In-Box Review
IJA Acrylic Primer
acrylic polyurethane primer in IJA colors
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by: Russ Amott [ RUSSAMOTTO ]


Vallejo Acrylics polyurethane surface primer is now available in new colors for the Imperial Japanese Army in WWII. Kare-kusa-Iro (parched grass) and Tsuchi-Kusa Iro (earth green) have now been released in both 17ml and 60ml bottles.

The acrylic-polyurethane primers are designed to be applied as a base coat under the main color. This color matching allows the final coat to appear richer in appearance, and blend in if a spot was missed in painting.

the primers

I received two sample bottles of the acrylic-polyurethane primer, the kare-kusa-iro, (70-610) in the 17ml dropper bottle, and the tsuchi-kusa-iro in a 60ml flip top bottle. Both bottles are very nice as they allow drop by drop dispensing in a very clean manner. There is a bit of paint that will build up around the applicator tip that can easily be wiped off.

My first test of the primers was a brush application, which went on a plastic milk jug. I figured the milk jug would allow me to clearly see the opacity of the primers. For this application I also used the acrylic-polyurethane gray primer. I have used this previously and know that it applies easily and provides a good, adhering base for top coats. It is ideal as a base for lighter colors. I applied the primer with a cheap brush (all I could find at the moment) which resulted in some brush strokes, but the primer went on easily. The coat was somewhat transparent on the milk jug, but adhesion was good. Brush clean- up was with water.

As I looked at the milk carton I remember that I had some small plastic cups that I use for mixing paints and pastels. I took two of these and applied a primer coat of each color by air brush. I use a Paasche H model single action, and I am very new to airbrushing. The primer was applied straight from the bottle, without thinning. Both primers went on easily and provided a good base coat. There was some slight mottling in the appearance but I suspect that was more a user issue than a product issue. There was absolutely no odor present when spraying, a major bonus in a household full of allergies and asthmatics.

I cleaned the air brush by spraying windex window cleaner through, followed by water.

The primers, like the paints, are very durable when fully cured. The curing process may take some time, up to a week or two depending on temperature and humidity levels, but will become very hard and durable. I did test the tsuchi-kusa-iro (earth green) as a primer coat under US interior green and found it worked quite well. I have had no issues so far using Tamiya, Testors and Poly Scale acrylics over the Vallejo primers.

I did note in James Bellaís review of the Vallejo primers here:

Vallejo Primers

that there was some slight difference in shade between the primer and paint products. I donít have the matching Vallejo paints to compare to but suspect that there will be a slight color difference here as well. The fact that Vallejo has produced good quality, accurate paints and now primers for IJA armor subjects is a major bonus to modelers of those subjects.


I found that the Vallejo acrylic-polyurethane surface primers are easy to dispense, easy to apply, provide a good primer base coat as a foundation for model painting, were odor free and easy to clean up. I thought it a very good product to use for a novice at air brushing, like me.
Vallejo acrylic-polyurethane primers have a MSRP of $4.50 US for the 17ml bottle and $8.00 US for the 60ml bottle. Online prices were generally lower than this, excluding shipping.
Highs: Easy to apply and clean up, no odor. It is a good paint for those new to air brushing.
Lows: None noted.
Verdict: I think this is an excellent product for the scale modeler.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:1
  Mfg. ID: 73-611, 70-610
  Suggested Retail: $4.50-8.00 US
  PUBLISHED: Jul 26, 2012

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About Russ Amott (russamotto)

I got back into the hobby a few years back, and wanted to find ways to improve, which is how I found this site. Since joining Armorama I have improved tremendously by learning from others here, and have actually finished a couple of kits. I model to relax and have fun, but always look to improve. ...

Copyright ©2021 text by Russ Amott [ RUSSAMOTTO ]. All rights reserved.


Gary, Interesting post about the grey primer. I have the same stuff, and it worked perfectly for me. In fact, I got the black version (which I have not yet tried), and now have on order 4 more colored versions. If the colors are any better than the grey, I'm going to be hugely pleased, and if they are no better than the grey, I'll be almost as happy. I have not experienced any issues with my grey primer, but then, I live in Nevada, where it is extremely dry. For Grant, I don't know how long the curing time is supposed to be, but I'm pretty sure I only waited an hour before putting my first color coat on (Tamiya acrylic) over it, and that worked just fine.
AUG 03, 2012 - 11:43 AM
Thanks for the all the quick replies fellas. I recently bought the 'Rot Braun' colour but haven't yet tried it out. Plus I was a little confused by what James mentioned in his review: "The curing process may take some time, up to a week or two depending on temperature and humidity levels..." Which seemed to me, a very long time for an acrylic based paint? Unless he meant a day or two? Anyway, thanks again all, Grant.
AUG 03, 2012 - 12:24 PM
Grant, actually Russ mentioned that and I agree. Dry times are very quick, fully cured (completely hardened) takes longer. I do believe the curing process continues even with top coats applied. I've top coated over these primers within an hour or two on occasion, although my preference is to let the primer dry/cure for a day before applying the other coats.
AUG 03, 2012 - 12:34 PM
Hi James, Thanks for the explanation, I understand what you are meaning now. I'll post my experience of the 'Rotbraun' after I've tried it, which I'm sure will be in the very near future. Grant.
AUG 04, 2012 - 02:16 AM
This should be true for most paints that we will generally deal with from models, to homes, to automotive applications. Russ: Thanks for this review, it looks like I need to pick up one of the 60ml bottles soon
AUG 04, 2012 - 09:30 AM
Hi One of the best things about these new primers from Vallejo is that the colours are so accurate that they can be used as the base colour as well, the two I use the most are Dark Yellow (Dunkelgelb) and US Olive Drab, those two give the best colours I have seen, and priming and base coating all in one is a big time saver. Paul
AUG 04, 2012 - 10:25 AM
I have found one issue, large PE parts. Was doing the shields on my Flak 38, and it did not want to stick. Used the the Green Brown, no issue in the plastic, but did not like going on the PE plates. It there something you need to do with PE before using Vallejo? I wiped the primer off, and used the the Tamiya Fine Primer(rattle can), and no issues. Strange.
AUG 04, 2012 - 11:47 AM
Kevin: Water-based paints such as Vallejo aren't going to adhere well to metals such as PE without something to bite onto. Tamiya is not a water-based paint and can obtain an adequate bite, and I would recommend priming first with the Tamiya you are using or a similar primer and then laying down a coat of the Vallejo primer over the top of it for color consistency under the base coat. Alternatively you can etch the metal with a mild acid, by scuffing/sanding, or by using a self-etching primer if you wish.
AUG 04, 2012 - 01:48 PM
Jeremy Thanks, I will keep a can around for that. Usually not an issue with smaller parts. Kevin
AUG 04, 2012 - 01:54 PM

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