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Can I use artist's gesso as putty?


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I've been watching videos on painting Bones to keep me occupied while I wait for any news on my shipment from Reaper, and I've seen people recommend using various putties (mainly "Green Stuff") to cover/fill seams on assembled Bones figures.


I used to be a (bad) traditional artist, so I've got a big tub of gesso that's not doing anything. I know it will take paint happily, since I used it to prime canvases, but I'm wondering how well it will adhere to the plastic on the Bones figures. Anyone have any experience?

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I'd expect it to adhere pretty well. It's an acrylic base with ground marble in it or something, yes?


Chalk, gypsum and pigment (according to Wikipedia). I know it won't take a form well like proper putty, but I think that for filling holes and building terrain on mini bases it could work nicely, as long as it holds. I'll test it out when my Bones arrive and report back.

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Gesso is not good at filling holes or evening out seams/mold lines. Gesso is designed to prime canvases, and it also shrinks to be the final tightening for a canvas. While yes it works on figures as a primer and you will get a lot of back and forth here about using it, I would not use it on Bones for primer or fixing problems. Bones do not require primer just start painting acrylic paint on them. For your problem at hand I would use Liquitex Flexible modeling paste to fill and do that heavy lifting.

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It really depends on the brand of gesso. There is huge variation in how it behaves. The stuff I have doesn't really shrink or crack the way other people here describe and on metal minis I've used it for exactly what you're suggesting. I haven't tried it on bones yet and their flexibility might add issues in highly bendy spots. I am intending to use it to fix the missing noses. It will be much easier brushing noses on that trying to use putty.


Just try it. You aren't going to ruin anything if it doesn't work.

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I have some gesso that I normally use on miniatures. I applied it to a couple of bones giants, and it didn't go on as well as it does on other metal or hard plastic miniatures. It tended to crack around the edges instead of tightening up.


It was an easy fix though with simple green cleaner. Needless to say, it doesn't have the mass to use as a gap filler. It would just crumble away.

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Oh, The Least. Loved your work on Crimson Dark.


Thanks! I miss my readers, you lot were awesome.


Really, just acrylic paints straight on, after a good bath and proper rinse. Bones hate several primers.


To clarify, I was talking about using gesso as putty, not as a primer, since I've used it for texture/impasto work in the past. I've concluded that it's probably a bad idea :)

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Someone around here suggested using watered-down gesso through an airbrush for priming bones. I tried it on a few bones and tried painting a few bones without it. Personally, I found it to make them slightly easier to paint, especially when I was using less-dense paint, but it really didn't make a huge difference. I don't particularly recommend for or against it. If you do, be sure to put a little black or other color in the gesso, otherwise you can't tell whether you've thoroughly covered your white plastic mini in white gesso.


Paint seems to be sticking just fine to both batches. No tackiness, no pealing or chipping. No loss of detail. It only made the painting process a little easier.

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Different brands of gesso (sticking with acrylic gesso and not going into more pre-mid-century traditional canvas primers) have different characteristics. Most I've seen are as thick as house paint or slightly thinner, but one I found was somewhere between sour cream and spackle! What kind do you have?

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