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Made in us
Dakka Veteran

I have been big into fantasy for a long time and with movement trays and magnets I never really had any dropped models so I never used any type of protection. As I near the completion of my first painted 40k army I need some advice on what if any protection you give your models since they will be climbing buildings and be balancing on edges.

1. Do you seal your models/ do you think its necessary
2. If you do what product do you use (i do have an airbrush)
3. How do you apply said product
4. Do you apply before or after you add basing effects
5. Is there a noticeable downside ie (discoloration, clouding, ect)

Not sure if it makes a difference but I've painted a black templar themed guard army so lots of black and whites. I've watched guides online but they all seem to suggest different things, as well as some, swear that sealing is the worst/best idea.

I appreciate in advance any advice you guys have.
Made in us
Legendary Master of the Chapter

1. Yes/probably
2. Alclad II semi Matt varnish and gloss (airbrush) lacquer
3. airbrush
4. both its super thin so its great as a save button between different processes.
5. it alters base paint shininess which is a good and bad thing depending on what you are doing.

Varnishing is insurance that your paints wont chip too much in the same light as the clear coat on your car.

its not 100% necessary so long as you take care of your models.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2018/01/02 22:13:34

 Unit1126PLL wrote:
 Scott-S6 wrote:
And yet another thread is hijacked for Unit to ask for the same advice, receive the same answers and make the same excuses.

Oh my god I'm becoming martel.
Send help!

Made in ca
Longtime Dakkanaut



1. Do you seal your models/do you think its necessary?

Yes, very necessary with 40k with single models being moved around. I seal all my models prior to use on the table.

2. If you do what product do you use (i do have an airbrush)

I use Testor's Dule Coat myself to reduce shine. I have used varnish via airbrushing for larger models.

3. How do you apply said product.

Normally just with regular cans after I finish a small group of models.

4. Do you apply before or after you add basing effects

Before, but I do not do water or liquid effect basing and varnish can cloud those over.

5. Is there a noticeable downside ie (discoloration, clouding, ect)

If you do not mask your clear plastic glass you will have clouding there.

Hope that helps,


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Made in gb
Longtime Dakkanaut

Yes on metal models, generally no on plastics unless I need to do something about varying gloss levels

Vallejo airbrush gloss and matt here all the way, the brush on varnishes are used for various effects but a sealing coat is the air applied versions

Airbrushed, gloss first, then matt, usually 24 hours between coats and before handling to let it cure, normally closer to 48 prior to actual gaming or transporting

Depends what sort of basing, tend to be pretty plain here (GW texture paint & dry brush) so usually doesn't matter much

downside is the time to cure fully - also a royal pain over oil washes and occasionally some metallic colours seem to object.

It does change the colours somewhat as well, but in generally a way I'm happy with (seems to intensify colours)
Made in us
Dakka Veteran

Thank you for the replies so far. In case it helps I have purposely not based my Miniatures yet and am thinking of using Vallejo "thick mud" when i do the basing
Made in us
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at the keyboard

1. Do you seal your models/ do you think its necessary

Generally yes. It helps you dust them too but I prefer to have them protected. Some of my RPG figures especially need it as they're handled a LOT more than even 40k ones, and anything metal gets several coats (usually during painting as well)

2. If you do what product do you use (i do have an airbrush)

Actually varies. I've heard many people offer differing opinions. Remember that a lot also depends simply on your areas, what's available and what weather you have. I'm in a very high humidity area, for instance, so rattle can priming and varnishing is flat out most of the time (unless done in house which is not a great idea either).

I have both krylon matte spray, another hobby brand spray which I'll use on a good day (rarely). Mainly I'm using Liquitex gloss and matte through my airbrush, or also, painting on as necessary.

3. How do you apply said product

as above, but note that as much in this hobby, light layers, if needed more than one or two

4. Do you apply before or after you add basing effects

Usually after, but I do concentrate on the mini itself. Overspray won't affect the basing much then. The base itself is sealed before I put the mini on it, because a lot of times I'll be using PVA/water to do the basing itself, which tends to help seal.

5. Is there a noticeable downside ie (discoloration, clouding, ect)

If you spray in a bad environment, or with a bad spray (GW's Purity Seal does not work in my area) then yes. I've had to strip minis that I sprayed that way before I learned not to, sadly. Usually it's from too much on the mini, but it can also be the spray itself. Supposedly the new GW Spray varnish does NOT do this, but I've also not tested it, as mentioned, I don't like many sprays any more.

Automatically Appended Next Post:
Asmodios wrote:
Thank you for the replies so far. In case it helps I have purposely not based my Miniatures yet and am thinking of using Vallejo "thick mud" when i do the basing

I haven't used those specific Vallejo products, I have used stuff like this:


It works really really well, and for the cost, is not bad at all.

It's not hard to make your own basing paste however, if you want to.

