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"metal priming methods" Topic

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Wealdmaster01 Feb 2023 10:24 a.m. PST

Recently, I've been experimenting with new ideas to get better adhesion of paint on my metal miniatures. In the past, I've used various aerosols and brush on stuff like Vallejo. I tend to get exposed areas of metal after slight handling on protruding parts of the model. So far I've tried as follows:

Washing models with dish soap and water before priming- plan to continue this but no noticeable difference.

Using black gesso as a primer – it works well and obscures no detail, but also not really any difference.

Then, I saw a link to something called Mr. Metal Primer R, which looks like a nail polish bottle (also available in spray), and seems to be made in Japan. It is supposed to self etch and attach to the metal and then be primed over.

Has anyone had experience with this product?

Other tactics for good priming on metal?

Robert Johnson01 Feb 2023 10:39 a.m. PST

I've used etch primer, but not at those prices.
Go to an automotive factor. A 500ml aerosol can costs only a little more than that bottle.

enfant perdus01 Feb 2023 10:41 a.m. PST

I have been using Mr. Metal (the brush on version) for a few years and highly recommend it. As with many things painting related, give it enough drying time and you should be golden.

Wealdmaster01 Feb 2023 11:09 a.m. PST

So, you're telling me a can of gray colored self etching automotive primer would be doing the same thing? I suppose this would save a step of base coating paint as the Mr. Metal is clear.

Robert Johnson01 Feb 2023 11:39 a.m. PST

Etch primer is etch primer. It's a mild acid (usually phosphoric acid) in a carrier. The carrier can be clear or pigmented.

Acetic acid is an even cheaper alternative.

Personal logo Herkybird Supporting Member of TMP01 Feb 2023 12:05 p.m. PST

I actually use cheap water soluble wood undercoat before painting and have never had any problems!

Cerdic01 Feb 2023 12:18 p.m. PST

I just use a cheap rattle can from a car spares store.

Avoid the ‘high build' stuff, though. That is designed to disguise imperfections in filler on car body panels. It will also disguise the fine detail on your toy soldiers…

Col Durnford Supporting Member of TMP01 Feb 2023 12:30 p.m. PST

I go with Rust-Oleum automotive primer from Walmart. Once dry, it is a very tight coat and doesn't obscure detail on the figure.

Personal logo Sgt Slag Supporting Member of TMP01 Feb 2023 1:20 p.m. PST

You could paint on urethane (rubber-like plastic), from the painting area of DIY stores. Once dry, the urethane will take paint, nicely. The urethane is designed to be applied to wooden floors, to be walked upon, with rubber-soled shoes. Clear urethane (water-based, or oil-based) won't fill in details, if applied evenly, as opposed to heavily. Just an idea. Cheers!

cfielitz01 Feb 2023 1:45 p.m. PST

Recently, I have used Gunze-Sangyo's Mr. Surfacer 1000 in a spray. Hobby Lobby sells it. I can't remember how much I paid for it, but I've painted at least 100 figures and still have plenty left in the can. It works pretty well on the 15mm miniatures that I paint. I see no details being obscured. Beast of all, it dries really fast, though I only spray outside.

MajorB01 Feb 2023 3:38 p.m. PST

Used to use Humbrol white enamel. Did so for many years. Recently switched to white acrylic gesso. Just as good if not better and vastly cheaper!

Nick Bowler01 Feb 2023 4:53 p.m. PST

For metal figures, you need an etch primer.

In Australia, I use Wattyl Spray Etch Primer – available in Grey or White rattle cans. (Available in white if you buy industrial loads). This is the equivalent of Rustoleum in the USA.

I never have paint chipping and do not varnish. If you need to varnish to 'protect the paintwork' that is an indicator you havent used the right primer.

And primer is different from basecoat – though there are some colored primers that can do both functions.

suka194501 Feb 2023 6:39 p.m. PST

I started using Mr. Metal a few months ago. So far no issues. However , consider using a mask, and good ventilation. It does have a strong smell.

3rd5ODeuce Supporting Member of TMP01 Feb 2023 8:44 p.m. PST

I've used Tamiya's rattle can fine white figure primer for years. IMHO, it dries to the point of being a part of the model. Yet it still provides a nice tooth for paint adhesion. However, I've recently tried Mission Models white and black primer applied through an airbrush. Good adhesion, nice tooth and best of all no fumes. I can prime my figures in the house.

jwebster Supporting Member of TMP01 Feb 2023 10:43 p.m. PST

Rustoleum self etching primer +1

Very light coat


Martin Rapier02 Feb 2023 12:52 a.m. PST

I just use matt black car primer from Halfords. Seems to have worked OK for the last few decades.

I don't bother varnishing figures these days.

ZULUPAUL Supporting Member of TMP03 Feb 2023 3:37 a.m. PST

I use white craft paint on both metal & plastics and have had no problems.

Timmo uk03 Feb 2023 11:30 a.m. PST

To get the best paint adhesion to metal figures you need really clean metal. Ask anybody who paints cars for a living.

Washing up liquid ie warm soapy water is good for first stage of clean up but it's designed to leave a shine on crockery and you have to get that off. I use cellulose thinners or car paint degreaser to get the metal really clean. I only handle figures wearing latex gloves at this stage so as not to get finger grease on them.

Finally I let them sit in white vinegar for 20 minutes to very lightly etch the metal surface. The final rinse in hot water and air dry.

Spray very light coats of etch primer. You need temperature of 66F – 77F for best results and a relative humidity of less than 60%. High build car etch primer is fine but you have to spray very light coats and you really want to spray in the 70 – 77 F range. You won't get detail filling in as you are spraying a very fine mist.

Yes lots of process and effort (you did ask!) but get it right and you will have really amazing bond between metal and primer that is very resilient. You'll even have to use a fair bit of pressure to scrape it off with a scalpel blade. Anything else I've ever tried has not been tough enough to even resist finger nail pressure.

If you can't be bothered with the above just use use Humbrol enamel. Being oil based I think it possibly gets through the grease that's on castings that haven't been cleaned at all.

Doesn't matter what you do in the way of varnish afterwards the entire paint finish is only as good as the initial bond between the metal of the figure and the primer.

I still varnish as you may get paint rubbing off but only down to the primer not the bare metal. I paint with very thinned Vallejo and I don't find it at all robust as a paint, probably because I've thinned it so much.

Wealdmaster03 Feb 2023 6:43 p.m. PST

Timmo, thanks for this technical response as well as all other responses. You get out of a thing what you put in I suppose so I may try to do what you say especially with vinegar as I've found vinegar to be an amazing substance! I've also used Humbrol enamel and found it was a little stronger but still could be rubbed off! I need a room with a vent to get the enamel fumes out of or else just paint that in another room away from my main painting area.

Oberlindes Sol LIC Supporting Member of TMP03 Feb 2023 8:34 p.m. PST

I go with Rust-Oleum automotive primer from Walmart.

Me, too (except that I get it from Home Depot, which is much closer to my home than Walmart).

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