Priming Experiments

My wife had school tonight, so after the kids went to bed I had about an hour of free time.   That time was spent priming the Old Glory cossacks I cleaned up last week.  

I’ve black-primed my figures for the last 15 years or more.  I like the contrast it can provide and would rather see stripes of black where I missed something instead of bright white like before.   This time I did a slight twist and tried using raw umber as the basecoat/primer.   Umber comes from the Latin umbra, or shadow, so it seemed like a good idea to use that as the base color.  Any places that other colors did not cover would have a more natural shadow color than stark black.  

I first tried using some Liquitex raw umber in a squeeze bottle that I bought from Michael’s a few years back.   The color was excellent, but I found out why artist’s colors have some limitations in miniatures painting.  Regardless of whether the paint was thinned down with water or used full-strength,  the paint did not have enough pigmentation to provide a solid color over the bare metal.  The color was solid in the cracks & crevasses, but ended up as more of a wash over the larger areas of the horse and rider.  Not good.

Next I tried Windsor & Newton raw umber.  This came from a tube.  Alas, when thinned down to a point where it could be applied with a paintbrush versus a trowel, it had the same coverage issues as the Liquitex paint.  Rats…

FInally I did some digging in the basement and came up with a bottle of Vallejo 822 “SS Camo Black Brown.”  This stuff is pretty close to the raw umber color of the other two paints I tried.  One thing was immediately obvious: the Vallejo paint has the necessary pigmentation to cover, unlike the artists’ acrylics I tried before.  This did the trick, and seems to have worked well.   I’ll check the models in the morning once the paint is completely dried, but so far, so good.


2 Responses to “Priming Experiments”

  1. 1 littlejohn November 5, 2008 at 8:33 pm

    I’ve been having good luck with a basecoat of Krylon spray “Specialty Colors” Camoflauge in a dark umber color as well. It works great to get the painting a bit less “contrasty” and gives a good leather base that works for shoes gun stocks etc…I’m using it on 40mm ECW figures.


  2. 2 Bart November 7, 2008 at 10:56 pm

    Thanks for your comment.

    How thick does the Krylon paint when applied to figures? I’ve found that brush priming, while slower, gives me more control over the amount of paint I put on figures. I inevitably seem to overcoat figures and mar some of the detail.

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