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Vinyl Dye spray paint is the best plastic primer ever created, especially for Bones, and I see nobody else using it. You should be.


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A few years ago I had some bad paint reactions with the Fantasy Flight Runewars PVC figures and my normal Rustoleum primer not adhering well, the paint would easily rub off even after multiple coats of varnish. Not wanting the same problem with Star Wars Legion figures, I searched for a better primer and eventually came across the idea of using Vinyl Dye and discovered that it is pure magic in a can!

 

Vinyl Dye is a special spray paint type that chemically bonds to the plastic itself. It's meant for restoring vinyl seats and interior dashboard & trim panels in cars but it's been used a lot by cosplayers, PC builders and NERF gun modders because of how it permanently bonds with the plastic instead of scratching off like many spray paints. However, I've never seen anybody in the miniatures hobby talk about it, so I'm hear to proselytize! It comes in many colors from many different brands (often colormatched for popular car color interiors) and it sprays on just like any other spray paint or spray primer, dries to the touch in minutes and best of all: because it's meant for repainting vinyl seats and dashboards it's formulated to be permanently flexible and extremely durable and colorfast. 6 months after priming my test Bones bugbear the paint stays on no matter how far I bend his club or scratch at it, up until I start scratching the plastic itself. Vinyl dye works on any blend of PVC, polystyrene or ABS plastic, and is perfectly safe on Bones plastic both the original whitish blend and the newer grey blend. I have not tried it on Bones Black or the new USA Bones, Bones black should work fine but USA Bones is a thermoplastic resin instead of a PVC blend so it may not work on that specific line of Bones. I've now used it on Reaper Bones, FFG Star Wars Legion/Runewars, multiple boardgames from Mantic, FFG, CMON and now Blacklist Games, I'm currently halfway through the Altar Quest miniatures. I've also used it on Games Workshop plastics and japanese "Gashapon" style Gundam figures, even though normal primers work on GW plastics of course. The only plastics miniatures that it does NOT work on is the cheap Polyethelyne plastic figures like the Green Armymen toys: the 1/72 fantasy/historical figures from Cesar Miniatures or the older Battletech plastics from 2009 (but it does work wonderfully on all the newest A Game of Armored Combat and Clan Invasion plastics from Catalyst). I don't have any old Airfix toy soldiers to try it out on, unfortunately.

 

You still need to wash Bones with soap and warm water, in fact it's very important that you spray onto bare, clean plastic or the paint will not adhere at all and flake away easily. Vinyl Dye will work over other Vinyl Dye, but NOT over paint or primer, only bare plastic. The paint can overload details if you use too heavy a coat just like any other primer, but it also shrinks into the gaps as the solvent dries, with very little loss of detail. It dries to the touch in less than 5 minutes, and cures overnight, passing the fingernail scratch test better than any other spray or brush-on primer I've ever tried on Bones. Because it can be layered and bonds to itself you can use it for zenithial priming just like any regular primer. It's also widely available online and in most automotive shops, I mostly use Rustoleum which is around $6 USD a can depending on where you buy it. I also used VHT and LVP for more color variety, although they cost significantly more than Rustoleum. They take regular paints over them, from Vallejo to Synylrenz to GW to craft paints like Delta Ceramcoat, and unlike the Krylon Fusion they are oil-paint safe if you do oil or enamel weathering. My personal favorites are Rustoeleum Grey, Rustoleum Sand, and for GW Contrast paints I love LVP Colorbond's Ford Cashmere (NOT their GM Cashmere, I did not check that Amazon replacement order closely enough!)

 

Some finished miniature examples:
 

 

GW Incubi (styrene plastic) primed w/ Rustoleum Charcoal, washed and highlighted traditionally with Vallejo and GW paints

FFG Luke Skywalker (styrene plastic) primed in LVP Ford Cashmere, painted mostly with GW Contrast, then Army Painter washes and Vallejo highlights

FFG Star Wars PVC clonetroopers, primed with Rustoeleum White, detailed in various Vallejo, AP, GW acrylics and oil washes

Catalyst Battletech figures, primed in 3 layers because the red VHT vinyl was too desaturated on grey plastic, so I zenith-primed in Rustoleum white and then again with VHT red. Even 3 coats of Vinyl Dye Still allowed for excellent enamel washed panel lines and recesses

 

 

 

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Quite the sales pitch (no offense is intended), it sounds like an interesting product, but after reading your post twice, it seems that the benefit of this is it's durability on Bones/PVC based products. To my best knowledge, primer and paint cracking on Bones hasn't been the main complaint; it's the resulting tackiness that comes when using a vast majority of spray/rattle can primers due to the solvents/propellants in the aerosol and the plasticizers in the Bones. You didn't mention whether that remained an issue using this Vinyl Dye. Since you mention it is a spray/aerosol, it must have some type of solvent and propellant, and it's possible that may still be an issue.

 

Have you experienced any tackiness with any original Bones figures, both after priming and after weeks/months/time post painting? Because if that issue isn't addressed, this product still has potential issues for Bones minis.

Edited by ManvsMini
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Fair point, I figured it would be clear when I said it was perfectly safe for Bones plastics, but I will specify that yes, they are aerosol spray paints and no, there is no tacky-ness whatsoever after it dries to the touch, nor is there any tacky-ness on any of the figures I primed over a year and a half ago. No tacky-ness on Bones PVC and no tacky-ness on the Mantic PVC terrain from their Terraincrate. The second Mantic Terraincrate, because I ruined the first by absentmindedly grabbing a can of the "2X Coverage Painters Touch" line from Rustoleum thinking it would be fine. It was not fine, the Painter Touch stayed permanently tacky, the replacement set came out great with the Rustoleum Vinyl Dye. The type of paint matters far more than the brand of paint.

 

In point of fact, the Griffin below was part of the first test-batch of models that I primed in (checks amazon order history) November 2019 and the Ranger, Paladin and Bugbears were all primed a few minutes ago, all with 3 different brands: no tacky-ness on any figure. The Griffin is primed using the Rustoleum Sand, the Paladin is primed using the Colobond LVP Ford Cashmere (I just noticed that "LVP is for "Leather-Vinyl-Plastic", the actual brand is Colorbond) and the Ranger is primed with VHT Buckskin Tan, which is VERY close in color and finish to the Rustoleum. The bugbears were both primed with Rustoleum flat black then one of them also got a zenithal highlight from VHT flat white. I like VHT white and black a little better than Rustoleum, VHT are actually flat while Rustoleum white and black are a bit more of a satin finish. All 5 figures are the original offwhite Bones material cleaned with soapy water, rinsed and dried. 

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Thanks for the heads up. I don't utilize rattle cans because the weather and my location make them not a viable option, but it's super cool that this is an option.

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Color me impressed, and thanks for replying with that information. And thank you for the pictures of the cans/products you used. It warrants further investigation, with a potential purchase to test on some sacrificial Bones if I can find it locally for a decent price.

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