This is a bit of a companion piece to doll…
After I released a tutorial on my repaint process, I received a lot of questions about Mr. Super Clear. I had one particular person who asked me for help in using it for the first time which was sort of educational for me too based on her experience in using it. She had a lot of great questions and I admit, I had to research answers for a lot of them. I’m sharing my knowledge from what I learned from the exchange since it might be useful for aspiring doll artists out there.
What is Mr. Super Clear?
Mr. Super Clear is one of many types of sealants created by a company called Mr. Hobby. Mr. Hobby, as the company name suggests, is a familiar brand name for people who like to customize toys or make dioramas. They have a huge range of products from two part putties, paint and different types of sealants depending on what you want to do or what you need. The brand name is not common to western countries since it’s a Japanese based company.
Mr. Super Clear has gained popularity among BJD artists. What’s great about Mr. Super Clear is that not only can it be used for BJD’s and vinyl dolls, it can also be used to seal traditional artwork, or even sculptures, or any surface you want to color and want to keep the color on. Being a mixed artist, this is why Mr. Super Clear was an absolutely necessary part of my tool kit. Aside from being versatile, Mr. Super Clear was inexpensive even next to common place art sealants available at stores. Although it was a hassle to have to buy Mr. Super Clear online, for me it also had the added benefit of being long lasting. Dolls or artwork, your colors did not fade. It had a very strong chemical smell but it only lasted for as long as you were applying it on the artwork. It was odor free and it made sure that the surface you applied paint or pigment on, stayed on without any adverse effects to the surface below.
I’m honestly not sure whether Mr. Super Clear was specifically designed for BJD artists or sealing traditional artwork but due to its growing popularity, a new formula was developed called Mr. Super Clear UV. The original formula had a “yellowing” effect on vinyl and resin dolls after several years or if dolls were frequently exposed to sun light. The yellowing effect was found to be caused by sun damage. Mr. Super Clear UV is essentially the same as Mr. Super Clear with the extra added benefit of preventing the yellowing effect. Dolls could now safely brave the sunlight and ensure that they had permanent sunscreen on.
Where can I get Mr. Super Clear?
You can sometimes get lucky and find Mr. Super Clear available in Asian stores or areas like Little Tokyo at Konikuniya stores. Some specialty hobby stores may even carry them since they are popular with mecha toy collectors.
Otherwise, you can pick up Mr. Super Clear at Junkyspot or various stores at Amazon, or just google it and check the results. It’s pretty popular so there’s tons of places where you can get it.
Which kind should I get?
Mr. Super Clear and Mr. Super Clear UV both come with a Flat and Gloss version. If you are going to do any vinyl or resin doll repaint, go with the Flat version. Gloss is recommended for hard plastic surfaces like Monster High bodies and does work on vinyl doll heads if “shiny” skin is precisely what you’re looking for. You still need to use the Flat version in order to apply any repaint work done and can only use gloss as a finishing agent if shiny skins are your motive.
Gloss is what you need to use for the bodies. The Flat version will simply flake off due to mild mold release residue on the bodies. If you have the patience to sand the body and carefully wipe all the mold release from the MH body surface, you can use Mr. Super Clear Flat. Even so, it won’t guarantee that there won’t be any flaking here and there.
The Flat version of Mr. Super Clear will take the shine off any shiny surface you apply it on which gives it that “teeth” you need for applying pastels, paints or color pencils when working on doll repaints. The Gloss version will make everything shiny and look like one of Masamune Shirow’s permanently oiled bodies. Both are useful depending on what look you are going for.
The only real difference between Mr. Super Clear and Mr. Super Clear UV is that the UV version ensures that your doll repaint will remain what it is now for several years and will not yellow. Mr. Super Clear UV is also considerably more expensive than Mr. Super Clear.
In some ways, if you are a beginner, you should try using Mr. Super Clear to start with. Just keep in mind that your work will have a mild yellowing effect after 1-2 years, even worse and faster if you take your doll outdoors often. Mr. Super Clear is also generally more inexpensive usually with a $12-15 price tag per can, sometimes even more readily available.
You can usually pick up both the flat and gloss version in the same shop since they are usually sold side by side.
How do I use Mr. Super Clear?
Mr. Super Clear is a spray sealant and, like any other spray sealant, it is toxic. If you use this stuff, do it outdoors or a well ventilated area with a mask on. There are some people who may even have a bad reaction to its fumes even if it lasts for a shorter period of time compared to other sealants.
