Best Primer for Models with Metal Barrels, Photo-etch and Resin

I am looking for a reasonable primer to use on my 1/35 scale armor. The kits I am currently working on have aftermarket parts such as metal barrels, photo-etch and resin. My local hobby shop has the Tamiya primer in the can. I am wondering if there is an alternative to this in an airbrush form.

Mr. Surfacer in either 1000 Grey or 1500Black is my go to. Sticks to everything, and thins beautifully with cheap hardware store lacquer thinner.

For areas where I really want to make sure things stick to PE or other metal I have a small bottle of Tamiya metal primer that I’ll just brush on.

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While not a generic primer, VMS has a special product for metal that seems to work fine:

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I never prime any of my models and have no issue with paint adhesion on plastic, metal, resin, etc… I feel it is an unnecessary step that just fills in details with another layer of paint.

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Yeah but that’s cause you’re a wizard. Us mortals need all the help we can get.

Thanks, but no. I just don’t see/feel a need to add another step with priming for negligible results.


I don’t always use primer, it depends what I am doing. If the model has a lot of different materials/colors I will sometimes put a light coat of primer because the underlying color can affect the topcoat.

The other place I like to use primer is metal, especially aluminum, gun barrels. I find that airbrushed paints scratch off easily on them. @HeavyArty how do you deal with them?

I don’t prime either. I’ve put so much effort into my PE, resin, and scratchbuilt details that I want to cover them with as few coats of paint as possible. Add to that many primers (Vallejo) are just the company’s regular paint and you’re just obscuring detail. I clean my models by spraying them liberally with Windex, then gently rinsing them with the kitchen sink sprayer. I let them air dry under a Tupperware container and I never have paint adhesion problems on styrene, brass, resin, aluminum, or any other material.

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No primer there either, straight paint covers the metal barrels just fine for me.

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Thank you all for the suggestions on this.

My problems with paint chipping/scratching/wearing of the ends of metal barrels, PE edges, and my old wine seal straps stopped when I started to prime. I use Mr Surfacer 1500 black in a rattle can.