Once again, a comment in a recent article of mine prompted me to express my opinion about something intrinsic to our hobby, primer choice. In "A Matter of Opinion: The Glue that Binds", a poster who shall remain anonymous, *cough* OldSchoolTerminator *cough*, mentioned that I shouldn't even get him and his group started on the opinion of what primer works best.
Now who am I to pass up an opening like that, hmm?
In order to remain focused, this won't include a tutorial on how to prime your models. I'll be limiting this strictly on how I chose the primer I use the most. That doesn't mean I won't pen a tutorial on how to prime in the future, just not in this post. If I don't remain focused on the topic at hand, I'll get off on a tangent, and that won't do us much good, now will it?
I've actually had a good amount of exposure to different primer brands across the hobby spectrum. I even did a test across plastic and metal figures to see what worked best with what about a year ago, the results of which greatly influenced my current primer of choice.
They have a low price-point, which was the original attractant for me to this line, and I picked up a can of their white spray. After a good 5-minute shake, I tested it out on a spare plastic and a spare metal figure. It snowed them both. Perplexed, because the conditions were fine, I grabbed a plastic cup, gave it another good shake for a few minutes and tried again…yielding the same results on the cup as I did on the figures. Trying not to discount a brand on one bad can, I bought another to try. After giving it a good 5-minute shake, I tried it out on another spare plastic figure. While it didn't snow the figure this time, it did leave this gritty residue that made it seem like very fine sand particles hit the figure at odd places. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. I gave this brand a honest try, twice, and will never do so again.
Army Painter Primers
The first time I tried this brand I was trying to save time, and bought their Skeleton Bone colored spray to quicken the painting process on my Centurions vehicles. I also bought their Red color for a Storm Raven. Both times the brand performed admirably, with no snowing of the models, and they both had very consistent coverage on the larger surfaces of the vehicles. I'd consider giving them another try using their white or black for standard figures if given the chance, I just haven't yet. I'm very pleased with their color choices and if you're looking to give yourself a leg up on your base coat color for a quicker, smooth first coat, and they have the color you're wanting to use, then try it out.
GW Chaos Black and Skull White Spray
There's debate back and forth whether these are actual primers, or just paint in a spray can. For the sake of this article, we'll address them as primers because that what I've used them for. These aren't cheap, and the 15 dollars a can price tag is what drove me to try other primers in the first place. Price aside, however, they do the job nicely. Coverage is good, I've never had a problem with snowing a model with them and the new nozzles on them are really very nice. A nice bonus is that you can always touch up the primer with either paint from a pot of the like color from the GW range.
On the recommendation from a friend at the local shop, I decided to give Tamiya a shot. I specifically have used their black primer, and over the course of an Imperial Guard Platoon's worth of plastic models, I was pleased. The coverage was good, and the base coat was nicely even when dry. I did notice some inconsistencies when I primed a metal test figure, though and wasn't thrilled with that result. Considering the product I bought is specifically for plastics, I wasn't surprised. While I did enjoy success with this brand, I prefer a primer that can work on multiple surfaces.
After the epiphany I had with this line's standard paint pots earlier this year, I just had to try out their primer. They didn't disappoint. The coverage was even and nice, and the nozzle they have on the can helps greatly with this. After perhaps two passes, I had the proper amount of primer on the figure, and was pleased with the 'grip' it lent to my paints. The price-point is slightly under GW, and that's always a plus. Again, a bonus is that you can always touch up your primer with the like color from their paint pot range.
So who wins the attention of my wallet and the respect of my brush? Honestly, it tends to be a three-way tie. If I need to quickly give a model a base coat that is a close or similar color to the first coat of paint that will go on it, I go with one of Army Painter's colored sprays. Otherwise, I split my attention and money between GW's Skull White, and P3's White Primer. It just depends on what the local store has on hand when I need to buy a can.
I've heard wild rumors and speculation that some members of our esteemed hobby community enjoy the use of Krylon Primers. While I may scratch my head in a perplexed state at that, who am I to judge? What do you guys use? Speak up!
After all, It's just A Matter of Opinion.