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Anyone know of a good clearcoat/topcoat? I've tried everything from the GW brand (no good), windsor newton brand, krylon, and a few others. Some work better than others, but they all alter the look of the paint job more than I'd like. The durability that a clear coat offers is just too much to ignore.
Has anyone found something they are happy with?
"Stainless Steel whippy sticks of death"
If you don't mind a dull cote, why not use Testors? Testor's dull coat is a very dry and, well, dull finish that looks pretty good I think. You may have to paint a paint on gloss finish on metals and jewels, but that's not too much work
Have you tried doing multiple layers?
I usually do a spray of a glossy finish, and then after it dries I give it a light blast of the dull coat to reduce the shine.
You get a nice thick coat from the gloss, but it’s toned down by the second coat.
Two quick coats of Krylon Crystal Clear followed by a light coat of Testor's Dullcote is a formula I've seen a lot of experienced painters cite and use myself. It works very well. Sometimes on minis with a lot of texture you need to do two coats of dullcote, but if you're using it properly (very light, two fast passes with the can at 8-10 inches per side) it won't build up much.
I know a guy who sprays out cans of dullcote into an airbrush jar and then runs it through his airbrush because he feels the can puts it on too thick and unevenly. That might be a bit extreme for the other 99.99% of us though