Monday, May 11, 2015

Emergency help needed for fuzzy primer

I primed a squadron of 12 Austrian cuirassiers yesterday and three of the new Austrian 3-pd cannon models in the Minden range. I was all "primed to paint " them tonight, but to my complete horror, every figure has one side covered with fuzzy black primer

I tried scraping the fuzz off with a new tooth brush in the hope that they could be recovered and reprimed. however, they are not up to snuff and I don't want to spend hours painting the figures only to find that I could not cover up the rough fuzzy surface on one side of the figure.

I'm sure that some of my regular readers have gone through this experience before and I'm hoping that you can give me some advice. I've decided that I need to strip all of the primer off the figures and start anew. So the question is, what is the best way to strip primer off of a figure. I used Armory black primer if this helps. I shall never use black primer again.

I'm going to have a wee dram or two of Highland Park 18 year old Scotch right now. I think that I deserve one right now.

Please leave a comment in the comment section if you have a good method for striping figures or send me an email at


  1. Oven cleaner, then leave outside overnight in a closed plastic bag.

    Wear gloves when you rinse them.


  2. You can also strip paint with Simple Green or Pinesol.

  3. I've had the fuzzy paint before, what a mess. It made me nervous whenever I try to use spray paint, which is a rarely as possible now. Sorry to hear that this happened to you.

    Anyway, I stripped my figures using what I had on hand, regular paint stripper, the kind one uses to refinish old furniture or to remove built up coats of paint on wood work. There are environmentally unfriendly types (with ammonia I think) and milder products on the market. Use just enough to cover the figures in the bottom an old ice cream tub or the like, let then sit a few minutes, remove and brush lightly with an old toothbrush. Brush away from you so as not to splash your self with the gunk and be very careful to use both gloves and safely glass and ventilate well. The harsh product will burn your skin, eyes, lungs, etc. You will need to wash the figures down with a solvent afterwards, such as methyl hydrate.

    Was it very humid when you sprayed? I think that all the problems I have seen with sprays were related to temperature and humidity...

    1. No, it wasn't humid. I spray prime in the basement and then turn a fan on after spraying. My guess is that I didn't shake the can enough for the second pass over the figures or I sprayed while the surface was still damp. I've nevertheless had the problem when I spray in the basement and I've only ever had a problem with black primer, never grey.

  4. I have heard Jim that a coat of gloss varnish will absorb the rougher varnish "fragements" and give you a smooth surface again to work with. Worth a shot on one figure to save stripping perhaps.

  5. Without seeing the figures I am guessing it was humid when you primed. This is bad as the primer is propelled it hits the water vapor in the air and reacts. This can happen to all primers in humid conditions. Best to avoid this in future.

    I would strip with Simple Green

  6. Fairy Power Spray used to be excellent for paint stripping. It wouldn't ruin plastic models and so on, but they changed the recipe at least for the product they sell here in Finland and the magic is gone, I cherish the lone bottle of the good stuff I have left.

  7. I have heard Detol works well

  8. I've had this happen with white primer. Soak the figures in Pinesol for a few day and then brush off the primer. It does stick in some of the folds but you will have removes the "orange peel" effect.

  9. Thank you everyone for the responses and ideas. I think that I will give Simple Green a try first.


  10. Jim,
    I used to be a Simple Green user, but found Pinesol to be noticeably better. If you used an enamel primer, as Dan says, you will have a bit in the small nooks and crannies that can be scraped loose with a pointed object (No.11 blade tip). Acrylic paints and primers can be stripped with Pinesol in 1/2 a day of soaking. And yes, Lemon scent Pinesol works just as well, and is a much softer scent.

  11. I had pretty good results last night after about 4 hours in the green bath. I fished out one cannon model as a test and was able to brush off or wash of probably 90-95% of the primer. So I am encouraged by this. I left the remaining figures in the bath overnight and will probably work on them this evening.

  12. Its not the black primer the white does this as well.

  13. Sorry to hear of your priming problems.
    I like to airbrush with vallejo surface primer. Water based polyurethane. Very forgiving and goes on smooth.
    Humidity shouldn't be a problem.
    You can also tint using game color. Not model color since that's not polyurethane.
    I paint on using a mix of gesso and craft acrylic.
    Both should be left overnight to thoroughly cure.