Failure is an Option

In an effort to be more efficient during painting the Bonelords I picked up a can of Rustolum Gloss Ivory Spray Primer. My train of thought was that this would allow me to combine the steps I use to prime and basecoat the models. The time savings would only be a few minutes but that can add up over several batches, so I figured that it would be worth it.

Back when I used rattlecan primer all of the time I used a cardboard box to shield the models from wind and to have a contained area to set them up in. This let me set up around twenty smaller models so I could prime them all at once. This changed when I started using an airbrush. The spray pattern from the airbrush tends to be narrower than a rattlecan. It allows for more control but priming large groups of models is more difficult.

This time I didn’t have a box large enough to use when priming the models with the spray paint so I grabbed a paint stirring stick from the Home Depot (they sell them in packs of ten for less than a dollar) and I wrapped painters tape around the stick. This let me mount four models on each side of the stick. Not as good as twenty at a time, but it was more than I’ve been able to prime at once with my airbrush.

It took the stick outside and shook the can for a couple of minutes. Now, the weather was fairly hot for Oregon, over 90 degrees F so that probably contributed to the result, but I tried it anyways. It was a disaster. The primer didn’t attach to the model smoothly. It was as if the pigment wasn’t evenly distributed in the paint medium. And the coverage was terrible. The only way that I could get good coverage on the models was to spray them several times, and that started to fill in the details of the models. At least one of the passes was too far away from the models and ended up drying part of the way to the surface leaving a slight pebbling covering parts of the models.

I’m fairly sure that I’ll be able to strip the primer from the models, but I’m not trying that again any time soon. This time is would have paid to grab a plastic spoon or a trash model and trying the primer on that first.

On the successful side of this experiment the tape covered paint stick worked like a charm. The tape is strong enough to hold the plastic minis in place even when they’re upside down. Determined to salvage something I prepped another painting stick with tape and models. This time I used my airbrush to prime the models, and it worked amazingly well for both the priming step and the basecoating steps. With a couple of paint sticks I’m going to be able to prime and basecoat entire batches of models, so that’s nice.

Thanks for reading!

One comment

  1. WestRider

    In my experience, humidity is also a big factor in spraycan effectiveness.

    I do need to get around to picking up some sticks like that to prime on, tho. It seems like a way better option than the box lids I’ve been using for ages.


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