Saka Light Cavalry

Saka Light Cavalry

Sunday, 26 May 2013

HMG Matt Varnish

I have mentioned before how highly I regard Vallejo Matt Varnish. But on the recent trip to Triples I only managed to score one can as Lee made off with the other two tins. But late in the day we stumbled on a trader selling a strange looking can and given one can was not enough......

Actually one of his selling points was that Leon from Adler used his spray. So I bought a can and was quick to test it that evening. I was happy enough to buy a second can on the Sunday and so I suppose I really ought to tell you about it.

HMG are a British paints supplier and the name is not a gadget name for our small hobby. They are a large company from what I can make out and a small division of the company makes hobby related products but mostly for the model planes and such. The only supplier I have found so far is Figures In Comfort Ltd. You know the guys who make the figure carry cases for the rich players amongst us ;-)

At the show the cans were priced at £8.50 but on line they are £8 at the moment, maybe you can bag a bargain or two. Aerosol cans are no longer allowed to be shipped abroad and now have to be sent by carrier (though the last one I ordered came by Royal Mail). So unless you track down a supply in your own country this review is just for mainland Britain.

The spray arc is reasonably tight and well directed, so it goes where you point. Army Painter spray always seems to spray to one side or the other, never straight ahead. It also is a really fine spray so it settles well across the figures. This has a lot I think to do with this.

The little yellow box sticks out the front of the nozzle and the hole is pin hole sized. This allows for the nice even mist like spray. Not that it comes without problems if not used properly. Due to the small hole it can be prone to clogging if you spray for long lengths or don't invert and run a short spray to clear the nozzle. In fact when the chap selling me my second can realised I had already bought a can he opened a draw and gave me the extra nozzle in case I had a problem. He also said that it did clog you can often clear it with white spirit but I am guessing if the worst comes to the worst you order a fresh can from them and ask for a replacement nozzle. I certainly will if I ever have to break into my spare.

The varnish dries 100% flat matt. None of this slight shine to it, the colours of the painting really show through the finish. I would say the figures look better post spraying than before, how often can you say that?

Drying time is a bit of a downer though. The can says 5-15 minutes between coats which may well be correct but the figures remained sticky for over a hour when I sprayed them up and the ones sprayed about an hour ago are still tacky (I am going on touching the base not the figures). So if you in a hurry, not the best can to reach for, but the rest of the time it seems the perfect spray for me.

Figures In Comfort are at Partizan next weekend so if your going to the show it may well be worth picking up a can or two. If you do, do me a favour, tell the guy you read a review on a blog and that's why your buying the can. No need to mention my blog, I just want suppliers to realise just how useful blogs can be to their business. At the moment blogs remain a fairly untapped resource for hobby suppliers and I'd like them to utilise us more.


  1. Thanks for the review - sounds like a solid backup for Dullcote

  2. Interesting product, Sadly I basically lack the guts to varnish figures. I'm so cack handed I would probably balls it up!

  3. This sounds almost too good to be true, great find Ian.

  4. @ Phyllion, never used Dullcote, maybe they should change their name for increased sales? LOL

    @ Ray, Lee did some 28mm Naps then straight away bought another ten tins

    @ Smillie, REALLY? I don't have the guts NOT to varnish

    @ Michael, if you go direct you can get them for about £7 a can if you order ten but the delivery cost is £10 and all plus VAT. So no real saving on buying from the supplier I linked to. However if you buy enough it comes down quite a bit. Lee is looking to buy 100 tins once these run down. But he does have 16,000 28mm figures to varnish over the next month or two.

    @ Andrew, I think so, it is actually furniture varnish if Lee is right. I am more impressed since seeing the 28's, really does not take any of the finish off the figures at all


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