Washing & Priming

Now that you have thoroughly cleaned your mini, it's time to wash it! Grease, fingertip oils and mold release agents can all leave residues that prevent proper adhesion of your primer, and that leads to paint rub-off. Either liquid dish soap or Windex will work. I like to spray the surface of the mini and scrub everything with an old toothbrush, getting into all the nooks and crannies. Then rinse it really well under hot water and let it dry completely, which means at least overnight.

One of the most frequent mistakes I see beginners make is over priming. Thick coats of primer don't make the paint stick better --- quite the opposite actually! Not to mention that it clogs up fine details in the sculpt and makes the mini generally harder to paint, and sometimes it even makes the whole thing lumpy like an orange peel or fuzzy like a peach. The best approach is a very light one. When you're done it should only be lightly dusted with primer, almost translucent.

Some painters prefer a brush on primer, but I personally like spray on better and tend to use brush on only for touchups. My favorite brand is Tamiya Fine Surface, in white. If you opt for a brush on primer make sure not to let it pool in the recesses and clog your details. If you use a spray, shake the can. A lot! When cans sit unused even for a day or two the primer settles and separates and you need to shake the can for several minutes to suspend the pigment for smooth coverage.

It's a good idea to wear rubber gloves when you spray, unless you want a white hand! Give the can a test spritz or two before you start to apply it to the mini to make sure it's not spraying out all gloppy. Hold the can about 14 inches away from the mini, kinda off to one side and begin to spray, passing across the front of the figure and then off the other side, so that both your starting and stopping points are in mid air, not on the mini. Then turn the figure to expose another side and repeat until the whole thing is lightly dusted. This is a proven technique that will give you smooth coverage and no thick spots.