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Which Primer to use with which paint

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  • Member since
    August, 2017
  • From: Miami Florida area
Which Primer to use with which paint
Posted by Dan the man on Saturday, May 05, 2018 9:20 PM

For painting plastic cars and military models I'm new to using an airbrush and I've been experimenting with using a primer and not using a primer. I like using the enamel paints but not much experience in using a primer. It's dificult to find an enamel primer in a bottle to mix in the airbrush so I've used a spray can into a cup and then thin it for the airbrush with not much luck. I have found acrylic primer in a bottle at the local Hobby Lobby and started to buy it but thought of asking of people in the know. My question:

Is it ok to use an acrylic primer and then enamel paint over that as a final color? Will the water based primer work with the oil base paint?

Thank you in advance for any suggestions.

Tags: Primer tips
  • Member since
    September, 2017
Posted by Big Gary on Sunday, May 06, 2018 1:50 AM

I've used acrylic over enamel for airbrushing before with no problem. Just let it dry.  I use only WalMart Mart primer, about a dollar, then buff it with a blue paper towel .  works great .

  • Member since
    November, 2003
  • From: East Bethel, Mn
Posted by midnightprowler on Sunday, May 06, 2018 5:53 AM

I have been using Walmart primer as well under my polyurathane, but they no longer carry it, so I'll probably switch to duplicolor. Sucks, it's far more expensive.

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  • Member since
    May, 2008
Posted by TerryB on Sunday, May 06, 2018 8:36 PM

I just posted a video which covers this excact subject

Chekc it out here -


  • Member since
    November, 2004
  • From: UK
Posted by PatrickW on Tuesday, May 08, 2018 3:05 AM

I use a Halfords Auto grey rattle can primer, then if the colour is to be a bright orange, red, yellow or green, I put on a couple of coats of matt white, enamel or acrylic, and as above, wait for it to cure/dry properly before laying up any other paints. I'm in the UK. 

  • Member since
    November, 2016
Posted by bluenote75 on Tuesday, May 08, 2018 1:46 PM

I would suggest Tamiya Liquid Primer in the bottle.  It's lacquer, comes in gray or white and airbrushes beautifully.  Just thin it with Tamiya lacquer thinner and you'll be good to go.  

Anything can go over top of it.

  • Member since
    August, 2005
  • From: Nashua, New Hampshire
Posted by mrmike on Friday, May 11, 2018 3:26 PM

In my experience, I have used only hobby primers (Testors, Model Master, Tamiya) and have branched out to using Dupli-Color Sandable Primer.  I use mostly Tamiya primers with Tamiya paints.  Testors/Model Master primers with Testors/Model Master paints.  I had Testors One Coat Lacquer paint burn through Tamiya primer which sparked me to using the Dupli-Color primer instead. 

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  • Member since
    August, 2017
  • From: Miami Florida area
Posted by Dan the man on Wednesday, May 23, 2018 9:23 PM

Thanks for all the tips. I'll give them a try. After all that is what experimenting is all about right.

  • Member since
    September, 2013
  • From: Tacoma, Washington
Posted by Gary Davis on Thursday, May 24, 2018 12:37 PM

I've used Duplicolor Grey (de-canted and thinned a little w/ Laqure thinner). Then I tried using the primer from a great primer. Goes on smooth and stays that way. It comes in Grey and white and you can put any paint over it. I but it in the 4oz bottles. Great stuff....

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