6 Best Primers for Miniatures in 2024

If you’re looking for the best primers for miniatures, this guide is for you.

Primers are the foundation of any miniature paint job. No matter how good of an artist you are, if you’re using a poor-quality primer, the result of your miniature painting process won’t be as good as you want it to be.

Keep in mind that those primers work for 3D printed armor parts and props, as well as miniatures. If you want to make 3D printed models at home, check out our guide to the best 3D printers for cosplay and props making.

Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting with miniature painting, the following primers will make the painting process much smoother.

Badger Air-Brush Co. SNR-410 Stynylrez

The Badger Air-Brush Co. SNR-410 Stynylrez assortment offers an exceptional trio of primers that are well-suited for various miniature and model projects. The inclusion of white, gray, and black primers allows for flexible base coating choices depending on the final colors to be applied. These primers are highly acclaimed for their smooth application, rapid drying time, and excellent surface adherence, making them a top choice for both novice and professional modelers.


  • Offers three versatile primer colors in one package
  • Fast drying and easy to sand, providing an ideal surface for painting
  • Excellent coverage that retains fine details


  • Higher price point than some competitors
  • Requires thorough shaking before use to ensure consistency
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The Army Painter Warpaints Air Air Primer

Army Painter Warpaints are a reliable choice for hobbyists who need a versatile, high-quality paint set for detailing their miniatures. These paints are known for their high pigment concentration, which provides excellent coverage and vibrant colors, making them perfect for enhancing the details on miniatures.


  • Wide range of colors
  • Good bottle size for long-term use
  • Smooth consistency that's easy to apply


  • Some colors might require thinning before use
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Tamiya TAM87042 87042 Surface Primer

Tamiya Surface Primer is highly regarded among modelers for its fine particles, which provide excellent coverage without obscuring the details of miniatures. It is especially effective on plastic and metal surfaces, preparing them for painting by creating a uniform layer that enhances the adherence and appearance of subsequent paint layers.


  • Excellent for achieving a smooth base coat
  • Dries quickly to a hard finish that doesn't obscure details
  • Suitable for both airbrush and spray application


  • Requires good ventilation during use due to strong fumes
  • Relatively expensive per volume
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The Army Painter Color Primer Spray Paint

The Army Painter Spray Primer is an exceptional choice for miniature and model enthusiasts looking for vibrant undercoats. This primer offers excellent coverage and adheres well to plastic, metal, and resin models, ensuring that the paint applied on top remains true to color. The unique shade of turquoise is especially useful for thematic projects like sea creatures or sky elements in dioramas.


  • High-quality, finely pigmented for excellent coverage
  • Specifically designed for detailed models
  • Dries quickly and evenly


  • May require multiple layers to achieve a fully opaque effect on darker materials
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Vallejo Black Primer Acry-Poly 200ml Paint

Vallejo Black Primer is an acrylic-polyurethane primer that offers superior coverage and consistency for airbrushing and traditional painting methods. It's particularly favored for its smooth application and durability, making it ideal for priming miniatures that require fine detail work.


  • Excellent coverage with a smooth finish
  • Ideal for airbrush use straight from the bottle
  • Reliable adhesion to various surfaces


  • Higher price point compared to some competitors
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Ultimate Guide to the Best Primers for Miniatures and 3D Printed Models


Selecting the right primer is essential for achieving the best painting results on miniatures and 3D printed models. This guide dives deeper into the types of primers suitable for different materials, offering insights to help both beginners and seasoned hobbyists make informed decisions.

Types of Primers and Their Use Cases

Spray Primers

Spray primers offer a quick and efficient method for covering models, ideal for maintaining fine details without the fuss of brush marks. They are best used in well-ventilated areas and suitable for a range of materials.

Use Cases:

  • Plastic Models: Ensures smooth coverage and quick drying.
  • Metal Models: Helps in preventing oxidation and provides a solid base coat.

Brush-on Primers

Brush-on primers provide precision and control, perfect for targeted application and smaller projects where spray primers might be excessive.

Use Cases:

  • Detailed Areas: Where control over the primer application is crucial.
  • Small Batches: Ideal when painting only a few models or parts.

Choosing Primer Colors

  • White Primer: Amplifies paint colors applied over it, ideal for vibrant schemes.
  • Gray Primer: A versatile choice that offers good visibility for details.
  • Black Primer: Excellent for adding depth and shadow, enhancing darker paint jobs.

Considerations for Toxicity

Always opt for non-toxic primers, especially when children are involved or when working in poorly ventilated spaces. Safety should never be compromised.

Primer Selection by Material

Different materials require specific primer types to ensure the best adhesion and finish:

  • Metal: Use primers that can seal against oxidation and provide a strong adhesive surface.
  • Plastic: Choose primers that are specially formulated for plastics to avoid damaging the model.
  • Resin: Select primers that can penetrate the typically porous surfaces of resin without causing any warping or pooling.

Application Tips and Techniques

  • Multiple Thin Coats: Better than a single thick coat as it prevents drips and maintains details.
  • Proper Ventilation: Essential when using spray primers to avoid inhaling fumes.
  • Surface Preparation: Clean the model thoroughly to remove oils and debris before priming.

Expanded FAQs

What primer should I use for a highly detailed resin model?

For resin models with intricate details, a high-quality surface primer that can fill in micro-pores without obscuring details is recommended, such as Tamiya Surface Primer.

Can I prime over an old paint job?

Yes, you can prime over an old paint job to refresh the surface or change the base color, but ensure the old paint is clean and free from loose or flaking sections.

How does weather affect primer application?

High humidity can cause "blushing" or cloudiness in spray primers, while low temperatures can slow down the drying process. Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations regarding environmental conditions.

Are there eco-friendly primers available for miniatures?

Yes, several brands offer eco-friendly, water-based primers that are less harmful to the environment and safer for home use.

What is the difference between filling and non-filling primers?

Filling primers are thicker and designed to level the surface, filling in small imperfections. Non-filling primers are thinner and preserve the original surface details.


Choosing the right primer is as important as any other step in model painting. With the correct primer, your paint job will not only look better but will also last longer, providing satisfaction in the craftsmanship of your miniatures and 3D models.

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