Thursday, June 19, 2014

Undercoating Minis: Black or White? PART III

Once You Go Black...

Hey All!

As a final installment to this primer/undercoat series, I can sum it all up to this, once you go black, its really hard to go back to a different color. The issues with grainy white showing through the paint layers just don't happen with black. As well, I find Vallejo colors just look truer over black especially the first coat.

Pictured above are two figures, left, black undercoated and right, white. I had to do three layers to get the base coat to cover the white completely, only two on the black. The use of black reduces my painting time and for someone who only paints a figure a day, this helps a lot! I have settled on:

Black Krylon Dual Superbond, using two coats with a couple hours between coats for a super-durable base-coat. At around 6 bucks a can, this will be my choice for all basecoating from now on.

These figures are for my Soviet Storm Squads to flesh out my Stalingrad forces. Great Battlefront figures although short and fat, they are similar to the BF Rifle-armed Infantry in stature and size. A few are too-short and have absolutely no neck. I added a new head to a few of these (above second from right) so they are usable. Also changed the Molotov-thrower to a grenade-thrower which was a simple change with an x-acto. I have again mixed in a few Greatcoated figures to add variation.

Many WWII painters have a certain color that eluded them despite their best efforts (Dunkelgelb anyone?).  Mine is the color of both the wrap and Shinel Greatcoat. Spent waaaay too much time staring at color swatches! I settled on the 'Brown variation' 50% Burnt Umber 941 + 50% USA Tan Earth 874 combo.
Other colors are as per my Recommended Colors link on the top-right of the blog with the pants mostly Khaki Grey and shirts, Middlestone. I painted in a few chinstraps on those figures that had issues with facial detail or looked too plain although they should probably all have them.




  1. Yes. I agree. A black undercoat is best for me also.

  2. I'm going to try a black undercoat out myself. I usually do white. Thanks for this comprehensive series!

    I definitely know what you mean about elusive colours. I must have nearly 20 different dunkelgelb colours I have tried in different combinations.

  3. I had thought about giving white a go, but you've convinced me to stick with black. White seems to be something you have to work against, whereas the black enhances the finished product. Excellent brushwork all round by the way, they look great. Cheers, Paul :-)

  4. black is too dark for me. I tend to like brighter colors and constrats, black stomps my figures... just my preference though.

  5. I started my painting always doing white, I recently switched to black and like it so much more!

  6. Hi Troy, I ran into you at Salute two years ago, and your minis inspired me to use white undercoats for my Hungarians. They look awesome, but yeah, white undercoats are a nightmare, black gives you the same result for less effort. Welcome to the dark side!

  7. Hello Amin.
    While it has taken me a while to see the light (dark?), I am committed to using black to undercoat for as you say, white can be a nightmare!

    still learning,