This tutorial will discuss the basics of primer, this is the second step in the build layers chart, after sanding.Now beginning from the bare plastic, this tutorial begins after completing the initial sanding work. The first layer sprayed onto the plastic parts is primer. Primer does the following:

  • Wipes out the color giving a single neutral color to start from
  • Fills in small scratches left over from the sanding process
  • Shows areas of rough sanding, mistakes in sanding, and pinholes that were unseen before (applies mostly to resin kits)
  • Primer also gives a nice surface for paint to stick

Since most bandai gunpla kits come pre-colored, it is always a good idea to prime the kit as this wipes out the color and gives a uniform color to begin from. For example, if you wanted to paint a kit red, but the original color of the parts were black, the red would take on a much darker tone due to the black base color. Neutralizing this with a grey or white primer will give the red a more natural tone that is truer to the paint’s intended color tones.

Primer is also a small filler and will fill in small scratches left over from the sanding process. The primer will also show areas where additional sanding work is needed. This happens often as the initial sanding phase does quite a bit of work, but some areas are missed. With additional sanding work done, reprime the part and you will notice a significant improvement in the surface.

Below is a video showing my mixing technique. I use a medical glass eye dropper found at your local drug store. I like the glass as I use lacquer based paints and cleaning these dropper is easier. The droppers also provide fairly good measuring, this helps in mixing custom paint colors as well.

I am mixing at a ratio of about 2 parts primer to 3 parts thinner. I am using Mr Color thinner which is a lacquer based product. The consistency should be similar to milk.

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Once the primer has been mixed, it is always a good idea to test the mixture by doing an initial spray test through the airbrush. If the paint comes out in splatters and/or a high pitched squeal comes as the paint is sprayed, the mixture is too rich and more thinner is needed. On the opposite end of the spectrum,if the paint comes out and is overly watery, then the paint has been over thinned, more primer is needed.

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Next up, we spray primer onto the parts. Spraying primer through the airbrush is similar to using spray cans. I usually do not take much care when spraying primer. I just spray to make sure I cover the entire piece. .

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This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Newguy

    Do you use the same airbrush for priming and painting or do you use 2 diff airbrush?

  2. GameraBaenre

    I use the same airbrush for both, Iwata HP-C Plus.

  3. Lollipop

    Hi I read in one of your tutorials that you have decanted your primer and spraying it from an airbrush. I have done similarly but my primer comes out very rough. Am I not spraying a thick enough coat? should I warm up the primer before I brush? I am mostly doing this as when I spray directly from the can the primer seems to go on very thick.

    Thanks in advance,

  4. GameraBaenre

    If the primer is rough on the surface, there could be several reasons. The primer may be drying before it hits the surface of the part. Try spraying closer. If the primer is spiderwebbing out of the airbrush, then it is definitely drying before hitting the surface. You will need to add some thinner or retarder to slow down the drying process so that it dries on the surface of the part. Baring that, once you prime, you can take some high grit sand paper – 1000-3000, wet it and lightly wipe the primed surface to smooth everything out. Hope this helps.

  5. Alden

    can i have a primer even though i am not using an air brush?

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