Sunday, December 11, 2011

Adventures In Undercoating, Part II

[See Part I of this series]

With my can of Testors spray enamel depleted, the Armory primer acting like spray-on sandpaper, and the Army Painter too expensive to use on anything but vehicles, I set out in search of a new undercoating spray for Sergeant Telion and my squad of Sniper Scouts. The local game and hobby stores only sell the hobbyist spray paints, which I've found to be absurdly expensive and/or unreliable. Several forums suggested using ordinary spray paints available at hardware stores or Walmart. I was attracted to the idea of Krylon's Fusion spray paint, which is specifically designed to bond with plastic. I therefore ran to Walmart and purchased a 12oz can for a mere $4.97.

Krylon Fusion
In stark contrast to my Armory experience, the Krylon spray produced a beautifully smooth coat. The can had a directional nozzle that created a line of spray instead of the usual circular spot. This allows you to better control the spray and ensures that you don't waste a lot of the paint on your cardboard / newspaper / drop cloth / etc. rather than on the models. Not only was the coat smooth, but it gave good coverage with a very thin layer. The models didn't lose any significant detail nor did the undercoat rub off with handling. The only problem was that our local Walmart only caries the gloss and satin finishes, forcing me to purchase the satin. The two Marines I tested the Fusion on looked great... and very shiny. Shiny enough that I had doubts whether or not I could easily paint over the surface. With that, I rejected my can of Krylon Fusion as an acceptable undercoat. Since the can cost me less than $5.00, I wasn't overly disappointed. I haven't given up on Krylon, though; they also make Krylon Camouflage Paint with Fusion Technology. This is effectively Fusion paint with an ultra-flat finish. Unfortunately, our Walmart only carries the brown Krylon Camouflage, so I'll have to look elsewhere.

Rust-Oleum Camouflage
Unwilling to leave empty handed when I saw that Walmart only carried the brown Krylon Camouflage, I noticed that I could get a can of ultra-flat Rust-Oleum Camouflage spray paint for $5.97. Unlike the Krylon Fusion paints, the Rust-Oleum Camouflage paint is not specifically formulated to bond to plastics, but for $5.97 I was willing to give it a try. I first tested it by giving my two ultra-shiny Ultramarines a quick spray. This took most of the satin sheen off while leaving a uniform coat. Encouraged by the results, I made a leap of faith and used the Rust-Oleum Camouflage on the Scouts. I have been very happy with the results. The coat was smooth and even, obscured little to no detail, and is extremely flat, making it very easy to paint over. Despite significant handling, none of it has rubbed off the plastic models. The pewter Sergeant Telion model requires a little more caution to prevent paint from rubbing off the edges, but I believe this is an issue with most spray paints.

I think I'll be using Rust-Oleum Camouflage spray for undercoating purposes for the time being. However, I would still like to give Krylon Camouflage a chance as soon as I can find a can of black spray. Although I doubt that the Krylon paint will be much better than the Rust-Oleum, I really liked the directional nozzle and the slightly lower price tag (yes, I'm just that cheap).

What the Other Guys are Using:
Bryce (i.e., the Imperial Guard Player) has been an Armory fan for years and is reluctant to change. He has yet to have an experience as bad as mine, although I've noticed that Armory has left the occasional rough spot on some of his figures. Between my own experience and that of posters on various 40K forums, I think I'll be leaving Armory alone. I'm simply not willing to take another chance with a company that seems to have a quality control problem.

Jonathan (i.e., the Ork Player) has undercoated his Orks with GW Chaos Black spray. The spray gave his models smooth, even coats, although I was surprised that their finish seemed to be more satin than matte. I'm not certain how easy it was for him to paint over the undercoat. As I said before, I refuse to spend $15 for a can of black spray paint. I became even more reluctant after reading several horror stories online about inconsistent quality control.

Kevin (i.e., the Dark Eldar Player) uses Krylon Dual Paint + Primer for his Lord of the Rings and Dark Eldar models. His experience with the spray has been very good. Like the Fusion cans, Dual also has a directional nozzle. Before settling on the Rust-Oleum Camouflage, I had intended to buy a can of Krylon Dual at the local Walmart. Of course, all they carry is the gloss and satin finishes. In fact, nearly all the available cans of spray paint came in only gloss or satin. Are gamers the only ones who actually want paints with a flat finish?

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