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Sunday, 8 July 2012


I've not got a huge amount finished this week but I have made a fantastic discovery and that discovery is Bob Ross Artists Gesso.

Some time ago whilst perusing the Lead Adventures forum I came across a thread all about base coating preferences and techniques. In said thread someone was extolling the virtues of Artists Gesso, so when I noticed a bottle of Bob Rock grey Gesso in town on my last pound and charity shop recky I thought I'd give it a shot.

I can confirm that Gesso is the greatest thing ever to happen in the field of undercoating miniatures and here follows my weird rambling sort of review on Gesso
Here's the gesso I purchased, If I remember rightly it was around £10-£12 for the 475ml bottle which compared to the citadel fortress grey I was using previously is a bargain. At the current rate, to purchase 475ml of fortress grey would set me back roughly £90.

The first thing you'll notice about the gesso is it's consistency, it pours with a similar 'flow' to cream which means that undercoating things like chainmail and fur take no time at all as it runs into all the low lying details and flows off the brush perfectly. The lead adventures thread that was all about gesso mentioned that you could literally dump the gesso onto mini's really thickly and not worry about clogging up any fine details due to the way it dries. Without seeing examples for myself I was very sceptical until I tried it on a test figure, I've included an example of the process below using a very finely detailed Reaper mini.

Here's the bare metal mini:

Here she is again with the Gesso slapped on quickly and thickly, note the obscured detail on the hair (click to enlarge):

Finally here's the mini once the Gesso is dry:

Due to the way it contracts and shrinks as it dries you can see the gesso hasn't obscured anything on the figure and in some respects has done too perfect a job as it's made the mold lines I thought I'd sorted really stand out :)

So after the grey gesso revelation I decided to spend yesterday undercoating a ton of stuff ready for painting  and made a start on a couple of townsfolk of unknown manufacture and a couple wraiths from various different companies:

Cheers Bob Ross


  1. Hi!

    Thanks for the review! I think I may have to have a bash with it myself as using spray primer has been more hassle than its worth!

    How long does it take to dry out though?

    All the best

    1. No Worries, I think you're supposed to wait 24 hours for it to completely dry but by the time I'd finished painting the large batch the first figures were dry. I think my spotlight helped speed up the process but it's probably best to do figures in batches to give yourself drying time.

  2. Well I'm sold....after seeing your photgraphs I have ordered some.

  3. This looks great. Did you have to thin it, or was it straight from the bottle?

    1. No straight from the bottle, no thinning involved :)

    2. Cool, and what about your black wash over the top, is that some magical formula? Or just nuln oil?

    3. Nothing fancy just Nuln Oil

  4. Thanks for the tip - I've been looking for an alternative to a can of spray paint for some time, so I'll have to try this!