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"Zenithal Priming Yet?" Topic

20 Posts

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Personal logo Flashman14 Supporting Member of TMP12 Feb 2022 1:57 p.m. PST

I asked this a few years ago and the technique is more and more common on my channels today than ever.

How much zenithal priming are you doing these days?

a) Never
b) Sometimes
c) About half the time
d) Most of the time
e) All the time
f) Never heard of it. Well, take a look here then: link

Striker12 Feb 2022 2:08 p.m. PST


GildasFacit Sponsoring Member of TMP12 Feb 2022 2:45 p.m. PST

A primer is the first coat – the clue is in the name. How can one coat be in different shades ?

In the post you call it highlighting most of the time – which is appropriate.

I rarely take my painting to those levels as I paint armies rather than single figures and in smaller scales. It is certainly feasible to use the technique on 6 & 10mm figures but the effect would mostly be lost amongst a unit of similar figures.

It certainly does bring out the detail on the larger figures in a more realistic way than simple highlights and I suppose that you get your 'eye in' to where to put the highlights after a relatively small number of figures.

CeruLucifus12 Feb 2022 5:05 p.m. PST


Mostly I shade / highlight evenly all over. But I do sometimes highlight more in one orientation, as if facing a strong light source from that direction.

Sorry that answer is for Zenithal Highlighting which the article talks about.

You are asking about Zenithal Priming. This seems a malapropism but I think you are referring to underlighting a model before adding color? E.g. undercoat dark, which can be your primer if you have a dark primer, then highlighting with white or lighter shades? And zenithal would mean, only highlighting in one area as if there is a directional light source. Then translucent paint is applied so the underlighting shows through.

I have used underlighting for certain projects – it's effective for speed painting. But I have not combined with zenithal so far.

I don't usually work up from dark undercoat. I'm more likely to do this with terrain. When I do terrain in undercoat black or dark brown, I do sometimes drybrush a highlight before adding colors. This will be a crude zenithal underlighting since this is a quick highlight, usually drybrush, from vertical orientation.

myxemail12 Feb 2022 6:01 p.m. PST

For me it depends on the size of the figures. For 25mm and larger, yes, I am starting to use the zenithal technique. For 15-18mm and smaller, I am not convinced that the technique is helpful. For these smaller figures I have only done historicals, and for massed armies.
As of now, I feel that zenithal technique is useful for larger figures, and for those used in fantasy or sci-fi

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP12 Feb 2022 6:55 p.m. PST


Personal logo ColCampbell Supporting Member of TMP12 Feb 2022 7:06 p.m. PST


I undercoat (not prime) then block paint. Tried to do washes but it took so much time that for me it wasn't worth the effort. My figures are just toy soldiers, not works of art.


HansPeterB12 Feb 2022 11:12 p.m. PST

C. When I'm in a hurry and going to use Contrast paints or an oil wash, then I usually zenithal "prime": I prime with black or very dark gray or brown, then a light spray of light grey primer from an overhead angle, then white from directly above.

GreenMountainBoy Supporting Member of TMP13 Feb 2022 5:11 a.m. PST

B- sometimes. I actually just started last summer after seeing a couple videos online. I'm trying to up my painting game and learn some new techniques ..

advocate13 Feb 2022 5:40 a.m. PST


IronDuke596 Supporting Member of TMP13 Feb 2022 6:27 a.m. PST


Personal logo Sgt Slag Supporting Member of TMP13 Feb 2022 8:08 a.m. PST


Joes Shop Supporting Member of TMP13 Feb 2022 8:58 a.m. PST


Garand13 Feb 2022 11:24 a.m. PST

I've done it for a few figures. Basically prime black, drybrush heavily with white (I use titanium white, to make sure the color doesn't shift with age), then block paint as normal. Makes the highlights pop much better.


Dashetal14 Feb 2022 9:51 a.m. PST

E. Rattle cans are your friends. Been doing Zenithal and then recently added following with a color usually matching roughly their uniforms. Finish details. Then some washes and highlights. My primary periods are 1912 to 1945 which lends themselves to this approach.

Bandolier15 Feb 2022 12:59 p.m. PST


There's no discernible benefit to this when the aim is to produce painted armies.

Blackhorse MP15 Feb 2022 4:03 p.m. PST


I don't game in anything larger than 20mm so it wouldn't seem viable. If I ever got into the larger scale figures I might give it a try.

huron725 Supporting Member of TMP16 Feb 2022 7:13 a.m. PST


I have been using this method along with contrast paints for a little while now and have to say the results look really nice.

abelp0118 Feb 2022 4:40 p.m. PST


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