I’ve seen it before: something important in the hobby world just suddenly disappears and now we’re stuck trying to find a good replacement. This happened with paint recently, and I’m afraid it’s going to happen with the single most important coating in the hobby: Testor’s Dullcote. I think I’ve found a replacement.

Testors has been one of those companies that modelers just took for granted. They’d always be around, right? Well, a few years they were purchased by Rust-Oleum, for whom the hobby market is a very small segment of their business. This started causing trouble a few years ago when Testors Model Master series started going away. I can read the writing on the wall and I want to be ready for when my favorite modeling supply, Dullcote, does likewise.

I’ve been hunting for a suitable replacement and had thus far come up relatively empty handed. Everything I tried, from hardware store “matte finish” sprays to Tamiya’s Matte Clear had left me wanting. The former because it was too thick, the latter, surprisingly, because it wasn’t flat enough.

A recent article in, I believe, RMC, talked about using Grumbacher Matte Oil & Acrylic Final Varnish as a Dullcote replacement. I was intrigued and wanted to try it out. Sadly, my local Michaels didn’t have it in stock, but they did have a Windsor & Newton version. I decided to give it a shot.

I’ve only performed one test, but I’m enthusiastic about the results so far. It provides the same “rough” finish that Dullcote did. This was particularly visible in my first test where I used a very light coat. It gave the same stippled look that Dullcote does.

Importantly, another application did exactly what Dullcote does: smooth it all out while providing a very flat finish.

More testing is required, but so far I am very enthusiastic about my results. The thing I really like about it is that I can get it, hopefully reliably, from the store next to my grocery store.