First Look Review
Surface Primer
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by: James Bella [ C5FLIES ]


Vallejo Acrylics is well known in the modeling community for their Model Color, Model Air and Panzer Aces range of paints. Just about a year ago, Vallejo released a new acrylic-urethane primer in three colors: white, black and grey. Applied with either bristle or air brush, these leave a smooth, durable base on a variety of modeling materials such as styrene, photo etch, resin, putty, etc.

new colors

Very soon, Vallejo Acrylics will be releasing a new range of colors in the form of acrylic-polyurethane Surface Primers. As I understand, these new primers are meant to mimic the original primers used, provide a color coordinated primer eliminating the need to saturate the surface with your base coat to cover an 'unnatural' color, and provide a contrast to weathering techniques such as scuffing and chipping.

The seven new colors coming out are as follows:
RAL 7021 German Panzer Grey
RAL 7028 German Dark Yellow
RAL 8000 German Green Brown
RAL 8012 German Red Brown
73607 U.K. Bronze Green
73608 US Olive Drab
73609 Russian Green

Like the original three colors, these come in 60ml flip-top bottles with a squirt spout making it easy to add the primer to your color cup. The very low odor (almost non-existent) and quick drying times that are common with the Vallejo range of products make these a pleasure to use.

Coverage seemed to be very good on the colors I tried, and provided an excellent base for Model Air top coats. Where I applied it too heavy in my test runs, the paint leveled itself out and formed a nice tight skin that still retained the fine details of the model. In two of the images, I used the German Red Brown and the Dark Yellow as primers with a Model Air topcoat of Dark Yellow to show the contrast with chipping. The last image shows the contrast between the Surface Primer and its corresponding Model Air color. Clean-up is the same as with other Vallejo acrylic products, I rinse the cup with tap water and flush with Vallejo Airbrush Cleaner, which not only cleans but lubricates too.


Until Vallejo released the original acrylic primers, the only models I used primer were auto's that needed a gloss finish. The highly offensive (to me) odor of lacquer primer forced me to use them outdoors. Now I prime everything, and my quality of paint finish has dramatically increased by doing that.

By using a color coordinated primer may mean applying less paint to the model, allowing more detail to show through and more vibrancy to the top coat. By using a contrasting color, new and/or easier weathering possibilities open up.

Highs: Good range of colors, excellent primer properties. Very low odor and quick dry times.
Lows: None noted.
Verdict: A step forward by providing a range of realistic primer colors other than the traditionally offered white, black and grey.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: Other
  Mfg. ID: Varies
  Suggested Retail: TBA
  PUBLISHED: Mar 20, 2011

Our Thanks to Vallejo Acrylics!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About James Bella (c5flies)

My main interest is 1/35 scale WWII armor, Axis and Allied, and will occasionally branch out into other areas. The builds I have done so far have been pretty much OOB, and considering what most newer kits include, that is usually more than enough for me. Even though my projects do not always end up ...

Copyright 2021 text by James Bella [ C5FLIES ]. All rights reserved.


These look really interesting, judging by comments, i think im going ot try some! thanks for the review.
MAR 22, 2011 - 11:47 AM
Do they have a U.S. web site?
MAR 22, 2011 - 11:56 AM
The company website is here in English: If you mean to make a purchase, they do not sell direct but are carried by many online shops in the US. Sprue Brothers and Colorado Miniatures are two shops I can highly recommend.
MAR 22, 2011 - 12:25 PM
They have vendors in the U.S. and Canada and a great website linked below. Definitely check out the Downloads page and the Blog Model Paints, some good info there Vallejo Website
MAR 22, 2011 - 12:26 PM
Thank you,my next question was going to be where can I get them,but you took care of that also.Thanks againJ.T.
MAR 22, 2011 - 12:49 PM
They should be arriving at my supplier any day hopefully, and I should have them soon there after!
MAR 22, 2011 - 03:06 PM
James, Thanks for the review. Very informative right up and it is good to see that wide range is available to include most base colors. Great new product with many uses for sure.
MAR 22, 2011 - 04:33 PM
I've been using primers that match the the base color as close as possible, but that's been difficult with only neutral colors. This is much like tintable automotive primers and I'm definitely going to give them a try! Thanks for the review James
MAR 27, 2011 - 12:02 PM
Excellent review James. Very interesting product. Will definitely try them. The black primer as well, for my cars. Thanks James.
MAR 28, 2011 - 06:32 AM

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