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Mike

Ultimate Acrylic Primer - Black, Grey & White

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Ultimate Acrylic Primer - Black, Grey & White
Ultimate Products


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Primers are an important step in isolating your model's materials from the coming paint, and also play a part in producing a harmonious base on which to build your painting work, preventing peeling, the patina of the model underneath showing through, and improving adhesion. There are lacquer primers out there, but they suffer from pretty nasty smells with chemical properties to match, rendering them difficult to use without a spray booth or an empty house.

Acrylic primers have been available for some time now, with various manufacturers producing them, and with varying degrees of success. This new one from Ultimate was developed by American airbrush company Badger using a name that I can't properly pronounce, but is so good that Ultimate have re-bottled it and are selling it as the ultimate in primers (note the lower case ultimate). It is available in three shades as mentioned in the title, and can be purchased in either 60 or 120ml polyvinyl chloride bottled with a flip-top dispenser cap. On first use you unscrew the cap and remove the protective foil lid to allow the paint to exit the dispensing nozzle when you need it, then close and shake the bottle thoroughly to evenly disperse the components. I find adding a steel or glass ball bearing assists greatly with this.

The paint itself looks quite thick in the bottle, and pours slowly into your paint cup, but is intended to be used neat, without any diluent. A 0.3mm needle at 20psi or higher is also recommended, but I have carried out my tests with a 0.2mm needle in my Infinity, so it's a fair bet it'll work in any 0.2mm or larger needle too. Ensure the area is at a reasonably comfortable temperature, and that the paint is warm too, or it will spray thickly and a little orange-peel might initially show up, although in my test this disappeared during curing, which is nice. At a more realistic temperature (my workshop was cold at the time), the paint sprays much thinner, and the process is quick and easy, resulting in a nice thin coat that thins further while drying. If you experience spitting or a ragged edge to your work, then you should warm up your environment a little and try again. That's not the paint's fault, but more of a symptom of my terrible temperature regulation and general poor health.

The instructions state that you can paint over the primer within 30 minutes, which is great news if you're impatient like me. It also accepts Tamiya masking tape that has been burnished down, lifting without any damage or pulling, which is pretty good for a fairly fresh coat of paint of any sort. You can scrape the paint off with the edge of your fingernail with a bit of practice, but as you can do that with just about any other modelling paint after 20-30 minutes, it's hardly of note.

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The finished primed surface is exceptional, with even the early tests having a nice thin finished coat, despite the thickness of the initial application. I'd have held the initial tests up as a way not to spray primer if it hadn't sorted itself out during curing, so it appears to be pretty bomb-proof as far as the occasional goof might be concerned. Ultimate recommend leaving the primer to fully cure for 24 hours if you plan on sanding or buffing it back, so I will leave this sample the requisite time and reconvene with a piece of fine grit paper to put that hypothesis to the test.

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24 hours later, and the test is passed with flying colours. The rough sanding test section shows the paint and styrene being ripped through by the abrasive together, while the medium grit illustrates that the paint has been worn through as you would expect with any non-acrylic primer, leaving feathered edges that could be easily blended. The polishing grade test patch shows that the paint has been smoothed to a glossy finish without any surface damage or tearing that can be associated with other acrylic primers. I also did a quick test on fresh paint that had been down 30 minutes, and although it was still soft, it was capable of withstanding light polishing.

Adhesion is clearly excellent, although I did take the precaution of cleaning the surface with IPA beforehand to ensure that finger oils didn't interfere with the test. However, I eventually sprayed an additional two wing surfaces during the test, and these didn't receive the same preparation, with no apparent difference in finish.

Update
I have now used the primer in the field (well - the workshop actually), and am updating the review to reflect my experiences. I used the black to prepare my recent Nebelwerfer 42 for paint (you can see the end result here), and found it very easy to use and resilient to handling. Adhesion was excellent, as it had to cope with brass tube, PE, resin and styrene all in one small area. The finish was perfect for immediate painting, and resulted in a very smooth final coat that stands up to close inspection. I added a little white from above to give a little bit of pre-lighting to the primer, which has been lost to an extent due to the camo splotches, but I know it's there :)

Conclusion
This is a very capable acrylic primer, which does everything that I would ask of a primer. It goes down well under sometimes less than ideal circumstances and shrinks back to a thin layer when dry. You can overcoat it in 30 minutes, sand or polish it after 24 hours without fear of the paint rolling up off the surface, which speaks of excellent adhesion. The finished primer coat is also robust, standing up to handling and even light scratching before the plastic is exposed, which is all you can ask of any primer.

Add together all those aspects of performance that you would expect from a primer and you already have a good reason to use it. When you then take into account easy clean-up with water/Ultimate Airbrush Cleaner, plus a distinct lack of smell during and after spraying, easy removal in the event of a mistake or model strip, then it starts to look compelling.

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Grey 120ml bin-small.jpg Grey 60ml bin-small.jpg

White 120ml bin-small.jpg White 60ml bin-small.jpg

Review sample courtesy of
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Good review Mike, been using it on my latest build and it is good and SWMBO likes it as there is no horrible smell as she says ! no thinning required and goes down a treat. I Leave it a day before going over the top with paint which I would do anyway. I use a 5 needle at 15-20psi and I find that a good pressure.

Very easy to clean up as you say I just use water I would certainly recommend it.

Guy

Edited by F4u

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Great review! But you can't pronounce Stynylrez? Well, welcome to the club - neither can I! What was Badger thinking?

Cheers,

Bill

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Nice review!

How does this primer compare to Vallejos colored ones?

