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I am a beginner and just completed painting a 500 point imperial guard, including a leman russ tank. While not perfect, my son and I are happy with the result.
Now, I read somewhere that a varnish will protect the models. I also read horror stories about using a varnish, especially the GW purity seal. Some questions:
1) Is a varnish essential? I can live with fixing up models from time to time.
2) If essential, what is the best way to apply a varnish? I am a beginner so the simpler the better.
You'll be touching up a lot, if you plan on playing with your models.
As long as it's not too humid in your area, you should be OK with Purity Seal... just remember to shake really well... and it's good practice to test on a single model before doing the rest, just to make sure you don't waste all that painting time.
Be aware that Purity Seal will leave a slight glossy sheen. For pure matte, you need Testor's Dullcote... but I hear that it's becoming more and more difficult to find, because it's being pulled from shelves due to certain toxic chemicals inside.
If you do find some Dullcote and want maximum protection, you can use a hard-as-nails gloss first ('Ard Coat, for eg.), allow it to dry, then give a few coats of Dullcote to kill the gloss... I don't do this myself, though... I just use Dullcote, and I do almost no touchups - I'm pretty anal with my pieces when I play, though.
As for technique, it's pretty much the same as priming... 10"-14" away, use wide swooping motions, two or more light coats (allowing dry time between each) is better than 1 thicker coat. Once you spray 'em, don't touch your models until the varnish is dry - if it's disturbed, you'll put visible blemishes in the varnish which will ruin all your hard work...
It depends on the look you're going for. Whatever it is though, a spray varnish is THE way to go. For one, it's fast. Also, spray means you can get pretty even thin coats. If you paint or dip in varnish, you'll get globs and build up in the details. Spray spray spray.
Also remember that varnish is to protect the model from ALL things. Dropping, clanking together, or just the oil from your fingers. I wouldn't suggest skipping a varnish and messing up your hard work!!!
Now you have options - a gloss, matte, or dull coat. Gloss will give it a shine, matte will give it that matte look, and dull, well, I'm not sure what the difference is between a matte and a dull. A dull coat works best in one of the combos I'll give below, though. I wouldn't use it alone I don't think.
1) If you want a shiny model, do a nice gloss coat and you should be good. This will protect and give it that gleam. Some people swear by it, others hate it to death. Totally preference there. Not really a realistic looking paint job when all is said and done though.
2) Matte finish will give it that look you see in all the professional painting competitions. It really gives a realistic depth to your model as well as protecting it. You will lose the shine doing it this way, but again - realism is the focus of a matte varnish.
3) Gloss + Dull varnish. Gloss will protect it as well as it would alone, but the dull will give it that matte look. Now I'd have to ask around at the shop I go to, but I gathered that a gloss + dull is the best overall model protection. Don't quote me on this though.
4) I guess you could do a straight up dull coat, but this really won't add any dimension to your model at all. Just as it sounds, this is a dulling coat. So you could use this if your paint job just feels too bright and you want to "dull" it or tone it down a bit.
Protection wise, I think all 4 are fine. My suggestions are either 1 or 2. 3 and 4, I'm sketchy on the details, but given the context of what they do and how they work, that would be my guess.
Varnish your model to some extent. A bottle of spray on matte or gloss is cheap (no more than $10 I would imagine) for a much shorter list of headaches and touch-ups.
Hope this helps!
i have had mixed results with my GW spray varnish some times you get 'frost', but i believe it is mainly due to the temperature, for example, i coated my dire avengers in the middle of winter and they frosted because it was too hot in the house due to the central heating, but what i found is that i got perfect results if i sprayed them and placed them next to a hot spot, i have an open fire so i just put them on the mantle now, but the key is keeping the spray nice and warm, i leave mine on th radiator almost permanently, at about 28 degrees (celcius), and this works fine
Well, if you don't mind redoing a paint job every few games... I guess you could try using the varnish as part of the paint job.
With Imperial Guard, a good way to go is to paint the armour with gloss varnish (paint as in with a paintbrush). This makes quite a nice effect, as the plates shine and the rest is normal, making a bit of contrast and creating a more interesting effect on your models. Also, you wont have to repaint the armour so often.
OK, I give up I will try to varnish.
Our local Michaels has Krylon Crystal Clear. Would that be a good varnish?
Really, as long as it protects the model, it's better than nothing. Do a bit of looking I guess? Or spray one and mess with it for a day and see it turned out.
The krystal clear is real good. However I would look at wall-mart in your area if you have one as it is a lot cheaper. You can get a can for something like $2.97. I would look for either a satin finish or flat. Gloss will not look good on the figures...
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Last edited by PATB; September 2nd, 2009 at 21:04.