Sunday, February 5, 2012

Why Good Primer Matters

by SandWyrm

My 2 Boxes of Panzer IV's from the Plastic Soldier Company finally came in last week. Once I got them assembled, I wanted to primer all of my tanks so that I wouldn't be staring at bare plastic and metal during my games. My usual primer, Tamaya Neutral Gray, hasn't been in stock at the local hobby shop lately, possibly because of the Tsunami that hit Japan. So instead I bought some Testors Semi-Gloss Primer (for half the price). Big Mistake!

On the left is a Panzer IV that's been primed with my last can of Tamaya. On the right is a Panzer III that I primed with the Testors enamel. The Tamaya paint dried in 10 minutes and kept all of the tank's sharp details. The Testors paint, on the other hand, took 5 days to dry fully (they still stink a bit) and has muddled all of the detail of the model.

You can really see the difference in this picture. On the left, the Tamaya primer has preserved all of the Tank Commander's detail. While on the right, the Testors has all but destroyed it. The mottled look is because the 2 cans of Testors primer that I was using DIDN'T MATCH. Ugh!

I've learned my lesson. Stay away from Testors!


  1. Hell I could have told you that, Skateboard Mike from CU used to swear by Testors. That was enough for me know to stay away. :)

    Any chance of stripping them and starting over?

  2. Dawn Direct Foam is meant to be the same as Fairy Power Spray. If that's the case then it'll fix those models up pretty easily.

  3. Up till now I've use GW, Privateer, and some other one I can't remember (has a checkerboard for a logo) and they've done ok.

    But waaaay back during the Game Preserve Civil War, I picked up a can of The Army Painter's Color Primer (plate mail metal). Well, I finally got around to using it to prime some Crons, with the intent of simply painting over it, but I like the look of it so much, it's going to at least be the main color for my Cron's vehicles. You should check it out.

  4. Nooooooooooo!
    This makes me sad.

    I recently had a 'fuzz' issue with a bad can of primer.
    It's a horrible thing when you try something new, and something awful happens.

    I'm sorry, dude...

  5. I've started using Army painter primer, it is almost like airbrushing for beginners.

    Sinsynn, I really need to find the article I saw once, it had a full explanation of primers and stuff. If I remember correctly, the fuzzyness is either too far away or too close. Each brand is different. It happened to me when I first started the hobby, and so I gave up priming my first models.

    The worst kind I found are the really runny ones. They coat the model too fast, and end up pooling and horribly ruining models.

  6. @Chambers

    Not sure what I'm going to do yet. I'm trying to tell myself I can live with the muddled details, but...

  7. right sure you can, keep telling your self that buddy.

  8. I'm gonna be honest- I've had so many wacky experiences with primer, that I just brush coat my models in basic black right outta the pot now.

    Losing a 30 dollar box set of Tau Stealthsuits was one thing, but I recently lined up a TON of FoW figs, and that's when I had the fuzz incident.
    It took a LOT of work to clean up the resin and metal (fortunately it WAS resin and metal, and therefore cleanable), and I was literally like 'never again.'
    So much work...

    I thought the fuzz was a humidity thing, but I dunno...stupid cheap primer...

  9. As I have ALWAYS SAID. Dull-Coat flat black primer. $5 and I have NEVER had an issue.

  10. And I've always said never prime with black. :P

  11. And they also have a grey primer for the elitist mini painters out there. :P

  12. Airbrushing the primer is a fantastic little invention :) only downside I've found was that tape gripped the tape far too well. If anyone has a really good airburshable primer to suggest, please do so. I use Vallejo white.


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