Friday, February 24, 2012

A primer on Primers!

There had been a discussion recently on the Collecting Citadel Miniatures (CCM) yahoo group about priming miniatures and types of primers - So I figured Id jump in with my $0.02
Preambled with: While I may have a dozen golden demons, articles in WD etc.  the bottom line I have learned along the way is that exceptional results can come in a WIDE variety of way from an equally wide variety of materials. This being said here are some of the products I have used and my thoughts on each:

No Primer:
IMHO completely foolish for most 28-32mm applications. For starters, most paints are not designed to properly adhere to the metal/resin surfaces. Doubly rediculous for anyone who is doing any handling (gaming/transporting) of their models beyond a display case.
The ONLY reason I know of not to use a proper primer is for some metallic techniques that involve burnishing/staining or polishing actual metals. Even then a ( usually brush on) primer is to be used for non metallic surfaces. The picture to the right is an example (not mine)
Here is a link to a good article on polishing metal surfaces on larger models:
GW Chaos Black/Skull White: Whether you prefer a black or white these sprays in their current formula (there have been many - even more if you live in North America than in Europe)have excellent surface adhesion, create a fairly smooth matte finish that takes paint exceptionally well. Many historical modellers have started using this product extensively because of its surface quality (Mig Jimenez even included references to it in his AMAZING new FAQ2 book). It has a slightly sweet smell which isnt horrific but is still a bit strong for indoor use. I use this on a lot of projects, especially anything I want to paint more quickly - because of the advantages and shortcuts priming black can give.

Duplicolour: Duplicolour make sandable primers for automotive applications - their primer is incredibly fine and smooth. It makes a great solid foundation and the red oxide is now my go to colour for using the so-
called "hairspray technique" (I use AK intereactive chipping fluids instead) on vehicles, but either way - this stuff is fantastic.

Tamiya Super Fine Grey: A thinner and much smoother primer than GW. I LOVE this when I am doing a lot of blending or fine work for the same reason that some painters hate it. It is so slick (satin not true gloss) that you can slide and blend paints right across the surface. Most of my finest work these days is done over this finish. Still smelly for most indoor locations. I have used it on a lot of models now and dont forsee myself stopping anytime soon. My best advice would be to shake it really well before starting (though really that should apply to all these rattle cans!)

Floquil black: Should be my favorite of all of these - it really has a fantastic surface tooth & smooth light coverage. Unfortunatly it is unstable and as a can ages (faster than you would think) it becomes increasingly dodgy to work with. It may NEVER dry if it becomes unbalanced or is used outside of tight environmental controlls. I will never use it again.

Airbrush Primers:
Vallejo: surface tooth is somewhere between the tamiya and the GW. Airbrushing allows for beautiful controll and super thin coats. It is, however not as strong of an adhesion layer and chips more easily. Perfect for display pieces or models that will be clearcoated as well. One of the really cool things is that vallejo has created a range of colours for this primer so that it can in many cases double as a basecoat too.  Really learning to love this stuff

Alclad/Floquil Black Base:
Dont. Really just Dont. An incredibly HOT LAQUER base that will melt some of your models, may or may not dry (EVER) if humidity etc is even slightly out of tolerances or if it hasnt been mixed thoroughly enough. Scary to use. Only for special combinations of paints (like Alclad II - and even then there are better alternatives)

Apparently Floquil makes other airbrushable products that are far kinder to work with but I am too scared to use them.

Mr Surfacer:
These guys make both primers and fillers in various measures of tooth/grit so make sure you get the right one ;) Airbrushes like a dream. Smooth finishes. The downside is that it isnt easy to get where I live so I dont usually use it.

Brush on:
Vallejo - makes some nice brush on primers including the thick opaque "foundation white" which is the bombdiggity for touching up paint chips that go back down to the metal/plastic . Good stuff overall, but I would just as likely reach for one of their airbrush primers and brush it on for other applications.

I dont actually use any other brush on primer to be honest but I have friends that like products from Windsor&Newton and Golden.
I hope that y'all find that somewhat useful! More models next week

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