Some Thoughts on Vallejo Surface Primer

A lot of people online seem to really hate this stuff. Others report that it works fine. I’m somewhere in between, so just to confuse things, here is my experience with using it, but no real conclusions.

The item in question

Stuff I like:

  • Easy to spray. Put it in a large-nozzle airbrush, crank it up to 20psi, and hose it on. Thinning (with Vallejo Airbrush Thinner) is not needed, but you can dilute it down a bit if you like.
  • Water cleanup (mostly.) A bit of thinner makes it clean up easier.
  • Dries to a very smooth surface.
  • Available in lots of colors. (Skeleton Bone, Ultramarine, 4BO Green, White, etc.)
  • Can be mixed with Vallejo Model Air/Model Color and presumably other acrylics.
  • Can be brushed on with good results.
  • Dries pretty rapidly.
  • Can be lightly dry-sanded to remove runs and goobers.

Stuff I don’t like:

  • Dries on the airbrush needle tip something awful. Adding flow improver doesn’t seem to help much.
  • Tends to pool at inside corners, and pull away from outside corners.
  • Needs a fairly high pressure and large nozzle to spray, which could be an issue if you’re trying to paint detail. (But then, why are you using a primer for that anyway?)
  • Doesn’t adhere very well to bare plastic, even after pre-washing. It sticks great to Tamiya spray can primer, but if it’s already primed. . .
  • Doesn’t like being wet-sanded. Tends to come off in sheets.
  • Hard to clean if left to dry on a paintbrush.


None, as I stated up top. I’ve been using this most recently because it was the right color. I won’t go so far as to throw it out, and for small spot-fills using a brush it’s pretty good. It’s thinner than the grey Tamiya Liquid Surface Primer in the square bottle, and sometimes that’s the consistency you need. I just haven’t been able to get consistent results using it as a primer for plastic.

It’s possible that the formula may have been updated since I bought this bottle several years ago. And as always, your results may differ from mine.



I finished putting drawers in the workbench back in November, but neglected to post anything about it at the time.

Oh, I do not like this new WordPress editor. Ah; found the old one. That’s better. I prefer to see the controls available to me, thank you very much.

I guess this is done, since I’ve been using it for six months and it’s covered in junk.

Carousel repair

Not much on the bass recently, but I finally got this thing rebuilt.

(Original post about it is here.)

Carousel, repaired

Those are 10″ candles.

It’s really rather bulky. Here’s a closeup of one of the snowmen – their hats needed touchup, and this guy got new buttons.


Will it go round in circles?

I replaced the hub at the top with a thinner piece, built a new spinning deck, and added a bearing to the top of the shaft. It still doesn’t work as well as I’d like, but at least it’s functional.

Hobby Tool Organizer, 2012

Cherry, paste wax finish. Knob is birch.

Hobby Tool Organizer, Cherry, 2012

Originally I’d planned on doing the joints with dovetails, but it didn’t turn out well. The main box and the drawer sides are all rabbetted, and the box on top is simply butt-joined. Some of the edges don’t line up as well as I’d like, but I oriented things so that the ugliest bits are around the back. Mostly.

The divider strips on top don’t define closed areas so that I can slide things out if I can’t pick them up. Sometimes it’s hard to grab little paintbrushes or tools if they’re right up against an edge. The strips are rounded or beveled (depending on what I felt like at the time) as well.

Initial design was done in Trimble (formerly Google) Sketchup. I didn’t do a very good job of it, but it was enough to go by. It’s not hard to use, but I didn’t feel like investing time to learn it thoroughly since I don’t plan on using it a lot.

Invisible Progress

Yes, I’ve really been working on the tool organizer. I just don’t have any photos. (It comes down to the old ‘Do or Tell’ decision.) It doesn’t look so hot, so you aren’t missing anything. The top is cupped, and the joints don’t meet very well so there are gaps. But I had fun with the router, so it’s not a total loss. It will be functional but not much more.

Hobby Tool Organizer

Some 1/4″ cherry, edge-jointed and smoothed out a bit, mostly with a scraper. I’ve started cutting dovetails on one end. This will be the bottom, because it’ll probably turn out badly.

Cherry for the bottom of the box.

And yes, I know this is a cross-grain joint, which will possibly lead to splits later.