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benhamtroll
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One thing I've noticed in a lot of accomplished painters' work is the very smooth texture of the paint.  I've been trying to replicate this, but with little luck.

 

I've switched to Reaper paints, and I thin extensively with flow release.  I STILL get a kind of grainy finish.  What more can I do to get the smooth look?  Could it be my primer?

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Could be your primer. That's certainly an area to look into. If your sub-surface is grainy, it'll show in the finished highlights.

 

Check how thin your paints are. You may need to go thinner. My paints are very watery when applied.

 

You'll also want to look at how you've been applying the paint. You want to lay the paint on with the brush in smooth strokes. Don't "scrub" it on. That is to say -- apply minimal pressure and don't swish the brush back and forth to achieve coverage. The paint, when thinned sufficiently, should flow out of the brush. The surface tension alone should be sufficient to draw it from the capillaries (much like lightly touching the surface of water will result in a tiny bead of water clinging to your finger).

 

Also, you'll want to avoid laying too many bristles against the surface you're painting. Use only the tip. As the bristles spread, they can break apart your layer, which lends an uneven look to the paint.

 

Finally, let each coat dry sufficiently before adding another coat. This only takes a few seconds. However, should you quickly paint over a surface that is drying, you'll run the risk of tearing the "skin" that has dried atop the paint and pulling it like putty into little globs. This, too, will give an uneven grainy appearance.

 

And that's my story.

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Yup.  It might be the primer.  The humidity this summer in NY is crazy and I've seen some pretty awful primer coats this year.  I've tried painting on it anyway, but it's just so aggrivating.

 

You gotta start with a smooth even coat of primer AND basecoat to make anything look smooth.

 

If the primer's too splotchy (like mine for some reason), no good.

 

If the primer's good and you can't get an even bascoat, then it's probably too thin.  But it may take several layers just get an even basecoat.

Can't worry about layers till these are down good.

Beleive me, I've tried since I HATE stripping.

 

 

Well, that's my opionon anyways.

:upside:

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Make sure your primer coat is not grainy as the others have already mentioned.

 

You may have to thin your paints more.  I know Paintrix thins hers down to milk consistency.  Try thinning yours to that point and see what happens.  Also what type of flow improver/extender/thinner are you using?  You may want to investigate if the brand is known for that kind of thing.

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I'm using Golden for the flow release, but my primer is something like Home Essentials or somesuch.  I get it from Fred Meyer (owned by Kroger's, for those who don't know the glory of Freddy's . . .)  My paints are pretty close to milk when I'm done, so I don't think it's that.

 

I'm heading to the FLGS today, so I'll see if they have a different primer.  Of course, they are pretty light in the painting dept., so I may not find anything there . . .

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Hey Errex.  Do you use smelly primer exclusively?

Then how on earth do you use it for an even coverage?

 

I mainly use the stuff for places my aerosol can missed.

 

But when I use it straight from the bottle, of course it's too thick.  But when I thin it down to any extent, no even coverage.  I see sections that are white and are greyed from being pewter.  But they all have some texture on it to be painted.

 

I figure that it's ok as long as I get an even basecoat over it.  But then it's like painting over a white and grey primer and my painting goes to hell.  

 

You keep applying thinned primer till it's all completely white?

Isn't that just time consumeing?

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my primer is something like Home Essentials or somesuch.

Hmm...I've used Vintage (automotive primer, my black primer of choice), Rustoleum Sandable Primer (white, grey), and Krylon (white, the black did nasty things to my plastics). I don't get a grainy looking finish.

 

Is it possible you are thinning so much that your primer (or any imperfections on the mini) are what is showing through? Maybe you are over-thinning. I prefer my paints a bit thick, so maybe I am totally wrong, but you can always give it a shot on a mini you'd particularly care for.

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For brush on primer, don't use extender/flow improver to thin down your primer. Just use water. The surface tension of water should keep the primer together. And if you're not even getting a translucent white coat on, your primer is too thin.

