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Discussion about Sealers. What do You Use?

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Hey folks!

 

A newcomer to the forums just made a comment that they did not know what Dullcote was, so after explaining what it was and adding a pic of the can, I thought I would add a link to a discussion on sealers....

 

Imagine my surprise when I searched the pinned resources to find nothing listed!

 

Now a search of this forum gave me many hits to a lot of different threads, but they were all about a problem, or people asking questions or something other.

 

So I decided to start a thread talking about Sealers.

 

Now I use Dullcote Spray Lacquer from Testors, and have been using it for over 30 years.

dullcote.jpg

I am not liable to change any time soon...

I like the nice flat coat that it always gives me when I use it.

 

It does have it's drawbacks though.

It can hide?, remove?, blur?, your subtle high lights. (Not sure what the right word is, but your high lights can disappear. This has only happened to me once, when I was painting my Behir, and I was not a happy camper.

Went back and did them again a little stronger, and didn't have the problem again...

 

Spray sealers can 'Frost' if they are sprayed on in areas of high humidity. This will make you tear your hair out, as your wonderful paint job now looks like it has been out in the cold over night....

I have fixed this at last once by re spraying in a non humid environment, but not something I want to experience again....

 

When I need to put Decals, or water slide transfers as they are sometimes known, I will use Glosscote on the model before doing the decaling. The reason for this is that the Gloss finish is much smoother, making the decal fit to the model better. (there are other things that I do as well, but this isn't about decaling)

 

I have read that some folks will Glosscote, then Dullcote their gaming pieces, as the Glosscote offers better protection, and the Dullcote takes the shine back off...

Glosscote.jpg

 

The only difference in the cans is the cap of the Glosscote is clear, while the Dullcote looks frosted, so I have started writting on the cans with a sharpie so that I am sure which is which.

 

I have some 30 year old Polly S Flat Finish brush on sealer, as well as Testors Aztek Clear Matte Airbrush sealer, but I have used neither as of now...

 

I also have a pot of GW 'Ardcote, that I bought not knowing it is nothing more than a clear gloss sealer. I have used this on gems or critter tongues, things I want shiny, but as it gets applied to my minis after Dullcote, I don't know how it would react to paint.

 

I know that our hosts Reaper make a brush on sealer, but I have no experience with it...

 

So chime in folks with your experiences and brands of sealers that you use!

 

George

 

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Gloss coats are tougher and more impermeable than matte coats. Matte coats can wear off and are susceptible to grease and things which can penetrate its more porous structure.

 

For that reason a lot of people first seal their minis with a gloss coat for protection, then a matte coat for looks.

 

Matte is the current fashion in miniatures finish, but it hasn't got any intrinsic virtue over gloss. So far as I can tell it was originally for ease of photography rather than for utility in hand or on the table.

 

I prefer brush-on finishes. They never get quite as dead matte as spray-on Dullcote, but then neither have I ever had a finishing catastrophe.

 

I would have to check my supplies for the exact finishes I use. It matters. Not all gloss mediums (which are meant as painting additives, not varnishes, but are commonly used as sealants) act the same; some dry sticky to the touch.

 

So holding that thought, my practice is I allow the figure to dry fully, at least a full day after painting is done. Then I brush on a light coat of thinned gloss medium, carefully wet brushing away any bubbles or foam. I prefer a thin coat to a thick one because the quality of protection is nearly the same and the risk of stickiness is lower.

 

This I allow to dry for another full day. Then I take a matte medium and thin it down and put a thin even coat over the figure, wicking away any that accumulates in cracks or bubbles. It looks glossy while still wet. It tends to dry to a soft satin finish rather than dead matte. After it dries check for shiny spots I may have missed and if there are some, thinly apply a little more.

 

Thick applications of matte medium seem to defeat the purpose and are prone to shine.

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I use Liquitex Gloss Varnish followed by Lascaux UV Resistant Matte. Both are "brush on" applied with an airbrush. I've only ever seen the Lascaux at Dick Blick's website in the States, but it's worth the trouble and expense because the Lascaux does a wonderful job of knocking the gloss very matte.

 

I also wait at least a day between last paint and the varnish coats.

 

Ron

 

PS: I've seen no real need for the UV resistant part of varnishes so far. I've been running an experiment on several varnishes for over 10 years, and I have yet to see some noticeable yellowing.

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"Occlude" is what the lacquer can do to details, though "efface" would probably work too.  ;)

 

For tabletop and heavy-use minis I have historically used a spray on gloss coat (Krylon typically, sometimes Rustoleum) followed by a flat/matte spray (same couple, though sometimes I use artist's versions of matte).  It works decently and is tough, but it does occlude the depth of the color transitions and, worse, it gives the paint a slight sheen (even if it's just the matte).

 

I'm very willing to try other things.  Among those, once I've finished a few more minis, are Testor's brush on dullcote, and Reaper's brush-on sealer.  I hear very good things about both.

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I use Liquitex Gloss Varnish followed by Lascaux UV Resistant Matte. Both are "brush on" applied with an airbrush. I've only ever seen the Lascaux at Dick Blick's website in the States, but it's worth the trouble and expense because the Lascaux does a wonderful job of knocking the gloss very matte.

I also wait at least a day between last paint and the varnish coats.

