Thursday, 14 May 2015


When I painted my first Airfix Germans in our old shed, up until then I had never dreamed of actually painting them, I merely sloshed on some enamel paint and that was that, of course with use and being a soft plastic the paint covering didn't last all that long. It was years later after I had played my part in the downfall of communism and married that I got around to painting metal figures which didn't bend, apart from the spears or swords of course. Either my memory is worse than I think or they were not varnished either, but the paint stayed put much better than before. The paints were of course matt but many old  hands still preferred to gloss varnish their figures with the hardest yacht varnish they could find, almost small arms proof.
Galeria Matt Varnish image 1

I must have used Humbrol matt varnish as our only choice back in the day was Humbrol whatever. Then the market opened up as did the spread of information and I began to use Winsor & Newton Matt Acrylic Varnish and never looked back, until recently. W&N gave a kind of slight satin sheen to the figures, not entirely matt but close, I read that if you sat it in cupboard for 3,000 years until it separated you could tip some of the agent out and it became perfectly matt. Being married I didn't have thirty minutes to spare never mind 3,000 years so my troops wore satin.

Only two short years ago I moved into the modern age and was persuaded to try Army Painter Ant-Shine varnish in a spray can, overnight my figures became ..... matt! I had been warned before using the spray and checked reviews on YouTube and TMP, I pre-warmed the can on the radiator or put it in the window and even kept the troops in a warm room, I sprayed at the optimum distance and fought down my impatience to immediately give the second coat. So far, apart from picking up white undercoat instead of the varnish at one point, I have had success with no frosting or any other disasters, I sprayed to the side as instructed and realised my mistake with the undercoat, you either had a look of horror on your face there or were laughing fit to burst.

The Army Painter Anti-Shine Matt Varnish Spray 400ml

Anyway I recently went back to brush varnish, again it was Army Painter and I followed the instructions, even constructing a machine to shake the bottle (see Eureka below). One or two guys were matt the others came out satin, I tried again with a different bunch and again I could see some parts really dull but the vast majority were satin. To make things worse the stuff on my painting palette dried ...... matt!

So where does that leave me, I now give them a coat of brush on, then finish them off with a spray, more hassle but perfect.


  1. Varnishing is always a bit tricky, especially when you've put a lot of effort in to painting the models! I use the W&N anti-UV brush on and found it gives a good matt finish to the figures.
    PS - Glad you had a good time at the weekend. Might see you at the next one?

    1. Matt,

      Jenny's Celts certainly had no shine on them, I just don't understand why it does not go matt on the figures but does on the palette, maybe I should have left them overnight.

      I will definitely be at the next one, if only to brag about beating Dave.

    2. I just knew you were going to say something about that very, very, slight win. You could almost even call it a draw... if you were slightly drunk, with your eyes closed!! :-)