Clear coat question

Hello all

So I’ve painted my first armor kit and i used tamiya acrylics, a 50/50 mix of buff and dessert yellow thinned approximately 40%. I was quite happy with the results. My issue is the clear coat darkened the base color. Is this normal? Should I have lightened my ratio in anticipation of this? Decals are done, just needs weathering and flat coat.

Ps…I’m normally an automotive modeler for the last 40 years so this armor thing is totally new to me. Any info would be appreciated.


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Gloss clear coats always darken flat paint - it’s normal. At a microscopic level flat paints have a rough texture that scatters light, so they look lighter. The gloss coat fills those textures so you get more colour reflected, giving more saturation. Once you apply your final flat clear coat the colours will lighten up again.

BTW did you seal the decals with another coat of clear gloss? It helps hide the edges so your weathering won’t highlight the edge of the decal film.


It’s been my experience that Tamiya flat acrylics get darker when a clear coat is applied.




I usually add some Tamiya x22 clear gloss to my mixes so I don’t have to lay down too much gloss afterwards for decals, but more importantly for me, the colour doesn’t change so much when you do gloss coat, if that makes sense.

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I haven’t sealed my decals yet so thanks for that. All good info so far…thanks so much!

I will post-shade lighter shades to not only add interest, but to off set the darkening of weathering and clear coat. In camo-schemes I will lighten the colors 10 or 20 percent. After decals, a clear coat and that is it. I do the chipping, weathering, rust tones, mud, dirt and dust and no top coat after that. A clear coat after that just blends everything together, which is the opposite of what your trying to do with weathering. It is like you build a car. You clear coat the body color and your done. Hoses, plastic parts, carpet, fabric and so forth have there own sheen and finish. Hope it helps.

I think i’ve got the idea now

For armor I recommend always using a matte clear final coat.* (with the can / AB held at a distance) for the flatest matte finish you can get! This will not darken the original paint colors.

Any gloss medium adds a “wet, glossy look” that will darken the color underneath.

For semi-gloss just use the matte clear* but spray it on “wet” (can / AB held closer to the model.)
This will cause the matte clear to flow out smoothy giving you a semi-gloss, slightly reflective affect.

*I recommend Tamiya TS-80 Matte Clear (rattle can) for best results. Using the rattle can also means no AB color change or before / after use clean-up required. - Please don’t argue with me unless you have tried it!

p.s. Decals go right on to the matte clear before weathering. I use Future to seal in my decals and then once thoroughly dry, another final dry coat of matte clear sprayed over the Future to kill the shine.

I start with a liberal amount of Future brushed right onto the matte coated model surface, I then apply the wet water-slide decal and once this starts to set, I again apply a liberal top coating to the decal. Once dry this entombs the decal and after a final application of matte clear you can rarely, if ever, see any sign of the decal film edge.

And once again, please don’t knock it ~ if you ain’t tried it.

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The matte clear coat sprayed on “Dry” will create the flatest affect.

More examples of this treatment:

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Perfect timing as im about to clear coat my current build. I dont have future in the house is that critical? Is there something else that I can use? I definitely would like to try your suggestions.

Current project

If you are referring to applying decals I don’t have any experience using anything else that works anywhere near as well. Perhaps any water based floor shine polish might do but I cannot say.

Nor I have EVER gotten any proper satisfaction out of any of the “Decal Setting” solutions. (Others swear by them - I do not.)

You want to encapsulate the decal with the Future both below AND above the decal to create a transition slope between the decal film and the model surface in order to hide the edge of the decal film.

My Advice:
Accept no substitutes!

p.s. If you are only matte clear coating (no decals) then the Future is totally unnecessary. Just go straight to the “dry” clear coat. (Tamiya TS-80) I also avoid the “Home Depot” large (cheap) cans of matte clear. They put out too much pressure, too much paint and don’t atomize the paint to a small enough droplet size.

Others will say this last statement is wrong and that their products work just fine but do you want to risk that fine model, in the final steps of finishing to a cheap mass-produced paint that is actually made for painting old rusty bar-b-que grills and wood fences? (In one coat?)

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