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Brushes for acrylic clear coat

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I have been painting a lot of my builds with  the stick of hair of late  mainly because the button on the airbrush makes my fingers go numb, but also to hone my patience  and ability  with  said sticks of hair.  I am  however  having problems with  putting  clear coat/varnish  on my models, as the brushes I  have seem to push the varnish  around  more than paint it . I use almost  exclusively  vallejo matt and gloss varnish  as I  like how it dries, but I  do struggle  especially  with doing  large  areas and even more so putting  matt clear coat over the gloss coat.  My collection of brushes is  varied  but non seem soft enough to  get the job done  properly.  What is everyone else using, I  am U.K.  based and not keen on getting  extravagant  with the cost of  brushes.

Hi Chris

I'm exclusively a brush painter and use Windsor and Newton Galleria acrylic matt varnish which has a rather "thick" look to it. Sorry but I can't think of a better way to describe it. However after a good shake and a short time to settle it brushes very well and drys quickly, 15 minutes or so. It normally also only takes one coat.

As for brushes I've a selection and if I'm honest my varnish brushes tend to be those that have been retired from paint service. Having just looked Windsor and Newton Cottman brushes seem to be the most used. Both varnish and brushes available from WH Smiths or an art shop and neither are expensive.

I picked up a lot of good value brushes at SMW from ABC Brushes who specialise in "seconds". They have a website


Thankyou  Chris, I  will  look into those.  I  definitely need some  more  brushes  and ones that  coat the  model  evenly.  :thumbsup:

Aftercare is one of the most important things with brushes to be honest. As well as the normal cleaning routines every now and then I give my brushes a soak in Deluxe Materials' Brush Magic. It's a bit aggressive and will strip the paint of the brush handle if left to long, but it does clear out all the gunge in the brush and brings them back to almost as good as new.

I primarily use marten hair brushes, and sometimes brushes with synthetic fibres - e .g. flat ones for shading effects. It's rather a matter of feel, though, nothing rational. For acrylic varnishes I use a very simple pony hair brush (size 6 or so, one that is actually recommended for children's water paints), which is very soft and baggy.

What I found really helpful is the use of painter soap (from a local artist goods shop), esp. after metallic acrylic paints. It really helps washing pigments out of the brush, extending lifetime.


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