Saturday, January 19, 2013

Review: Vallejo Surface Primer

Vallejo Surface Primers
  So, it's been pretty cold around here lately.  That means no priming, and that means no painting.  I'm not liking that!

  Surfing around the Vallejo website, I came across their Surface Primer line of paints.  I did some research and a lot of people really like these primers.  Well, off to the War Store to get my order filled and a week or so later, I'm in business again!  And what kind of business it this.  This stuff is GREAT!

  I have always been  user of GW's primer line (Chaos black and Skull white) and I have never really had reason to doubt them.  I have always liked the black better than the white though.  The white seems to go on powdery sometimes, and yes, I am not spraying too far away.  I have tried what some other folks had mentioned, Krylon and the Hobby Lobby brands, but I always found them lacking in some way or another.  Either they were not smooth or they were splotchy.  Suffice to say, I always ended up back with GW primer, paying the huge GW tax for the great name on the can.

  There really is not a whole lot you can say about primers.  They need to do some very simple things.  Bond well to the surface your priming (plastic, resin or pewter, in my case) is the most important thing.  They also need to be tough, resistant to damage from rough handling.  If the primer chips off, all your hard work painting goes with it.  Lastly, they need to be thin to not hide any surface detail and provide a smooth surface to paint on.  GW's black primer had always done all that for me, or so I thought.

  Enter the Vallejo Surface Primers. These come in plastic bottles (17ml, 60ml and 200ml).  Vallejo says they can be brushed or airbrushed on.  I tested both, Vallejo is right.  Brush painting the primer on is a breeze (with a decent quality brush... see this post).  It flows on nicely, dries very smoothly and is very thin.  As long as you don't glob it on, brushing this stuff on will yield results much akin to using a rattle can.

  Then came the airbrush.  To be honest, the wife was sleeping and I didn't want to fire up the compressor while she rested.  Once she was up, I was able to break out the older airbrush (an Iwata revolution CR).  I used the Iwata because it is a .3mm brush and the Renegade Krome is a .21mm.  I had heard that the primer sprays better at the .3mm size.  I did thin it about 1 part primer to 1/2 part mix of Tamiya Acrylic thinner (X20) and Golden Airbrush Medium.

  It sprayed on like a dream.  It covered really well and dried very quickly.  I did some drop tests from about 8 inches to my wooden tabletop after letting it dry for 12 hours and no chips.  Best of all, the surface is baby-skin smooth and accepts paint like... well... like a primer.  Best of all, I can paint prime my figs inside without all the hellish fumes!!!  And who cares how cold it is outside?  As a side note, the white is every bit as good as the black, and WAY better than the GW skull white!

  All in all, this is GREAT primer.  If you need it, run, don't walk to get this stuff!