In addition to using Mr. Super Clear outdoors or a well ventilated area, it is extremely sensitive to temperature. Don’t use Mr. Super Clear especially if it’s windy, rainy, hot and humid. Little to no humidity is the key so the ideal conditions are dry weather (don’t use in temperatures of 30’C or more, humidity of 70% or more).
Don’t use oil based paint with Mr. Super Clear. They will not be sealed and will cause a chemical reaction rendering the oil paint permanently sticky. It will ruin your work. For doll repaints, use water based materials like soft bodied acrylic paint and water color pencils. Not only will water based materials allow for easy clean up and touch ups, they will stay on after being sealed with Mr. Super Clear. Try to keep your paint applications thin and flat. If your work has glop, it is very likely to flake off because parts of the paint are not able to dry properly. On that note, only apply Mr. Super Clear when the paint has completely dried and only continue work once Mr. Super Clear has completely set (which should take about 15-30 minutes).
“[OPTIMAL WWATHER CONDITION] The room tempereture 25 degrees Celsuis. The room humidity is around 50-60 percent. Plase don’t use on a rainy day.” I emailed Mr.Hobby awhile back and finally got a reply. The spelling made my giggle.
How far do I spray?
Spray Mr. Super Clear within 1 to 2 feet away from the surface of what you will be working on and try to limit it to 3-5 seconds just enough to leave a thin and even coat. You don’t want to inhale any of it and you just want it far enough to get a nice even coat. Try to circle it around an uneven surface like doll heads or limbs to get an even spread. If you spray too close, it will cause clumps, a thick layer or a flaky texture.
It is normal for Mr. Super Clear Flat to look wet immediately after application. As it dries, the surface will have a non-shiny texture, a perfect matte surface.
Mr. Super Clear Gloss is a lot harder to tell by sight when it has finished setting so play it safe and just leave surfaces where you have applied Gloss alone for 15-30 minutes, even up to an hour. If you touch an area that hasn’t completely set, it will leave unwanted imprints which means you have to start over from scratch.
Being a Japanese product, MSC cans do not display English safety or directional text. Being a sealant/propellant, MSC is harmful to your respiratory system, eyes and skin. Some folks may be especially sensitive so use proper equipment and caution as you would when using any kind of propellant/aerosol product. MSC is only toxic during its “fluid” state which is when it’s in use being sprayed or drying on a surface. It is completely harmless once dry.
- Use in a well ventilated area.
- Wear a mask (or a respirator for those who are sensitive).
- Avoid contact with eyes or skin (wear gloves!).
- Keep can out of extreme temperatures (cold or hot) or direct sunlight.
Be advised that when using sealants indoors, out spray will end up on anything it is sprayed on or near it. It will float around the room and settles on everything in the form of white dust.
Spray booths can be used but make sure that it has a fan with an explosion proof motor. Most hobby spray booths used for water-based airbrushing do not have explosion proof motors. The fan localizes and contains out-spray or dried Mr. Super Clear within the spray booth.
Mr. Super Clear Alternatives?
Why bother when it does what it’s supposed to do well? If you really can’t afford to because it is unavailable in your area, here are a few alternatives that I would recommend.
- ZM Finishing Powder Spray – Specifically designed for Volks resin dolls. I’ve never used it myself but it is one of the most popular sealers used by doll artists. If it’s recommended on a Dollfie doll, it must be really good. Just sayin!
- Games Workship Spray Varnish Matte – Used on miniatures so that already tells you that it’s got good teeth action for pastel work! They are readily available at hobby stores and are relatively inexpensive.
- Liquitex Matte sealer – It isn’t a spray sealer, it’s a brush on sealer. Since it’s a popular brand, it’s readily available in many places (even if sometimes the price isn’t reasonable). Unlike spray sealers, you aren’t guaranteed a flat, smooth surface so using this will require a lot of ingenuity and skill to take advantage of what you’ve got when you do your doll repaint. The best way to get a nice even surface is to dilute the Matte sealer and dab it with a cotton bud. Just make sure that the surface is absolutely dry before you attempt any work because you may occasionally have to go back and re-dab the surface. You’ll know when you’re done by feel or with clear sunlight to see the matte surface. If you ever wanted to repaint those gargoyles, this would be a great pick.
I am very wary of using any other type of sealer outside of the three I have mentioned because of the known yellowing effect, the residue odor or unintended chemical reactions to vinyl because it wasn’t designed for it.
Mr. Super Clear is hands down the best and only sealer I prefer to use for doll repaints (or anything I do that requires a surface to be sealed). I hope this was informative and feel free to ask any questions or share knowledge of your own experience!