Priming plastic models is essential. Especially when using acrylic paint. This type of paint doesn’t have the same bite into plastic that hotter paints such as lacquer or enamel might have. At the same time, and for the same reason, neither does acrylic primer. The most common issue encountered due to poor primer performance is paint peeling or lifting when using masking tape. A very frustrating experience most often seen when using Vallejo surface primer.
Enter Badger Stynylrez. Made by the same company that manufactures Airbrushes in the United States. We can’t spell it, we can’t pronounce it, but it’s a must have on every paint shelf. It has all of the essential attributes you need in a primer.
It comes in a variety of colors. You have your standard black, gray, and white, as well as others such as rust which is good for armor modelers. Some colors appear to perform differently than others. For example I found that white did not have the same coverage or leveling properties that black and gray have.
Out of the bottle, the primer is thick. I wouldn’t recommend it for brush painting but it does work well for filling imperfections or trying to eliminate ghost seams. Badger recommends you use an airbrush with a .05mm needle at 30-40 psi. That might seem like you need fire hose to spray it but trust me when I say it’s absolutely necessary. In my experience trying to spray it with smaller needles, like in a Badger Renegade Krome, is an exercise in frustration.
You should also expect a lot of tip dry. Due to its thickness and fast drying properties it will give you tip dry and goobers. It’s good practice to have a cotton swap or towel readily available to clean the airbrush tip often.
So now let’s go over the performance metrics mentioned above.
Stynylrez has excellent adhesion when priming plastic models. When airbrushed as directed it sticks to the model and doesn’t shift or spider. This is true for spraying close or far away. This is also why the primer shouldn’t be thinned. It may affect it’s properties such as surface tension and cause it to bead up rather than lay flat. Adhesion is also promoted through fast drying times. I would always recommended wiping down a model with isopropyl alcohol before priming to get dust, debris, and grease off the surface but in testing Stynylrez does a great job in cutting through like you would find in lacquer or enamel primers.
When using all colors, with the exception of white, the coverage is excellent. Generally one coat is all that is needed to cover up any body work or fill small imperfections like scratches. The black and gray colors especially have strong pigments to give a nice uniform color.
Self-leveling properties are critical for acrylic primers because they don’t get a lot of time to level out since they dry so fast. Stynylrez scores high marks in this area. Whether flooded on or light layers the primer dries fast, level, and smooth. This property alone makes the primer extremely forgivable to any errors in spray discipline.
Check out the image below of my KA-6 Intruder which was primed in Stynylrez black. When a primer dries smooth and flat it allows you find imperfections that may need to be cleaned up. This is why a lot of modelers opt to prime in black. As you can see, a LOT more body work needed to be done! With good self-leveling properties I don’t have to fight orange peel or texture.
Which brings me to durability. Stynylrez is tough as nails which is needed when priming plastic models. Paint adheres very well to it and it holds up against rigorous masking and handling. It also doesn’t dry soft and rubbery like a Vallejo primer. In fact, since switching to Stynylrez I’ve never had the primer peel or lift from the plastic. It’s also great for sanding down which makes spot priming with a brush or airbrush easy.
Generally, you can be ready for paint 5-10 minutes after priming. Even less if you use a hair dryer which it responds very well to. If you plan on sanding or want an ultra smooth surface for a gloss paint or finish you can let it sit over night to allow it to fully cure.
Without a doubt Stynylrez is a must buy and must have for any modeler. If you have any sort of other acrylic primer such as Vallejo, Mission, or Testors, it’s time to throw it out. Stynylrez is miles ahead of them.
One thing to note is Mig “One Shot” primer. This is rebranded Stynylrez and by association gets a recommendation from me if you choose to use that product line.