The Best Primer for Miniatures in 2020 | Top Picks + Buyers Guide

best primer for miniatures

Miniatures are getting more and more popular as time goes on. Whether it’s tabletop players looking to get more interesting and creative figures for their gaming sessions. Or people who simply love to build and amass a large collection of mini’s. There’s no denying that it is a creative and addictive hobby. But the more interesting and creative side to the world of miniature is the craft of painting and customizing your own. Painting your miniatures is a fantastic way to grow your hobby, as well as to make your own miniatures stand out from the rest. Learn all about it with our Best Primer for Miniatures Guide.

The Best Primer for Miniatures

The difficult part is figuring out where to start and knowing what you’ll need. Now, getting the paints and the brushes needed are fairly easy and it won’t take long to figure out what you’ll need there. But the most important part that a lot of people don’t realize is that you need to make sure you have a good, high-quality primer. It’s necessary to make sure that whatever model you paint looks great and stays looking great. In this list we’ll be taking a look at some of the best primers you can get right now! So let’s jump right into our list for ‘The Best Primer for Miniatures’.

Brush-on White Primer

We’re starting this list off with a primer that is perfect for those who are just starting out with painting their own miniatures. We’ve gone for this primer from Reaper Miniatures for its fantastic affordability and great application. This primer comes in a ½ oz dropper bottle and means you need to apply it to your models and brush it in. This is also a white primer, so if you want your base coat on your models to be white, you’re in luck. Of course, if the white isn’t your thing then you might want to look elsewhere. White is a really good neutral base to work with, but some prefer to start working with a darker base.

This kind of primer benefits metal miniatures rather than plastic ones. This is mainly due to the way that different primers interact with different materials. This specific primer works better due to the way it binds to metal materials. Though you can still use this with plastics, you may get slightly worse results. If you plan to work with metal miniatures this is a fantastic primer to go with. The main positives here are how affordable it is and with that, you get a lot of quality out of it. The only real issue here is that you don’t really get that much primer to work with. ½ oz bottles probably won’t last long if you’re an avid miniature painter, but it’s a really good choice for those starting out.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Great on Metal

Cons:

  • Small Volume
  • Bad for Large Models

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Rust-Oleum 249088 Painter’s Touch

Our next option on this list is another that is great for beginners who perhaps want to take miniature painting a little more seriously. We’ve gone for this Rust-Oleum primer that comes in a bunch of different colors, which gives it a wide range of applications. This comes in a 12 oz spray can, completely different from the drop bottle as our previous option. The volume here means that you’ll be able to use this primer on a large amount of different models for a pretty long time. Obviously that depends on how much you use it but the bottom line is that this is plenty of primer.  It also comes in a variety of different colors like mentioned earlier. Meaning that you can choose exactly what base color you want.

Now, this is a spray can of primer, which works slightly differently to a drop bottle and can be applied to a couple of different things. Spray cans of primer are better suited to larger models but can also be used for smaller models. These kinds of cans allow you to coat models much faster but the coats themselves are going to be thinner. So really you’re trading speed for ensuring that the coat is thick enough and covers everywhere. For those who paint miniatures, a lot spray cans are a must, but for those who like a more personal touch, the drop bottles are great. This is a fantastic primer mainly because it works really well on almost all kinds of materials. Whether it’s plastic, metal, or whatever else you’ve got.

Pros:

  • Large Volume
  • Comes in Many Colours
  • Great on Any Materials

Cons:

  • Won’t Do Thick Coats

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Tamiya America, Inc Primer White

The next primer we’ve gone for in this list is another that is perfect for both beginners and experienced miniature painters. We’ve gone for this Tamiya spray for both it’s high-quality finish and its affordability. This can has a volume of 180ml which is a decent amount of primer and it should last a good while. Obviously this is dependent on how much you actually use it. This specific can is a grey color, which is a good neutral base for most models. But if you want something that is either darker or lighter you’d best look elsewhere. This is also another spray can which has its own positives and negatives. Mainly to do with the quality of the coat you can achieve.

This particular primer has a really good finish on models and allows for you to have a really good quality coating. But as mentioned before, spray cans tend to lose a lot of that ‘hands-on’ feeling you get with drop primers or primers you need to paint on. They’re great for speedy and efficient coats but for those who want to ensure that their primer is well applied you might want to look elsewhere. That being said, this is still a fantastic primer and will give you some really good quality coats for your miniatures. It should also be good for anything beyond miniatures that you decide to use it for. It’s especially good for those who are planning to work with rather large models and need something that can cover a large area efficiently.

Pros:

  • Decent Volume
  • Great Quality
  • Good for Large Models

Cons:

  • Won’t Do Thick Coats

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Krylon K05150107 ColorMaster Paint

Our next option on this list is perfect for those who want a primer that doubles a way to paint your models. We’ve gone for this primer from Krylon for its multifunctionality and it’s great quality coats. This is another 12 oz spray can, which means you’ll probably get a lot of use out of this depending on how many models you paint. This amount of primer is a really good amount to have because it ensures that you’ll have plenty to use before having to get the next can. Again this is another spray can which we’ve covered, it’s great for bigger models and efficient coating. But for those who want to be more hands-on with the whole process of painting miniatures you might find it lacking.

