REVIEW: Lahmian Medium

Little was known about this ‘technical paint’ from Games Workshop after it was released. Their own website doesn’t go into much detail about what it is or what it does. As to the former, a few Google searches brought up claims that it was the acrylic binder they mix with pigment to make their paints, or that it was a glaze medium (a substance used to thin acrylic paints and also reduce their drying time). At Warhammer Fest recently I asked Forge World’s Phil Stutcinskas what he used to gloss coat his models prior to using washes and applying decals. He said that he allows Lahmian Medium to separate and siphons the top layer (in lieu of the classic Jonhsons Klear which has become akin to gold dust). He went on to explain that Lahmian Medium is a gloss varnish with a matting agent. I am lucky enough to still have half a bottle of the original Jonhsons Klear so have no need of such shenanigans, but Lahmian Medium certainly works brilliantly as a clear matte varnish. And that’s not it’s only use…

The first time I became interested in Lahmian Medium was when browsing a copy of White Dwarf a few months ago and specifically a Paint Platter article where they were painting a pale-skinned character. They started with a white basecoat and used a wash over the skin mixed with Lahmian Medium. The reason given for this was that it stopped the wash staining the surface of the model and helped give a smooth gradient of shading. The pictures seemed to verify this so I got myself a pot and tried it out. It does indeed work in this way and now I always mix my GW shading washes with a bit of the stuff, up to 50/50 depending on how thin I want the wash. I’ve also used it successfully to thin paints and give a smoother, more transparent effect when layering. And there is a third use I’ve found for it…

As mentioned earlier according to Phil Stutcinskas Lahmian Medium is a gloss varnish with a matting agent – essentially, a matte varnish. And a brilliant and versatile one of those I’ve found it to be. You can apply it from the pot with a brush to matte an area of a model (e.g. a Space Marine shoulder pad after applying a gloss coat for decals). It’s also a great consistency for use in an airbrush so you can use it to give your models an overall protective coat without affecting the colour of your paint job or clogging up your airbrush (which I have had happen with other satin or matte varnishes).

In short, I can’t recommend this product enough. My only criticism is the price as you only get 12ml for £2.40. Having said that it has lasted me quite well so far but that is the reason I give it 4/5 rather than 5/5.

Categories: Review

3 replies »

  1. Thanks for sharing this information with everyone. I’ve always wondered exactly what this “miracle product” was and now I know. I will have to buy a bottle and try it myself now.

    • I’ve used Vallejo varnishes through my airbrush in the past but had problems with their consistency (i.e. clogging the airbrush) and their unexpected effect on the colour of the model. Lahmian Medium goes through my 0.2mm nozzle fine and I haven’t experienced any adverse effect to the paint colour so far. I might pick up a pot of ‘Ardcoat and see if the consistency is good for airbrushing – if so I’ll have piece of mind for when my bottle of Jonhson’s Klear runs out 😉

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