You just need to get your standard basing materials (sand of a couple sizes, small rocks maybe, whatever scatter you might want), PVA glue, a paint you want to use and possibly a little water - mix together. I add in PVA and paint slowly, as the white in the PVA will make the colour lighter, as well as making it easier to judge when you've 'enough'. I don't really keep track, but say aprox 1/4 PVA to gravel/sand mix, several large dollops of paint (til colour you like), and a little water, drops at a time, to give you enough liquidity to smooth it out well. Paint on your bases with an old brush. Wait at least 1 day for it to thoroughly dry, then drybrush with a lighter colour. Done.

With either your own or the premade versions, you can use tools like sculpting tools, or just the back of a spoon, wood bit or other utensil to help you create patterns on the base. Be aware you might want thicker paste in this case (don't use as much water), so that it doesn't simply fall over time as it dries.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2018/01/03 21:23:08

Made in au
Grizzled Space Wolves Great Wolf

1. Do you seal your models/ do you think its necessary

Depends on the model. I don't automatically varnish everything, no.

2. If you do what product do you use (i do have an airbrush)

I have an airbrush but I still prefer to use Testors Dullcote and Glosscote in a rattle can. I do also have Dullcote in a glass bottle that I can airbrush, but rattle can I find easier and faster. These varnishes are lacquer based which means it's best to wait a day or two after painting before sealing as sometimes they can act like a paint stripper.

For some models I use Tamiya Gloss Varnish as an interim sealer (for example, before decals or oil washes) because it's the hardest acrylic varnish I've found. I apply it with an airbrush. I've found Gunze acrylics (which are really nice to spray) take a very long time to fully cure (though are dry to the touch almost immediately) so a coat of Tamiya Gloss is really useful on them.

I have used a bunch of other products in the past, but Testors and Tamiya's products are what I use 95% of the time these days.

3. How do you apply said product

As above.

4. Do you apply before or after you add basing effects

Usually before.

5. Is there a noticeable downside ie (discoloration, clouding, ect)

Clouding is when you screw it up. But it definitely changes the sheen and changing the sheen can alter how a colour looks. Occasionally I'll really like my colour balance before varnish but not after it, that's why I don't automatically varnish everything. On the models I'm currently working on one of the colours is significantly glossier than the others, which is not an effect I want so using a dullcote is great to balance all the colours out.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2018/01/03 21:45:55

Made in us
Abhorrent Grotesque Aberration

1. I’ve painted over 1,000 miniatures in the past 10 years. In that time I only started using sealant last week.

Recently I was looking through my collection and noticed that numerous Resin and Metal models have spots where the paint has chipped or flaked off. The plastic ones are just like I left them. All are routinely used on the tabletop.

Prior to priming I’ve always washed the metal and resin. I’ve also used several different brands of primer and that doesn’t seem to have mattered.

2. After looking around I settled on Vallejo gloss. It shot pretty easily out of my airbrush on an imperial knight a few days ago. That seems to be used by a lot of people.

3. Airbrush. I added a few drops of flow improver.

4. For the knight, I primed and did the base color. Then I added some stencil work. Then I threw sealant. Then I put nuln oil on the metal looking parts and started doing the detail work. It’s still in progress. I’ll likely seal again with satin at the end.

5. I saw no clouding. It’s certainly shiny though. Which is one of the reason I even sealed this model - I want the shiny effect.

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Made in gb
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2. I seal with Windsor & Newton brush on matt varnish. It really evens out all the different paint textures. Make sure you shake it before each use.
4. I add it after basing effects, and apply it to the base rim so the base rim doesn't chip or isn't too shiny.
5. No noticeable side effects. The only problem is if you use too much, in which case you get some gloopy bits in crevices, but it's easy to avoid.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2018/01/10 10:47:44

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Made in fr
Longtime Dakkanaut

I seal every model with Vallejo matte varnish through the airbrush. It takes a few seconds per mini, so I think it's well worth it. I also like the effect (I really don't like glossy stuff on my minis).
I do it after everything is painted, but before applying grass to the base. Not really sure why, but I've always done that.
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Tail-spinning Tomb Blade Pilot


I only seal metal models as I usually get some sort of dim film affect that I'm not a fan of. Never noticed any scratching or flaking paint in any of the 4 completely painted armies I have so is it necessary? I dont think so.

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Made in us
Dakka Veteran

Thanks for all the product types and suggestions guys. Ill most likely try several of your techniques on my old fantasy goblins and then on my newly painted guard (nobody is going to notice 1-2 messed up goblins in an army off 200-300
Made in no
Powerful Ushbati


How is GW's purety seal on a can?

I am a dyslectic, so bear with me.

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Slaanesh Veteran Marine with Tentacles

I seal my models with Army Painter rattle can varnish. They sell matte, satin, and gloss versions. Vallejo makes dropper bottles of varnish that work well by brush or airbrush. I typically spray them in a batch once they are completed - painted and based. Although I have probably done ones that aren't based, its not the end of the world.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2018/01/10 23:08:00

Made in us
Dakka Veteran

Krylon Matte Varnish from Wal-Mart $4 per can been using it for years.

I've also shot vallejo gloss varnish out of an airbrush but that is more for just pre-wash coats. Although I dab it on stuff I want to keep glossy post matte varnish.
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