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Cheap workaround for glosscote

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  • Member since
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  • From: NS(ex PRR) Mon Line.
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Cheap workaround for glosscote
Posted by Jimmy_Braum on Tuesday, July 10, 2018 5:30 AM

I found a readily available substitute for gloss cote- top coat nail polish.  I was reading online on how to seal a scrat on my car, and they said clean the surface and apply top coat nailpolish. So, I got to thinking...why not try it for a model? it does work, but I haven't tried it with an airbrush, o I'll let you guys know how that works out when I try it. 

(My Model Railroad, My Rules) 

These are the opinions of a 26 year old, from the east end of, and modeling, the same section of the Wheeling and Lake Erie railway.  As well as a freelanced road (Austinville and Dynamite City railroad).

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Posted by BigDaddy on Tuesday, July 10, 2018 6:49 AM

I don't see the cheap part of the equation.  Testors spray gloss is $2.20 an ounce, the cheapest nail top cote I see is around $1.58 for 0.4 oz, up to $28 for 0.5 oz.

Secondly what's in it?   One brand I googled has toluene and isopropyl alcohol of the chemicals I heard of.  Some of the Chinese brands list no ingredients.  Not worth the risk to me or my models.


COB Potomac & Northern

By the Chesapeake Bay

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Posted by EMD.Don on Tuesday, July 10, 2018 9:10 AM

I'd test the polish or nail paint on a test subject first before applying it to a good model. I've had some bad reactions, including plastic softening, when using nail paint products on model automobiles and aircraft in the past. Also, as "BigDaddy" mentions above, most often ounce for ounce model specific paints and clears are usually cheaper then non-model specific paint products.

Hope it works out for you though!


"Ladies and gentlemen, I have some good news and some bad news. The bad news is that both engines have failed, and we will be stuck here for some time. The good news is that you decided to take the train and not fly."

N Scale Railroader.
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Posted by doctorwayne on Tuesday, July 10, 2018 11:57 AM

Around here, Testors' Glosscote and Dullcote, in 1 3/4oz. bottles, costs between $6.00 and $7.00, but thinned with lacquer thinner for use in an airbrush, will cover dozens of HO scale freight cars or locomotives, at pennies per item.


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Posted by NittanyLion on Tuesday, July 10, 2018 2:07 PM

Top coat goes on really thick. Not so much a problem for cars because the clear coat is thick itself. But it's likely four or five times as thick as fine hobby sprays. 

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Posted by Uncle_Bob on Thursday, July 12, 2018 9:34 PM

Instead of possibly harming your models with acetone or toluene, maybe you should try Future floor polish.  Relatively cheap, very shiny for decals, and very good for making plastic "glass" look good, too.

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Thursday, July 12, 2018 10:32 PM

maybe you should try Future floor polish.


Let me also cast my vote for Future Floor Polish. Very good stuff.




Happily modeling the STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD located in a world of plausible nonsense set in August, 1954.

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Posted by G Paine on Thursday, July 12, 2018 10:49 PM

I use Krylon Clear Acrylic spray. Is plastic friendly. Spray it through a soda straw and collect it in a bottle so it can be air brushed. Clean the air brush with laquer thinner or acetone

George In Midcoast Maine, 'bout halfway up the Rockland branch 

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Posted by dh28473 on Sunday, July 15, 2018 9:51 AM
I don't know much about this topic but i think i would go with future floor wax i have heard many people use it .
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Posted by Eric White on Monday, July 16, 2018 10:39 AM

You can even brush-paint Future (or Pledge Multi-Surface Floor Care, or maybe something else if you don't hurry up and buy some) as it levels very well.

Just be sure to protect your model from dust, as it takes a few days to cure.


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Posted by wjstix on Monday, July 16, 2018 2:23 PM

I seem to remember someone years ago using clear nail polish as scenery, as a finish clear coat over a painted surface to simulate water, making waves / ripples and such.

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Posted by j. c. on Monday, July 16, 2018 2:35 PM

i've used clearcoat for a finish coat on fishing lures i produce, its tough chip  resistant  non yellowing  and i get it at 79$ a gallon. never though about using it on models.

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