This primer is especially great because it comes in a huge variety of different colors and different types. Some types of the spray also double as a way to paint your models, though you’ll want to still paint the details and so on. Still though this is a really great option for those who are just starting out with painting miniatures. It’s a really easy way to apply base coats and get a head start with painting the models. It also does come in basic whites and greys for those who just want a simpler base coat. All around this is a fantastic primer to choose from and it’s really worth looking into if you want a primer or paint/primer combo. Fantastic for both beginners and experienced painters alike.

Pros:

  • Large Volume
  • Great Quality
  • Huge Variety

Cons:

  • Won’t Do Thick Coats

Check Availability on Amazon!

Vallejo Black Primer Acry-Poly

Our final option on this list is a primer that is suited to those who have experience in painting miniatures or for those who want to start getting serious with the hobby. We’ve gone for this primer from Vallejo for its fantastic quality finish and its easy application. This is a squeeze bottle variant of primer and it’s got a volume of 200ml. Not the largest amount of primer you can get but it’s still a pretty decent amount to work with. This specific primer is black but you can get other colors too. This type of primer needs to be painted on with a brush or applied using an airbrush. This means that the process is going to take a little longer than a spray can. But it also means you can ensure a really high-quality coat is applied to whatever model you’re painting.

This kind of primer is going to take a little while to apply to bigger models so it might be cumbersome to deal with for those. But for smaller models, this is the perfect primer to go for. It offers a really high-quality coating and ensures that the base of the model is going to be perfect for whatever painting you need to do. If you find that the primer is too thick to use for your models you can thin it down using some water and apply it that way. A benefit that you just don’t get with spray can primers. This is the option to go for if you’re an experienced miniature painter. It’s still a great option for those with less experience but it’s a lot more of a complicated process to go through.

Pros:

  • Decent Volume
  • Fantastic Quality
  • Widely Applicable

Cons:

  • Bad for Large Models

Check Availability on Amazon!

See Also: Best DAC for Gaming

Buying Guide

If you’ve made it this far and you still have no idea which type of primer to get, don’t worry! In this section, we’ll be going over some helpful information and some handy tips to help you out with your purchase.

Do you really need primer?

The short answer here is yes. Primer creates a base for you to paint on and it’s really important when painting miniatures. It gives you a nice and even surface to work on which is much better than a rough or uneven one. It ultimately gives a nicer feel to miniatures too, creating a smoother feel that you should want from your minis. So, you’re probably going to want to use primer in most cases. It’s a very important part to the overall painting process with miniatures.

Which type is best?

When it comes to primers there’s a bunch of different kinds you can get and they all vary in their own ways. But one of the most important distinctions between different kinds of primer is its delivery system. Whether that’s a drop bottle, a spray can or a squeeze bottle. They actually all indicate a variety of different aspects that the primer will have. It’s going to indicate its viscosity and will have an impact on the volume of the primer you’re going to get.

Dropper bottles are going to usually be pretty small and offer a pretty low amount of volume. These kinds of bottles are usually designed for smaller miniatures and won’t typically last long if you’re an avid painter. The benefits here are that it is great for those who are just starting out with painting miniatures due to how affordable they are. You might come across some more expensive kinds of dropper primers but you should probably stay away from these. If you’re going to get a dropper bottle of primer remember it’s probably going to be smaller and the primer itself might be a little thin.

Spray cans of primer are the best for those who paint miniatures pretty often and they’re especially good for metal figures. They usually offer a ton of volume for a pretty affordable price. They’re also pretty easy to use and apply on to your miniatures. It’s much easier to use than other kinds of primer that you need to brush in to apply the coat. Though this kind of primer also has its negatives too, though it’s all down to preference.

Spray cans usually use a much thinner and diluted type of primer that leaves the coats on your models much thinner. This doesn’t mean that the coating is useless by any means. However, if you want a slightly thicker coat you probably want to use a different kind of primer. You also need to be careful not to breathe in any of the fumes that the spray causes. So be sure to wear a mask if you’re going to use a spray.

Squeeze models of primer are going to typically be a little bit thicker and more viscous than other kinds of primer. This can be both a good thing and a bad thing. The positives here are that it gives you full control over the thickness of the primer and the thickness of the layer you want to put on. The downside here is that it adds another step to the whole process since you need to thin it out with some water, in most cases. It also probably isn’t the best for beginners since it can be pretty easy to apply a coat that’s way too thick or even a coat that’s way too thin. Experienced painters will probably prefer this, but the spray can or the droppers are just as good.

Different Primers for Different Surfaces

With primers, the experience can differ wildly between miniatures that are made out of different materials. Whether that’s wood, metal, plastic or whatever your mini is made out of. Each material is going to grab the primer in a different way. That’s going to have an effect on the end result of the coating. Some primers might not set correctly on some materials. Be sure that the primer you’re going to get supports the materials you’re going to be working with. You’ll usually see what the primer supports on the front or the back of the container for the primer.

Tips:

  • Pay attention to which surface the Primer is best suited for. This information will be somewhere on the bottle or container.
  • For bigger miniatures, use a spray primer for the most efficient progress. If you want to go for a brush-on primer, make sure you have enough for a full coat.
  • If you use a spray primer, make sure to have a mask to protect yourself from the fumes.
  • BE sure to have really good quality brushes for both applying the primer and for painting the miniatures.

Verdict

That’s been our list for ‘The Best Primer for Miniatures ’. If it’s helped you out with your quest to find the right primer, let us know! Thanks for reading.

 

Sam Robins
About Sam Robins 15 Articles
When not spending his time playing Video Games, Sam is busy planning out the next D&D campaign or wondering which tech upgrade is coming next. After all of that is when he decides to write about them.

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