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Author Topic: Etch primer for all metal miniatures figures?  (Read 402 times)

Offline Nordic1980s

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Etch primer for all metal miniatures figures?
« on: June 30, 2018, 10:13:00 PM »
Lately I have ordered etched brass foliage for use with miniatures figures, upon realising that the ones shown in old 1980s copies of the White Dwarf magazine were still in production in 2018 (manufacturer, shop). Source literature online (link) suggested a thing called "etch primer", of which I had never heard of. I notice there exists several brands and types, both in spray can and bottled form, easily available in the Anglo-Saxonic world. In my corner of the world Tamiya's Metal Primer spray paint and GSI Creos's Mr. Metal Primer are the ones commonly available from hobby shops (Tamiya Metal Primer, Mr. Metal Primer, shop).

Our hobby people often discuss online if there is really anything different in using a basic spray can to undercoat models, as opposed to buying an undercoat spray can. Here in this case, I can see how an etch primer could make a real difference by creating a surface to which the acrylic paints would hold on. I immediately thought that maybe I should prime all of my metal miniature figures with this stuff. That would be at an additional cost, but neglible considering the other costs this hobby incurs. All my models are for gaming use, varnished at the end with several layers of W&N varnish (link).

So, my questions to you guys are:
  • does anyone use these etch primers for priming all the ordinary pewter miniature figures?
  • can Mr. Metal Primer be coloured, as it's by itself colourless or clear?
  • are there any good tricks for better results?
  • likewise, what products and methods should be avoided?
« Last Edit: June 30, 2018, 10:31:43 PM by Nordic1980s »

Offline Etranger

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Re: Etch primer for all metal miniatures figures?
« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2018, 03:34:13 AM »
I routinely use etch primer on all my stuff, including plastics. It 'keys' into the metal allowing it to take paint much better (IMHO). I just use the sort sold at the hardware store, which is a lot cheaper. It comes out mid gray, which is handy if the top coat ever does chip off.



These all got etch primer underneath the paint job.
"It's only a flesh wound...."

Offline Emir of Askaristan

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Re: Etch primer for all metal miniatures figures?
« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2018, 08:23:59 AM »
I used to work for a paint company many years ago and, iirc, there is no basic difference between the interaction between the "top" of an etch primer and the layer of paint on top of it, only between the "bottom" of the etch primer and the material it covers.

As Etranger says an etch primer keys into the material it is sprayed onto. We specified it for hard surfaces such as floors and metal parts (agricultural equipment, machinery and marine - items that were exposed to heavy usage and wear and tear, rather than domestic painting. In such specs the intermediate and top coats were never water based painted, always glosses, spoxies, etc) and it therefore gave the next coat of paint something to bind onto which was itself fixed tightly to the base material.

Using an etch primer therefore may not make any difference to the upper layers of paint, but your base won't flake exposing the bare metal.
Cheers

The Emir

Offline OSHIROmodels

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Re: Etch primer for all metal miniatures figures?
« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2018, 08:38:03 AM »
Just be aware that it’s an acid based paint (the ones I have used) and the appropriate safety gear should be worn (goggles, latex gloves etc).

Offline Nordic1980s

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Re: Etch primer for all metal miniatures figures?
« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2018, 10:37:12 AM »
Thank you Etranger, Emir and OSHIRO for the responses.

Over the years I have noticed the paint layers tend to catch into similar materials. So the layered acrylic paint layers bond to each other quite well, as does the finishing layers of acrylic varnishes. Greatest 'jump' for the material to make is between metal/plastic/resin and the subsequent paint layers, and it seems etch primers would be super for purpose of bridging that gap. I'll acquire some type of an etch primer and share the results later here.

Do you guys thin the etch primers you use and if yes, with what type of thinners? Or are they formulated to be used as is straight out of the bottle?
« Last Edit: July 01, 2018, 10:39:16 AM by Nordic1980s »

Offline vexillia

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Re: Etch primer for all metal miniatures figures?
« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2018, 11:08:26 AM »
Some points:When this subject has been raised elsewhere it's usually been accompanied by lots of posts along the lines of "This isn't true I use XYZ on all my models and have never had a problem".  The models have either been little used or they've not noticed the paint rubbing of.

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Offline Nordic1980s

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Re: Etch primer for all metal miniatures figures?
« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2018, 01:09:44 PM »
Thank you Vexillia, I read with great interest all the links you gave. Again, I had no idea such brushable non-etch metal primers existed at all, as one rarely sees them in hardware DIY shops in my country. (Metal primers in spray can form are a lot more common.) I'll acquire some GSI Creos's Mr. Metal Primer if the other options are not locally available.

On the associated topic of varnishing, I appreciated those notes as I use gloss varnish myself. That being said, I think one of the reasons for preferring gloss finish would be to get a smooth (even slippery) surface of which grime could not get easily hold of. As in furniture manufacturers and house decorators favouring the classic gloss white paint, of which stains and dirt are easily wiped off.

Offline Nordic1980s

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Re: Etch primer for all metal miniatures figures?
« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2018, 11:01:43 PM »
Having now acquired some GSI Creos's Mr.METAL PRIMER-R, I can recommed it for metal priming. As it's not an acrylic, it gives some smell (think as in enamel paints) and the brush needs to be cleared in a jar of laqcuer thinner.

In addition to metal, I tested it on two separate surplus pieces of plastic sprue, a grey one used by Citadel to make models and a black one used by Citadel to make slottabase stands. In both cases a thin coat went fine, but a thicker coat started to slightly melt the plastic surface. So it might be wiser to etch prime all the metal components before combining them with any plastic components.

On a related note:
  • sadly the ScaleLink company may be possibly ending business this year, as per the information sheet that just came with my order of etched brass foliage - so be sure to order ASAP if after old school etched brass foliage and trees!
  • can confirm that Gator's Grip Glue works very well for all kinds of materials, just as recommended for etched brass here
  • bought some Badger's Stynylrez primers (link, another link) and they're wonderful - good coverage, easy cleaning and no unpleasant smell (as seen in Vallejo primers).
« Last Edit: July 11, 2018, 11:06:58 PM by Nordic1980s »