by: Nathan Ram [ ]
Primer is probably the most used substance in modeling. It is used to give the model a first, even coat, so as to help the modeler detect flaws in his or hers model. The primer serves also as an agent, which forms a strong bond between the paint, and the model itself. This feature is particularly important, as some paints do not adhere to the model well, or do not adhere equally over different materials (plastic, resin and metal) that are used in the hobby.
It seems as Vallejo, maker of fine model color ranges are trying to make themselves more relevant than ever to the modeler. It has started a new pigments line, and now it has released an acrylic primer.
overview The primer comes in a 60ML (or 2.02 US fluid ounces) with a nice pouring spout (just like the one in the Vallejo thinner). Unlike other primers, this one is white. I for one prefer the gray primers, as they are neutral color, with no effect on the coat above them. The white tone of the Vallejo primer might lend a lighter shade to the coat above it, so a relatively heavy coat will be needed.
In order to give the more comprehensive review of this product, I will be comparing it to the primer I normally use - Tamiya's gray surface primer. I will go through spraying both products on plastic, and on PE (I don't have any resin item that I can test them on). After the coats will have dried, they will be sprayed with my colors of choice – Tamiya's X-3 (royal blue) and XF-23 (light blue). The primers and colors will be sprayed by Iwata hp-cs.
the tests First, the primers were sprayed on bare plastic. You can see in the photos that the Vallejo primer, gives an adequate result, but in the bottom line is inferior to the Tamiya primer. Note the uneven coverage of the Vallejo primer compared to the Tamiya primer (pictures 1-7: the dark blue bracket in picture one shows the test areas. blue circle is to show the uneven coverage). Normally, I wouldn't bother with it as it seems petty, but I do like an even coat of primer before I start painting, so as to make sure that further coats of paint will have something to "hold tight" too.
Whilst the plastic was drying, I went ahead to test the primer on leftover PE. Again, both primers were sprayed directly over the subject. Alas, the Vallejo primer proved to be inferior again, and more notably that on the plastic. The uneven coverage is very much visible to the eye, and simply won't do (pictures 8-12; blue circles marks places of uneven coverage).
When the primers have dried on the plastic, I have sprayed the aforementioned colors on them. This time, the Vallejo gave a good result, as the colors adhered very well and evenly to it (pictures 13-17).
Cleaning: the reason I add a paragraph regarding cleaning is this: after I have finished using my airbrush, I usually spray lacquer thinner once or twice, and it gets the brush fairly clean. Don’t attempt this with the Vallejo primer or you will be removing bits of white goo from your brush, in a very frustrating way (the nozzle was filled with these). So, what you should do is this: spray clean water once or twice, and then, after most of it is out of your brush, you can spray your AB cleaner (though I do recommend disassembling your AB after priming).
Even though this product has proven somewhat inferior to the primer I usually use it has its strong points. It comes in a large bottle (60ML compared with Tamiya's 40ML) and has virtually no annoying stench. The easy to pour spout also adds up, as it is easier to pour the primer into the AB cup without any additional tool or without getting any on the lid (which eventually dries and simply jams the stopper.