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everyone will have differing opinions on this one, both color and brands.


my opinion, I like Krylon spray primer and Reaper brush on primer.  I have Black, Grey and White spray primer and use them randomly.  


I do prefer black when painting CAV, or at least grey.  I think it is mostly psychological preference as opposed to any real reason.


When I have fur or wood I do like to use black.  Most terrain items are black primed.


Depending on my vision for the humaniods, I grab what ever can fits my picture.


Sorry, no solid answer for your question.  There is no one right answer on this question.


cbs :upside:

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I use them according to the colors I eventually plan on putting on the mini.


Here is what I use and examples of what I use them on.


White - Rustoleum Sandable White Primer. I use this a lot on pirates (lots of bright colors and exposed skin), cantily clad figures, noblemen, skeletons, and so on. Basically, anyone with light colors predominating. It is also my "default" color if I am not sure ultimately what I plan to do with a mini. Some Reapers I have primed white include Mossbeard and his druid (who I did green, as a dryad), Razig the Undead Pirate (the Warlord one), the Devourer of Mashaf (exposed "brains"), and Kazala the Efreet. I prefer to do "wooden" terrain pieces (like wagons, barrels, buckets) in white primer.


Grey - Rustoleum Sandable Grey Primer. I use this for my orcs (I paint them with Pro Paints Troll Flesh and lots of metallics and dark wood colors), almost all knights (lots of metallic armor), zombies, and most dwarves (dusky skin, metallic armor). Examples of Reapers I have primed grey include practically every single DHL orc, Boris Mingla, and my Carnivorous Apes.


Black - Vintage Sandable Automotive Primer or Vintage Fast Drying Primer. I use black if the mini is going to be nearly or primarily black. I use it for vampires (although I paint their skin light, everything else tends to black-on-black), ninjas, trolls - and especially terrain such as buildings and ruins, and vehicles (even those I'm painting light colors, actually - I spray-basecoat most vehicles, even 1/285 and 1/300 scale ones). I plan to prime my T'raukzul in black since I plan to paint him very, very dark green.


I find that metallics go best over grey since I use greyish metallics. Since the primer is the same color, I can apply it very thinly to get the same effect as a series of coats on white would get. I find black hard to cover with flesh colors and light colors, either heavily thinned or relatively thick*. I use white as my "not sure" basecoat because ultimately I can paint a white-primed mini any color. I use grey and black primer as shortcuts for minis that will use those colors primarily - thus making it easier to basecoat them by reducing the number of layers I need to get the effect I want.



* I have been told Reaper Pro Paints and Vallejo will cover black primer in one coat even with white paint, but my experience has been contrary to that. YMMV, etc.

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Primer brands I use are


Duplicolor auto primers, white, & grey & rarely black.



I like Duplicolor cause it's thinner than the spray brands of Krylon & such + it's a lacquer, wich means it drys faster than an enamel + I use lacqs & such in my car models so I don't have to have seperate brands of primers. Even thou I don't need the protection from lacqs like I do with styrene models.



Normally I prime grey, but lately I've been primin white & the minis come out of the prime stage better for me at least.


Randy M

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Black Primer:

  Black primer can help create depth, shadow and blacklining on a miniature.  If you are new to painting and haven't mastered shading, this can be a huge advantage.  However, it is difficult to cover black with some colors, especially reds and yellows.  Also, the black will tend to make the whole mini darker as well as changing the shade of your colors.


White Primer:

  Colors put over white primer tend to be more vibrant.  Many painters who prefer to control and apply all of their own shading prefer white primer, because there is no shading left by the primer.  In addition, it is usually easier to see the details of the mini after the application of white primer.  This will help you see if you missed anything during cleaning and prep as well as making details easier to paint.


Grey primer is kinda neutral.  You don't get the bright colors or a significant depth of shadow.  For this reason, I've never cared for it.  It has none of the advantages of either black or white.


A lot of this is personal preference.  I prefer white primer in all cases except where I will be painting a very dark or mostly black miniature.  With the white primer, I can apply my own shadowing and control how it looks.  I can keep the brighter colors in areas I want or darken the areas myself.  I have more control and I don't have to 'work up' from black to get the look I want.  I can always black line or black coat a specific area if I feel the look would be more suited.

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Given the emphasis on darklining around here, anyone ever tried priming brown?

On most of my miniatures, I prime white, paint any areas that are going to be pale or bright, then dark wash right over the primer.  Instant darklining (I leave it showing when basecoating and touch up as needed), and it makes details pop out better than a solid dark primer.


Great examples of when/why on different primer colors here; as mentioned, a lot of the time it's a matter of personal preference.

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I used to prime everything white as I found it easier to paint the figures (less coats required) now though I prime everything black. I don't care if the figure is going to be a storm trooper or a ninja it gets a black priming.


The main advantage is if you have some hard to get at recess on the model, well leaving it black always works. Afterall a deep recess will be in shadow and thus dark. The same recess left white doesn't work so you have to get some paint in there which can take time and be hard to achieve well.


So I guess black is more forgiving. However I use the foundry paints which come in sets of 3 (shade,base,highlight) and the shades almost always cover black in a single coat and always in 2 coats. (Yes even the yellow does)



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However I use the foundry paints which come in sets of 3 (shade,base,highlight) and the shades almost always cover black in a single coat and always in 2 coats. (Yes even the yellow does)

Hmmm...might need to look into getting their yellow set, then. None of the yellow paints I have used have covered black especially well.

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I prime based on the colour the mini will be.


Brown - earthy or skeletons


Red - red painted minis. Sound lazy? i don't care, i have a 2 foot long red dragon to paint soon and no way am i going to have to get red to cover white if i can cut to the chase.


White- Bright coloured minis


Black- minis in lots of metal or terrain peices


grey - most other minis or when i am undecided on the color to paint a mini.




Anybody know of green, blue or purple primer? Green especially, a cthulhu model kit wants to know.

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