Friday, June 22, 2018

I Have Found It!

A replacement for Dullcote, that is.  For several year now, I have been lamenting the inconsistency and "failure to flatten" of Testor's Dullcote.  See my earlier ramblings on this topic at Reliability of Primers and Dullcote.  Prior to the last four or five years, Dullcote was my dulling agent of choice.  It rarely failed to take the sheen off of my freshly painted figures.  But then something changed.  The packaging changed and my suspicion is that the formulation changed too.  That I could not prove.  Was the Dullcote having difficulty knocking the sheen off figures stained with MinWax?  I could not be sure.  All I knew was that results were inconsistent.  So I began a hunt for an alternative.  In every case, I returned to Dullcote and hoped for the best but the hunt never stopped.  
Several months ago I came upon Rust-Oleum's Clear Dead Flat in a Big Box hardware store.  "Dead Flat" certainly sounded promising and my expectations were set high.  Having applied this in various weather conditions, my verdict is that this product is NO WHERE near dead flat.  It leaves a satin sheen as do most matte clear topcoats.  Very disappointing.

Recently while browsing Dick Blick in search of a replacement Winsor & Newton Series 7 brush, I came upon W&N's Professional Matt Varnish.  After reading a few reviews, the product looked promising.  Given that this product is about a third the cost per ounce of Dullcote, I figured what do I have to lose?  Not much really.  My hobby closet holds many a half empty bottle of matt varnish that has failed to meet expectations.

Well, when the order arrived, I grabbed a stand of figures that still had the Dullcote satin sheen and gave them a spray with the W&N matt varnish.  The results were incredible!  Dead flat!  I have not seen this level of dead flattedness since the days of using Floquil's Figure Flat about twenty years ago.  Next I grabbed a unit of recently "dipped" figures.  Again, absolutely dead flat was the result.  Splendid!  I have found a new dull coat.

The only issue now is that I have become accustomed to figures showing a slight sheen...

53 comments:

  1. Useful find, I coat by brush and live with a slight sheen....can you spray this over figures that are already based ? Flocked etc....

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    1. I give figures two coats of the flat spray whether dullcote or W&N. The first application after the finished figures have been given a Minwax stain and a second coat after the figures have been based and stands flocked.

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  2. Jonathan- How does it go over 'Gloss Lacquer' or 'Semi-Gloss Lacquer'? ....I tend to like a 'Satin' finish.

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    1. Since I typically “dip” figures with an application of stain, the result is a hard, glossy finish. W&N dulls it right down. Gloss lacquer should be no different.

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    2. Thanks for the reply- most encouraging- shall keep an eye out for the W&N.

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  3. Nice find. I have settled on Army Painter's dull coat of late since the end of my Floquil cans. I may have to give this a try as well.

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    1. You can try it next time we meet. Bring along a stand of finished figures and you can give it a test.

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  4. Hehe, I just picked up 3 more cans of Testors Dullcote today, so now I have 4 full cans & one in use. I've been pretty happy with it but have added a bottle of AK interactive Ultra Matt brush on varnish to my arsenal. I haven't seen the W&N spray anywhere locally.

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    1. Glad to see that Dullcote continues to work for you. For me, results have been mixed for years. W&N seems to be a step in the right direction for me but YMMV.

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  5. I've switched too AK Interactive too - but long for a Testors replacement. Just found a supplier in NZ - huzzah! Thank you :D

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    1. Hi Sebastian! Give it try and report your results.

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  6. Yep W&N is great, but I prefer to use the brush on as I don't ever need to worry about temperature. It's been my go to for years now.

    Christopher

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  7. After some disappointing forays into various sprays, I turned to the Testor's Model Master flat clear lacquer finish, the non-aerosol 1 oz bottles. Thus far, the formula has not changed and the results have remained consistent. However, every time I open a new bottle, I apply some to a test area to make sure!

    Thanks for the lead on the W&N product. I'll keep an eye out for it as a backup!

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    1. W&N matte varnish seems to be superior to Dullcote in my limited trials. Give it a try sometime.

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  8. Thanks for the tip Jonathon I have been looking for a matt varnish for a long time. I will give it a go.

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  9. Good to know,I like W&N products as a rule.
    Best Iain

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  10. So, here's a question - how do you handle the matting out of your metallics? I used to use Testors spray, but stopped when I realized that it was turning my metallics into grey and yellow.

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    1. That is good question. With Dullcote often leaving a sheen, I have not had to deal with this situation. Metal on muskets seems ok to me but have not applied it to armor yet.

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  11. Good show! Off to Blick...I too had given up on flatness.

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  12. Thanks Jonathan, I've placed an order with Dick Blick.

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  13. Well done! Always a good feeling to find an elusive product replacement!

