Alternatives to Ultramarine Blue: Army Painter Primer?

I’ve been plagued with cans of Ultramarines Blue spray paint that just don’t work.  I must have ten cans of this in my garage which are mostly full, yet they refuse to spray and I can’t come up with a solution to breathe some life into them.  As a result, I’ve had to find a different means of basecoating my army.  I’ve used an airbrush in the past to some success, but the cost of GW’s paint pots is really getting out of control, so I’m looking for an alternative.

I know some people prefer vallejo paints, or even the cheap bottles of paint you can find at Walmart or arts and crafts stores.  I’ve nothing against either, but I can’t seem to find one that matches closely.  So, when I heard that the navy blue primer from Army Painter was a close match, I ordered a couple of cans to see for myself. (Yes, I know I should only order a single can when testing, but due to the cost of shipping, it made sense to order two at once).

Pricewise, Army Painter’s solution is $14.99 retail (or $11.99 from, so it’s roughly similar to GW’s primers.  No great savings there, but it does mean you don’t have to prime and paint, saving you a step, and a smidge of paint to boot.  It shook up nicely and went on really smooth, so I had no complaints there.  So far, so good, right?

Well, when it came to the purpose I actually purchased it for, it fell short.  As you can see from the photo of the termagants below, the color frankly doesn’t match Ultramarines Blue very well.  Granted, since I spray my ‘Nidz and then dip them, the wood stain will probably do a relatively good job of hiding the difference in color. 

From Left to Right: Army Painter, Army Painter with Ultra Drybrush, Black Primer with Ultra Basecoat

The model on the left was a base model sprayed with the Army Painter Primer: Navy Blue.  The model on the right was primed black (Armory spray primer), and then sprayed with the can of Ultramarines Blue (the last working can I own).  The middle model was primed with the Navy Blue, and then received a quick wetbrush of Ultramarines Blue.  The color differences between the three seem fairly obvious to me–how about you?

The Navy Blue is just too bright to pass for Ultramarines, though I think with the stain, I can get the middle model to blend in with the rest of my forces relatively easily.  Long story short, I think the Army Painter primer is a decent product, though it’s a little pricey, and it certainly doesn’t match Ultramarines.  So, if you’re starting out Ultras (or some other suitably BLOO force), go ahead and pick up a couple of cans.   For me, I’m chalking this up to a loss.
So, while I’m on the subject, if anyone knows of a solution for cheap Ultramarines Blue paint, or knows of a way to nurse spray cans back to life, please let me know.

8 comments on “Alternatives to Ultramarine Blue: Army Painter Primer?

  1. Army Painter Navy Blue primer is a close match for Enchanted Blue, not Ultramarines Blue. Been there, done that for my Ultramarines, the colour just doesn’t work for them. Maybe the new Crystal Blue primer is a better fit?
    PS: What’s wrong with your image, the shades of blue look like light, washed out blue greys?

  2. Is the Crystal Blue primer also by Army Painter? I wonder if anyone
    out there has tried this with any success…

    As for the pictures–yeah, I guess I’m not a very good photographer,
    or perhaps I screwed with the image in picasa too much (“I’m Feeling
    Lucky” does some crazy things sometimes–though I honestly don’t
    recall hitting that for this image). I was going to post a disclaimer
    that something was wrong with the coloring on the image, but I figured
    people would figure that out rather quick.

    Thanks for the head’s up on the possible solution. I’d rather not
    dump money into ordering a can online though before someone I trust
    has given it a try…

  3. Is the nozzle on the cans clogged up or is there no aerosol left to push the paint out? If it’s the former, if you give the tips a good soaking in simply green then some careful cleaning with a straight pin (only do this with the nozzle not on the can!) If there just isn’t any pressure (you can test by using a nozzle from a working can on the non-working can), I’m not sure how fast citadel spray paint normally dried out, but you could try puncturing the can and then carefully pouring the paint into a different pot for use with your airbrush. Be extremely careful if you go the puncture route as if there is any pressure still in the can it could make a really big mess. I’d strongly suggest seeing if the nozzles are just becoming gummed up and cleaning them out with Simple Green though.

  4. They’re full–if not brand new cans. I can’t be 100% sure, but I believe
    there’s propellant in every one.

    I’ve tried switching out nozzles, with little success. Generally a new
    nozzle will spray for a moment, only to sputter and die a few seconds
    later–never to work again. After trying this once or twice, each can
    looses functionality. It’s almost like the nozzle is clogged within the can

  5. Hoping to come on Friday, but not 100% sure yet. Might have some family

    As for the ‘nids, they’re not completely old-school, but pretty far back
    there. They’re from 2nd edition, back when Spike Rifles and Stranglewebs
    roamed the countryside (and were better, as well). There are a couple of
    variants from Rogue Trader days that are even older, but I don’t own any of
    them–thinking they look far too goofy. These guys are a little odd, but
    not having to convert stranglewebs is priceless to me.

  6. That does suck, I know there is a tube that runs from the bottom of the can to the place the nozzle attaches, so it’s possible that it’s clogging along there someplace. Though I’m not sure how to fix that one. Sorry I wasn’t of more help.

  7. No worries at all. I appreciate the thought. It’s just sad to see so
    much good paint go to waste… at moments I see sparks of life in each
    can, but can’t figure out how to get the rest out.

    Was worth a shot. Thanks for the advice!

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