Living in the United Kingdom, to say that priming my miniatures outside isn’t always an option is certainly understating the issue. With weather so inconsistent it could make your head spin, I’ve been looking for primers to run through my airbrush. This would allow me to prime my models anytime of any day, rain/humidity be damned! Fortunately, I recently received the LifeColor Acrylic Primer pack from our good friends at Airbrushes.com.
Advertised as providing maximum coverage with high pigment contents, I took the LifeColor primer paints at their word and dove right in. I have primed some miniatures via my airbrush, but not a great many and certainly not with some of the colours available in the pack. This made the whole ordeal somewhat bizarrely exciting. The six colours included are:
- Panzer Dark Grey
- Red Brown
- Olive Drab
- Tank Interior
- Burned Base
- Panzer Yellow
Admittedly, looking at the colours themselves I had to consider carefully where I could use them. Thankfully, I had a load of industry terrain kicking about including some Munitorum Containers which would be perfect for these colours.
All of my experience with these paints was via the use of an airbrush. The airbrush specifically is the Iwata Eclipse HP-CS, also kindly provided by airbrushes.com. Should you wish to learn more about airbrushing you can find a number of handy tips via the written guide I produced.
In terms of their application, the primers went on very, very well. As mentioned previously, I do have some experience in priming using an airbrush, so this wasn’t my first rodeo. However, typically with primer paints they are thicker and need a lot of thinning. Otherwise, you end up with speckling and an inconsistent coat. Thankfully, the LifeColor Primer paints went on without issue. I’d go as far as to say that they seem a bit more forgiving than some primers I have used before.
They needed thinning, but seemingly not as much as other products such as Ghost Grey by Vallejo. This, of course, saves the amount of thinner you are using and means you can be a little more “loose and fast” in getting your airbrush ready to use.
Coverage from the paints was very nice and, from what I could see, no details were lost in the process once dried. I had gone for a ratio of about 1:2 (perhaps even closer to 1:1) of paint to thinner and this worked wonderfully. In terms of the functionality of the LifeColor Primer paints, they’re difficult to poke holes into in this regard.
Range of Colour
The colour choices themselves that are available are curious. With names like “Panzer Yellow” and “Tank Interior” you can clearly see a segmented audience they might be going for. The colours themselves are all quite warm and neutral and would likely work great for any WWII tank projects. Speaking honestly, if it weren’t for the odd few bits of old terrain items I had laying around, I’d have struggled to find anything to use these colours on. I’m still very set in the realms of priming most of my miniatures in black, white or grey. Although, perhaps having these to hand will incur me to expand my horizons when it comes to priming.
Additionally, the Red Brown available in the pack is a very appealing colour. It proved not overly vibrant whilst still having enough colour to not get lost amongst the other colours.
What I will say is that one colour particularly stood out for me. Burned Base within the set is a wonderful, rich brown. This colour would work wonderfully as an undercoat for anything you’re wanting to be industrially rusty or caked in dirt. It could even be used as a primer for any “flesh-heavy” models if you’re looking for a dark tone to work up from. Burned Base will likely see my table more than the others.
The pots themselves that the paints come in hearken to the older age of miniature paint pots. I’d have been happier to see these in dropper bottles, especially since they are marketed towards both brush and airbrush; it’d just make the whole process a little easier.
I could certainly imagine that if you were a keen WWII hobbyist that these would likely be a very solid purchase, especially if weather is a constant issue. These will allow you to implant a strong, quality basis on your models to build upon when it comes to painting. If you’re looking to paint a specific corps for your forces then these will give you a running start.
If you don’t have a use off the top of your head for the provided colours, I can certainly understand your apprehension. I almost wish the LifeColor Primer set came with a solid black colour just for safety. However, I’m sure with some creativity I will find further uses for most of the colours provided. If you have a wider range of miniatures to paint across numerous game systems, I foresee this not being an issue for you.
The Short & Sweet
For the price of around £20, I would absolutely vouch for the LifeColor Primer set. It’s undeniably beneficial to have an array of colours in your priming arsenal. However, as with most things in this hobby, some will find the choice of colours far more essential than others. Colours aside, the quality, coverage and usability are all dependable and commendable in my experience with them.
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