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priming before assembly


stopityouguys
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Hey forum friends! Sorry if this is the sort of question that gets asked all the time, but wifey and I are pretty new to the modeling scene and we are pretty much just figuring stuff out on our own.

 

We are wondering if it is a good idea to prime or even totally paint our minis and scenery before we build them. This would, of course make it much easier to reach the cracks and corners but I am afraid that it will weaken the bond on the adhesive or make the connections not fit together anymore.

 

To give a specific example, I'm building some mdf and grayboard scenery using epoxy as adhesive, flat black enamel for primer, and a combination of model paint and acrylic for painting.

 

Another concern that I have is I think (without any evidence) that the priming process helps to harden and protect the adhesive bond so I don't want to mess with that.

 

Thanks in advance for your help. Excelsior!

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There are different camps on this one.

 

Some people assemble, then prime and paint.

 

Others paint and then assemble.

 

The most important thing if you prime/paint first, when assembling you might need to remove some primer/paint where you need the glue and repaint later.

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What fuzzy said...

It all depends on what you are doing.

Some minis would be almost impossible to assemble before painting
See Takhisis in WIP threads for an example.

 

Mine

 

Buglips

 

One Boot Is doing something similar at this time...

 

There are many other examples if you look at large creature works in progress threads....

As a rule, I like to assemble as much as possible and then prime and paint
...

Edited by knarthex
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I only prime before assembling if the assembled model interferes with being able to get the brush to the model.  A long time ago on a different forum I saw the advice, "If you can see it you can reach it with a brush."  While this is true and I have improved my ability to reach tight spots with a brush, it doesn't mean it's easy to reach without getting stray brush strokes on areas you already painted.  As you gain experience you'll be able to paint into tighter and tighter spots though.

 

So sometimes I assemble then prime, other times I'll assemble sub-groups if the figure has many parts, and other times I'll prime components completely separately.  When I prime prior to assembly I cover the contact points of the parts with a small dot of poster tack and leave it on until the painting is done and it's time to assemble.  After the tack is pulled off I'm left with completely unpainted areas that ensure I'm not just gluing layers of paint to each other.  Sometimes I'll even score the contact points after pulling the poster tack off to help with adhesion.

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Which is harder to chip away?  Paint or glue?

 

metal - primer - glue - primer - metal --->  the metal-primer bond is weaker than the primer-glue bond, so when you have a break, your repair will always be weaker than it would be if you did metal- glue-metal.

 

That said, you can mitigate the weakness by pinning your pieces.

 

The weakness is also mitigated by the fact that terrain is usually larger, so the stress forces that cause breaks are spread out over a larger area, meaning the breaks won't happen as frequently. 

 

For gaming pieces, I always assemble first, then prime.  For display pieces I will prime/paint then assemble.

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If you need to prime before assembly, cover small connecting faces with putty, and large connecting faces with painter's tape cut to shape. If you need a very large area covered, cut a piece of paper to shape and attach with painter's tape around the edges.

 

If you need to fill gaps between pieces with putty, but also need to paint before assembly, cover one connecting face with water-soluble lip balm before you pin and putty it. After the putty is dry, pull the pieces apart -- they'll separate at the lip-balm lie -- and wash them before painting and final assembly.

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 As the others have mentioned, each individual model (and sometimes individual sections of a single model) needs to be considered on a per-case basis...

(For example, if a character's arm comes in two pieces separate from the body, you can attach them together before attaching the arm to the body, although it may or may not be necessary to wait until after painting to attach the arm to the body...)

 

Generally, though, it's not that hard to clear away primer from a surface that's going to be glued and unless it's a major stress-bearing join it won't really matter all that much which order you do it in. Especially if you're going to be pinning the two pieces together instead of just using glue alone.

