Undercoating Models using Gesso

Gesso? What’s that? It’s the stuff that painters often use to prepare a canvas before applying paints to it. It comes in a variety of different colours, well at least white, black and grey, and is itself a water soluble acrylic. So, why would you use this stuff and not a spray? One word – consistency.

I find that sprays are prone to inconsistency due to varying climatic conditions and potentially over-spraying. I do most of my spraying in my shed (workshop) which can get pretty cold and is a dampish place. In winter it is too cold to spray effectively most of the time, so rather than just putting up with grainy or misty spray I decided to look for an alternative. That’s when a friend recommended Gesso. There are several different brands, but Liquitex came recommended, so that’s what I picked up.
Undercoating miniatures using Gesso
(The models above are shiny as they are still drying. Gesso dries matt.)

Using Gesso is not for the faint hearted. It’s a gloopy substance that looks like it should never be put near a finely sculpted miniature. I water it down slightly, but as it goes on it still seems to obscure their details horribly. Here’s where a little faith is needed. As it dries it clings tightly to the detail. It dries in a few hours, but 24 hours is the recommendation. All of the detail is crisp and sharp and I find the process to be more reliable than spraying. The coverage is anywhere you can get a brush and the finish is a tough undercoat that will easily take your paints.

Anyway – that’s a long winded post to say, “Try Gesso, it’s great!”.

Owen

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