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Bones: The First Coat is the Difference


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I didn't test any of the Army Painter primers. My comment was based on reports here on the forums and elsewhere. I wrote that a few years ago and have a poor memory. I suspect I phrased it that way as people first mentioned the white and then coloured primers. If you are keen to use a particular colour you might try starting a thread to ask for people's experiences with that.

I continue to believe that climate and weather conditions have as or more significant a role as product brands. Dramatic humidity and temperature are known to affect spray products for all of us. Since Bones are less tolerant of aerosols my guess is that less dramatic variations are why one person at one time finds this product works okay, but another person at another time has issues with it.

Since conducting my initial tests that I reported here, I have followed my own advice and I do not use any primer or any other preparation than an unthinned first coat of paint on Bones figures that I paint. If I were painting in quantities large enough to find it helpful to start with a more quickly applied overall basecoat of colour, or had I a preference to start with a black foundation, I would use regular miniatures paint through an airbrush to accomplish that goal.

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For whatever it's worth, I tried Krylon dark brown Camouflage paint as a primer, in temperate climate and dry weather, with the result of a slightly sticky primer coat.  However, by the time I painted on base coats and drybrushing, etc. layers of Reaper paint onto that primer coat, the stickiness went away.  The combination seems tough and flexible enough to serve for my tabletop gaming purposes. 

 

I had one or two minis I missed spots I missed with the spraypaint on - ankles and hands and the like, which I touched up with Folkart "craft paint", and that stuff doesn't bond as well as the Krylon spraypaint, wiping off of the mini easily on those spots where contact with other objects are most likely to occur - I'm not surprised, this sort of paint is kind of an "inexpensive but you get what you pay for" kind of situation, but I'm thinking that the Folkart and similar brands of craft paint might not be the best stuff to use for a base coat, at least as touch-up paint in combination with spraypaint.

 

In any case, that Krylon camo paint is something I'm willing to keep trying, though it is a bit sticky in my experience.  I don't know if I'll be using it often enough to check for whether temperature, humidity, and other weather conditions affect it, but I have a feeling there's something to that theory, and it is worth keeping an eye on.

Edited by YronimosW
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Question for you guys, I know spray primers react really badly with the bones plastic, but I plan to paint a dragon pretty soon and don't have an airbrush to speed things up. If I base coat with either a craft paint or Vallejo brush on primer, will I be alright to spray prime in the colors I want overtop? Or will I still get a negative reaction? Will soaking in Isopropyl Alcohol before brushing on the base coat help? Most of my spray primers are Vallejo or Citadel brand, and ideally I want my dragon base coated with Citadel's "The Fang" color and I really don't want to screw up my first large scale mini.

Edited by shadefoundry
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First off, welcome to the place. Yup, scrub the beastie in either isoporyl alcohol or warm soapy water, dish detergent works best. For primer without an airbrush Army Painter is highly regarded around here [I have never used it myself] or Tamiya's rattlecan primer is my go to if I don't want to fire up the airbrush, it works really well. Thank you again @haldir for setting me on to this.

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@shadefoundry

  • From the available evidence, the big problem is the interaction between the spray primer and the plasticizer, especially in early Bones casts. Isopropyl does a pretty good job of cleaning the plasticizer from the surface of the figure, and might also leach some of the plasticizer from the plastic layer closest to the surface. So IPA probably helps reduce stickiness.
  • People have reported stickiness from spray sealers used after painting. I would expect that any paint used after priming would have the same issue if the paint has that issue anyway. (Acrylic paint is a bit porous, so this doesn't really surprise me. If you want to do something like this, you might want to use a layer of hydrocarbon-solvent paint/varnish before spraying anything,.
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@Corsair Nice to be welcomed in :) Where can I find Tamiya's spray primers? Standard art stores? My local miniature shop mostly carries Vallejo and Citadel sprays from what I've seen.

 

@Doug Sundseth Dang, so does that mean that it'll be sticky if I spray it with Testor's stuff even if I do wash it in IPA? Which brands of varnish work best, if you know?

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33 minutes ago, shadefoundry said:

@Corsair Nice to be welcomed in :) Where can I find Tamiya's spray primers? Standard art stores? My local miniature shop mostly carries Vallejo and Citadel sprays from what I've seen.

 

The term you want to search for is "Tamiya Fine Surface Primer", and it's available from many of the usual places.

 

33 minutes ago, shadefoundry said:

@Doug Sundseth Dang, so does that mean that it'll be sticky if I spray it with Testor's stuff even if I do wash it in IPA? Which brands of varnish work best, if you know?

 

Maybe.

 

Stickiness doesn't always happen, even when using the same spray. I suspect that using light coats with time in between to make sure the solvent evaporates completely would help, but you're kind of on your own with sprays and Bones. No specific recommendations from me, I'm afraid, since I use an airbrush for priming (and would for varnishing as well if I did that.)

