Vallejo Polyurethane Primer Issues
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Thread: Vallejo Polyurethane Primer Issues

  1. #1

    Default Vallejo Polyurethane Primer Issues

    Hi guys,

    I have some issues with priming my minis and was thinking you could perhaps provide some advice.

    I prime all of my minis either gray or white, I don't use black. I bought some Vallejo Polyurthane Primers that are supposed to be designed with airbrushing in mind. Here's when tje problems start.

    - It sprays very "dusty" for a lack of better term. Most people on the internet seem to say that it produces a sliky smooth surface without thinning. While it is true for the black version, the white/gray ones are tricky. They seem to be spraying tiny, thick droplets instead of regular consistency. I tried spraying at various pressures between 30 and 10 PSI with a 0.25mm and 0.4mm nozzle and nothing seems to help.

    - The bigger problem, however, is the durability of said primer. Or actually the lack of it. The Vallejo primer rubs right off plastic and resin even after a light touch. If I scratch it a bit, it peels off right away to the bare plastic. I was painting an Orc Warboss recently and wanted to drybrush his boots lightly for a weathered effect. To my horror the paint came off the raised edges. It's useless on metal - it will rub off even under heavier brush strokes. I painted a Empire Bright Wizard this week and was EXTREMELY careful about handling the components. I pinned them on cork bases, never touched them or anything and some paint STILL managed to chip off. Oh and I am not thinning the primer because Vallejo's FAQ says it lowers it's durability. It's extremely annoying. In comparison, GW's primers seem to be completely invincible. I can scratch them with my nail pretty heavily and it will hold.

    - I was trying to use the spray can primers instead but I cannot seem to get consistent results. I tried adhering to virtually every suggestion I found here - room temperature, shaking the can like crazy, distance from mini. I tried both GW Skull White and Tamiya Fine Surface White. Both of them give dusty, uneven results.

    Any suggestion would be extremely appreciated, thanks!

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by barjed View Post
    Hi guys,

    I have some issues with priming my minis and was thinking you could perhaps provide some advice.

    I prime all of my minis either gray or white, I don't use black. I bought some Vallejo Polyurthane Primers that are supposed to be designed with airbrushing in mind. Here's when tje problems start.

    - It sprays very "dusty" for a lack of better term. Most people on the internet seem to say that it produces a sliky smooth surface without thinning. While it is true for the black version, the white/gray ones are tricky. They seem to be spraying tiny, thick droplets instead of regular consistency. I tried spraying at various pressures between 30 and 10 PSI with a 0.25mm and 0.4mm nozzle and nothing seems to help.

    - The bigger problem, however, is the durability of said primer. Or actually the lack of it. The Vallejo primer rubs right off plastic and resin even after a light touch. If I scratch it a bit, it peels off right away to the bare plastic. I was painting an Orc Warboss recently and wanted to drybrush his boots lightly for a weathered effect. To my horror the paint came off the raised edges. It's useless on metal - it will rub off even under heavier brush strokes. I painted a Empire Bright Wizard this week and was EXTREMELY careful about handling the components. I pinned them on cork bases, never touched them or anything and some paint STILL managed to chip off. Oh and I am not thinning the primer because Vallejo's FAQ says it lowers it's durability. It's extremely annoying. In comparison, GW's primers seem to be completely invincible. I can scratch them with my nail pretty heavily and it will hold.

    - I was trying to use the spray can primers instead but I cannot seem to get consistent results. I tried adhering to virtually every suggestion I found here - room temperature, shaking the can like crazy, distance from mini. I tried both GW Skull White and Tamiya Fine Surface White. Both of them give dusty, uneven results.

    Any suggestion would be extremely appreciated, thanks!

    Grey car primer sprays pretty consistently smooth. Sorry that's just another suggestion of something different to try rather than how to solve your current issues. I have had the dusty issues with GW spray before but now try and spray where there is little to no wind and in temperatures above 10 degrees but under 27.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by barjed
    - The bigger problem, however, is the durability of said primer. Or actually the lack of it.
    You do have to give it enough time to properly cure before it's as strong as it can be, plus scrupulously cleaning the model's surface wouldn't be a bad idea. However it's actually well known for not being that robust I'm afraid.

    Quote Originally Posted by barjed
    - I was trying to use the spray can primers instead but I cannot seem to get consistent results. I tried adhering to virtually every suggestion I found here - room temperature, shaking the can like crazy, distance from mini.
    Add to that warming the can up by resting it in hand-hot water.

    Quote Originally Posted by barjed
    I tried both GW Skull White and Tamiya Fine Surface White. Both of them give dusty, uneven results.
    Car primer should give you the best chance of good, consistent results at minimal cost. In addition to being far cheaper than stuff marketed for the hobby (sometimes 1/4 of the price or better) it's also really tough - at best I've had auto primer be so tough that I found it difficult to scrape it from resin with a craft knife. Now that is tough.

