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Priming and cleaning models


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I thaught I would pull up a topic probably talked about alot but a very importent one when it comes to mini painting.


Cleaning and priming the model.


First I use my scalpel knife and sanding twigs to clean the model of mould lines and flashing in the proces I cut my fingers with scalpel atleast ones. I keep a box of bandaids close at hand and make sure it is full of bandaids, me clumsy never.


When I have cleaned the model its time for its bath I normally clean a dozen or two models at ones ( I paint odells of models), and I fill up a small plastic tub of warm water with dishsoap. then I take my handy electric toothbrush squirt a drop of dishsoap on the model and start cleaning. You want plenty of suds this will really help getting of oil and casting talk of the model.


When they have dried its time to prime it with a matte primer, This is the big thing I have recently learned that I want your guys feedback on. I have untill recently primed my minis on the floor on newspaper and then I would do one side at a time and then turn em around laying down, I would squat over them and spray them from above.

Now sometimes my models would come out realy grany and I would go why those that happen I thought it might be the spray and changed to a different brand and they were still grany. So just the other day I figured out that it was because I was holding the can verticly and the spray wasnt coming out right.

so I tried one time holding the model insted in my left hand holding the spray can upright 10 inches from the model turning the model as I gave it quik sprays to cover the model now I get smooth surfaces and good coverage and I am going to get a bunch of cheap gloves so my hand doesnt get white.


How do you clean and prime your model?



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How do I clean and prime my figures?


I actually don't wash my minis. I have done it in the past, but only sporadically. I will do it if the minis gets cobwebbed or dusty or otherwise schmutzed up, but that is about it. I have been told my skin oils are going to eat through the primer and paint, but frankly laziness (and no damage spotted so far) has won out.


For mini prep, I use:


- emory boards (work great, cheap, disposable, and easy to cut into the right shade for hard-to-reach spots)

- needle files (especially my round file and my flat on one side, rounded on the other side file)

- a GW sprue clipper (for plastics and for nipping off flash)

- a #5 heavy duty x-acto knife (for removing flash)


The first few minis I painted when I got back in the hobby I did without filing the mold lines. Big mistake. My moral, which I repeat to anyone who will listen, is "Paint reveals, not conceals." I file off all mold lines, no matter how faint or unobstrusive, except the base (I'm going to flock it anyway).  Those "faint" mold lines stand out sharply once painted, so off they go along with any flash.


As for priming, I have a good "priming station" outside - a 4 1/2' high white stone ledge that no one care if I get all painted up. I stand my minis on cardboard in a row, fixed down with blue poster tack. I then spray from about 6" to 12" away (depending on the wind) . I do this 4 times - once each front and back, and once each from the sides.


The only downside to this method is that minis sometimes lack primer under arms, behind shields, etc. So, once the minis dry, I check them for "bald spots." If they have ones worth noting, I do that spot with a quit spritz of primer with the mini propped up (or lying down) in such a way as to make that spot easy to hit.


That is pretty much it - I do a lot of mini prep at one time (often a dozen minis or more), then I primer in bunches, and then store the minis for eventual painting.

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I use several different series of needle files for cleaning flash and mold lines along with an Xacto.


Xacto makes a nice line of needle files. I use theirs primarily. I also have a series of tiny needle files from American Scientific Surplus (Here). I like them a lot as well for hard to reach spaces. They can be had for about $5.00. I also have a series of files that a friend of mine who works for a machine shop gave me as a gift when I was teaching him to paint. Can't tell you the name of this brand. They're pretty heavy duty, double-ended, and very fine with a number of different heads.


Dentist tools are also useful when prepping a fig. I use them, along with needles and other such pointy objects, for sculpting greenstuff.


I've searched and searched for sanding twigs. Where do you folks get them? I've been to Home Depot, Michael's, and a number of other hobby shops. Whenever I ask for them, everyone looks at me as though I have two heads (which I do, but the other is ethereal and most folks can't see it)


I also clean my models with dishsoap and a toothbrush, though not electric...that's pretty high-tech, VL!  :D  Pat dry with a paper towel and blow-dry with canned air (which is getting expensive. I think I should get a small airbrush compressor. Anyone know where they can be had cheap?)


