Monday, December 31, 2007

Paint-on Primer

For quite awhile now, I've been looking for a way to be free from the tyranny of the rattle-can primer and all its "you can't spray primer on now because it is too windy/humid/planets in the wrong alignment", "wow you sprayed on too much/too little now your mini looks like ass", "oops, your mini looks like it was caught in a blizzard" and "hey, look at that, now your mini looks all grainy" ways.

After talking to several people, especially on the Austin Warhammer forum, I decided that using a paint-on primer was the way to go.

After a couple of dry runs to the closest Hobby Lobby and King's Hobby, I found a gray paint on primer at the Hobby Lobby on Anderson (close to the Discount Electronics, for my fellow Austin geeks). Specifically, I found Testor Model Master Acryl Gray Primer (pictured at left) (sorry for the quality of the pics, I was using my phone's camera). I had high hopes!

...which were quickly dashed on first experiment. I knew I was going to have to paint good ol' Chaos Black over the gray (an immediate negative) but what I wasn't counting on was the poor coverage from the primer itself. I know pigment isn't primer's strong suit, but man, this particular primer didn't cover worth a damn. I had to slop on so much of this stuff to get coverage I wound up with a glossy finish on my gray primer coat. I'll admit that perhaps it was my lack of patience that caused that result, but putting on primer is -- to me -- a slop-on, slap-on task that shouldn't require you to carefully brush on 5 coats of primer. I was (somewhat vainly, I know) hoping that adding the Chaos Black basecoat would tone down the glossiness of the primer. Nope.

Back to the ol' drawing board.

More discussion and research later, I head down to Dragon's Lair to pick up what I've been told is the Holy Grail of paint-on primers: Reaper Master Series. The only way they have it for sale is in an Triad Pack called "Additives II". Included in the Triad Pack is black primer, "Drying Retarder" and "Anti-Shine Additive". Yay.

It should be noted that Reaper doesn't include any instructions on how to use these additives, but a little poking around their forum revealed the magic formula for using the Anti-Shine Additive, which is basically 1:4 additive to paint.

On to experiment!

I used a Space Marine arm (holding a chainsword) for the test. I put 5 drops of the Reaper MS black primer on the palette, added 1 drop of the Anti-Shine Additive and mixed them together. Using a regular brush, I slapped on the primer/additive mix. Right off the coverage was amazing, only needing a two quick coats to make the arm-and-chainsword totally black. A few minutes of drying later, and I was looking at the smoothest, flattest black I've ever seen on a mini.

Success! Hooray!

So, if you're looking for a paint-on primer, I can highly recommend the Reaper Master Series black primer and Anti-Shine Additive.

Happy Painting!

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