Priming is a thing of habit. It’s something I’ve done pretty much the same way since the start of my mini painting career. Later on in this site’s lifetime, I will be trying to break out and use some new primers. You’ll be able to tag along and laugh at me in my anguish. but right now let’s stick to where I am warm and comfy, my little dark cocoon painted with black primer.
I admit it, I prime black and I am proud of it. (I can hear Dead Dogg screaming as I type this.) In my opinion Black primer helps models paint up fast and clean. It provides lots of shortcuts and is in my mind a necessity for anyone who works on multiple or swarm armies (I’ve got all 5). Now this next part may not make me popular; I use Citadel’s chaos black almost exclusively. This is probably one of the most expensive primers on the mini market. Generally it runs about 8 bucks a can. The problem is I like it, and I usually know what to expect out of it. Since I am also an over primer, (I like every last little nook and cranny coated in primer) the Citadel primer works well for me because it has very high opacity and good coverage while remaining thin. I’ve used some OSH and Wal-Mart generic primers and have had them come out uneven, thick, and rubbery. This is obviously not good for maintaining detail. So the if the 5 bucks I saved on the can of primer trashes 40 bucks worth of miniatures, then I didn’t save too much cash there did I? So these days I tend to stick with what I know.
The trick to priming well is temperature. Keep your cans at a constant relatively warm temperature. I store my primer inside my apartment, so that they are always at room temp. This is critical. I don’t recommend storing primer in the garage or a shed if you can help it. If this is a necessity, plan to bring your cans in for at least an hour prior to spraying. The other critical part of priming is a good mixture; shake the ever-living crap out of your can, not violently, just thoroughly. I start by holding the top of the can and swirling the agitator around the bottom. This gets all the settled components moving again and then I start the standard shake. You should not spray for any longer than 15 to 20 seconds at a time, the can cools down as you release the propellant and this affects the temperature. I tend to spray pretty close to my figures too. I use quick bursts to cut down on over spray and not cool the can down too much.
Priming is done mostly by feel, which can make you more than a little unsure of what you’re doing when you first start out. If you really want to practice before you tackle your WM figs, my advice is to buy a bag of cheap metal miniatures (historicals or something) and test out how a primer is going to work for you. (These are also handy as tests for new color schemes)
And remember. if it all goes pear shaped on you. You can always strip them and start over.