Best Varnish For Miniatures: Top 5 Pick Reviews for 2022

Best Varnish For Miniatures

The concept of varnish is to protect a painting or any painted surface by providing a protective coating over the surface once it is dry.

Varnish for miniatures is specifically used for applying a transparent and protective coating to seal the colors of a small miniature. This coating allows the paint on the miniature to stay safe and unharmed during handling.

Varnish is usually applied in thin coats and is especially important for the miniature models used by gamers. Not only does it protect the paint, but it also improves the look of the miniature.

There are more than hundreds of miniature varnishes available in the market, and there are various types of varnish available as well.

In this guide, we will review some of the best varnish for miniatures options available to the public.

Image

Name

Editor's Rating

Price

Liquitex 5208 Matte Varnish

5/5

 Army Varnish Spray

5/5

Munitorum Varnish

4/5

Kamar Varnish Aerosol Spray

4.5/5

Vallejo Matt Model Color Varnish

4.5/5

Our Recommendation Top 5 Best Varnish For Miniatures

1. Liquitex 5208 Matte Varnish

The Liquitex 5208 Matte Varnish is a transparent and permanent varnish for miniatures. When applied to miniatures, it provides a matte acrylic coating. This transparent coating is breathable and protects the paint against damage by UV.

You have to apply this layer once the paint is completely dry. When this coating dries, it provides a flexible and non-sticky surface over the painting.

This product also increases the color quality and look of the miniature by brightening the exterior. Not only that, but it also improves the durability of the surface and makes it ideal for shipping.

Since this is a permanent varnish, make sure that you do a patch test before using the product. When you first apply the coating, you will see that it is semi-opaque, and it becomes transparent when it dries completely.

When applying the protective coating, look into it that the area is free of dust and dirt. Do not forget to inspect the miniature properly for bubbles on the surface. If you notice any bubble on the surface, then you must even the bubbles out immediately.

The product has a low viscosity, so you do not have to thin the varnish with water before use. However, we do not recommend using the product over oil paint. This product is available in four different sizes: 8 Fl Oz, 12 Fl Oz, 16 Fl Oz, and 32 Fl Oz.

Highlighted Features:

  • Permanent and non-toxic varnish
  • It has a low viscosity
  • Provides a smooth, transparent matte finish
  • Flexible, so it does not crack or damage easily

2. The Army Painter Anti Shine Matt Varnish Spray

Similar to the Liquitex Varnish mentioned above, The Army Painter Anti Shine Matt Varnish Spray is also a great varnish for miniatures.

This product is specifically manufactured to remove the shine from all the miniatures that have been submerged with Quick Shade or are painted using acrylics or any other paint.

However, this matt varnish spray provides a great matte finish to miniatures but holds the shine of the metallic acrylic paint.

Similar to the product mentioned above, it is also non-toxic and does not crack or damage easily if the spray is applied properly.

You must make sure that the paint is completely dry before applying the varnish coating. It is better if you allow the paint to dry for at least 48 to 72 hours before varnishing the mini models.

Before you go ahead and spray the varnish on all the products, make sure that you perform a patch test first on one miniature.

It is an acrylic-based matte varnish and dries in a short period of time. This varnish seals the mini models perfectly and does not change the colors.

You can apply multiple coats of the varnish if you want to, but make sure that you apply thin coats and let a layer dry properly before applying another.

Highlighted Features:

  • Provides a great matte finish
  • Remove the shine of the paints
  • It can be applied in multiple coatings
  • Durable and does not crack

3. Citadel Munitorum Varnish

In search of the best varnish for miniatures to protect the paint, we stumbled upon the Citadel Munitorum Varnish.

You can apply a coat of this varnish to make sure that the paint on your miniatures does not get chipped while handling or exhibiting.

Unlike the two varnish products we have reviewed above, this item does not have a matt finish. In fact, it provides a satin or semi-matte finish to the miniatures.

This varnish does not make the models completely glossy. Even though it adds a satin finish to the miniatures, it does not overpower the base colors. It will remove the excess shine from the paints after drying completely.

You will find this product in a 400ml spray can and should spray a thin protective layer from a distance of at least 20 cm from the mini models. Before varnishing, make sure to shake the can well for 2 to 3 minutes to properly mix the varnish.

This varnish dries in a short period of time and becomes transparent. The quality of the coating is excellent, and it does not break or turn yellow.

Highlighted Features:

  • Quick drying
  • Provides a semi-matte finish
  • It does not break easily or turn into a yellow shade
  • Transparent and durable

4. Krylon K01312 Kamar Varnish

The Krylon Kamar Varnish is another great product for varnishing miniatures.

This product provides a thin, long-lasting, and transparent protective layer on the surface of mini models.

While the majority of varnishes available in the market are mainly suitable for acrylic paint, this product can be applied on the surface of oil, watercolor, and acrylic paints.

Due to the presence of non-toxic and impurity-free elements, this product lasts for years after years without any discoloration. The coating of the varnish allows the miniatures to look fresh and new for several years.