Ron

PS: I've seen no real need for the UV resistant part of varnishes so far. I've been running an experiment on several varnishes for over 10 years, and I have yet to see some noticeable yellowing.

Ah, you are using proper varnish. I'm just using acrylic medium, which is a lesser beastie.

 

My practices are very much a work in progress, though, and I am considering changing them.

 

UV resistance is for fugitive media and grounds which can be damaged by UV radiation. Since so far as I know almost all minis paints are formulated from fairly stable pigments which do not fade (except for fluorescents), and since pewter is not like paper in terms of susceptibility to light, it is not hugely relevant to the hobby. Acrylic paints are not prone to yellowing.

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I use Reaper brush on sealer as a first coat. It's more of a satin finish but adding a little water to makes it a bit more matte. For reasons. Involving science.

I then wait a day and either use dullcote spray or dullcote brush on. My go to is usually the brush on for figures, spray for terrain. The brush on dullcote works just the same as the spray but I like my metallics to remain super shiney so I can just skip going over those parts. I use a cheap white talkon brush to apply the varnish so clean up is easy peasy.

 

One thing to keep in mind when using the spray or brush on dullcote, wear a mask in a well ventilated area, it's pretty noxious stuff.

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Flat is certainly the default in the US, as it has been continuously since at least the 1970s. The situation in the UK has been more variable. But to say that, "...it hasn't got any intrinsic virtue over gloss", isn't really true. Surface reflectivity is as much a characteristic of an object as its hue, saturation, or vibrance. On a tabletop (or in a display), the way that highlights move when the viewer moves is simply not the same with flat paint as with gloss, so the artistic experience will not be the same.
 
I think the principle reason people don't like shiny miniatures is that most of the thngs they're painting are not themselves shiny. If you're looking for representational/verisimiltudinous* painting, there really is reason to use flat rather than gloss. (Those same people will often come back over a sprayed on flat coat with gloss on shiny parts like weapons, armor, eyes, slimy tentacles, or whatever.) 

 

As Pingo noted, it is also, of course, true that flat with painted highlights is easier to photograph well than glossy with natural highlights. And if you're very good, it can be easier to suggest texture with those same highlights than by trying to recreate the texture and reflectance in some way that looks good in scale.

 

* Woo Hoo!  ::D:

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I'd be fascinated to hear what everyone uses with Bones. I thought I had the problem licked: use a brush on sealer, let it dry, then use a spray flat clear coat.

 

Six months later, I find that my Bones are tacky...

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There is the consideration that matte finishes dull and mute colors and gloss finishes increase their apparent depth and saturation.

 

It's why the standard for oil paintings is to put on a very glossy coat of varnish.

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I guess if someone rally wanted to, they could mix and match the various finishes on a mini according to the nature of the surface.

 

Gloss: polished metal, eyes, gems.

Satin: Most metals, hair, some skin tones, some textiles.

Matte: Corroded metal, stones, most textiles.

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I guess if someone rally wanted to, they could mix and match the various finishes on a mini according to the nature of the surface.

 

Gloss: polished metal, eyes, gems.

Satin: Most metals, hair, some skin tones, some textiles.

Matte: Corroded metal, stones, most textiles.

 

People don't do this regularly?

 

It just feels right to do it this way for me. Though I still do paint fake highlights on things, since minis don't quite catch the light the same way and some details are simplified or exaggerated for ease of sculpting / handling.

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There is the consideration that matte finishes dull and mute colors and gloss finishes increase their apparent depth and saturation.

 

It's why the standard for oil paintings is to put on a very glossy coat of varnish.

 

That's certainly true, too. For saturated color, gloss works better. But to see that saturation, you can't have significant specular hazing, which requires control of the light.

 

For flat art, this isn't especially difficult; the typical top lighting does this well. (Pieces with lots of impasto require a bit more care, but broad top lighting can still work.) But for 3D art, especially 3D art with curved surfaces, this is much more difficult, requiring very large* light sources. Under typical lighting, there will be multiple specular reflections, each of which will reduce the apparent saturation of the colors.

 

* Subtending very large solid angles, either because of their proximity to the subject or because of their actual size.

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I'd be fascinated to hear what everyone uses with Bones. I thought I had the problem licked: use a brush on sealer, let it dry, then use a spray flat clear coat.

 

Six months later, I find that my Bones are tacky...

The only Bones that I have painted so far is the Terrain from DDS 2. I used Dullcote on it when painting was finished, and have had no tacky (as opposed to TAKKY) problems with it...

 

George

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I use Liquitex Gloss Varnish followed by Lascaux UV Resistant Matte. Both are "brush on" applied with an airbrush. I've only ever seen the Lascaux at Dick Blick's website in the States, but it's worth the trouble and expense because the Lascaux does a wonderful job of knocking the gloss very matte.

I also wait at least a day between last paint and the varnish coats.

Ron

PS: I've seen no real need for the UV resistant part of varnishes so far. I've been running an experiment on several varnishes for over 10 years, and I have yet to see some noticeable yellowing.

I've been trying Liquitex Gloss Varnish and Matte Varnish through an airbrush, and would love to hear your experience with airbrushing it, especially with thinning. I've been spraying at about 20 psi, with just a little water to thin it, and that seems to work for gloss. The matte goes on with a bit of hazing over the gloss, and I've been thinking of just brushing it instead of spraying, as that seems to dull the colors less.

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