Monday, July 21, 2014

Hobby Tips: Choosing the Right Primer, Part 1

No matter what model you are painting they all start the same way, with a coat of primer. Today I am going to take a look at the various options we have for our minis.

Lets start with the basics, EVERY model needs to be primed. Never paint on bare plastic, resin or metal, your model will suffer for it. The paints we use don't adhere very well to an unprimed model and are likely to chip and rub off when used during games.

Now that we got that out of the way lets talk about our choices. There are many companies out there that produce primer including non wargaming ones, but in my opinion your best choices from worst to best are either P3, Citadel (GW) or Army Painter. GW's is the most expensive but generally more places carry it then Army Painter. One of the great things about Army Painter is the wide range of colored primers they produce. Now I'm not saying these are the only 3 you should choose from, its just my opinion and what I use, if you find something that works better for you, use it. Its all about what works best for you.

Once you've chosen your manufacturer you have to pick your color. For beginners I always recommend using black primer, always. Its is much more forgiving then any other color since if you miss a spot it won't stand out like something lighter would. Imagine your beautifully painted Space Marine with a bright white armpit because you couldn't reach in there with your brush? Not gonna be a problem with black.

This guy had plenty of hard to reach spots.

The downside of course is the difficulty with painting bright colors. With all of the high pigment paints (GW's Base Paints) out there now though it isn't as huge of a problem as it was 10 years ago.

So what about white primer you may be thinking? There are plenty of painters out there who swear by it, since it gives you more control over your shadows, but it really is something more suited to experienced painters. Of course it has its uses for the more casual hobbyist as well. If you are painting something that is primarily white or a bright yellow then you may want to take the risk and use white primer. Personally I have never found a white primer that I like, regardless of manufacturer.

One of the few models I've primed white, you can see the chalkiness.

Every one that I have used has been chalky and often adds a fine grain texture to my models that I just don't want. If you find one that works hang on to it! The best white primer I have found is P3's. It doesn't have much of a chalky texture to it at all, but sprays on very thin, so you will need to to do several thin coats.

Of course black and white are the 2 main colors for primer, and for awhile they were king, but thankfully we have more options readily available to us nowadays. In part 2 we will take a look at grey primer and colored primers.

Until next time,

Tyler M.

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