Once you have finished painting your mini, it's time to seal
it. This will protect it from the elements, most notably, other
gamers' grimy paws. :-)
Dear non-U.S.A. readers: If you are looking for a Dullcote
Vendor outside of the US, contact hobby-exporter.com
They are the US exporter for Testors Dullcote. If you are in the
UK, contact Ripmax.com, they
are the UK importers of Testors Dullcote and can help you track
down an appropriate retail store.
Warning: Spray Paint and Spray On Sealers Look Alike
I have not had this mishap yet, but a common complaint is that
some folks reach for the sealer and grab primer instead.
Gloss vs. Matte
Gloss coats put down a nice solid, smooth, protective layer.
A surface becomes shinier as it becomes smoother, so this makes
sense. Enter the matte coat. Matte finishes are accomplished by
roughing up the surface. Multiple coats of a matte spray can become
progressively more glossy as the rough spots are filled in and
become smoother. I have heard that some folks use only multiple
coats of Dullcote, though, so keep that in mind.
Not All Matte Sealers Are Created Equal
The only spray on matte coat that I know of that is truly matte
is Testors Dullcote. From my own experience and from the comments
of others, I am not aware of any other truly matte spray on matte.
Generally, however, brush on matte finishes will in fact be matte.
You should always test a sealer first, and never forget that enough
coats of matte will eventually become more glossy. Folk Art Glass
& Tile Medium has a very flat finish and can be used as a
primer as well as imparting a matte finish.
* - secondhand information -
|Krylon Crystal Clear
|Krylon Matte Finish
|Krylon Low Odor Gloss
|Ral Partha Clear Matte Sealing Spray
|| Hobby Store
|Folk Art Glass & Tile Medium
|Future Acrylic Floor Finish
|A bunch of choices I don't know
The Sealing Process
Step 0 - Let the Paint Dry, No Really, Let it Dry!
This is crucial. If the paint is not completely dry, the sealer
can make it run, ruining all of your work. I recommend a minimum
of overnight. If you use a slow-drying paint or add media to retard
drying, you should probably wait longer. There isn't much of a
downside to waiting, although protecting the mini from dust might
be appropriate if you wait for a very long time.
Step 1 - Bulletproofing
First and foremost, let's protect it. If you read the labels
on a can or ask a few painters you will find out that gloss coats
are the protective variety. They make a nice hard smooth shiny
shell. Two or three thin coats is a common choice, I use three,
letting the mini dry for at least 30 minutes between coats. I
use Krylon Crystal Clear and it seems to be a very popular choice.
I have also used Testors Gloss Cote. Read the guidelines
for spray painting, the
same applies to spraying sealers.
Three coats of Krylon Crystal Clear
Step 2 - Matte Finish
Note: You should wait until the gloss coat is thoroughly dry.
I wait overnight. I have heard people quote anything from 2-3
hours to a week!
A matte tends to look more natural and most parts of most minis
thus need to be matte. So, putting down a matte coat now is a
popular choice. I apply a single coat of Testors Dullcote. Recall
from above that Krylon Matte Sealer is not a true matte; I have
a photo below for comparison.
- Read the guidelines
for spray painting, the same applies to spraying sealers.
- Dullcote comes
out very fast, so quick sweeps are best until you get a
feel for the flow rate; too much sealer will result in a
gray appearance. However, you do want to moisten the entire
surface with dullcote.
- You may need additional
applications to get a truly flat appearance
One coat of Krylon Matte Finish over three
coats of Krylon Crystal Clear
One coat of Testors Dullcote over three
coats of Krylon Crystal Clear
Step 3 - Gloss Highlights
If there are parts of the model that you want to have Gloss,
you can go back and paint gloss over it. Future Acrylic Floor
Finish is a pretty popular choice, but some have complained of
With Future highlights
(the contrast looks a lot cooler in real life)
With his buddies...
(The gloss on the plates is a little more obvious in this
What About Bases?
Astute observers might notice that the minis were not mounted
on bases. Ideally, you would have the mini on its intended base,
flocked, etc. before sealing. There is an exception though. Some
folks have found problems sealing over static grass without getting
droplets of sealer on the grass. It is not guaranteed to happen,
but a concern worth noting. If you are really worried about it,
then do everything but the static grass before sealing, then do
the static grass afterwards.