I'm not a massive fan of varnish.  At least, I've always found Purity Seal a bit lacking and gloss varnish horribly off-putting, not to mention some of the cheaper varnishes I've ruined models with.  So I thought I'd get some of Vallejo's Polyurethane Matt Varnish (Vallejo number 27.527) and give it a whirl.

Unfortunately the only painted, metal model I had was from years ago and looks horrible.  At least it didn't matter if I ruined it.  Here are our initial shots.

I really, really hate the paint job on this guy.  I loved the idea of using the missile launcher hand, but my painting has come a long way since this Librarian.  I'd also convert him out of plastic if I were using him today, man I hate metal.  As you can see, not much in the way of detail to ruin, but it's a good enough surface to see any colour distortion.

I didn't clean him, dust him or anything before applying the varnish.  I figured if we go for worst case scenario and we came out good, that'd be proof of the product.  The varnish itself I applied through my airbrush - one of the big advantages for me of this varnish is that I can shoot it through the brush.  I'm not a massive fan of brushing varnish on.

See that peeling as the varnish holds to the coat?
A little drop of airbrush thinner (also from Vallejo) and it went through the airbrush without any issue at all.  Make sure you clean the brush after using this stuff and you should probably wear a mask (I didn't, because I'm an idiot and don't like my lungs).  Again, I didn't give the varnish time to set properly because I wanted to show one of the properties of this stuff that it shares with its primer siblings - it forms a plastic-y coat that peels away if you abuse it while it's still dying.  This is the polyurethane part of the mix, and one of the reasons it's a good varnish once it's dry.  The primer in the product family does the same thing, but takes longer to dry before it starts displaying this behaviour.

No colour distortion.
Only poor paint jobs.
One of the biggest issues I have with varnish is the colour distortion (especially on matt varnishes), but from what I can see this Vallejo varnish doesn't distort the colour noticeably.  Guess I could have used a decent miniature after all!

According to the manufacturer you should leave the model to dry for at least four hours, then apply another coat.  I didn't do that, because I like to abuse products when reviewing them.  By about thirty minutes after application it was resisting nail scratches, which is pretty impressive, though it was still tacky and a determined attack would peel the varnish off.

A day later and with another coat applied it was taking a really quite violent attack to peel the varnish off (and nothing that could possibly happen during play) and I couldn't visually detect the varnish itself at all.  The model feels a little tacky, even when fully dry, and stinks of Polyurethane, but it's solid as a rock and that horrible, horrible paint job isn't coming off any time soon.  It's not shiny, it's the same colour, but it's protected - where I come from we call that a win.

If only I'd varnished my Moderators before having to remove their bases, I wouldn't have to retouch the paint jobs...

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