 

For myself personally, I usually find it easiest to do it in this order:

 

- Do all my prep work

 

- If possible, assemble smaller pieces into larger chunks that can be primed together without making them harder to paint

 

- Prime larger chunks and individual pieces

 

- If possible, assemble any sections that can be put together without interfering with my ability to paint it

 

- Paint and seal

 

- Do any final assembly that absolutely had to wait till the end

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I wanted to come back and follow-up that if a figure has multiple parts to make molding easier, but attaching the parts won't hinder painting, then I usually glue first.  It really is a case-by-case sort of thing.  With Takhisis I found it much easier to paint it all separate and then assemble it (Knarthex found it easier the other way around).  This was also my plan for the green dragon I did from Clutch of Fear, not least because a big, heavy lead dragon must by definition be awkward to move about and handle for painting.  This was not altogether feasible because of how it assembled, so I had to study it and work out how to do it in stages - painting some, assembling some, fill gaps, repeat.

 

So there's preference, but sometimes the model will dictate the method.  In any event, the one constant shared by all approaches is that you will always benefit from making a plan.  Study it, test fit it, and figure out steps. 

Edited by buglips*the*goblin
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I wanted to come back and follow-up that if a figure has multiple parts to make molding easier, but attaching the parts won't hinder painting, then I usually glue first.  It really is a case-by-case sort of thing.  With Takhisis I found it much easier to paint it all separate and then assemble it (Knarthex found it easier the other way around).  This was also my plan for the green dragon I did from Clutch of Fear, not least because a big, heavy lead dragon must by definition be awkward to move about and handle for painting.  This was not altogether feasible because of how it assembled, so I had to study it and work out how to do it in stages - painting some, assembling some, fill gaps, repeat.

 

So there's preference, but sometimes the model will dictate the method.  In any event, the one constant shared by all approaches is that you will always benefit from making a plan.  Study it, test fit it, and figure out steps. 

I assembled some parts, and then as things progressed, tings got more assembled...

See the wip link above.

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I have not painted too much yet and most of the Reaper Bones minis I have are one piece but I have been setting up a WarMachine battle group that needed to be assembled.  So far I have found that, for my tastes, I like to assemble a good portion of the mini then prime.  I also find that painting only partially assembled mini is super helpful for details.  I should note that I use brush on primer because I live in a humid environment and never know what kind of day it's gonna be so I am not doing batch paint jobs.  I am too much a novice to be certain, but I think priming and painting a mini before assemble is achievable with a careful application of glue.  I also pin my minis too so that makes me less nervous about glue seeping out.

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I'm currently painting before assembly a "mix and match" multipiece set (Mantic Orc Starter Army) and noticed that painting multiple identical individual pieces works great for assembly-line painting.

 

Painting individual pieces lets me procrastinate in planning the assembly of a whole army for each figure to have a unique combination of pieces.  :upside:

 

I detest scraping mold lines, and assembling a whole army first means I have to scrape mold lines off of hundreds of individual pieces.

 

I did noticed my painting improved (became more efficient in painting these miniatures) as I continued, so later painted pieces benefited from what I learned from earlier ones.

 

*However* multipiece miniatures are known for poor assembly, and gap filling two painted pieces, then painting the gap filler is not as easy with painted pieces.

 

Showing off some assembled models from the orc army. Models by Mantic. Paints by Army Painter. Tutorial in the BGG Kings of War forum.

 

pic3414943_md.jpg

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Personally, I'm with buglips and prime and paint before assembly whenever possible, but I'm a tad bit of a perfectionist, and I subscribe to the following:

 

-David Eddings, Pawn of Prophecy

 

“Always do the very best job you can,†he said on another occasion as he put a last few finishing touches with a file on the metal parts of a wagon tongue he was repairing.

 

“But that piece goes underneath,†Garion said. “No one will ever see it.â€

 

“But I know it’s there,†Durnik said, still smoothing the metal. “If it isn’t done as well as I can do it, I’ll be ashamed every time I see this wagon go by-and I’ll see the wagon every day.â€

Needless to say, I have more unfinished minis than some small gods (usually turtles), and more coming every month, it seems.

 

I did ask Angel Giraldez of Corvus Belli fame (Infinity) and he said that he pre-assembles nearly all the minis he paints, despite using an airbrush for a large portion of his painting style, because even with the masking processes he goes through "it's faster than assembling after".  Also, I think it lets him see all the colors together to ensure that his paint scheme works - he shows a lot of quick temporary base coating steps to check paint scheme in his step-by-steps in his Masterclass - Volume 2 book.

 

So, each to their own, I think.

 

My 2 yen,

Akiosama

Edited by Akiosama
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