Total Novice Primer Issues
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Thread: Total Novice Primer Issues

  1. #1

    Default Total Novice Primer Issues

    OK I want to preface this question with the statement that I am wholly new to mini painting. I just build my first Warhammer 40K minis and have primed them. My concern is that the paint feel like it is not going on as evenly as I had hoped even though I feel like I'm following all the directions i have seen on several "how to" videos. I am using a standard modeling primer that I have used on many larger models and never really had any issues but I feel like with the mini's the paint is covering up some of the finer details. I have 4 minis that I am working on and on two of them I have done a single coat and on the other two I have done two coats of primer. I feel like the single coat has more details but its not a solid white covering. The dual coat models have a perfect base primer appearance but it seems like some of the extreme definition is missing. Am I doing something wrong? Is this just part of painting mini's? I thought I might lose some definition but this feels wrong to me. Any help will be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2

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    if you are loosing definition after 2 coats you are applying it heavily, BUT it doesn't need to be uniform white and what's more it's not a problem if some of the deeper recesses are not primed at all.
    The first wash will settle there anyway and as noone touches those parts it won't flake off or anything.
    The most important imho is that most of the parts get some 'tooth' where the paint can get a grip, mostly important on the raised surfaces.

    So my advice:
    - show a photo how they look
    - use only one coat. Should be enough. Hell, some here(for example Sproket) don't use any primer at all and paint wonderful pieces.
    Forgot, that it works again.

  3. #3

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    for undercoat, as MAXXxxx said, a quick dusting is really enough. start to spray off the model, then skoosh it past. Turn mini to a new angle, repeat. The model will look grey-ish, but just bear in mind the primer is not there to colour the mini, its there to give the next layer of paint to adhere to.
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  4. #4
    Superfreak!!! Dragonsreach's Avatar
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    The question no-one has asked...What make of primer?
    GW's sprays aren't primer they are acrylic paint and can be "Poor".
    Army Painter I just found to be, well to be honest Sh*te.
    I moved over to Grey car primer a good few years ago and much prefer it.

    A lot of people prefer to prime with an airbrush and I see the benefits but don't know if I'll go down that road.

    As to methodology for priming my way is to hold the mini upside down for the first passes, then right way up. That way the 'hidden' areas don't get missed out.
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  5. #5

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    fanboy alert i think gw's "primer" are great! i only "dust" the minis with spray, and then fill in with regular brush-paint where it didn't hit.

    but yeah stay away from army painter. and that goes for their protective coating spray also.

  6. #6
    Newbie, please be gentle Big_Bunny's Avatar
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    Sounds to me like you're just doing it too thick.

    Make sure you hold the can a good distance away from the models and move it around a lot so you're never spraying constantly from one angle. It usually takes three or four coats to get a complete covering. While I agree with what some others have said, that a "perfect" primer coat is not absolutely necessary, I don't have any problem achieving a perfect coat, and I also prefer it that way. If recesses and "hidden" parts of the model are missing the primer, it can be a little bit confusing to look at when you're trying to discern exactly what is what in the detail.

    Is it possible that you just think detail is being obscured when it really is not? Once you apply a matt coat of paint to a mini and it's not so shiny, it can look kind of different and "plasticy" which may give the illusion that detail is being obscured. Just don't let the paint pool up on the model.

    Also, I agree with the above post. I've never had a problem with GW brand primer. Although to be honest, I've never had any problem with any primer. I get artist's acryllic spray from the local art supply store (so I can undercoat in different colours - brown or grey, for example) and it's all much of a muchness.

    Lastly, if you don't get it perfect the first few times, don't worry about it too much. It's all going to take a lot of practice. If you've never painted before, you're going to have enough trouble applying the paint from the brush without obscuring detail, and even the best painters will sometimes resort to "painting on" detail using the actual finely sculpted detail only as a guideline instead of a hard-and-fast rule anyway. My 2c.

    Edit: also, make sure you wash your minis with soap and water and let them totally dry before applying the primer. It will help the primer stick straight away, the paint won't pool in recesses so much and you'll get a nicer, more even undercoat more easily.
    Last edited by Big_Bunny; 11-27-2015 at 05:24 AM.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonsreach View Post
    GW's sprays aren't primer they are acrylic paint and can be "Poor".
    Army Painter I just found to be, well to be honest Sh*te.
    Quote Originally Posted by SkelettetS View Post
    fanboy alert i think gw's "primer" are great! i only "dust" the minis with spray...
    but yeah stay away from army painter. and that goes for their protective coating spray also.
    the funny part is that you are both right
    GW's 'primer' is really not a primer, but at the same time it's the best for me too. To the point where I've given up looking for an alternative. Partly because the alternatives here in germany costs not that much less and it's much more expensive to try out brands when I really need a can each 2 years or so.

    about the AP I have a different view: for display minis (that DR and Skelette (and hopefully me too) paint) it's really bad, but for a generic TTQ army with the practice-level of a general player they are more than good enough.
    Forgot, that it works again.

