Citadel primer review | Are Citadel Primers Worth It?


If you’re painting your minis, one of the first questions that’ll always come to mind is should I prime my miniatures

The answer is yes. Priming gives your paints a base to stick to. Technically, you can give a model a base layer by hand, but primers usually give a more even coating, which makes your paint job come out smoother. 

Now that you know this, the next question is what primer should you choose for your miniature? Vallejo, Army Painter, and Citadel are three popular brands that produce primers for miniatures. But for the sake of this article, we’ll give you a breakdown of what Citadel primer offers. 

Are citadel primers good?

Citadel primers are great for preparing your miniature and model surface for painting. 

They have thick pigmentation like Citadel paints, so when used, they offer exceptional coverage that makes your paints look great. 

One thing I really like about Citadel primers is that they primers aren’t restricted to conventional white, black, and gray pigments. You get many colored primers that match the main paint layer you plan to use. 

Citadel Primers Pros

  • Perfect for plastic and metal miniatures
  • Easily accessible
  • Wide color variant
  • Easy to use
  • Dries fast

Citadel Primers Cons

  • Expensive
  • Their spray can is aerosol based and isn’t eco-friendly
  • Sensitive to temperature and humidity

citadel Spray primer Is easy to use

You can find Citadel primers only in a spray can.

Citadel doesn’t offer a primer to use with a brush or an airbrush, but it is common (and I did it as well) to use citadel paints as a primer, or rather, as an undercoat. 

just keep in mind that priming your mini before painting it is necessary if you don’t want the paint to cheap off.

Spray Can – Spraying won’t prove difficult with Citadel spray cans when you spray from a distance. Just make sure you don’t leave any un primed spots and give it an even coat.

Brush – You can do retouches of the primer with a brush if you noticed some spots that hadn’t got a primer on them.

How many coats do you need with citadel primers?

Two light coats of Citadel’s spray primer will do the trick to get even coverage. 

Usually, one coat will not give you even coverage and in many cases, during painting, you will find some spots on your miniature that has no primer on them.

Two coats of Citadel primer will ensure that your whole mini figure is covered with primer and that it is ready to get painted.

Just keep in mind that you want the coats to be as thin as possible to maintain the details of the mini. Thick coats of primer and then a few more coats of paint can result in faded details.

How long does the primer take to dry?

It only takes 30 minutes for Citadel primers to dry. 

But, depending on the application used and the humidity of the work environment, Citadel primers may take up to two hours to dry. 

Citadel primer will make your paint last longer

Without a Citadel primer, your paint is much more likely to come off. 

Whenever I paint a model without priming it, the paint will rub off of the edges when I hold it to paint. An added advantage of using Citadel primer is that when you get a smooth coat and it layers evenly, the paint will hardly rub or flake off. 

This way, your paint stays as long as you want.

citadel Spray primer has a matte finish

Citadel primers, when used, will often give a wet sheen. But fully cured, it dries into a matte finish, as opposed to the reflective surface from glossy primers. 

Simply put, you enjoy a matt or satin finish that is very much like the natural sheen of the paint you’ll most likely use. 

if you don’t do a thick coat, citadel primer will preserve the details well

Technically, if you are priming minis with lots of nooks and recesses, using a spray can effectively maintain the miniature’s details as you will hit the model from various angles, and you won’t have control of the amount of paint blasted out. 

Citadel primers won’t result in some unwanted build-up of thick paint that compromises the miniature’s details. 

With Citadel primers, you get smoothly covered areas, whether in a hot or dry environment. All you need do is layer only thin coats and avoid thicker build-up of primers. 

this primer will stick well to miniatures

Citadel primers will stick as well as any other high-quality primers on your miniature’s surface. 

Their primers have binders that adhere fine to your mini and provide a good surface to paint over. Plus, they are incredibly resistant to wear and chipping. 

24 primer colors to choose from

Like Army painter and Vallejo, Citadel is another brand that dives away from the regular gray, black and white color scheme. 

Citadel spray paints can also be used as a primer, hence, you have many colors to choose from.

If you’re considering getting Citadel primers, you’ll find colors like:

  1. Chaos black
  2. Corrax white
  3. Death guard green
  4. Grey seer
  5. Gryph hound orange
  6. Nazdreg yellow
  7. Blood angels red
  8. Flesh tearer red
  9. Macragge Blue
  10. Retributor armor spray
  11. Matt white
  12. Matt black
  13. Wolfkin grey
  14. Wight bone
  15. Vampire violette
  16. Trench brown
  17. Tempest blue 
  18. Sunset yellow
  19. Sanguine red
  20. Republic blue
  21. Renegade green
  22. Governor green
  23. Ghoul grey
  24. Bruised purple 

All that good has a price

For entry-level mini painters, getting Citadel primers can be challenging because they cost twice as much as many popular paint brands. 

Purchasing Citadel paints means you pay as much as $20 for primers that may cost only $7 from other brands. 

put price aside, Is citadel primer the best primer for miniatures?

The best primers for miniatures are those that work great on any surface, stick well, offer exceptional finish maintains details, last long, and are easy to use. 

Citadel meets these requirements since they adhere well to any material, provides a fine matte finish, and are easy to use. 

So, Are Citadel Spray primers worth it?

Citadel primers are pretty much a must-have when painting your minis. 

While they are pretty expensive compared to other brands, they are worth it with their exceptional consistency and durability. Plus, they won’t ruin your miniatures.