I heard about this product recently and when I stumbled across it in a shop in Central London, I thought I’d get some to review for Tale of Painters.
Vallejo Surface Primer is an undercoat paint. The one I’m reviewing is in a 200ml bottle and is formulated to go through an Airbrush or be hand painted on. You can get it in 17ml or 60ml and is also available in grey and white. Games Workshop Citadel Colour Undercoat sprays come in 400ml cans. It costs between £9.89 to £10.99 depending where you buy it from. It’s Acrylic-Polyurethane so it’s hard wearing strong coat of paint that is self levelling.
It’s airbrush ready straight out of the pot so it’ doesn’t require thinning. I used a 0.2ml nozzle on my airbrush and it worked beautifully and didn’t clog once. The airbrush can be set up to spray small and fine so I was finding that I was getting hardly any waste or overspray when spraying my Forest Goblins.
Because the Primer hadn’t been thinned, I could just tip it back into the bottle when I was done. Hardly any paint was wasted, unlike aerosol primers whose spray is wide and there is always lots of overspray.
Clicking the above pictures will show you how smooth the coverage is. It’s amazing. Another benefit is this stuff isn’t effected by temperature like aerosol primers. So you can spray in the winter time. There is an odour but it doesn’t smell as strong as aerosol primers, so I felt comfortable spraying indoors. I sprayed some green over the goblins to see how over paints sit on top of the primer and the results are perfect. I actually think the models show more detail and have less clogging or furring that an aerosol produces. The green coat seems to adhere to the primer perfectly. The primer doesn’t appear to chip easily like it would if you just painted chaos black straight onto bare plastic.
The other great thing about this primer is you can apply it by brush. It still self levels and leaves no brush marks for a smooth coat. I picked up an old conversion that has been in my bits box for years because I wanted to see the results on metal as well. The flip top lid of the bottle is really cool it has a tiny hole that is at a 45º angle to help with pouring the product. It’s a neat touch.
The first coat I did, covered ok but looked a bit thin, a second coat sorted it right out and produced the above result. I had a go at rubbing my finger over the edges once it had dried and it didn’t chip or rub off. I would have to go at it harder with an abrasive to remove it. Both the airbrush and hand painted results showed an even black colour, unlike some aerosol primers which can go grey or chalky and both came out smooth and matt.
Conclusion. This stuff is great. I’m a complete convert. I won’t be buying GW spray primers anymore. This stuff will last longer despite being half the size because there is minimal waste which means it will be cheaper in the long run. It’s more accurate to use an airbrush or hand paint compared to a spray can and gives thinner results which look like they show more detail without sacrificing strength or durability. The only downside I can think of is if you’re spraying a single model occasionally it might become a pain just to spray a single mini with the airbrush for a couple of minutes and then spend 15 to 20 minutes cleaning the airbrush afterwards.
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