Wednesday, August 27, 2008

In search of a primer

I ran out of white primer. It happened while I was working on the Abyssinians/Hadendowa figures, and I had to switch to the black primer. Not a big deal, but I tend to prefer the white one, at least to prevent the darkening issues I experienced with the "miracle dipping" as I previously reported.
Now I have the issue of getting a new white primer. Which is more problematic than you think. First of all, I need to select one. The can I just finished was spray from Armory, and it was mostly OK, but had a few cons. First of all, I thought it was relatively pricey. When something is labeled as special for "model hobby", the price gets steep - and I do not believe there is anything actually special about it. I went on TMP, did some search on the boards, and I think my intuition is largely confirmed. Second, I also suspect my Armory spray primer exhausted the propellant before it exhausted the actual paint, because I shake the can and I feel it is far from depleted despite the fact that, no matter how hard I shake, nothing is coming out of it.
So, the hunt is on for a new primer. Again, reading through the TMP posts, I collected a few recommendations that all seem equally good. I have four products on my list:
  • Krylon Ultra Flat Black;

  • Duplicolor Sandable Primer (an automotive primer);

  • Testors White Floquil;

  • Plasti-Kote.
First of all, I wonder if the readers of my blog knows any of the aforementioned products - leave a comment, I look forward to you opinions! In particular: since I paint with water-based acrylics, are the above products compatible with this type of paints?
Second, I need to face an additional challenge: I live in Chicago, where spray paints are ban by law. It is a city ordinance against graffiti, one of the very stupid rules we have in this city (don't get me started about the pate' de foie gras fiasco!) As a result, in order to get spray paint you need to drive to the suburbs, which adds time and and make shopping less convenient.
Bottom line: buying a new primer should be a trivial issue, and it is turning into a little nuisance.


Steve-the-Wargamer said...

I've used Plastikote a few times - in fact my current one is flat black plasti-kote. It's OK - dries quite smooth... sometimes takes a time to dry if it's cold... to be honest, I'm just as likely to go to the nearest auto parts warehouse and buy their spray undercoat (for car painting) - for a long time I used grey as a handy half way house between white and black - use black all the time now though...

Bluebear Jeff said...

Frankly I used to go to my (then) local hardware store (Orchard Supply) and buy the cheapest spray primer I could find.

The big key is not over-priming the figures. Use short sprays from different angles.

Remember the major reason for the primer is to provide a surface for your other paints to adhere to.

Now I also just paint for the tabletop and not for the display cabinet or painting competitions . . . but anyway that is what I do.

-- Jeff

Adik said...

Thanks guys,
a quick follow up: are the sprays you referred to compatible with acrylics paints?

Bluebear Jeff said...

I only use acrylics . . . primarily just the common craft paints such as Ceramcoat, but I have used others with no problem.

You DO want to get a primer however, not an enamel . . . you want a surface with teeth, not something very smooth.

I will note that for most projects I also use a black primer . . . and then a white "damp brush" over it. This not only brings out detail so that my old eyes can see it; but it also provides some undershading.

-- Jeff

Stokes Schwartz said...

Hi Adolfp,

You might want to try white artists acrylic gesso, which is available in art supply and craft stores like Michael's. It's flexible, goes on fast, and has great tooth, providing a perfect surface on which to apply acrylics or enamels. Oh, and it's relatively cheap for the amount you get in a bottle.

Best Regards,


Adik said...

Thanks all! Now, all I need is stealing my wife's car for a ride to the suburbs at the first opportunity...

MiniWargamer said...

A lot of what you will need for primer depends on the miniatures you are painting. If plastic, the a regular spray paint might not be what you need. I use the following:

Metals and hard plastics (like GW/Warlord):
Reaper BrushOn Primer (white and black)
Krylon Flat White
Krylon UltraFlat Black
Walmart brand with and black (flat)

Soft Plastics (Airfix, Zvezda, etc.)
Black Artist's Gesso

The gesso will flex with the plastic and so be less likely to flake off.