home

Author Topic: Primer Primer  (Read 2493 times)

Offline Marcus Leitdorf

  • Posts: 445
    • View Profile
Primer Primer
« on: September 10, 2005, 04:51:42 PM »
Hey All,

I have primed the wizard's tower and as I was rubbing it out, I thought I could share some observations I have made regarding the use of primer.

I have left the pictures full size. I know this is irksome, but I want you to be able to see what I am talking about as clearly as possible.

In the shop, when we finish a piece of furniture with laquer we always "rub it out". When the first coat goes on there is invariably dust on the project regardless of how faithfully we wipe it down. In addition to dust there is what we call over-spray; when the material is atomised what doesn't land on the project begins to dry as it travels thru the air, however, it is still wet enough to stick to whatever it does land on. This is usually another part of the project being finished. This tendency leaves a grainy texture on the finished piece which subsequently needs to be rubbed out. This is usually done with a very fine grit sanding pad.

Very much the same thing happens to minis when you use spray primer. I first noticed this while painting a unit of knights. The pictures which follow will show you what I am talking about and give you some pointers for preventing a poor paint job before you even start!

This shot shows the upper tower primed black. The primer I use is flat Krylon. Obviously this looks glossy. That is because I have "scrubbed" it with a soft bristle toothbrush. This has done three things: removed trapped dust, removed over-spray, and, in the case of MDF, it has also helped to remove some of the fuzz resulting from the texturing. I can now clearly see the detail and have a smooth painting surface.



In this shot I have turned the tower to show you an area that has not been scrubbed. You can see that the detail is very muted. Remember that both surfaces are finished with the same flat black primer. The surface of the un-scrubbed area is just so rough and grainy (understand that that is a relative term) that the light is being diffused to give it a matte appearance.



A closer look.



Here are a couple of shields for my knights. One has been scrubbed while the other has not.



Here is a knight on which I noticed the problem of over-spray. To prime this model I just laid him on the board and sprayed away. After the front side was dry I turned him over and sprayed again. Here is what happens: The over-spray from spraying the back of the mini hits the board and bounces back up to stick to the front of the model. It is so dry by the time it reaches the front of the model that it just sticks there without "burning" into the previous finish. This results in a very grainy texture that shows up when you paint, especially with metalics. Hopefully you can see what I am trying to point out.



This is the back side of the same knight. This is the side that was primed last. See how noticeably smoother the paint job is! Some might be wondering why there is no over-spray on the back side from priming the front. There undoubtably was, however, it was thin enough that when a much thicker coat went on it "burned in" and smoothed out somewhat. Yet it is still not an optimal finish. This knight has not been scrubbed. In fact it was this knight that prompted me to try scrubbing the remaining minis with the soft toothbrush.



These two knights were primed and painted in the exact same way as the previous knight with the exception that they were scrubbed before painting. By the way, that's scrubbing with a dry toothbrush. Some of the graininess can still be seen, but it is much more subdued.



The backs of these knights looks even better after being scrubbed. Another advantage of scrubbing is that your inks flow out much better. A grainy surface just traps the ink and you end up with a dull grey armour rather than bright and shiny.



This is a picture of my knight champion with no, or very little, over-spray. Rather than laying him down on a board to prime him, I stuck him on the end of a stick that I could hold in the air and rotate as I sprayed. This way there was nothing for over-spray to bounce off of. I will still scrub him to achieve the best surface possible.



I really didn't think of the over-spray problem until I primed my knights. Most minis are standing on a base when I prime them, not laying down. However, based minis are still subject to over-spray, especially if you are doing a group. I now prime all my models on a wand (stick), and scrub them after they dry.

Perhaps all of you know this stuff already and I am just a little slow, or you have never had this problem to begin with. In any case, I just wanted to share some of these things if they had not occurred to you yet.

To the mods, feel free to delete this if you think it is a waste of space.

Marcus
Faithfulness to our fathers, faithfulness to our sons. Marius shall be avenged!

Offline rayfish

  • Posts: 58
    • View Profile
Primer Primer
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2005, 05:08:50 PM »
Very informative, thank you.
I'm going to try this soft toothbrush method out on my mini's.
 
Quote
To the mods, feel free to delete this if you think it is a waste of space

 
on the contrary, I see another fine article for the site in the making! :biggriin:

Offline bofto

  • Posts: 297
    • View Profile
Primer Primer
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2005, 05:24:21 PM »
I think this is a very interesting examination.  (I also love the way the knights look).  

This is one of the reasons I stopped spray-priming - I find that you have more controll with a brushed primer, you waste less paint (half of the spray obviously misses the model), you can thin the primer to be as light as you want, it's not that more time consuming (just get a big brush), and finally - no more of thos annoying bumps.
Best Warhammer game quote I know of:
"Andrew, stop asking what's going on.  Just shut up and roll!"

