Humbrol’s Gloss Clear is an often overlooked material for model making but it’s incredibly useful and is far more than just a clear finish.
You could be mistaken in believing that Humbrol’s Gloss Varnish is just for adding a shine to models but it’s far more.
It protects paintwork with a clear finish but can also be used to improve the look of clear plastic for windows and allows recessed and detail areas to be cleaned without damage (watch the video below for more). And don’t worry about the gloss finish, this can easily be changed to a matt finish if you prefer.
Rather than reinvent what’s already been said, here’s a review and summary of it from Luther at the Mighty Brush.
“Here it is – the answer to all hobbyist’s prayers! Well, maybe not all hobbyists, but those who are familiar with the old Johnson’s Klear floor polish will know how useful a substance that was for our hobby and what a gap was left when it was replaced with a completely different and much less useful formula. There has been a lack of thin, clear gloss varnish for a number of years but now, finally, Humbrol has stepped up to fill that gap.
The way the product is described on the Humbrol website makes it sound identical to the old Johnson’s Klear in terms of usage and result – and the good news is it’s true.
It’s thin and clear, can be applied undiluted with either brush or airbrush, is self-levelling and dries to a finish that gets more and shinier the more coats you apply.
The main uses are as a gloss varnish if you want a shiny finish to a model or part of a model, as a protective layer for the painted surface prior to using shading washes, as a preparation layer for applying decals, or as a dip to make clear parts such as aircraft canopies more realistic.
This Humbrol video demonstrates some of the uses and how its applied.
A thin clear varnish that goes on clear and stays clear. Humbrol Clear drys to a low gloss finish, a higher gloss finish can be achieved by applying further thin coats.
A water-soluble, self-levelling gloss medium that can prepare painted surfaces for decals, as a gloss varnish and improve the appearance of clear parts.
Humbrol Enamel and Acrylic Paints.
Apply thinly with a brush or airbrush. To achieve a high gloss finish, apply additional coats.
Surface-dry in 30 minutes. Recoat once dry.
How to Clean
Humbrol Gloss Clear is available in a 125ml bottle from Humbrol directly or from their stockists.”
Words reproduced by the kind permission of The Mighty Brush.
> A final, personal, note: I spend a huge amount of time testing, photographing, writing and researching techniques for these articles and pay for all the running costs of MRE out of my own pocket. If you found this article useful you can support me by making a donation on my fund-raising page. Thanks and happy modelling, Andy.
Andy is a lifelong modeler, writer, and founder of modelrailwayengineer.com. He has been building model railways, dioramas, and miniatures for over 20 years. His passion for model making and railways began when he was a child, building his first layout at the age of seven.
Andy’s particular passion is making scenery and structures in 4mm scale, which he sells commercially. He is particularly interested in modelling the railways of South West England during the late Victorian/early Edwardian era, although he also enjoys making sci-fi and fantasy figures and dioramas. His website has won several awards, and he is a member of MERG (Model Railway Electronics Group) and the 009 Society.
When not making models, Andy lives in Surrey with his wife and teenage son. Other interests include history, science fiction, photography, and programming. Read more about Andy.