Perfecting Primer Follow-up: Using ColorPlace (Walmart) Primer

To test my theory that you can get good results from any primer, I picked up a can of the ColorPlace (Walmart brand) Primer last night. The advantage of this stuff is the fairly universal availability in the US and rock-bottom price. After tax, the 10 oz can cost me $1.12. Make sure you get Primer, not paint. Check the back of the can until you find one with "Primer" on the label since at my store all of the grey paint and primer were mixed together on the shelf.

The label says to spray at 12"-16" away but from my own experience that is just way too far when using short, quick strokes. I sprayed at about 6" on a pretty windy and humid morning and the results were good. ColorPlace primer was not as smooth as some of the more expensive primers, but this was only my first attempt. I am sure better results can be had with some more experimentation and better weather conditions but I am satisfied with the results already. The grey shade is about the same grey as Tamiya Fine Surface primer, which is a lighter grey than GW plastic.

The can also says to spray a second coat within 4 hours, so I'd let is dry at least that long before painting but the models were dry to the touch within 10 minutes.

There was a large selection of spray paint at my local Walmart but they were out of the white ColorPlace primer. I talked breifly to the "paint guy" working the area and he said they now only make grey and white primer; no black. Your mileage may vary at your local Walmart, but I know that a lot of people really won't use anything but black primer.

Here's a quick video of the technique I used.

Got a can of primer you haven't had any luck with? Lemme know and I'll try to find a way to make it work.


  1. I've been using Duplicolor sandable automotive primer. Works well comes in White, Black, Grey and Rust colors and costs five bucks per can.

  2. Thanks for the heads up! Gona head to Wal Mart after work, I was about to buy another can of GW white primer. Does it leave a rough texture across a flat vehicle surface?

  3. The problem with a sandable primer is that you are paying extra for something that is supposed to fill cracks and obscure fine details, so I don't recommend it for miniature priming. And you can get 5 cans of the ColorPlace for one can of the Duplicolor.

    But if it works for you... if it ain't broke, don't fix it! :)

    @jawaballs: I will check the cheap stuff on vehicles and let you know.

  4. I've been using the Wal-Mart primer (and...gasp, black paint) to prime models for a while now.

    I've never had a problem with Rough texture, unless the can was too far away from the model.

  5. Thanks a lot for doing this one! i guess my technique is off.

  6. I used to be a "primer" vs spray paint zealot, and religiously used Tamiya Fine Grey Primer.

    These days however I air brush Tamiya acrylic paint slightly on the thicker side of your normal airbrushing dilution.

    While it may not adhere quite as tightly as a spray primer, the 'tooth' and coverage I get is much better. And good 'tooth' is the purpose of undercoating a miniature.

    You can also create a 3D primer \ basecoat by airbrushing black and then airbrushing grey.

    If you follow up with nice thin base coats of colour a lot of your shading is already in place.

  7. @Glassboy: Whenever I use paint as a primer I end up having tips of gun barrels, points of swords and outstretched fingers chipping and scraping off after repeated times packing, unpacking and playing. When I use a real primer, I never have this problem. Since I handle and play with my miniatures a lot, durability is the main reason for me to prime.

    @Matt: Glad I could help- I definitely think you should give it another try. I'm going to use the stuff as my main primer for bulk work since it is about 5 bucks cheaper per can than the "cheap" Armory primer. Thanks for the idea to check it out! No reason to spend the money if you don't have to.

  8. Thanks for the video - it's not at all how I was priming (new to it all) - and while I've gotten ok results , I've had some consistency issues.

    I'll have to give the repeated multiple blasts technique a try.

  9. I use the Duplicolor sandable primer as well. I've noticed they have a "filler primer" out, so be careful not to get that version.

    All paint can "fill cracks and obscure fine details," especially if used in excess. The more you use the more you fill, so it's important to find a brand that provides good coverage with fewer coats. This is why GW Foundation paints are popular.

    I find the Duplicolor primer has great first pass coverage, so I don't feel the urge to make "one more pass." I've also recently tried Krylon camo paint (over Duplicolor primer), and found it to have great coverage as well, so may try their primers.

    Trouble with store brand paints is there's no consistency. Stores don't make their own paints, so quality will vary depending on which company Wally chooses for the next batch.

  10. For any miniatures that are going to be handled a lot I apply two coats of gloss varnish followed by one of matt. I find that is the greatest protection versus wear and tear.

    The bigger issue is drop damage. Especially if the miniature has a spear or other pole like item. In some instances I've had whole sections of paint flake right off where something has been bent. Even when they're primed well.

  11. I been using that stuff for a bit and I have gotten clumpy spray. But the real trick to prevent that is to believe it or not. shake the can! Now when I say shake the can seriously, just to be safe, I shake the can for a couple minutes easy. Truth be told I'd say about five minutes min and a few shakes after every pass.

  12. Just purchased like 20 cans of ColorPlace Flat white. I tested it out on some models and though it's not a primer, it would have fooled me.. It soaks up anything I paint over it. And at .96 a can I love it! All primers are different but the most problems that people have is grainy finish.. and that's usually operator error. If it does this the primer is drying before it hits the mini. GreyDeath did a tutorial on technique and trouble shooting primer. Easy fix and you can save money if you quit blaming the primer. As RealGenius shows it can be done correctly with the cheap stuff.