Gesso, saving gamers caught in the cold

The ground is covered by about 30 cm of snow. It’s -10 degrees centigrade. About 4 hours of sun each month.

Living in Sweden presents difficulties for the wargaming geek. Spray-on primer is completely unusable in the current weather conditions. In fact, it’s unusable for three quarters of the year.

The solution is gesso. A little simplified, it’s what artists use to prime canvases. Three key features makes it incredibly useful for us too:Ges

1: It’s brushed on. You can prime indoors, without any special ventilation to keep humidity and temperature balanced and the fumes out.

2: It’s acrylic – water soluble. No thinners, no fuss, and it mixes well with other acrylics.

3: It shrinks as it dries. I thin the gesso down and just slather it on. The details will clog, only to merrily return and greet you with a completely flat surface with perfect tooth for basecoating.

I payed about 27 € for a litre (Windsor & Newton), but I’ve heard about cheaper variants as well. I primed an entire Citadel battle board with the stuff – plus a basecoat of white acrylic with gesso mixed in – and still have more than three quarters of the can left.

How many of you have tried priming with gesso? What are your experiences?

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