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1 hour ago, Doug Sundseth said:

Stickiness doesn't always happen, even when using the same spray. I suspect that using light coats with time in between to make sure the solvent evaporates completely would help, but you're kind of on your own with sprays and Bones. No specific recommendations from me, I'm afraid, since I use an airbrush for priming (and would for varnishing as well if I did that.)

 

I see. Well I guess I'll hold off on varnishing it at least until I have a few bones minis painted that I can sacrifice for testing. I'd just leave the dragon without a varnish but my sister likes to run D&D campaigns with her friends and I try to have my minis sealed just in case anybody's careless with handling my stuff so I don't need to do weekly touch-ups.

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3 hours ago, shadefoundry said:

 

I see. Well I guess I'll hold off on varnishing it at least until I have a few bones minis painted that I can sacrifice for testing. I'd just leave the dragon without a varnish but my sister likes to run D&D campaigns with her friends and I try to have my minis sealed just in case anybody's careless with handling my stuff so I don't need to do weekly touch-ups.

Hobby Lobby stocks the Tamiya Primer [and usually has a 40% coupon as well]. Today Anne on her Twitch Stream for Reaper said she uses the Tamiya Primer as well! I would imagine that most hobby shops and model railroad shops will carry it too.

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Welp, I didn't have time to go to the local Walmart to pick up something cheap to use as a base coat before painting things properly, so I used some white Vallejo brush-on primer on a couple of the other minis I bought with my Blightfang to see how that works. I've heard good things but I'd rather test for stickiness with smaller/cheaper things before potentially screwing up my big dragon boy. Since I'm waiting a bit before I can start the thing, I guess I'll take some time to learn how to paint scales. Anybody got any tips?

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Since we are on the topic of primers, I prime my bones and I am working toward learning the sketch style.

 

If you are using a spraycan to apply primer, don't use car primer. I have, and it mostly smells bad and gets sticky. Duplicolour is a high strength but high emissions paint and I don't recommend it. It sticks like no ones business, but you will likely get a finger print in your coat and it tends to glaze and look kind of spotty in a bad way.

 

Citidel and Army Painter do an excellent job of priming, despite my indifference to their base brands. I go for a light powder coat, even when doing zenithal. So make sure it is a quick spray and a turn. Like a fourth of a second on the trigger or less.

 

Why a hobby brand? You are going to bring these inside to paint right away and well, lots of cheaper primers... stink. And you might not be able to get the smell to go away if you are leaving black areas exposed.

 

I don't use a fume hood, but I do tend to use nitrile gloves, a mask and safety glasses.

 

As a general rule, if the nozzle is hinged, you are going to have a bad time. If the nozzle is traditional, you only maybe have a bad time. Can't speak to the home spraypaints since I haven't worked with them. That being said, my Best friend uses Krylon Colourmaster and then a coat of camoflage and swears by it.

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This is some hardcore thread necro, some super hardcore account necro, and it probably came up years ago somewhere in the middle of the topic, but...I've done a lot of digging in MSDS tonight, the subject came up during Dr. Faust's stream and my brain just would not let go.  Thought y'all might find it useful.

 

The 'sticky bones' culprit appears to be Toluene.  It's a common ingredient in US-produced (and produced-in-the-US-under-license) spray paints/primers as the nozzle-friendly solvent...and it dissolves / reacts with PVC, which is a key ingredient in Bones.  Spray primers made overseas like Tamiya and The Army Painter seem to prefer acetates instead, but I don't have access to a huge swath of MSDS (just Krylon, RustoleumArmy Painter, and Tamiya) to go hyper-analysis on it.

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On 2/11/2020 at 12:18 PM, Doug Sundseth said:

 

The term you want to search for is "Tamiya Fine Surface Primer", and it's available from many of the usual places.

 

Interesting.  I came here specifically because I've primed my first Bones (Oswald the Overladen) with Tamiya Fine Surface Primer.  I was floored as to how well it went on.  However, I'm having a time with my acrylic paint adhering to the primer.  The paint is going on thin (even when applied thick) and acts a lot like hydrophobia ;-)  I've tried Apple Barrell/Folk Art, Vallejo and Tamiya paints.

 

I've painted most of the primed areas now and am going to hit it with a clear or flat coat early so I can finish painting it.  Wonder what happened?

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I am one of the few 'display' type painters who is not enthusiastic about Tamiya primer, and this is largely why. I suspect it works best applied in a lighter coat. At least I general spray models with a fairly complete coverage and thought that might be the problem. I didn't like it so I stopped using it, so I don't have much useful data, sorry. Hitting it with a spray of matte sealer probably will make the paint adhere better. However I'd be prepared for the idea that that paint won't adhere super well and your paint job may be more fragile than if you were painting directly onto standard primer or even just the straight Bones surface. (That I'm basing on tests of spray sealer used as an alternative primer on Bones. Also on the fact that people use spray sealer as a sort of 'save' feature on work that they want to try to paint freehand on. Gives you a little more time to scrub off the paint, which means the paint is easier to scrub off because it hasn't adhered well.)

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