Sunday, November 6, 2011

Home-made shading varnish and unwanted guests!

I've created an AP Quickshade-type varnish for about half the price using a 250ml tin of Wattyl estapol and a small bottle of Prooftint. After decanting a small amount of estapol into a glass jar and adding about half a capful of prooftint I've got the shade I wanted for varnishing my creations. I toyed with buying some pre-mixed varnish, but not being sure of the shade in the containers I didn't feel like shelling out for something that wasn't what I was expecting. Plus the pre-mixed shades were all around the $AU35 mark (still cheaper than the $AU45 asking price for AP Quickshade).

My method, though, came in $AU26 ; the estapol was $16 and the prooftint $10. Substantially cheaper than the asking price for AP Quickshade.

I'm happy with the results too; the varnish pools in the folds and crevices, but where the surface is flat, the original colour is still clearly visible. Maybe I let my last can of AP Quickshade get too gluggy, but I found it was obscuring a lot of the detail, especially of dark colours. I'd have to compare it with some of my earlier figures using the AP product to make a fair comparison.

Some of this... a little of that...

...equals this...

...and this!

Below is one of the unwelcome guests I spotted in the shed when I opened the garage door. It's partner scuttled away under the lawn-mower, but this one stayed in it's nook pretending it wasn't there. I was going to put something close to it for a size reference, but thought the better of it seeing it's a venomous Red-Back Spider, related to the North American Black Widow, apparently!

This one is about the size of the end of my thumb, from knuckle to thumb-tip, approx. 2cm.

Whatever you do, don't tell Mrs. Rosbif as she'll probably burn the shed down to get rid of them and then fumigate the ashes before setting fire to them again, just to be sure ;-)!

Incy-wincy spider and her killer fangs!


  1. Good job on the homemade army painter, the pics look very cool, except the spider one!!!!!!

  2. That Ruskie looks excellent. Your varnish really does the trick. I might hang fire on the Chasseur until I see it with a matt finish, and yes spring has sprung and out come the creepy crawlies. I had a "Huntsman" spider run across my windscreen the other day and I nearly ran off the road!

  3. Your a brave man, on several levels! Great perseverance on the varnish, it certainly seems to do the trick.

  4. Good trick with the varnish, thanks for sharing that. Isn't that a Black Widow spider that is found in Italy?

  5. Thanks for sharing your trick!
    The spider looks like Shelob!

  6. There are references on teh intertubes to washing figs with "minwax" which AFAIK is a US woodstain/varnish product and this is probably the best Oz equivalent.

    I've been experimenting with DIY washes and have tried Wattyl with various pigment sources including humbrol black and brown enamels (which work OK) but not yet with woodstain.

    The Wattyl satin and matt varnishes work well also, as they have the same pooling-in-the-low-points property.

    The advantage of these varnishes is that they provide a hard protective layer for the paint job too. And they are definitely cheaper and better than hobby-specific varnishes. I always give my figs a clear varnish coat, so being able to wash and varnish in one coat is an attractive idea.

  7. Nice job with the 'ersatz AP' - the soviet looks particularly good.

    There are times when I'm perfectly happy to live in the freezing prairies of Canada as we are spared the creepy crawlies you show here (shudder)...


  8. At last some actual Aussie brands I may be able to find and have a go myself at using these homemade washes.

    Great idea.


  9. Gah- red backed incy wincies! I found one under the seat of my bike when I went to clean it up (it was more of a habitat than a vehicle at that stage). HI'd carried it thru the house with one hand under the seat...evidence i supppose that they really are very shy! had never come across one in the wild before - must be a good season for them as for everything else. Figs look great tho I'm not qualified to comment on the varnish. X La Soeur


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