I also spray prime using Krylon gray or black. I place the models on a cinder block in my backyard and spray. Once they are dry, I pick them up and do touch up holding them in hand. Rubber gloves are a good idea, Linus. I'll have to get some. When I've been priming, I usually sport several gray/black fingernails on my left hand (another instance of me being not so bright! :)   ) The primer seems to stick rather well to nails. Kind of gives me that Goth/Punk look. When I was listening to the Smiths/Morrisey, I may not have minded. But I've long since lost those albums (read as: they were stolen by a roommate, damn him.)


At any rate, as you say, you must hold the can upright, otherwise you will not achieve a good finish.


Humdity also severely affects the finish. This, above all, has been the major source of grainy finishes for me. Temperature usually isn't a problem, but humidity is a killer -- both for primer and undercoats. Worse so for undercoating. I've found normal paint (Krylon black, white, etc) to be extremely susceptible to humidity. Watch out there.


I guess that's about it. Beyond staring at a mini once it's prepped to hear how it wants to be painted, I usually don't do much more.


That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.  :)

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Good topic VL.


Here's what I do:


1. Open blister pack and check for any missing pieces or broken parts.


2. Wash/ Dry


3. Clean flash


4. Study (checking for mold lines/imperfections/other oddities)


5. File mold lines


6. Assemble model (if necessary)


7. Study (looking at overall sculpt)


8. Glue model to wooden painting base.


9. Prime (I use black primer, I prime by hand)


10. Re-study primed model (begin deciding on color combos, armor, hair color, etc.)


11. Begin painting



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Well, here goes.  This painting process is generally under constant flux as I learn, but it's what I have for now.


First, I file the flashlines.  Files only.  If I tried a hobby knife, I'd leave cut marks in both myself and the mini.  (As an aside, the last one I painted had horrible flashlines, but it actually helped me find the things.  I only missed one part this time!)  I also do file the base of the mini at the bottom so that it doesn't want to rock back and forth during flocking.


Next, like Viking's pieces, the mini takes a bath.  Soap, water, electric toothbrush.  This does seem to help things turn out a little sharper, for me.  As it's been explained to me, the cleaning takes off the powder which they use to lubricate the molds, so that the mini will come out.  So, I do it to keep the powder out.


(EDIT!  I can't believe I forgot to add this.) After the bath, they get glued to whatever Aryanun (my mentor to date) can loan me.  If I'm lucky enough to have a wooden spool, then elmer's glue is perfect.  For any kind of plastic mount, super glue only.  Elmer's just won't hold - and I think the falls may have permanently ruined part of my Crimson Knight. :down:   (/end of edit)


Then comes priming.  Since Aryanun and I live in a more humid area, and with a lot of people who would care far too much about getting paint on the grass, spray priming just can't happen.  So, I paint on using some white primer Ary donated, and some zinc over the fleshy parts.  Finally, I throw on some shadows using either dragon black or walnut, depending the material and future colors of the mini.

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Oh yes, one other lesson I have learned:


Priming is a great way of finding out where the mold lines are. After I prime, before I paint, I check for mold lines. Primer will sometimes fine tiny flaws I otherwise might have missed. At that point, I will fix them and touch up with thinned paint of the appropriate color (white, grey, or black).

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This is a great post.  I never heard of washing them before, and in 14 years have never had a problem either.  Here is what I do:


1. Using a dremel look-a-like, I grind the base down and do any conversion preps I need using a carbide bit.


3. I then clean off all of the flash using diamond grit microbits (micromark.com).  I used to use needle files, but I find I can do much more accurate work with the dremel.


4. Buff all areas I cleaned with a rubber abrasion tool.


5. Glue the mini to the top of an old paint jar or pimento jar using a couple drops of cyanoacrylate gel.


6. Do any base conversions I plan on doing.


7. Spray prime using short bursts while holding the base jar in my left hand.


8. Quick dry under a light bulb.


That is about it.


Pat dry with a paper towel and blow-dry with canned air (which is getting expensive. I think I should get a small airbrush compressor. Anyone know where they can be had cheap?)


