Home Forums General General Am I the only hobbyist who simply doesn’t believe in undercoat colours? Reply To: Am I the only hobbyist who simply doesn’t believe in undercoat colours?

Tony Hughes

If you put on a top coat of highly pigmented, opaque colour then the undercoat is irrelevant – that should be obvious. Using thin layers of semi-opaque paint with more layers in some areas than others (they way older artists used to do) then the undercoat will affect the final colour, though to a variable extent.

I do mostly 6-15mm and only occasional larger stuff. Block painting with opaque colours works best IMHO on smaller figures, then a wash (sometimes) and a few highlights.

What I want from a primer is a good surface for the paint to adhere to without it visually obscuring the detail. Both black & white make it more difficult to see the figure details so I add an undercoat to make details more visible. Dry brushed white over a dark primer & a black or dark brown wash or glaze over  light primer.

The effect of both is to make the higher spots lighter than the lower parts and this can often let me manage with a single coat of colours that don’t cover too well because the undercoat gives me a bit of shading in low areas. The high areas then get hit with the highlight at the end, if they are too dull.

That is how I see primer, undercoat (or basecoat – same thing) & top coat working for me.

Personally I find the confusion of using incorrect terminology annoying and damaging. It isn’t easy for a beginner to get a good start if the community continually ignores those who misuse well accepted terminology and claim that it doesn’t matter. It does matter if you you’re just starting.