Priming your miniatures seems to be a question that pops up on a regular basis on various forums so I thought I would put up a quick post on how I prime my figures.
I now do all my priming with Vallejo surface primer.
I used to use various spray primers but I now brush prime everything. This way I can be assured of getting a good even coverage over all the miniature making sure no detail is obscured and that awkward to reach areas are primed which can often be missed with a spray primer. Spay primers are smelly, messy and you can’t prime reliably when it’s too humid or too cold (normally to cold in the UK). With the brush on primer I can prime my figures indoors and in any weather so I can get them done anytime. It also works out loads cheaper. I bought the Vallejo primers for £9.99 from Boyes and for that you get 200ml. It’s also widely available at various model shops and online stores. I have lost track of the amount of miniatures I have primed and I still have three quarters of the bottle to go.
The next question is what colour to prime. The Vallejo primers are available in a few different colours but I only ever use black and white primers. Having said that I prime 99% of my figures black and only prime a figure in white if it’s going to predominantly white or very light coloured. The only figure I have recently primed white is Gandalf the white. I also sometimes prime horses white if they are going to end up white or light gray. I find that a black undercoat suites the generally muted colours of the Lord Of The Rings range very well.
The method is very straight forward and there is not much to say on it to be honest. I would recommend not using your best brushes for this and although it’s tempting don’t use something too big, something along the lines of a number 2 brush is ideal. I am currently using a past its best army painter regiment brush. As with all painting give the bottle a good shake, make sure you don’t overload your brush and give the model a nice even coverage of the primer.