Review: Cheaper than Games Workshop Skull White Primer

3M Automotive Etch PrimerI’ve been out of primer for a while now and after a recent purchase felt the urgent need for a new spray can. In the past I’ve used GW’s Skull White so I wandered into a local GW store in Auckland city and asked them how much a 280g can of Skull White primer costs these days. Apparently it now costs $30 NZD, after learning that I simply walked out of the store again. GW’s prices have been ridiculous for years now, and $30 for a 280g spray can is not acceptable to me. From memory the last can I bought cost me around $22 NZD and this is when the NZ/GBP exchange rate was considerably worse than it is today.

So I asked on our forum if anybody had a decent replacement option and Dustan chipped in with a suggestion. He’s using an automotive primer for his figures these days: 3M’s ‘Etch Primer’ which comes in a 400g can (see the photo). I nipped down to the local Super Cheap Auto and picked up a can for the low price of $19 NZD.

I’ve just finished priming my first batch of figures with it and it works just fine. I’ve finally primed my pewter 15mm Corvus Belli Romans as well as a box of resin Covenant of Antarctica ships for Dystopian Wars. I’ve noticed the spray coverage isn’t as fine as the Skull White can, but I’m only dusting figures and models with the primer, rather than trying to get solid coverage. A dusting of 3M’s etch primer doesn’t obscure any detail that I noticed and adheres well to plastic and pewter. It does adhere to resin, but not quite as strongly (you can scrape it off with a fingernail), but that’s fine as I’ll be over-painting it with several coats of acrylic paints. The primer has no negative effect on plastic or resin that I can detect and Vallejo and GW paints go over the primer coat just fine as well.

So if you’re sick of paying a ‘GW’ tax on their Skull White primer, try this product instead. It is just over a third cheaper, and you get more than an extra third of paint in the can as well. Thanks for the tip Dustan!

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