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Finishing Hull - Minwax Wipe On Poly?

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I've finished painting the hull of my Bluenose, and I'd like to get a protective clear coat on top of the paint to help prevent scratches, scuffs, etc.  


I'm horrible with anything that has to be brushed on, so I'd like to use something that is easy to apply (like wipe on poly), or something that can be airbrushed on.


I've read through all the posts I can find, and I see a bunch of different suggestions and opinions, but often the situation is slightly different (no paint on hull, etc.)


Would applying Minwax wipe-on poly to my hull work?  Or would I get better results with something like Testor's Dullcoat?


My hull is fully painted with acrylic paint (Model Master's paint) - multiple coats over primer.  I'm looking for a flat or satin finish (nothing too glossy).  I tested wipe-on poly over some paint samples on scrap wood last month, and so far the paint has held up.


Thanks for any advice!


(Here's a quick shot of the ship after painting)



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Your hull is absolutely lovely but your shop are is far too clean.  If my admiral ever saw the picture you posted I would never hear the end of how it IS possible to have such a clean work area.    


To the subject at hand.  For  schooners that I built I have been giving the hulls 5 to 6 coats of sprayed Minwax gloss poly.   I personally prefer a semi gloss or even less shiny finish but I was chastised by a client years ago that the hull looked dull and they wanted a shiny finish.   Eye of the beholder and all that.   If spraying, I find that many light coats is better so there are no runs or orange peel effects. I rub the hull with Scotch Brite pad between coats. 



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Current Builds - HMS Litchfield 1695 - Scratch 1:64 HMS Boston 1762 -Scratch 1:196


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Hi there,


I don't have any answers as to your question on protecting that beautiful paint job on your Bluenose. I was

aboard BN II last week while she was in port in Lunenburg, NS. Took only a few photos but did get this one

of her starboard bow. The entire hull is in this state of appearance. Not something most modelers would want

to duplicate.


I'll be following along to see how you approach this.


John Elwood


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That kind of racing boats usually had a really shiny surface. It's supposed that the shine gave them more speed, since the gloss paint is less rough than the flat.

As far as the roughness of the paint that statement is true; how much more speed they actually got is debatable, IMO.

But... as always been said, it's your ship. Do with her as you please.  ;)

I would airbrush several coats of a clear varnish, preferably of the same brand as your paint.

Looks like you are proficient with the use of an airbrush.

How flat or shiny is up to you.   ;)


Oh, and yes... how can you keep your workshop that clean??? :o  :o  :o

Edited by Ulises Victoria

There aren't but two options: do it FAST, or do it RIGHT.


Current Project Build Log: HMS Surprise 1790. Artesania Latina 1/48

Future projects already in my stash: Panart: San Felipe 1/75; OcCre: Santísima Trinidad 1/90;

Wish List: Le Soleil Royal, 1/64 Amati Victory


So much to build, so little time!



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Thanks Allan, John and Ulises!


It sounds like a little bit of gloss might be called for!  I think I'll pick up some gloss and semi-gloss clear coats next time I'm out, and do some tests.  I'm planning on painting a few test boards using the same paint that was used for the hull anyway, so I'll use those to test some different levels of gloss.  (I'm going to try using some printed decal paper to do the nameplates and scroll work on the bow, so I was going to do a trial run of that on some test boards.  Those boards can double for some tests of different levels of gloss clear coats).


We've got a great local hobby shop that carries a lot of the specialty stuff, so I'll probably check in with them to see if they have any top coats that I can spray on.  If that doesn't pan out, our local hardware store carries all the normal varnishes and polys.


The workspace only looks clean because I haven't been doing much except painting for the last couple months, and that all happens out in the garage!  My workbench is in a corner of my home office, so the wife asks that I keep it somewhat clean since it is visible to anyone coming by the house :)  Now that I'm done with painting, it is already starting to get a little messier as I start in on the cap rails.


John - I'm envious of your visit to the Bluenose II.  My wife and I have talked about the feasibility of a vacation that involves stopping by there, but since we're in Texas, it would be quite a long journey!  Since this is only my second build, I'm not quite to the skill level where I'm comfortable trying to reproduce a 'real', 'worn' or 'weathered' look.  I ended up using a ton of wood filler and making the hull very smooth - just easier for me than trying to reproduce what the ship would actually look like.  This was also my first planked ship, so my hull planks were nowhere near nice enough to leave their lines visible :)  I'm hoping that my next build can go a little lighter on the filler and paint so the seams/grain of the planks can be more visible.

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Dave, if you are going to use water slide decals, make sure you have a glossy surface for your decals. If not, the decals will dry with "silvering" in the clear areas. Looks like whitish spots, especially on that nice black hull you did.


Started: MS Bounty Longboat,

On Hold:  Heinkel USS Choctaw paper

Down the road: Shipyard HMC Alert 1/96 paper, Mamoli Constitution Cross, MS USN Picket Boat #1

Scratchbuild: Echo Cross Section


Member Nautical Research Guild

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Thanks for the warning!  I've read that the decals should go over gloss finish, but it always sounded like that was more of a 'for best results' suggestion.  I didn't realize that using a matte finish might actually cause problems with the decals.  Over the next week I'm going to be trying out some different finishes, and I'll be sure to try out a decal on each of them!

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I'm probably sounding like a broken record but my favorite finish is nitro cellulose lacquer.  I spray it on.  It's great for decals, too.  As far as scratches, if you get any, lacquer is easy to repair because the new coat melts into the existing coat.



First and only build: Endeavour - 1934 American's Cup, UK Challenger, J-Class - Amati 1:35

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