Thursday, 25 October 2012

Gesso and undercoating

I got one of these

Azeal asked in yesterday's comments about Gesso and my use of it. Funny Story.

There is a lot of talk on the interwebs about using Gesso to prime a miniature, both in the "inexpensive alternative" and "superior surface" camps. I bought this tub of Gesso when I was in Oxford Art Supplies in Sydney, buying corrugated paper. I was very sad to see the shop was closing, as it was my go-to art supply shop when I was in Art school and I'd been visiting it for years. They stocked 'proper' art supplies, not just brushes and pretties.
So this was on special, and I figured why not? I used it to prime my Crusty Walkers and a few other things. Here is my list of pros and cons.

Pros
  • It shrinks when drying so usually isn't too rough on the detail if you're careful
  • Gives a nice toothy finish
  • Is comparatively cheaper than model paint
Cons
  • You have to mix it with a bit of water to get it to flow, as it's very goopy
  • It takes quite a long time to dry naturally
  • You're still brushing it on
Am I a Gesso convert? Not really, I'm mainly using it now because I have a big pot of it. I used this for my recent scenery only because my $3.50 can of black spray paint ran out.

In another shocking twist, I don't even use the spray can for minis usually. As I tend to paint in groups of 5 or less, I generally find brushing on chaos black as a primer is actually easier and faster than spraying, plus you don't miss any spots. I usually end up going back in with a brush on spray undercoated 15's anyway so why bother.
Also, there are a lot of figures I don't use black undercoat on. Shock! Yes, if a figure is going to be mainly one bright or light color, I just used (until recently) citadel foundation paints straight onto the metal in two thin coats. The Crusty infantry were done this way, relying on washes to bring out the detail.

The bottom line: Gesso- It's OK I guess.

;)

13 comments:

  1. GAsp! (Clutches the pearls) No undercoat!? Right out of the bottle (palpitations) I.. I.. swoon. THUD.

    White spray coat then 'washes' of acrylics - but I will admit, the spray even if thorough can miss spots. My first sinister bad guys will get brushed on black coats, easier than spraying.

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    1. Yeah I don't really follow 1 exact technique for all models. I think spraying 28's is best, but 15's not so much.

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  2. You're a pioneering modeler, Jacker: trying new methods. I've tried gesso (white) on figures and have never liked the outcome. I'm sticking to what works for me now. Just an old habit from my painting days.

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    1. What I am, as I've stated in the past, is cheap + lazy! I'm always looking for an inexpensive way to paint faster :)

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    2. You are a member of a big society!

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  3. I like Gesso- been using a light grey Matisse tub- good coverage, nice tooth and shrinkage.

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  4. Straight onto the metal? Madness!

    I like a lot of what you say here, and it makes sense. The last batch of 15s I did I sprayed first, then still had to paint black on the missed areas. My next five are still waiting to get primed because it's been raining, or humid, or late, or whatever. If I brushed on their primer coat I could do it at the paint desk. This seems like a no-brainer. Thanks for the tip.

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  5. I am still not convinced by the claims of gesso superiority. The only thing that it has going for it right now is that, as MIK says, I can prime the figures right on my work bench.

    Also, I was told that one wasn't supposed to thin gesso. It does not work as well thinned. This is what a colleague of mine who teaches in the art department said.

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    1. Nor am I Chris, in fact I would say that the only reason I'm using it at all is because it's good for terrain and I already bought it.

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  6. Gesso-smesso. That Proxie Models ruin is damn fantastic. Show me some pics of all your newly finished terrain.

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    1. I'm out this weekend visiting family, but I'll put together a "recent terrain" post when I get back on Sunday. Right before I finally try to play a game :)

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  7. Ibought some recently as it was recommended to cover soft plastic miniatures. I understand the gesso dries to a flexible finish and then doesnt flake off so easily. havent tried it yet. Consequently i guess it would be good for use on some foam scenery parts and cork board for example.

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  8. I've been using a light grey gesso from Holbein, diluted with water and sprayed through an airbrush, to prime my minis for years.
    Stuff works great and dries plenty tough enough.

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