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What finish are you using.

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I only use a matt varnish now, I did try a silk finish once but wasnt keen on the effect - always solvent based as well. I find Humbrol works well.




Current build Trumpeter Arizona 1:200 with White Ensign PE and a Nautilus Wooden Deck.

Built Caldercraft Convulsion, HM Brig Badger and HMS Snake.

Awaiting - Zvelda HMS Dreadnought planning to get the Pontos Deck and PE Upgrades, Panart 1:23 Gun deck model and couple of the cannon kits Manatu - French siege mortar, and American coastal cannon.

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I always use a solvent based finish.

Water based may be better for the environment but their results are too unpredictable on 1000 hours plus of work to risk it. (One large model covered in a ghostly white film was more than enough for me)


I have found a satin finish most useful. if you stand the aerosol can in some hot (not boiling) water for a minute or two before spraying. This increases the pressure (be careful!) in the tin. The increase in temperature makes the solvent thinner, so when the varnish is sprayed, the solvent evaporates much more quickly and the varnish goes on much smoother, more even and not as 'satiny'


It works well for spray paints too, giving a much finer finish, but do be careful if you try it.! 


If you use an airbrush to spray oil based paint, try mixing in some cellulose thinners with the paint. It has the same effect as the heated aerosol. The thinner evaporates much more quickly than the oil base, especially mixed with matt paints, the finish is flawless. 

Edited by overdale
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Until now I have been using a double painting. First a liquid sealer, then an acrylic satin varnish. You can see the final effect on my model (Half Moon), in the completed models gallery of this forum. Obviously, filler and varnish must have the same thinner-basis.


But now I want to test a different treatment: I think to finish the next model with linseed oil; it has a very interesting satin-effect.




If any of you cry at my funeral, I'll never speak to you again! (Stan Laurel)

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After a section is finished painted or stained I always coat with matt lacquer, it seals and protects the surface from the effect of sunlight and dust for years to come.    A Post said they were going to use linseed oil as finish. I really like the effect it brings to some wood , however if using boiled linseed  it will change the color of some wood and could tint some painted areas. Trial and error here is the only way. But if using a finial protective coat I think it has allot merit.

Current Build:   Not a ship 



Completed Builds:   Mississippi River Boat OcCre 1:80

                                Bluenose, Model Shipways 1:48

                                Rattlesnake, Model Shipways 1:64

                                     Dumas # 1233  PT Boat,  Wood, 1:30 

                                 1914-1918 US Army Mule drawn Ambulance 1:16 




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Thanks guy, I am going to use an oil on by Triton cross section. It will change the color of the timber I have used, but was planning on that from the start. Will use a couple of coats which should leave a satin finish.


I have used a satin clear on other projects both brushed and airbrushed. Airbrushing leaves a more even finish.

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  • 1 month later...

I used a clear satin varnish on my first model, followed by wax rubbed on with fine steel wool. I guess you could use the steel wool without the wax, to take the shine off the varnish, and still leave a protective coat on the model.

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