Until recently, I have been using GW and making not too bad experiences with it, but some weeks ago, I tried the Army Painter Colour Primer - my experiences were mixed so far, but that might very well be improper-usage related.
It is a bit thicker than a normal primer, but since it is
no normal primer (rather a combined primer / layer-of-colour kind of thing, thinner than normal paint, thicker than normal primer), that somehow strikes me as logical.
It certainly is
convenient that with the right choice of colour (and since the range encompasses nearly every colour you could possibly want as a basecoat - black, white, grey, green, blue, red, bone, flesh, yellow, armour, military olive etc., with the tones corresponding to the popular Citadel paints), after spraying, you have your first proper coat of colour and can wash / ink / highlight to your heart's content.
The usage, however, can be tricky. From what I have read on the Interwebz and from what I have experienced with plastic and metal and different spray distances:
- Shaking is about the same as Citadel. 1-2 minutes, and you have no problems.
- Spray behaviour favours "long, even bursts", as it says on the can, but really, who listens to a can?
Since I seldom spray whole regiments, but rather single or at most a handful of miniatures, I seldom use long, even bursts (I just cannot bring myself to waste so much paint by keeping on spraying while I rotate the miniature on its tray, just for the sake of long, even bursts), and so far, it has made no negative difference for me.
- Distance, however, is most unforgiving. For me, the 15-20cm maximum that is mentions on the can, is extreme close (with GW sprays, I most often stay at double that distance...), and the first time I used it (30-40cm away), the paint cluttered up details like Hell. Since the figures were mostly plastic zombies, and since zombies are generally not the tidiest or most wholesome of people, that was still tolerable, but a distance of about 15cm works wonders in comparison.
- Drying properties are quite... idiosyncratic. The paint "shrinks" or "condenses", so to speak, considerably.
The aforementioned working at high distance and cluttering up details seemed to repeat itself when I tried a lower distance - the face of the figure was one even lake of paint, without any
details but a bit of nose sticking out, but over the course of fifteen to twenty minutes, the paint dried up so efficiently that when I continued painting, every last detail, even tiny scars on the cheeks, were crisp and visible. Of course, that can also be connected to temperature (I usually spray outdoors) issues, but with Citadel paints, I never noticed such a reduction.
That may also explain why longer distances of spraying are so extremely different.
In nuce, great product with a wide range of colours, really time saving, a bit cheaper than Citadel sprays, but for the love of Old Roger, obey the tin!