Paint comes in many different varieties. We can distinguish water based and oil based paints. We can also distinguish glossy paints from matt finish paints, with several variations between these. These can be further modified with clear gloss and matt vanishes.
Most model work will not feature glossy finishes. There might be gloss on the metallic details, but the main body of an aircraft or model train tends to be matt finish. Model sport cars are an exception.
For the small surfaces of model work it is fine to use matt or gloss paint directly, and apply it with a small brush. But with large surfaces a brush often will not give a consistent appearance, with any imperfections in the paintwork or the underlying surface becoming plain to see. This is even more obvious with glossy paint. We can improve the painted finish either by using spray paint or by varnishing a polished painted surface.
Creating a gloss finish.
One way to create an even polish finish in paint is to use an abrasive compound to polish the surface. The abrasive compound will give the paint surface can be given a matt finish that can be turned to gloss with some vanish.
There are a few abrasive compounds that can be used on paint. Automobile cut and polish is one option; this is available in several grades of fine and course. Using increasingly fine compounds will create an increasingly fine finish. Alternately, the cleaning compound used on bathroom porcelain also works well.
- Wait till the painted surface is completely dry, at least a few days after it was painted.
- If the surface was painted some time ago it might need cleaning. Wash with mild detergent and water. Or use sugar soap.
- Polish the surface with cutting compound. Use an old rag.
- Once it is polished, completely clean the surface.
- Spray with a clear gloss finish.
The paint surface cannot be too polished of the clear finish will not bond to the surface.
Model decals can be applied to the paint surface before applying the clear finish.