Put the mini under a 60 to 100 watt lightbulb (about an inch or less away).  Since it is metal, it will heat up and the water will evaporate very quickly.  Warning, the mini will be hot for a few seconds after taking it out from under the light. (Can you tell I am a Tech. Writer? I even add warnings to my posts.  :laugh:)  This is heaps cheaper and about as fast as an air compressor.



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Ahh mould lines.  The enemy.


I hate these things.  No matter how hard I try I cannot get rid of them.  I file and file and file, sometimes loosing detail and still they remain.  I could saw completely through a mini and the mould line would still be there, mocking me.  I've learned to live with them.  I do what I can, but they always come back to taunt me.


Ah well...  :down:


I wash my minis (usually).  I dunk em in Simple Green and scrub em with a (non-electric) toothbrush.


For priming I've started using artist's gesso.  Got a big bottle from an art supply store recently.  That way I don't have to worry about fumes or the super high humidity messing up the process.  I can mix in any color I want to create colored primer, it doesn't obscure detail or if it does I see it and can wipe it away.  An 8 ounce bottle only cost a couple dollars and since I dilute it so it will flow into the nooks and crannies better it should last a long time.


Oh and it helps those mould lines stand out nice n obvious, so they can let me know I did not get them.   :angry:

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Well first off all I use small jewely wire cutters to remove large pieces of flashing.


Next I use a Xacto knife for bad mold lines if there are any.


Then I use my fine needles files and work at the mold lines till they are gone.


Then I give my minis a bath in warm soapy water, scrub a little with an old toothbrush, rinse and allow to dry.


The dry minis are then set onto newspaper outside on the ground and sprayed with Krylon Grey primer, or, painted by hand inside the house with Reaper paint on White primer.


The minis are then glues to a wooden disk for a base using E6000 and then I apply snow tex to create a decent textured base and hand form small rocks from Das Pronto and place those into the snow tex on the base.  When the base is dry, I take my Xacto and gently carve at the rocks to make them look real.


Next step of course is painting....

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I start first with getting rid of flash and mold lines. Once I get what I can see, I "polish" the mini with a brass wire brush and look for any mold lines I might have missed (the mold lines don't polish as well as the smooth parts). I've got some needle files and some teeny files I got at HobbyTown USA, so I can get into small areas. To help polish and clean in hard to reach areas, I use those soft brushes you get in the dental aisle for cleaning between teeth. Works wonders.


Then it's dishsoap and the electric toothbrush, cleaning that mini good, then I allow it to air dry. Reaper paint-on white primer, then again check for mold lines again. This is when I get to see those nasty ones I missed on the first two go-arounds. If there is too much primer removed, strip it, clean it, and prime again. A last check for mold lines (hopefully by now they're gone) and then I take a nice long look at the mini, getting to know where all the bits and pieces are. Mount it on a dice box and I'm good to go.

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Hells-Clown Yes Mould lines Also my ArchEnemy. Many times while I am painting well into the paintjob here is suddenly a big nasty mould line and you go where the blip did that come from Arrrrgghh.


When I figured out that in holding the can tilted forward I was getting a grany surface was such a duuuhhh moment, i did feel a bit stupid

Now I am going through my minis to be painted cabinet taking out all the ones that are specially bad and dumping them into pinesole bath so I can reprime em the right way.

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My procedure is alot like what's already been mentioned, except my weapon in the war aginst mould lines: black ink.


Right after taking a new mini out of the package, I give it a coat of diluted black ink. This makes all the details, including mould lines pop out.  The lines are easier to see and, while I am filing away the mould, lines I examine the details and plan out color schemes.  After filing away the lines the mini gets a bath in Simple Green to remove the ink and is then primed, based, etc as normal.


I hit on the blak ink idea when I noticed how well the mould lines I had missed show up once the mini got paint and some washes, inks, etc.  So I decided "What if I try putting the ink on, then filing the lines off."  So far it seems to work pretty well.  I do less of the "!@#$* there's a line I missed!"  But I do go through black ink faster. :laugh:

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