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
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:
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: