Thursday 10 October 2019

The Varnish Wars

Last month I suffered a major hobby-related disappointment, when I discovered that my prefer varnish, Testors Dullcote, wasn’t available anywhere in the country! After a couple of days of moping, I set out on a quest to find a new varnish. As the painted minis crowded my shelf, waiting for their protective coat, I ordered half-a-dozen different varieties of varnish, including both sprays and brush-ons.

My biggest problem with most of the varnishes I tried was that either they were too glossy (I like a satin finish) or that the level of gloss seemed to be inconsistent from figure-to-figure. Several minis suffered extremely glossy coats during my experiments!

Thankfully, the last varnish I tried from my orders is giving me some great results. I’ve separately sprayed half-a-dozen minis so far, and all have a resulted in an even, satin finish.

So, for the moment, I think my search has ended. I’m still ready to go back to Testors should a supply become available, but I’m happy to use the Humbrol at the moment.

The can suggests spraying at a distance of 20 – 30cm, but, if you try it yourself, I suggest giving it a bit more distance than that, as it is a very powerful spray.


  1. I use Humbrol spray varnish myself, I generally really like it because it dries properly matt, but I find that it is occasionally prone to going cloudy when it dries. The can needs a really good shake and I also avoid using it when the weather is humid or it has been raining a lot.

  2. Thoroughly recommend Luke's videos and he's just done one on varnishing and cloudiness

  3. I think Testors changed the name of Dullcote to something like Clear? A little while ago I was looking for it and was thinking nobody had any in stock, then poked around online and it seemed that they'd changed the labeling.

    Nowadays I use this Krylon matte artist varnish stuff. I don't like any shine at all.

  4. Always nice o find a product that you like.

  5. yes, Krylon matte finish, definitely :)

  6. I bought some Testors for Gaslands when I saw some in a FLGS, and it is great. I've used it sparingly cos it's so pricey, but I need varnish for my latest Guild Ball team as they have a white drybrush finish I don't want to discolour. Very disappointed to hear it's not available at all in UK. Is the Humbrol equivalent in finish?