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  14. Thanks for the tip, Jonathan. I have noticed Testors Dullcote leaving a sheen. My recent French needed a second coat as was surprised to see a lot of the figures were still shiny after the first coat. I will have to see if Lowe's carries ot.

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    1. My recent experience with Dullcote has been the same. If getting W&N locally, try an art store or even Michaels.

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  15. Good news for us both, as I have just bought a can of W&N a couple of weeks ago to try out. I do like their products. I am away this weekend and tried a local shop here for W&N Peat Brown ink, as someone said it made for a really usefull wash on 10mm stuff. Good old W&N.

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    1. Once you give the matt varnish a try, let us know how it worked for you.

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  16. I too have had issues with finding the right varnish. The issue we have in Aucklad is a high humidity that can often interfere with sprays so I have settled on a brush on matte varnish by Atelier. The brush on has the added advantage that I don't get complaints from her indoors about spraying "that smelly stuff around!"

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    1. Hi Mark. High humidity is not a problem for me so sprays typically work well. However, Dullcote has let me down repeatedly. Hopefully, W&N is my salvation.

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  17. Testors started going off for me around a year ago and leaving a semi-gloss or satin finish and I even had frosting on a few figures, but then seemed to come right again. I have been far more diligent about the number of times I have been shaking the can and being careful about the time of day I have been spraying, so thought it may have been down to me. I'll definitely have to give the Winsor and Newton spray a try especially if, as you say, it is a little less "temperamental".

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    1. Lawrence, I was diligent on shaking the can before use but results remained inconsistent. I tried different suppliers but results remained varied. My hunch is the formulation changed at some point. As mentioned, my results are from limited trials but early results are promising.

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  18. Thank you for this. What great find! I am off to try and get some and try it.

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  19. Yes, Dullcote has been maddeningly inconsistent over the past few years. I bought three cases of the stuff a month ago, and all coats have gone on dead flat.

    I have tried the Windsor and Newton in the past, Jon, but it seemed awfully dependent on humidity and temperature. I'll have to give it another go.

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    1. I wish I had your luck with Dullcote. Where do you buy it?

      Hope W&N is not susceptible to temperature and humidity variances. I guess I will see. Still, W&N is a lot less expensive than Dullcote.

      I appreciate your feedback on your experiences with both products.

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    2. https://www.scalehobbyist.com/catagories/Paint_and_Construction/dullcote-clear-flat-lacquer-overcoat/TES00001260/product.php?s=3&t=1&u=0&micr=772&pg=1&ppp=48&sb=stocknumber&so=a

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    3. I use a lamp to heat both the figures and the Dullcoat can (not too much, kaboom!). I also place the coated figures back under the drying light to ensure a matte and frost free coat. That way humidity and temperature here on the west side of the state doesn't effect the application.

      Lately, even with the heat treatment, Dullcoat leaves a sheen and no longer has a matte finish. I'm hoping W&N will perform better.

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    4. I sprayed a batch of figures yesterday with W&N and the results were a flat finish.

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    5. Today, received two cans of W&N and immediately tried them. The result was an even, mat finish. I was so happy with the results that I resprayed several models and figures that had the un-Dullcoat finish. Turned out perfect!

      Thanks so much Jon for your efforts to flatten out Dullcoat. My search is over.

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    6. That is terrific news and confirms my trials with W&N!

      Splendid product (and less expensive than Dullcote too!).

      Thanks for reporting back on your results.

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  20. Good luck with this most recent venture into the mine field that is spray mat varnish.

    There are horror stories every where....
    😀

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  21. After several cases of the dreaded "frost" over the years, I have decided that I like semi gloss/satin finish pretty well... :-)

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    1. While I prefer flat, the trouble I have had attaining that finish has me often settling for a somewhat satin finish. With W&N, I hope my trials are over.

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  22. A bit late in posting on this one! I moved away from spays a long time ago, I was just sick and tired of bad results. I now use a similar item Winsor and Newton Galleria. Its a marvel to be honest, you can slap it all over the figures, leave big gloops all over the figure, and it still comes up as matt as matt can be. Here's a UK link if anyones interested.
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Winsor-Newton-Galeria-Matt-Medium/dp/B0027ISZH8/ref=pd_sbs_21_5?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B0027ISZH8&pd_rd_r=8fd4c0d8-865f-11e8-9d43-5169ffada23c&pd_rd_w=oB5cM&pd_rd_wg=k8DsU&pf_rd_i=desktop-dp-sims&pf_rd_m=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE&pf_rd_p=5179604776422437276&pf_rd_r=NDDVPMR2H1QGXKKZSE68&pf_rd_s=desktop-dp-sims&pf_rd_t=40701&psc=1&refRID=NDDVPMR2H1QGXKKZSE68

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    1. Never too late, Ray!
      I have always used a spray topcoat but should give brush on Matt a try. Thanks the suggestion!

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