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elfhead

Priming: how to get good results? spray or paint-on?

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After carefully assembling 5 chaos knights from the start collecting box (loooove these models) it was time for priming. I usually use GW coral white but I ordered some stuff from an online shop that didn't have that. So this time, I used Army Painter white primer spray, and I completely MESSED UP my models. The primer was really coarse and not smooth at all. So now I have to strip the models and start over with the priming. 

I'm probably not the first to mess up with priming. Not only have I read mixed reviews on different brands of primer but it also seems that the weather conditions can be a big factor. 

So now I'm considering trying out a brush on primer. It may be a bit more time consuming, but I don't paint that many models anyway. I've read some good things about Vallejo primers that can be brushed on. the thing that is paramount for me is a thin and smooth coat of primer. 

 

What is your experience with primer? What gets you the best result. Does anyone have experience with brush-on primers?

 

 

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Priming from a rattle can be a chore. First thing I would suggest is always spray a test model. Have some old junkers laying around to test on before risking your good models. The temperature range is also key, but I have found that the number one factor that causes issues is humidity. I try to never prime if the humidity is above 40 percent. I have never had an issue with a GW primer in the temperature range at low humidity. Other primers can be hit or miss. I have had cans of Army Painter work fine, and others that just seemed to be bad, that I could not get to work under any condition.
 

As for brush priming, the Vallejo surface primers work out pretty well, however the lighter ones tend to be a bit chalky. Also I have found that brush primers just don’t adhere like rattle can primer. If you go brush primer I would suggest some extra varnish coats to seal them.  

Air brushing on primer is also pretty consistent and if you have the set up a great option. Though I have to say it adheres better than brush on, nothing sticks like rattle cans. Those sprays just seem to adhere the best, in my experience.

Good luck, priming can be an inexact science.

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I had a bad experience with army painter brown, while I have always been satisfied with Gw primers. I think it is an army painter problem

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Putting a can in warm water before use can do a world of difference.

 

It really depends on the look I'm going through. If I want to emulate the goblin green days I brush on white to make sure it's even and bright.

I want something thats more Dark Age of Sigmar or Blanchitsu then I want a zenithal prime so that's airbrush or rattle turf

want to batch paint quick then some matte rattle paint in my prominent colour will be key to getting that done fast.

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Would agree with @Sonnenspeer, if I'm after a light undercoat I generally will go for either Grey Seer or Wraithbone spray.  Alternatively (and this is what I do for some marines I'm painting), I'll spray undercoat Mechanicus Standard Grey and then airbrush Celestra Grey.

One thing that you may not be aware of is that citadel sprays all contain an "etching agent", so basically a chemical that slightly dissolves the plastic so the paint binds into it.  This gives it a really substantial hold so that you're unlikely to rub off undercoat with normal handling of a model.  Brush on or airbrush on undercoats don't have this, so the undercoat can be a little more fragile.

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Posted (edited)

If spray priming isn't working - most likely you're doing something wrong. Watch this video from LukesAPS: https://youtu.be/vbLi-pm9EhU

Weather conditions are a factor in extreme climates. In parts of the US and Australia you can have this (extreme cold and extreme heat). GW does make these products with UK's temperate climate in mind. But TBH there is A LOT of exaggeration on the net about climate and spray primer. Just don't spray on a windy or rainy day or when it's snowing or when it's too cold or too hot to be comfortable outside. If you can stand around comfortably without getting wind or rain in your face you should be good to go.

Like @Sonnenspeer and @RuneBrush say Citadel contrast primers are great. Hell the corax white primer (if used right) is pretty damn good too. And honestly you can't go wrong with Chaos black. But I use rustoleum, army painter and other brands with ZERO problems too. The only one I'm not crazy about is Halfords (it's a hardware chain in the UK and Ireland) - it tends to be runny.

As the video shows there are some handy rattle can rules of thumb:

  • Keep your rattle cans  in a normal room not in your shed/garage.
  • Shake the can for 5 minutes before use
  • Ensure you spin the agitator at the top and bottom of the can
  • Some ppl let them rest in luke-warm water (I've never needed to YMMV).
  • Spray on in bursts not continuously
Edited by zedatkinszed

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I’m situated in the Netherlands so extreme temperature isn’t really a factor. Although with my mishap it was around 25 degrees Celsius which is not very usual here. 
 

I will try the contrast sprays next time. I think a good primer is key to a good paintjob so I don’t mind spending the extra cash. 

I’m still curious about a paint-on primer because you eliminate a lot of potential problems you can have with sprays. Some of the talented painters I follow in Instagram recommended it. It seems to be more time consuming (not really an issue as I don’t paint that much models) but give a very smooth coat. The ‘hold’ might be less good than sprays though. 
 

 

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I've heard good things about Stynylrez through an airbrush having closer effect as spray primer. I think going with the new Citadel primers is a good choice if you don't want to airbrush. 

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10 hours ago, elfhead said:

I’m still curious about a paint-on primer because you eliminate a lot of potential problems you can have with sprays. Some of the talented painters I follow in Instagram recommended it. It seems to be more time consuming (not really an issue as I don’t paint that much models) but give a very smooth coat. The ‘hold’ might be less good than sprays though. 

I've found that many of these painters don't do much in the way of gaming, so tend to paint a miniature and either put it into a cabinet or sell it onto a collector.  If your models aren't going to get a lot of handling then paint-on primers are fine, as you won't notice the reduction in bonding.  I quite like MiG one-shot primer if I'm doing a display model that I want white.  My experience is that you do want to leave many of them 24 hours to properly cure though

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I have found that black rattle-can primer never fails me - no matter who makes it.

