thinned. Along the same lines it might even be worth trying a matt polyurethane from the hardware store, which is obviously going to work out the cheapest.

  8. Showlen Active Member

    Thank you all for the great information! I do have Testors Dullcote in a can... though I've never used it. If I applied it to the whole figure (54mm) do I run the risk of ruining it? I'd certainly just begin with light mists but not sure what to expect with areas that are already dead matt. I guess I could always mask off the other areas...

    I'll try adding x-21 to thinned Vallejo varnish first as I can easily control what areas to apply with my airbrush.

    Thanks again!

  9. John Bowery A Fixture

    I have not had good experiences with Testors dullcote in a can. It went yellow on me. Therefore I always use the bottle dullcote and thin it about 50/50 with laquer thinner. Never had a problem with that. If it does dry white, (chalky), just spray a thin coat with straight laquer thinner and that will get rid of the white.
  10. rossbach PlanetFigure Supporter

    Hello Ronnie,

    I had some not so good experiences with Testors Dullcoat from a bottle, thinned and sprayed with an airbrush: frosting!! No doubt I should blame myself for my failures (wrong thinning ratio, high humidity when spraying etc. etc.). However matt enamel varnishes can be quite temperamental.

    I switched to Gunze Sangyo matt acrylic varnish recently and this (for me at least) works absolutely perfect. It gives a perfect matt finish and no 'complications' whatsoever.


  11. Hi

    There is a Guy on YouTube that claims to be able to vastly improve the Matt attainable from the Testors Dullcoat, what he does is let the bottle sit for a couple of days so that the contents separate, with the matt medium at the bottom and the carrier at the top, he then removes about 50% of the carrier. He found that by doing this the Matt attainable from this product was vastly improved. Don't know personally if this works, but if you are going to try it, I would suggest you keep the removed carrier, just in case you need to add it back.

  12. Einion Well-Known Member

    Is that even necessary?! :D

    As a general tip for matt varnishes it makes sense that it could help because you're increasing the proportion of matting agent, but it's hard to beat Dullcote as it is.

    Good idea. I'd say the dreaded whitish/chalky residue is a definite risk with Dullcote modified in this way, although with a very fine coat there may not be much danger.

  13. jonliddelow Member

    I've had mixed results, I always sworn by Hannants Xtracolour matt, but I,ve never tried the acrylic . I'm struggling to understand if there is an interaction with the oil that creates the sheen. I'm tempted to try a two pack epoxy Matt lacquer. i,ve used on gloss 2 pack on cars, because it doesn't "pickle" the decals. I would like to think that the fast drying time should give a good matt finish on our figures. there are importatnt HEALTH WARNINGS to follow when using these products.

    there are available from Hiroboy.com - Specialising in Scale Car and Bike Model Kits ...

    it may be worth a look.

  14. Yep I always get very good results with the Xtracolor Enamel Matt Varnish as well, I also have been tempted to give the Acrylic version a go but never got around to it, I still have 4 bottles of the Enamel one left, but I will try it out before the last one runs out, just in case.


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