Friday, October 15, 2010

Flat or Shiny, Part II

First off, can anyone identify this tower? It is located in the Calvados region of France, just off the road, in a field, 1km West of Bazenville. Its about 100m away from the Ryes War cemetery. I found a Canadian Soldiers boot heel in the dirt near its entrance and discovered lots of 1944 names/dates etchings on the walls inside from various soldiers, German and Canadian as well as a few really old ones. I have some pictures from the inside as well. I think it may have been a windmill. Anyone?

Next, I'm happy to say that after much messing about I think I may have come up with a less toxic solution to final flatcoating miniatures. I will begin by telling you what didn't work...

Testors Dulcote #1260: As said previously, when it works, this is the shit. Dead flat, doesn't obscure detail too much even with a few coats. Too bad it will probably kill you. Next!

Various Commercial Acrylic Matt Varnishes: Various names and brands. Think Wallmart and craft stores. Mostly these are crap. They are not at all flat, most are in the eggshell range with some actually semi-gloss. Pass...

Vallejo Matt Varnish #520: This stuff doesn't say Non-toxic on the label but has no bad odor or warning labels on it so gets the 1/2 nod from me. The finish is pretty flat, and it doesn't obscure the details as much as many other methods but it isn't dead flat (as Dulcote can be). Think of it as a semi-flat. Only apply this after paint has dried for a few days or it will be more of a eggshell (dunno why). Price is a factor as the 17ml bottle costs upwards of four bucks. I will use it only if there is nothing better...

Tamiya Flat Base # X21: By itself this is not a flatcote but instead an additive to acrylic paints to flatten them.

X21 mixed  with Vallejo Flatin a 1 to 4 ratio: No noticable difference. Adding more flat base seems  to do nothing then POW!, ruined frozen looking mini. Pass...

X21 mixed with Future Floor Polish in a 1 to 4 ratio: Nope...still shiny. Adding more flat base creates a frozen looking mini that it still shiny on outer faces. Pass...

...and the winner is...

X21 mixed with Plain white Glue and tap water in a 1 to 1 to 4 ratio: This seems to do the trick.  Absolutley DEAD flat finish but make sure to not add too much flat base!  Less may work well too - I have not tested this yet. Heres why I think this works. The white glue holds the flat base pigment in place and prevents it from pooling in the folds and depths of figures and vehicles (like the future polish). This is a cheap and easy solution with a single drawback. If you soak the mini in water or it gets wet, it may come off.

Happy Painting!



  1. I've been using X-21 mixed approximately 1:4 with a household polyurethane acrylic varnish (Resene Aquaclear, if that means anything to you). It works very well and is both hard-wearing and dries dead flat, but only when sprayed on -- if brushed on, it persists in drying to a slightly satin finish.

    Fortunately for me I have a decent airbrush, but even a cheap $30 miniature spray-gun does the trick.

  2. Could the tower be an old signal station. Didn't the French use this system to send messages?