Priming - White vs. Black

When it comes time to prime your models for painting you have a decision to make - do I prime my models white, or do I prim them black? Each color choice has a few advantages and disadvantages so there are a few things to consider before you make your decision.

White Primer Advantages -
  • Perfect for bright colored models
  • Best base coat color for flesh
  • Pretty much the only way to end up with a bright white color on your finished model
  • Requires fewer coats of bright colors
  • Miniatures will look better
White Primer Disadvantages -
  • You must completely cover all areas with color as the white will really stick out
  • You must cover all recessed areas and grooves or it will stick out
  • All areas that will be drybrushed a metal must be completely covered with black
  • Models will take longer to paint
Black Primer Advantages -
  • Fewer layers of dark paints
  • If you miss a small area it will not be as noticeable as with white primer
  • Recesses and grooves that are not completely covered will look like shadows
  • Perfect base coat for drybrushing bone or metal
  • Models will not take as long to paint
Black Primer Disadvantages -
  • Will require many layers of light or bright colors of paint
  • Next to impossible to end up with a bright white color on finished model
  • Model will not look as good as one primed white

In general models primed white will take longer to paint but look better, where models primed black will go faster but not look as sharp. There will always be situations where this does not hold true but on the whole this has served me well so far.