I thought a quick guide to how I varnish my minis would be appropriate as it seems to be something many people struggle with.
My way of varnishing was inspired by Orctrader. His excellent guide came up while I was searching for a good way to get a matt finish with brush on primer. I thought a guide with pictures maybe could help someone First off, I use a brush on varnish because of the dangers of frosting. The phenomenon when a spray based matt varnish can leave a cloudy finish. As I have never gotten a spray primer to work well for me I just went straight for the brush on ones. As Orctrader I use two varnishes:
- Daler Rowney Soluble Gloss Varnish
- Daler Rowney Soluble Matt Varnish
Gloss Varnish apparently protects your minis better than the matt one does. I don't know how much of this is true, but having a gloss coat over your paint job makes it easier to see any spots you've missed with the matt coat.
Here is a mini before any varnish, nice matt paintjob.
I start with a thin coat of the Gloss varnish. As when painting your minis, don't just splash the varnish on. Wait 24 hours for it to dry. It gives a wet, glossy finish. Yuck.
After waiting 24 hours I varnish again, now with the matt varnish after shaking the bottle vigorously for a while. Brush the varnish over the whole model and do just one thin coat. The gloss varnish helps you spot any places you've missed. Wait 24 hours for it to dry. If you see some glossy spots, do another layer. You can also leave some parts glossy. I sometimes leave metals, gems, guts etc glossy to add to the effect I want to create.
And there you have it. A varnished miniature with a matt finish that won't cloud your paint job, but protect it against wear and tear.