Future Finish

Future Finish (FF) is household floor care liquid that I use a lot of in my model painting. Here’s the current bottle design as you can buy in Canada today.DSC08213Yup, my bottle is a bit dirty with overspray from the airbrush!

Future Finish has a number of uses, but primarily I’ll use it as a top coat or as paint thinner.

Top Coat

Top coating with FF is simple. It’s thin enough to use direct from the bottle with your airbrush, so just add some direct from the bottle to your airbrush and start spraying. But be careful. It flows easily, so lower your pressure and don’t blast it onto your model. Do a light coat to start with or else it can run and pool. If it does pool slightly it will go milky white as it dries. Just let it dry longer until it goes clear, but better not to let it pool in the first place.

A light misting can leads to a satiny finish, rather than a full-on gloss. Heavier or multiple light coats can lead to a shiny gloss coat.

Once thoroughly dry you can polish it. I don’t tend to do this unless I absolutely need to, but it does work with the Tamiya polishing system should you want the shiniest finish possible.

I will use FF to make a smooth glossy surface to aid in the application of decals. Once the decals are in place, another coat of FF will ensure they stay in place. When doing water slides, I’ll airbrush light coats with the FF frequently to hold the decals in place when applying many in a small area (letting the FF dry between each application), or when I might knock them off while holding the piece to add more. A good coat of FF on top of water slides or stickers can also somewhat hide the appearance of their edges against the model. I’ve found this works rather well on the RG kits I’ve built with their stickers.

FF works great as a top coat on all the acrylic paints I’ve used. I have had bother with use of FF on top of Alclad metallic paints where especially the brass will run. If you’re going to use FF on these paints, very light coats work best. Usually I’ll only top coat these metallics if I need to protect some paint against masking tape.

If you’re going to use an oil paint wash for panel lines, FF will protect your painted pieces from the oil paint and will make clean-up easy once the wash is dry. And when you’ve got the panel lines just right, FF will seal in your good work and stop it smudging.

Paint thinner

FF isn’t a paint thinner, but it can work as one with acrylic paints. But because it’s not really designed for the task you need to see how it’s going to work with some testing before you actually use it!

Although I like the range of colours of Createx paints, they’re not always the easiest to airbrush as they really need thinning before use. Tamiya X20 acrylic thinner works reasonably well with them, but I’ve found that a using FF can work better still. It helps the Createx paint flow, cover evenly on the model and dry harder than it normally would. FF isn’t as thin as milk, so you’re not going to get your paint that thin using FF alone, but doing a 1:1 mix of Createx and FF is a good start, adding a small amount of Tamiya X20 until you can easily airbrush the paint. Neither pure isopropyl alcohol nor Tamiya lacquer thinner work well with Createx as they basically just turn the paint into cheese. Cheese does not airbrush well…

I’ve used FF as a thinner with Tamiya clear colours, like their clear red. This sorta works, but you’ve got to use your mix quickly before the paint separates leaving a thicker goop in the jar. The result of when it works is a great glossy finish for candy coats. I used this on my Sinanju, but I’ve not been tempted to use it since due to the goop.

Other uses

A drop of FF can be used as an adhesive when adding metal parts to your model. It’s not a super-strong adhesive, so it’s not for anything structural, but it’s enough to hold small metal details in place.

FF is reasonably strong and can help protect painted pieces through assembly. This is basically just top coating a piece before the model is finished. But if the weather is hot and your fingers are sweaty, a coat of FF will not stand up to that kind of abuse.


I was in the local super store today and decided to look for a bottle of Future Finish to keep my stocks up. Surprisingly, the bottle design has changed again! Here’s the new look bottle:

SAM_0277The ingredients list reads as follows:

  • Water
  • Proprietary Film Formers
  • Tributoxyethyl Phosphate
  • Ethoxydiglycol
  • Fragrance
  • Ammonium Hydroxide
  • Oleic Acid
  • 4.4-dimethyloxazoidine
  • Proprietary Fluorosurfactant
  • Benzotriazolyl Dodecyl p-Cresol
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Pentasodium Pentetate
  • SCJ Formula #35*3597

13 thoughts on “Future Finish”

  1. Very useful info. I know we have pm’d about FF alot, but having the knowledge in a easily available condensed form is excellent. Cheers.

  2. Thanks again for the FF tutorial. How do u use FF to hold decals in place? Do u dip the decals in FF then place them? I would like to know bout oil washes. What are the ratio?

  3. For decals I put the decals in place as normal. Then I spray the FF and let dry. You only need a light coat, but then the decal is safe so if you’re adding another nearby the water or movement won’t make the first one fall off.

    Oil washes is a great idea for a page. I’ll have to do a lot of oil wash on the Patlabor so I’ll take pictures for that too.

  4. One small request. Is it possible to take photos or the ingredients of the ff? As far as I know, the shops here don’t carry ff so will have to look at ingredients instead. Will be looking forward to ur next tutorials.

  5. Thanks. I used a single coat but find tht the panel line does not flow as smoothly as I used it on bare plastic. Btw, I’m using the tamiya panel line accent solution

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