    Einion

  4. #4

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    I have had some of these issues in the past as well. However, since I switched to Tamiya fine surface primer, it hasn't been an issue. (This is expensive, but the little can lasts a long time - and with $60+ kits/figures, I don't want to go cheap!) Couple of rules to go by - the figure/project needs to be clear of dust - I make sure the can is shaken REALLY well - I invert the can and spray a little into the air to make sure no clogs and to get rid of any dust - I make sure it is warm and humidity is low - and I make slow quick passes about 7-8 inches away. I watched a master on one of the miniature mentor tapes do this and have had much better results following his lead. I know with an airbrush, one technique we learn is that the lower the air pressure the larger the potential paint globules - since there is less air to mix - also with the airbrush, distance from the point to the model is huge as to the effect.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wigdog
    (This is expensive, but the little can lasts a long time - and with $60+ kits/figures, I don't want to go cheap!)
    Cheap doesn't mean not good, and it's not like paying through the nose provides any guarantee of quality - case in point being GW 'primers' *__*

    Einion

  6. #6

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    I use the Vallejo black and grey primers as well and have seen the dusty effect on the grey you mention. The issue I found was distance and room temperature. Spraying closer to the model but using less air gave me a much better finish with the Grey, if you spray from too far away then the paint starts to dry in the air and you get a dusty grainy effect. Similarly if the room is too cold or too hot it can effect the finish you get.

    I've never had the primer chip off my models though unless I was handling them really roughly. I have a policy now that once I've done the base coat with the airbrush and the model has both primer and paint on it I will give it a coat of gloss varnish to protect it before going any further or starting brush work. This is because while painting I can't help but handle my miniature which often means the very top most surface gets chipped or worn away to reveal the metal.

    Don't be shy with the primer. It's harder to gauge how much of the grey primer you need to get good coverage vs the black because the contrast isn't as good vs non-primed areas. Often I will think I've sprayed too much primer onto the model and I've flooded some detail only to find that it's revealed itself after the primer has dried as if the paint has shrunk to fit.

    Lastly if it's not sitting right it's sometimes better to let one coat dry and then hit it again with a second coat. I've had some GW plastic kits that seem to repel the paint in some random areas (probably due to chemicals or something) so when the first primer coat is dry I'll hit it again and it always covers great the second time. I've actually found that it covers so well and so smoothly that I use it as the base coat for my Raven Guard army (even the white parts).

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by barjed View Post

    Any suggestion would be extremely appreciated, thanks!
    I use the same products and never have any problems. I feel that you should try toning down the PSI, and spray closer to the mini. Too far off, and the liquid will turn to dust, so you need it to adhere to the miniature while it's wet.

    I usually go to about 25psi (tip/needle size doesn't matter), and shoot from about 2 inches away.

    Hope this helps!

  8. #8

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    Sorry for being a jerk and not responding here, I've been busy with my 'terribly exctiting' job.

    Anyway!

    I use the same products and never have any problems. I feel that you should try toning down the PSI, and spray closer to the mini. Too far off, and the liquid will turn to dust, so you need it to adhere to the miniature while it's wet.

    I usually go to about 25psi (tip/needle size doesn't matter), and shoot from about 2 inches away.

    Hope this helps!
    Been there, done that. I usually work with 25 to 30 PSI and it still sprays very dusty. I usually spray it pretty close to the model - actually I try to get as close as possible, without getting the "splash" effect. It doesn't help

    Add to that warming the can up by resting it in hand-hot water.
    I haven't tried that, I'll check this trick out today, thanks!

    You do have to give it enough time to properly cure before it's as strong as it can be, plus scrupulously cleaning the model's surface wouldn't be a bad idea. However it's actually well known for not being that robust I'm afraid.
    I actually let it cure for 24 hours but it doesn't change anything. It's still not very durable, I am afraid.

    have had some of these issues in the past as well. However, since I switched to Tamiya fine surface primer, it hasn't been an issue.
    I actually bought just that - Tamiya Clear Surface but it also is very dusty. I tried shaking, spraying just light you said - no cigar

  9. #9

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    Okay, I've been experimenting yesterday with some primers.

    First, I tried warming up in hot water Tamiya Fine Surface and shaking it until my hand couldn't bear it anymore. The results were noticeably better but still not good enough. What's more interesting, I over sprayed the mini, something that has not happened to me for quite some time. I was spraying about 15 cm from the miniature which leads me to believe that warming the can = increased pressure = overspray. I think I'll try just gently dusting the mini with the primer next, just to get the desired adherenced. Will report on the results.

    I also got a Motip Crafts Spray, which sprayed a nice coat of paint, it was not completely smooth but passable and there was no overspray. The only problem is that it's a pretty dark grey colour, so it's going to interact with my colours - I'll try getting a white one.