 

Edit: And it is time consuming but I think usually worthwhile. I use vallejo brush on primer on my more precious projects. Usually two coats is enough, and the coverage is quite good. I have not been able to find a white spray primer that works for me. Black GW primer works great, but it is usually not my preference.

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I read somewhere that a coat of Future floor polish on top of your primer would leave a nice smooth surface for painting.

I got to thinking about that and decided "why bother with an extra step"?  What I am using right now is grey brush on Krylon primer/sealer well thined with Future and some water. Sort of primer coat and Future coat in one step.  In the future (no pun intended :p ) I may experiment with Future tinted with some ink or paint.  Just enough that I can see where it is on the mini and get good coverage.

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I recently switched to Floquil model primer.  It is smooth as silk.  I had noticably smoother paint over the Floquil than I did over krylon, armory or citadel.

 

During your prep phase, make sure the metal is smooth everywhere.  Sometime the metal will pitted or jagged in spots, which will affect your painting later.  Sometimes your really need to smooth out the metal with a fine file, emery board, etc.  You don't want to plan on your primer 'filling in' or covering up any flaws in the surface of the mini.

 

Make sure you wash your mini with soap and water after cleaning but before priming.  Any casting agents, dust, etc. from the manufacture or packaging can interfere with your painting.  Any metal shavings from cleaning stuck on the mini will also give you unwanted texture.

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Hey Errex.  Do you use smelly primer exclusively?

Then how on earth do you use it for an even coverage?

 

I mainly use the stuff for places my aerosol can missed.

 

But when I use it straight from the bottle, of course it's too thick.  But when I thin it down to any extent, no even coverage.  I see sections that are white and are greyed from being pewter.  But they all have some texture on it to be painted.

 

 

I figure that it's ok as long as I get an even basecoat over it.  But then it's like painting over a white and grey primer and my painting goes to hell.  

 

You keep applying thinned primer till it's all completely white?

Isn't that just time consumeing?

Yes, I use it all the time, except for a couple unpainted, half melted plastics I tried spray primer on once.

 

I pretty much apply the smelly primer thinned with water, to avoid the formation of bubbles, and usually a single layer, just enough to change the color of the pewter to light grey. I only reapply it on the spots I still can see the bare metal shine through, but I don't really look for an all white look.

 

It is important to check there are no dust particles sticking to the primer while drying, but if I find the odd speck, I remove the particle with an X-acto blade, and then try to apply a new layer over the general area, just to smooth the surface.

 

One advantege of the brush on primer is that it can be used to fill really small imperfections, and at some extent, even slight mold lines that might have escaped the cleaning process.

 

As for being it time consuming, well, nothing is as quite time consuming as layering stuff, so, trust me, brushing primer is of no concern  :;):

 

Also, since I always start from my darkest shade colors, painting over the grey/white primer coat is not too big an issue, either, since my highlight build up from an even, darker basecoat, but I can see that if you start from your middle tone, and then work your higlight/shading from there it can get messy.

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I kind of do a little of both.  I mainly use brush on primers as I too live in a humid area.  I do use gesso and the Folk Art Glass and Tile medium combined.  This works for me as it really has a good tooth for the first base color.  The gesso really provides the tooth and the GTM gives it better adhesion.  You do have to be careful of bubbles with this though as it does tend to leave small bubbles when thin.

 

I personally do think that the best result occurs when the mini has been properly prepped.  I have a mini I have been working on for the last month that was a bad cast that I keep losing motivation on because I do find rough areas on it which tends make me through it back in the stripper so I can clean the areas up again.  If your paints are leaving a grain, make sure that you follow the tips already mentioned, if layering make sure the area is dry before proceeding to the next layer or you will lift the previous coat of paint causing it to tear.  Also make sure your paints are well mixed, if the binder and pigments are not completely mixed the pigments will be grainy.  Hope this helps.

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