You will find this varnish in an 11 Oz spray can. It can be used on multiple surfaces such as glass, wood, metal, plastic, ceramic, paper, plaster, and many more.

One of the notable qualities of this product is that it allows you to rework the miniatures easily in case you need to make some changes to the models. It is a quick drying varnish and dries within 15 minutes. However, let the miniature stay in place for at least 2 hours before handling or packing it.

We recommend artists use this spray carefully as the vapors are highly flammable and can cause a flash fire very easily.

Highlighted Features:

  • Dries quickly
  • Non-toxic and impurity-free
  • Long-lasting and transparent
  • Works on oil, watercolor, and acrylic paint

5. Vallejo Matt Model Varnish

Last but not the least, we will review the Vallejo Matt Model Varnish used to protect miniatures.

This item provides a coating over mini models and makes sure that they are protected from dirt, dust, humidity, and so on. However, you must make sure that the models are completely dry before you go ahead and apply the varnish.

You will find this varnish in a 17 ml bottle that comes with a dropper. Before applying a coat of this product, make sure to shake the bottle well. Dilute the mixture with water before using it.

You have to apply the diluted mixture in thin coats. If you want to ensure a thick coating of the miniatures, then you have to apply several thin layers with an interval of 5 to 10 minutes.

Once the mini models are covered in varnish, allow them to dry completely before handling or packing them.

This product generally works on acrylic colors and ensures a smooth, matt finish of the colors. However, it does not affect or change the colors used to paint the miniature. Once it is dry, the varnish will be transparent and have an extraordinary and hard surface.

Highlighted Features:

  • Dries within a short period of time
  • Works great on acrylic colors
  • Provides a transparent matt finish

Comparison Chart of Top 5 Miniatures Varnish

Product Name

Size

Varnish Finish

Application Method

Liquitex  Matte Varnish

237 ml

Matt Finish

Brush-on

Army Painter Anti Shine Varnish Spray

400 ml

Matt Finish

Aerosol

Citadel Munitorum

400 ml

Satin Or Semi-Matt Finish

Aerosol

Krylon Kamar Varnish

11 Fl Oz

Matt Finish

Aerosol

Vallejo Model Color Varnish

17 ml

Matt Finish

Brush-on

Varnish For Miniatures Buying Guide

Varnish For Miniatures Buying Guide

There are several types of varnishes for miniatures available in the market. In order to choose the best varnish for miniatures, there are certain buying factors you have to consider. These factors are-

Type Of Finish

When it comes to varnish, there are quite a few types of varnish finish available in the market. The most common types of varnish finish are glossy, semi-matt, and matt.

While purchasing a varnishing product, you will have to choose the type of finish you want on your products.

  • If you want a non-shiny and matt finish, then go for the matt finish varnish.
  • Choose the glossy finish if you want your miniatures to have a glossy look.
  • If you want a mixture of both glossy and matt looks, then make sure to purchase the semi-matt finish.

Transparency

The beauty of a miniature model will improve when the varnish dries to transparent. There are various varnishes available in the market that turn into a yellow shade after a few months or years of application. To protect your models and keep them new and fresh, it is essential to choose a varnish that does not show signs of discoloration.

Drying Time

The designing, creating, and painting of a miniature model takes a long period of time, and it takes about 24 hours to 2 weeks for the paint to dry completely.

After spending such long time completing the model, artists prefer to finish the varnishing within short period of time. There are quite a few varnishes that require about 15 minutes or less to dry. Before purchasing a varnish, make sure to check the drying time of the product and decide if that works for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How to protect a miniature model after painting?

In order to protect a mini model after painting, coat the miniature with a layer of varnish after the paint is dry. This will protect the model from dust and dirt and will prevent the paint from getting chipped.

2. Which varnish finish should i use?

The type of varnish finish you should use depends on your personal preferences. If you want to brighten up the darker colors on the models, then you can use the matte finish. If you want a shiny surface, then you should use a glossy finish.

3. Is it necessary to varnish the miniatures?

We usually think that varnishing is only necessary for miniatures that are being shipped or exhibited. However, this is not right as miniatures are mainly varnished to prevent damage from handling.

When you touch or hold a mini model in your hands, the oils on your finger often rub off the paint on the models. So, varnishing is absolutely necessary if you want to protect the miniatures.

4. Why do we need to apply varnish in thin coats?

We generally recommend applying varnish in thin coats as it helps the surface of the model to be transparent. If you apply the varnish in thick coats, then the surface will frost or turn foggy after drying.

If you need a thick varnish on a model, then you will have to apply several thin coats, in a regular interval of 10 to 15 minutes.

Conclusion

As we know, varnishing is important if we want to protect our hard work from dirt, dust, and humidity and prevent the paint on the miniatures from getting damaged.

The products we have reviewed in the guide are some of the best varnish for miniatures options available in the market. However, before purchasing a varnish for the mini models, make sure that you consider all the buying factors and make an informed decision.

Up Next: Our selected top 5 pin vise for miniatures.

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