Friday, 2 November 2012

Optimal Prime

I'm sure many of you are familiar with the concept of the 'spray stick'. For those who aren't, the spray stick is a really great technique to use when priming your miniatures.

It's kind of exactly what it sounds like. You attach your miniatures to a stick (or stick-like object) with adhesive tack or similar and spray away with your spray primer.

So why bother? What are the advantages?

Actually, the advantages are pretty significant.

1) Batch priming

You can fit loads of models really close together so it makes it really simple to prime large batches of models fast. In the picture at the top of the page, there are 46 models attached to the spray stick. I could have fit over 50 models on 25 mm bases if I wanted.

2) Control

As you spray the spray stick allows you to really easily move the models around so you can more effectively control the direction the spray primer is coming from. For instance, by simply twisting the stick in your hand you can get into all those hard to reach nooks and crannies, such as under arms and below legs.

3) Speed

With the spray stick you can move the models around to get all sides primed in the same session, rather than priming one side, waiting for them to dry, turning them all around, and spraying again. I always found that a hassle with the old 'box and newspaper' method.

4) Less waste

So much primer never even ends up on models. Using the spray stick method, you will find that a fair amount of the 'overspray' actually falls on one of the other models on the stick. And more often than not you'll find that while spraying one row of models, you've essentially primed the under sides of other rows of models on the stick.

5) Convenience

If you have a nice outside space you can forget all about laying paper down, finding a box to spray in, and all that inconvenience. Instead just grab your loaded spray stick, grab your primer, find a spot far enough away from anything you don't want primer getting on and spray away.

6) Convenient drying

You can leave models on the stick as they dry. In fact, so long as you don't put models too close to the end you can carefully lean the stick against a wall or table. This means you won't have to take up a load of space spreading models out as they fully dry. Perhaps a minor point, but it is really convenient!

So if you've never tried a spray stick then I heartily recommend that you do so. You can use anything really, so long as it's rigid and strong enough not to bend or buckle. The stick in the photo at the top of the page is a cardboard tube from the inside of a roll of gift wrap. My oldest spray stick is part of a handle from an old mop that snapped in two!

Have you used a spray stick? Do you plan to now? Perhaps you have priming tips of your own? Let me know in the comments below.


  1. Quite a nifty technique. I'll have to try that one myself sometime soon!



  2. Which adhesive do you use? My fear with this has always been that I'd get halfway through my priming and models would begin dropping off into the lawn wet with primer.

    1. Hi Harry. I use Blu Tack. You need to work it a bit first to make it stickier but it holds normal sized plastic models just fine. Heavier ones or ones that are a little top-heavy can be tricky, but so long as you use plenty of Blu Tack and press it down nice and firmly, you should be ok. Just keep your eye on the models and if one starts to come unstuck, stop and sort it right away.

    2. Thanks! I will definitely need to give this a try. Priming is such a production for me right now... find nice day, find cardboard, prime minis in driveway, pray no one runs over them as they dry, etc.