    In the end I made an experiment - I added a couple drops of Glaze Medium to the Vallejo Polyurethane Primer and I hoped it will make it a bit more wet, when sprayed. Unfortunately the effect was not what I expected - while it sprayed "wet", it still went on in a small "droplets" fashion which lead to ugly undercoat.

    Next stop is a Motip Automotive White Primer. Will report on results. I also thought about getting a cheap-ass 0.5mm nozzle airbrush (or even bigger) and try with that.

  10. #10
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    barjed:
    No-ones asked you where you're located or if you are spraying indoors or out?
    Localised humidity/air conditions do play a part in effecting the performance of sprays.
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  11. #11

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    Thanks for the reply.

    I live in Poland, in it's capital - Warsaw. It's actually very cold here now (around -6 degrees Celsius), humidity is between 40 and 60%, at least outdoors. I don't spray outdoors, though. I live in a flat, so after rattling and warming my spray can indoors, I go out to the stairway (I am not sure if that's the correct word), where it's a bit more chilly but not that much (I would guess it's around 10 to 15 degrees Celsius) and work there.

    When I work with the airbrush I work indoors, where it's around 22 to 23 degrees Celsius.

  12. #12

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    i have the same problem with the same product.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by RuneBrush View Post
    Grey car primer sprays pretty consistently smooth. Sorry that's just another suggestion of something different to try rather than how to solve your current issues. I have had the dusty issues with GW spray before but now try and spray where there is little to no wind and in temperatures above 10 degrees but under 27.
    What thinning ratios would you recommend for the car primer.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Insane Courage View Post
    What thinning ratios would you recommend for the car primer.
    I was referring to car primer in a can rather than paint on. Paint on would likely require thinning with spirits which would probably reduce the effectiveness and could mess up your airbrush.

  15. #15

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    +1 to standard automotive primers

    I've tried gesso, Vallejo Brush-on Primer, and normal spray paint and I wasn't satisfied.

    I use rustoleum white and it works very well. Smooth surface and excellent adhesion. I'm very careful when I apply it:

    -keep the bottle at room temp or higher
    -Use an space with zero wind and no floating particles
    -Spray from 30cm away, in passes
    -Always start a pass pointed away from the mini
    -When painting multiple minis, always have them in one row, the same distance from the can.
    -Leave the mini sitting on a stationary surface while priming (e.g. sawhorse in the garage)
    -Paint the front and back wait 20 min for that to dry, then rotate the mini 90 degrees where its standing and do the same thing
    -wait an hour before touching it

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ordo Septenarius View Post
    I use the same products and never have any problems. I feel that you should try toning down the PSI, and spray closer to the mini. Too far off, and the liquid will turn to dust, so you need it to adhere to the miniature while it's wet.

    I usually go to about 25psi (tip/needle size doesn't matter), and shoot from about 2 inches away.

    Hope this helps!
    My experience is the same with Light Grey and Red/Brown primers. Very happy with them so far.

    FWIW, I spray also at around 25psi indoors at about 20C quite close to the mini

  17. #17

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    The best primer is touch tone grey from autozone.

  18. #18
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    "Dusting" usually means you are too far away from the part and your paint is drying in the air before it gets to the part. (pics would help - a LOT). But you say you are working very close to the part? 3-4 inches (7.5-10 cm) would be about right for airbrushing and maybe a bit close for rattle cans.

    Is this water based? Are you using tap water to reduce (thin) the primer? Is it "hard" (lots of minerals)? Try using distilled or de-ionized water and maybe adding a dash of liquid dish soap (like 1 cc to a liter).

    Ureathanes can be a real bear to work with - and worse can have sever adhesion issues with the next layer of paint. Lost some large over-the-highway truss signs from this issue. (Another thing, please use a dust mask or particle mask when airbrushing ureathanes.)

    Solvent based rattle can primers are going to be harder and have better adhesion than almost any airbrushed or brushed water-based primer. Just the nature of the beasts.
    Last edited by airhead; 04-03-2013 at 02:18 PM.
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  19. #19

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    I'm using the same primer. I've had issues in the past, where the primer would peel off from the model when using masking tape. However I was using house remodelling painting tape, I never had the issue after switching to miniature modelling tape, which appears to have a lower tackiness. Cleaning models to make sure they are dusk and grease-free also helps.

    I usually need several runs to prime correctly a model. As I live in an partment with no balcony, I spray indoor and don't want to use solvent-based stuff because of the smell and solvents, so this is good enough for me.

  20. #20

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    Vallejo primers in spray is very good option and quality. If you are using airbrush i can recommend 2 options:
    Vallejo surface primers: http://www.coloureddust.com.pl/2012/...ls-part-4.html
    AK-Interactive primers: http://www.coloureddust.com.pl/2013/...ls-part-8.html

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