Can be a bit of a chore for models that will eventually be quite light in tone - as you then have to airbrush a few layers of successively lighter grays  - but it is worth it for the peace-of-mind IMHO.

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@RuneBrush I’m in it just for the hobby, so my models never hit a gaming table either. So this is something I might try out when the weather is nog good for sprays.

@Kyriakin I like a light coat of primer, so white or grey. I think lighter pigment makes it harder to get a smooth coat. I like a lighter color so it is easier to keep colors bright and also I find it easier to see te detail on the mini. 

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Personally I got for a quick burst of Tamiya Fine Surface Primer so that the raised parts I touch are really durable and then prime them again in an AB primer  (so that I get all the small details primed) before I do a zenithal. I don't see a difference to the finish of an entirely by Airbrush prime model and nothing chips or comes off, which does happen if I only use AB primer.

The new Citadel primers do interest me greatly though... I've bought one but didn't try it yet.

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7 hours ago, Atreides said:

I've heard good things about Stynylrez through an airbrush having closer effect as spray primer. I think going with the new Citadel primers is a good choice if you don't want to airbrush. 

It's better than Vallejo (like a million times better) but it is NOT as durable as spray primers. Not even close. If you play with your minis, do yourself a favor and dust them with a spray can primer (see my above post) - I've tried a lot of primers and ultimately was always unhappy with only AB priming.

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26 minutes ago, MitGas said:

It's better than Vallejo (like a million times better) but it is NOT as durable as spray primers. Not even close. If you play with your minis, do yourself a favor and dust them with a spray can primer (see my above post) - I've tried a lot of primers and ultimately was always unhappy with only AB priming.

Thanks for the information! I don't use the Badger stuff, just Vallejo, and haven't gotten around to playing yet haha. I'll add a few varnish layers over my AB primed models to make them durable. 

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5 hours ago, Atreides said:

Thanks for the information! I don't use the Badger stuff, just Vallejo, and haven't gotten around to playing yet haha. I'll add a few varnish layers over my AB primed models to make them durable. 

Hope it works out better for you than it did for me - but I hate hate hate HATE the Polyurethane primer by Vallejo with a passion. And I really dig Vallejo outside of that one. To be honest I can't even imagine a varnish making it much more durable, at least the ones I've used (and I tried every trick in the book - from washing the minis to diluting it with Ab thinner to not diluting it). You should really test it first on a spare model - it's amazing to look at for sure but it can really easily be scratched (or even rubbed) off. The only good thing about it was that I could easily be removed even a week later without any residue. 

Sorry for being a negative nancy here, keeping my fingers crossed though! 

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One tip that I will chuck in here (which I learned off the Forge World team), is that a layer of varnish (such as Plastikote Clear Sealer) will improve adherence of paint to resin models because it cuts through any grease on the model.  This should work the same on plastic models if you're only using the airbrush to undercoat them.

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13 hours ago, MitGas said:

Hope it works out better for you than it did for me - but I hate hate hate HATE the Polyurethane primer by Vallejo with a passion. And I really dig Vallejo outside of that one. To be honest I can't even imagine a varnish making it much more durable, at least the ones I've used (and I tried every trick in the book - from washing the minis to diluting it with Ab thinner to not diluting it). You should really test it first on a spare model - it's amazing to look at for sure but it can really easily be scratched (or even rubbed) off. The only good thing about it was that I could easily be removed even a week later without any residue. 

Sorry for being a negative nancy here, keeping my fingers crossed though! 

I've been using it for a good few miniatures, brushed on for many, and it's been resilient to rubbing off at least. I haven't tried scratching it, but I'll be extra careful with my models and transporting them. Thanks for the tips!!

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So I just tried te grey seer contrast primer and I really like it. Allthough I did forget that I lost some of my green stuff gap filling during the stripping proces. But I can fix that. 
te primer is really smooth and it feels like I didn’t have to use a lot to get coverage. 
 

still curious about brush on primers for when using a spray is not an option, due to weather conditions or not having the space to use it. 

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UK resident, been using Wraithbone since it came out. Does anyone else get stringy bits on the model afterwards? It's like there were bits of spiderwebs and they've been primed too. Doesn't seem to matter on the weather either, and not had it with any other primer.

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16 hours ago, a74xhx said:

UK resident, been using Wraithbone since it came out. Does anyone else get stringy bits on the model afterwards? It's like there were bits of spiderwebs and they've been primed too. Doesn't seem to matter on the weather either, and not had it with any other primer.

No me. With multiple cans? 
I’ve used wraithbone on +- 70 models and haven’t noticed it. 

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2 hours ago, Kramer said:

No me. With multiple cans? 
I’ve used wraithbone on +- 70 models and haven’t noticed it. 

Yeah, happened from two different cans from different shops. Will try to get a picture.

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Posted (edited)

By the way, I think it was unofficially confirmed by GW that the regular sprays (i.e. the non-primers, such as the Macragge Blue spray) are sufficient for plastic models, so a primer might not even be needed when using these products.

From personal experience, a load of Sea Dragon cloaks that I sprayed Macragge Blue directly onto the plastic have not rubbed/chipped off in the few years since.

Edited by Kyriakin

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On 6/27/2020 at 5:30 PM, a74xhx said:

Yeah, happened from two different cans from different shops. Will try to get a picture.

So weird. Never had a problem with them. 

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