Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Vallejo surface primer paint review - US Olive drab, German dark yellow (Dunkelgelb)

Hey folks,

As briefly mentioned in my review of the models last week, I picked up some Vallejo surface primer paints to start my models off the right way. What do I think of them? Let's find out.

First of all, I had a disappointing experience ordering these from Wayland Games. They were marked as typically shipping in 3-9 working days but no such luck. I contacted them after 11 working days and they said there were changing supplier. After 17 working days I contacted them again and we cancelled the black primer I'd ordered since they hadn't ordered from the new supplier and would have to wait to get it from the US. In the end it shipped some 20 working days after ordering, which is a bit annoying. Shame as I usually like Wayland but from now on it'll probably be relegated to those hard to find items that are not so time critical.

There was a slight leak in the package from Wayland Games. After the fuss of the delivery I was tempted to complain but it was minor and only a bit of paint leaked. I decided to let it be.

Here are the primers out of the bag and ready for action. They are pretty big bottles and of the dropper type. I'm not a huge fan of this as I find it leads to a lot of paint being wasted on the palette but it makes it great for airbrushes I suppose. 

Things to note about this paint. It's really thin, like thick milk. I've read that it can easily be used direct in an airbrush without watering down but if you're going to brush it on then you'll need more patience as you have to let it dry before moving the model around. I rushed a couple of times and realised a stream of paint had run down from where I'd been working before. Paint it batches and let it sit to dry, a bit like a wash has to. For the larger areas I got messy and poured the paint directly on to the model then moved it around with the brush from there. The Sherman was great as I could use the turret hole as a mini palette :-)

Here are the early stages. The first problem becomes clear. You MUST WASH THE MODELS carefully. I thought I had scrubbed them to clear the mould release but apparently not. The Sherman was the biggest problem, as you can see, but the M16 was equally annoying with the tracks. I used washing up liquid and an old toothbrush but apparently I should have worked harder and for longer. The resin German halftrack wasn't bad and the M16 body was fine, but the Sherman!!!

A close up of the paint problems with the Sherman. It was like painting on oil and I just couldn't get the paint to stay where I wanted it to. In the end I had to cover as best as possible and gradually go over the problem areas with future layers. Overall I think I put down about five layers of the paint on this model. Next time you can guarantee that model is getting scrubbed until it sparkles! :-)

Here are the German half tracks after two layers of paint. I might give them a touch more but it's a pretty solid coverage. Next up is a earthy wash and then I play to highlight them with more khaki tones and maybe some camouflage patterns. Marneus and the Dark Eldar are for scale and colour comparison because my camera can be funky with colours when taking under lights.

Here are all the vehicles together. The US ones have had a sort of Devlan Mud Wash (Agrax Earthshade with a glug of Nuln Oil to darken it down) and then are drybrush highlighted. The tank commander is a nice addition and I'm glad to have him on my vehicle. I want to add some brighter parts with white US stars and symbols as it'll make them stand out nicely. The reason my hand is in the photo is that I magnetised the flamethrowers on the half track and the gun on the rear halftrack so I can transport then more easily. 

Here you see the problem with brush on primer and larger models, especially when not cleaned. Those grey parts are where the primer didn't grip the resin or the places I missed during the painting. I think I might paint in sub-assemblies for future models. Or I may start with a black spray just to shade it before I use the primer as the base coat. We'll see.

Overall I can recommend the Vallejo surface primers and I think they are a great option for airbrush users or those who don't have a good place to spray. The colours are a great base for models, particularly the US olive drab, and it's nice to be able to brush on a primer when the weather doesn't work for spraying. The consistency of the paint takes a bit of getting used to and make sure you scrub the resin models well but overall I'm satisfied. To be able to prime and basecoat in one is a good deal and the price is nice too (about 5 pounds per bottle).

All the best