Painting miniatures is a time-consuming and highly skilled hobby but starting your miniature project with a primer like Rustoleum will make for a high-quality, clean look for your next wargame or tabletop session.
Miniatures painting is a vibrant hobby popular with fans of many huge franchises like Warhammer, Age of Sigmar, and Star Wars.
Whether you are a newcomer to the hobby looking to start your very first creation or a veteran of a thousand Warhammer 40k sessions, starting your paint process with a quality primer will improve both the painting experience and the finished quality.
A primer is a paint-like substance that is formulated to bond with a surface to prepare it for paint. They were created to prepare surfaces properly for receiving paint and will make sure that all your paint stays where you want it.
Painting on unprimed surfaces will result in your paint beading, running off, or drying very brittle and flaking off.
Starting your miniature with a good coat of Rustoleum primer is an integral first step to any miniature painting session. Most miniature paints are acrylic paints.
Acrylic paints are quality non-toxic paints, but they do not stick well to the materials that most miniatures are made of.
Most miniatures are made of either metal, plastic, or resin and none of these materials will bond with acrylic paint if left unprimed.
If you don’t prime your miniatures, you will be forced to use very thick coats of paint to get the acrylic to stick to the model.
This will create a very lumpy, uneven paint job that obscures the detail of the model.
Paint applied directly to the model is much more likely to be rubbed off inadvertently during use than paint applied to a primed model.
The number one reason to use a primer is that it supplies you with a perfect canvas to create on.
Primer is the perfect surface to create on and captures every brushstroke with an accuracy that an unprimed model cannot match.
When the paint has a primer to adhere to, it is much easier to paint the fine details that will make all the difference in your latest creation.
Before you begin priming your miniatures, there are a few important safety preparations to make.
You should always prime in low humidity conditions as high humidity can cause imperfections to creep into your coats because of the moisture in the air.
Always prime outside or in a well-ventilated area to prevent inhaling primer droplets or fumes.
Lastly, always wear a mask and gloves when painting. The chemicals in primers are not something you want to be applied directly to your skin or inhaled into your lungs.
Prep your area and your model. Be sure that you are priming onto a large piece of cardboard to avoid accidentally painting your garage or driveway.
Wash your model to get rid of any chemicals left on the surface from its creation.
Most miniatures are created with molds and the lubricant that is used to get the models out of the molds can still be present on your miniature.
It doesn’t require any special solution to clean your model, just some warm water, a toothbrush, and some general-purpose dish soap.
The last thing to do before you start priming is to affix your model to the cardboard for easy adjustment.
A little bit of sticky tack will secure your model to the cardboard and allows you to move your model around without touching it, preventing you from leaving fingerprints in the paint.
After you’ve prepped your workspace and your miniature, bought your primer, and picked out your paints, the next step is to test your primer to ensure that you are comfortable with how the Rustoleum primer sprays.
Shake your can as much as the directions tell you to and then perform some test sprays onto some extra cardboard, making sure that the spray is consistent, and you are comfortable with how much primer comes out with each spray.
Once you begin priming your model, there are a few things to keep in mind. Ensure that you are spraying from about a foot from the model and are sweeping from side to side instead of spraying one spot for a long period of time.
Quick, short sweeps will ensure that you get a nice even coverage without leaving lumps in the primer or causing it to run.
After applying a coat to one side of your miniature, ensure that you handle the model carefully when you turn it to work on the other side.
The best way to move it is by the base to avoid leaving fingerprints in wet paint. There’s not much worse than doing an excellent job of applying your primer only to ruin it at the end with a fingerprint.
Another key to a successful Rustoleum primer application is patience.
If you haven’t achieved full coverage on the first couple of passes, it’s best to let the primer dry before you apply more.
If you paint too much too quickly you are in danger of allowing the paint to build up which will obscure the detail of your model.
After applying primer to your model, make sure you check from multiple angles for any spots you may have missed.
The most common spots are places like armpits and between the legs which may have been obscured by limbs on your first couple of passes.
Don’t worry too much if you can’t get perfect coverage in those hard-to-reach areas as you can always touch them up later with paint.
Once you are happy with your coverage and have checked your model from all angles to ensure even coverage, make sure you allow your primer to dry for at least 30 minutes before you start the painting process.
Taking the time to add a quality Rustoleum primer will result in a clean and high-caliber paint job that will make you the talk of your next tabletop session.