I find those impossible to sand without peeling off, so this sounds lot better.

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Good review Mike.

Could I ask if you have tried it on resin and/or etch? If so how did you find it.

Thanks for the review, you must be reading my mind as I'm looking at moving away from my current primer.

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Thanks chaps - I've just used it with resin, styrene and PE for a small build I'm doing, so will report back when I've done a bit more painting. First impressions are that it's fine for multi-media :)

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Thanks for the review Mike. I watched a YouTube video of someone spraying the Badger bottled stuff a few days ago and was alarmed at how thick it looked in the airbrush, it seemed unlikely to me that it would spray nicely at that consistency but obviously it does.

Will this Primer cope with lacquers and Alclad over it too or is it just for regular acrylics?

Duncan B

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Will this Primer cope with lacquers and Alclad over it too or is it just for regular acrylics?

Duncan B

I've used the new Valejo metal colour on them, after a good buff up, and they worked well. I don't know about Alclads though HTH.

Dave

Edited by fingers

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Updated with my experiences of "live" use of the primer on a multi-media model.

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I've been using Badger Stynylrez for some time now and I love it. After my experiences with Vallejo acrylic primer I was really pleased to find the Badger stuff but it was quite hard to get hold of. Recommended by me!

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Pronounced sty-nil-rez surely?

Has anyone tried it on vinyl tank tracks yet? Strikes me if it works as advertised on vinyl that solves that problem

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Another question, does it have any filling capacity i.e. will it fill slight sanding marks etc or does the surface need to be smooth and polished beforehand?

I've bought a small bottle to try out anyway as I am intrigued to see how something apparently that thick can spray so well.

Duncan B

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Thank you for the detailed and very useful review, Mike. It has been on my shopping list for a while now, I really should get cracking and order some.

Cheers,

Alex.

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Another question, does it have any filling capacity i.e. will it fill slight sanding marks etc or does the surface need to be smooth and polished beforehand?

I've bought a small bottle to try out anyway as I am intrigued to see how something apparently that thick can spray so well.

Duncan B

It does fill tiny marks, but it's not a filler primer in the real sense of the word, so get your surface as good as you can beforehand. At least if you find some additional blemishes after priming you can sand it back and re-prime, whereas some acrylic primers would tear and peel up if you attempted to sand them, even after weeks of curing.

Thank you for the detailed and very useful review, Mike. It has been on my shopping list for a while now, I really should get cracking and order some.

Cheers,

Alex.

Thanks Alex :)

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Used the black primer on a build today, and I have to say I am very pleased with the results. Dried matt and very smooth, just the job ready for the top coat. :thumbsup:

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I have used the Badger Stynylrez, and sprayed it through my airbrush at 30 psi, seems to work really well, but I have also thinned it slightly, but all though it sprays better when thinned does not really sand back as well as if it was sprayed neat

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Posted (edited)

I tried to use it; for me, it didn't work at all well, because it wouldn't adhere to the plastic. Sanding caused peeling, with it coming off in strips. Just my experience, your mileage may vary, as they say over the pond. 

 

Ignore the above; I was using Vallejo primer.  In my defence (and it's not a good one!) the bottles for Ultimate airbrush cleaner and universal thinners (both of which represent excellent value, and work well) look just like the Vallejo bottle.  I ordered some primer and am now agog with anticipation, waiting to spray it all over my Special Hobby Tempest.

 

Mike 

 

 

Edited by Chaotic Mike
Correcting an inaccuracy

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10 hours ago, Chaotic Mike said:

I tried to use it; for me, it didn't work at all well, because it wouldn't adhere to the plastic. Sanding caused peeling, with it coming off in strips. Just my experience, your mileage may vary, as they say over the pond. 

 

Mike 

Hi Mike

 

Sorry to hear you've had a bad experience.  To be honest, there must've been something wrong with the plastic itself for this primer not to adhere to it as this is the primary function for a primer!  I can only assume that there was mold release agent or similar contamination on the plastic.

 

Again with the peeling, this will solely be down to not letting it cure for long enough.  As our primer is a self levelling polyurethane primer, it needs time to cure sufficiently enough to fully allow sanding and other rough treatment.  We recommend that it is allowed 24 hours to cure before sanding.

 

All the best

Lee

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Is it specifically formulated for airbrush use or can it be applied with a traditional paintbrush as well?

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1 hour ago, upnorth said:

Is it specifically formulated for airbrush use or can it be applied with a traditional paintbrush as well?

I have brushed it on small areas successfully. Eg as a base coat for wheels or some spot seam checking. 

 

Doing a wing or fuselage not so much. But then I am not well versed in the techniques of brushing large surfaces. 

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I bought some about a year ago, only tried it once, didn't work that great at the time, but that could have been my old airbrush

Curious to know what is the best to clean the airbrush after use?

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I've just used it for the first time and thought it was great stuff.

 

Shot through a 0.3mm airbrush at 20psi it went on very well and self levelled nicely. I haven't tried sanding it yet. It was the black that I used btw.

 

James

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Posted (edited)
30 minutes ago, Graeme H said:

I bought some about a year ago, only tried it once, didn't work that great at the time, but that could have been my old airbrush

Curious to know what is the best to clean the airbrush after use?

This is the same paint as the Badger ones that i use!

You can clean it with ipa or anything else with alcolhol in it!!

And it is preferred to use a large nozzle like a 0,5 but i had great results with a 0,3 and simply thin it with water if needed.

I also used Vallejo flow improver and can be used as well ...

 

 

Cheers, Jan

Edited by janneman36
info added

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