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"Suggestions for priming plastics" Topic

22 Posts

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Simon the Squirrel24 Apr 2021 2:26 p.m. PST

I'm about to paint some plastic figures (28mm'ish) and was wondering about primer. I use Humbrol Primer on metals (brush on), but don't think that's the best option for plastic.

Suggestions? Either brush on or rattle can (no airbrush).

Nick Bowler24 Apr 2021 2:36 p.m. PST

I dont find a need to prime hard plastics such as warlord or victrix. The main function of primer is paint adhesion, and I dont find paint rubbing off plastic figures.

Simon the Squirrel24 Apr 2021 3:35 p.m. PST

Thanks Nick

Oberlindes Sol LIC Supporting Member of TMP24 Apr 2021 3:42 p.m. PST

Washing with dish soap is more important than priming. Any oils or whatever on the plastics will affect paint adherence, so you want them clean.

I usually prime with white spray primer from the hardware store.

Personal logo Sgt Slag Supporting Member of TMP24 Apr 2021 3:54 p.m. PST

I've used gray automotive primer for around 30 years, without complaint or issues. I buy the cheapest, at Wal-Mart. Cheers!

Col Durnford24 Apr 2021 4:07 p.m. PST

Same same as Sgt. Slag says.

Use it on metal, plastic, and everything else.

Drys very thin and flat for the better tooth.

Simon the Squirrel24 Apr 2021 4:46 p.m. PST

I've used gray automotive primer for around 30 years, without complaint or issues.

Thanks, I have some of that.

Personal logo SHaT1984 Supporting Member of TMP24 Apr 2021 5:18 p.m. PST

Not having touched a plastic figure in 40 years, I hesitated to even buy them; then I had to wonder how to paint (style) as if they were metals.

A test of my usual technique has revealed I needn't have worried. My thin black wash of enamel paint (was Humbrol but we had a drought) then Tamiya thinned wth mineral turpentine made no difference to these modern hard plastics. I wouldn't swim in it, but the thin wash both adheres, doesn't destroy so its ok for me. Also no effect on the plastic glue lines either.

I guess we'll see f there's any down the road deterioration going to occur.
regards dave

huron72524 Apr 2021 5:57 p.m. PST

I do wash with soap as Oberlindes says. Then I brush on acrylic (water based) gray primer. I have never had an issue with paint coming off. But I also matte spray at the end.

Personal logo Herkybird Supporting Member of TMP24 Apr 2021 5:57 p.m. PST

I use a water based wood undercoat, it seems to work just fine.

Desert Fox24 Apr 2021 6:15 p.m. PST


Brush and gesso

Garand24 Apr 2021 6:30 p.m. PST

I use the normal spray primers, like Krylon. Works fine. If you use Humbrol & it is still an enamel, that would work very well as well. If you use Humbrol enamels for painting figures, I would actually skip primer & paint directly on the plastic. I wouldn't do that with acrylics like GW or Vallejo.


William Warner24 Apr 2021 6:39 p.m. PST

I've never bothered to wash a hard plastic miniature and I've never had any trouble with paint not adhering. I do prime with black gesso. My experience has been that only the soft plastic figures need to be washed. To each his own….

Oberlindes Sol LIC Supporting Member of TMP24 Apr 2021 7:17 p.m. PST

huron725 adds an important item:

But I also matte spray at the end.

So do I.

William Warner notes:

I've never bothered to wash a hard plastic miniature and I've never had any trouble with paint not adhering. … My experience has been that only the soft plastic figures need to be washed.

I was thinking of soft plastic in my earlier remarks. I likewise haven't had any trouble with paint not adhering to hard plastic, whether vehicle model kits or miniature figures.

I still wash them first, though. Just in case.

GamesPoet Supporting Member of TMP24 Apr 2021 8:09 p.m. PST

Yep, that ole' saying about being better to be safe than sorry. It doesn't take long to dip in soapy water, and rinse clean the next morning, laying the sprues out to dry.

I use spray primers. Mostly white, gray, medium brown, black. Depends on what I am painting, and what I want to achieve with the painting.

thosmoss24 Apr 2021 8:51 p.m. PST

Totally worth it to see my wife's face when I load up the bottom rack of the dishwasher with plastic sprues.

blacksmith25 Apr 2021 1:12 a.m. PST

Soap wash and warm water. After is well dried I spray white priming from Vallejo.
For soft plastic I prime with brush instead of spray.

ZULUPAUL Supporting Member of TMP25 Apr 2021 3:31 a.m. PST

I brush prime with acrylic white craft paint, no wash, and have never had an adherence problem.

epturner Supporting Member of TMP25 Apr 2021 4:28 p.m. PST

I wash with Dawn dish detergent (being in Notre Americana) and follow on, after they dry for 24 hours, with brush on grey Gesso.

Haven't had a problem yet. Even with soft plastics.


CeruLucifus25 Apr 2021 10:38 p.m. PST

Wash with dish soap and small brush and let dry. Then prime. I use Liquitex Gesso (white, black or gray) which can be brushed or airbrushed.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP26 Apr 2021 7:02 a.m. PST

I habitually spray prime (rattle can) hard plastics on the "it can't hurt" principle, sometimes following up with an acrylic wash of the same color as the primer if the the model has tricky bits. And I gloss and then matte when the casting is complete.

Soft plastics are washed in warm soapy water, rinsed off in hot water, air-dried and primed with a mix of cheap acrylic paint and PVC (white) glue. They're given an exterior coat of slightly dilute white glue on completion.

It's a little fussy, I'll grant you. But I have very little trouble with paint adhesion or wear.

coopman30 Apr 2021 3:07 p.m. PST

I spray prime mine, just like I do the metal figs.

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