  8. #8
    Superfreak!!! Dragonsreach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAXXxxx View Post
    about the AP I have a different view: for display minis (that DR and Skelette (and hopefully me too) paint) it's really bad, but for a generic TTQ army with the practice-level of a general player they are more than good enough.
    Regretfully I wouldn't even consider it fit for painting a wall.
    With a lot of years experience in shaking cans the AP still came out like grit. Surface texture like a sandwich on the beach, full of sand.
    I believe in Karma, what you give, is what you get returned. Affirmation; Savage Garden
    Oh look my IQ results came in:-
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  9. #9

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    to echo what others have said, too much primer is your problem. here is a great tutorial on priming:
    http://arcanepaintworks.blogspot.com...n-priming.html

  10. #10

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    I agree with all the technique advice here. That said gw primer is so expensive for what it is (and I really don't think it's even that great). If I'm going to spend that much I'm going to get tamiya fine surface primer. (It is god juice in a can). Also a cheap amazing alternative for darker colors are the krylon camo colors. They have fusion for plastic so stick just as well as any primer to your plastics and they are so matte to help with the camo look that they have plenty enough tooth for other coats of paint to adhere. I also recommend duplicolor white auto primer as a cheaper white. I will never pay for a can of gw primer again. It's not garbage but there are many comparable or superior products for cheaper.

  11. #11

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    I have had this issue as well. I used to be a strictly brush-on primer painter. But I did experiment with a spray on primer from army painter to work on the new zombicide black plague minis. I used a necrotic flesh and a barbarian flesh primer, so that it would dual purpose as both a primer and the skin color for such an enormous number of minis. However the barbarian flesh came out really gritty and now i'm using a toothbpick and toothbrush to try too smooth it out a little without damaging the plastic. Has anyone tried spray painting into a paint tray and then brushing that on to get a smoother application? I know that will take a while to complete the project, but if I'm going to actually play with these game pieces with company, I want them to look good.

    Reaper has a brush on primer, but has anyone tried mixing a color into it? Will that negatively impact it's utility? Just curious before I try these ideas out. I only started painting earlier this year.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by rican919 View Post
    Has anyone tried spray painting into a paint tray and then brushing that on to get a smoother application? I know that will take a while to complete the project, but if I'm going to actually play with these game pieces with company, I want them to look good.
    you could do this, but why make everything more hassle than it is needed? If you want the color, but not the APSpray, just use a good white undercoat and use the matching AP color (they are 100% the same as the spray color)

    Quote Originally Posted by rican919 View Post
    Reaper has a brush on primer, but has anyone tried mixing a color into it? Will that negatively impact it's utility? Just curious before I try these ideas out. I only started painting earlier this year.
    haven't tried, but again no real need. The purpose of the primer is to give a little 'teeth', so the paint later can get a good grip on the surface.
    For this a light dusting of a chosen color/brand is more than enough, then you can just use the paint you wanted.
    Forgot, that it works again.

  13. #13

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    P3 primer FTW.
    ​You are ranked 1 out of 9149 artists.
    BloodFather's Axis of Chaos http://www.coolminiornot.com/forums/...f-Chaos/page17

  14. #14

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    Thanks for the advice. At $15 per can for the AP spray primers, I just didn't want to waste them. But I really didn't like the graininess. I was probably spraying from too far away. I was able to use a round sanding tool to reduce the graininess as much as I could, but I didn't want to damage the fine details. So these aren't perfect, but they are getting there. Sorry for the lighting, I use an LED lamp for painting but it was too difficult to unplug and move from my desk. The first two images of a previous project show how smooth a surface I was able to get with a brush on primer, then the following images are with a newer batch with some spray on that I wanted to try... You can clearly see the difference in the graininess of the surfaces. I'll try P3 next time.

    with brush on primer:

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    with spray on primer (somewhat fixed):

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    with spray on primer (only basecoating done):

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  15. #15

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    Are you applying your paints directly out of the pot/bottle or are you thinning them with water first? How many coats are you doing each time you apply a colour (roughly)?

  16. #16

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    from the pics: it looks like the paint is applied very thickly, this seems more of the problem than the primer.
    And AP primer: it dires really fast, so the optimal distance with priming them is more in the 10-15cm range, than the usual 20-30. If sprayed from 20-30cm half the pigments dry in the air giving a dusty texture.
    + it's really thick, so needs to shaken like hell before spraying + 1 light coat is all you need or it obscures the details.
    Forgot, that it works again.

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