Offline Kernschatten

  • Posts: 1463
  • Riverside, CA, USA
    • View Profile
Re: Primer Primer
« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2005, 12:00:09 AM »
Quote from: Marcus Leitdorf
Here are a couple of shields for my knights. One has been scrubbed while the other has not

Hmmm. Very interesting.  If I had just seen the shield pics without reading the whole post I would have said that the left hand shield was either:
a) too heavily sprayed from too great a distance
b) there was a fingerprint on the shield before it was sprayed

I've never had that problem. I might get a little "fuzz" between the legs or under the arms once in a while, but never on a larger flat surface like on a shield. Have you tried any other primers? I've never used Krylon on miniatures.

I use GW black primer. I wash the assembled mins in warm soapy water, rinse and dry before priming. I never spray when the temp is over 90 or below 60, and keep on eye on the humidity. I elevate them to eye level so I can spray straight on without tipping the can. Spray from a distance of about 8 inches. Very, very fast passes with the spray. Usually 2 passes each front and back, 1 pass each on left and right side, lay them down and 1 pass each front and back.

Painting furniture sounds very much like painting cars as far as the prep work between coats is concerned.
"We finally really did it. You maniacs! You blew it up! Damn you. God damn you all to hell."

Offline Racticas

  • Posts: 1065
  • The Anti-moderator
    • View Profile
Primer Primer
« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2005, 03:41:39 AM »
Thanks; I have an open question, though, for any takers.  I primed a number of handgunners a while back and the grain was so bad that toothbrush hardly helped.  Anybody know how you can you safely strip plastic?

Also, I want to acknoledge Kernschatten's comment: washing your boys before sraying can save a lot of tears.
Quote from: Atchman
He isn't afraid at all to try new things, sometimes with terrible results.  :roll:

Offline Guvnor

  • Posts: 1791
  • I'm just north of London
    • View Profile
Primer Primer
« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2005, 01:11:41 PM »
I use an old nail file that has been quite worn down or one of those nail brushes. :-D
I have one sentence in response to the engineer and mechanical: Empire is post-feudal age, not post-nuclear age!

Offline BK

  • Posts: 524
    • View Profile
Primer Primer
« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2005, 02:26:28 PM »
Quote from: Racticas
Thanks; I have an open question, though, for any takers.  I primed a number of handgunners a while back and the grain was so bad that toothbrush hardly helped.  Anybody know how you can you safely strip plastic?


Iso-propyl alcohol works most of times and will never damage a plastic. It can be however little slow, so use old toothbrush for a faster cleaning.

Offline Kernschatten

  • Posts: 1463
  • Riverside, CA, USA
    • View Profile
Primer Primer
« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2005, 03:56:03 PM »
Quote from: Racticas
Anybody know how you can you safely strip plastic?

Whoa! Now there is a hotly debated topic.  :-D
We've done this topic a number of times here, but I will say that the best thing I've found for stripping minis (either plastic or metal) is Castrol Super Clean. I don't what the availability is overseas...
"We finally really did it. You maniacs! You blew it up! Damn you. God damn you all to hell."

Offline Racticas

  • Posts: 1065
  • The Anti-moderator
    • View Profile
Primer Primer
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2005, 05:09:19 PM »
Quote from: Kernschatten
I will say that the best thing I've found for stripping minis (either plastic or metal) is Castrol Super Clean. I don't what the availability is overseas...


Thanks.  Is Castrol Super Clean a product you got in America?  What is it?  I've heard of brake fluid being used to some effect.
Quote from: Atchman
He isn't afraid at all to try new things, sometimes with terrible results.  :roll:

Offline The Black Knight

  • Posts: 174
    • View Profile
Primer Primer
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2005, 05:14:43 PM »
The brake fluid works fine too. Some people say that it can damage plastic but I have stripped loads of miniatures with it, and nothing wrong happened.
"All right... we'll call it a draw".

My fantasy-themed terrain log

Offline Rorrak

  • Posts: 1276
    • View Profile
Primer Primer
« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2005, 08:09:44 AM »
I have similar results to Kernschatten. Priming in the same fashion.

It might just be the primer you are using ?

The primer I use gives a silky smooth very thin medium grey covering. I've never seen that grainy effect thats clearly evident in your pictures.

On plastics and break fluid. I've had some (very few) plastic models get a strange texture to them after cleaning them in break fluid. When it does happen a dry toothbrush gets it off at the cost a little bit of fine detail. It happens so rarely that I still use break fluid to clean my models and just accept the slight loss of quality when it does happen.

Offline wisenheimer

  • Posts: 613
  • Michigan, USA
    • View Profile
Primer Primer
« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2005, 04:46:30 PM »
I've tried stripping plastic with pine-sol and brake fluid, both worked, but the brake fliud took less time. Neither seemed to damage the plastics.

I've had decent results using a buffer file (used for nails) to remove unwanted texture from primed minis. The problem is the paint fills the file quickly and cleaning it is a pain.

Now, if I care about the mini I'm priming, I glue it to a nail head; Set the nail in an inverted box, and spray. It has the added advantage of being able to rotate the nail while I spray. When it's dry, I just break off the nail.