anyone have any tips they can offer? they don't seem much different than any other medium but for some reason, working with them bugs me. One thing is the different finish they give off. I was thinking of priming the parts before even touch them to give a standard look to the parts. When you start filing, scraping, etc with metal you get shiny and flat surfaces and you can't tell what you are working with.
What other things do you find helpful working with white metal?
Whole books written on this. The older figures had lead and when painted with artists oils - chemical reactions turned the figures to white dust. Finally primers where introduced to prevent this. Today's figures are different but in general are primed before painting. Typically I will assemble and file the figure as required to remove seams, smootth filings etc. Then wash with thinner to get any skin oils, remaining mold release off. Also clean mold release before assembling, epoxy or crtazy glue. I then spray a coat of Floquil primer and let the figure dry for about a week. I use washes of artists oils to paint and shade etc. Some paint in acrylic sets, other paint in acrylics then highlight and shade with artists oil - among other techniques. Again there are whole books on techniques.
I think we've all had the experience of cleaning up a figure, applying the primer and finding a rough spot, thin seam or other problem that had to be filed, filled or whatever and then reprimed. I like to let the final primer cure completely for a week before commencing. I also use different primers for different final effects - normallly a light gray, but if I want a bright look like fancy dress uniforms I prime with Reefer white. Some colors like yellow have poor coverage - so in onme case a oversprayed the yellow area in reefer yellow then proceeded with the brush painting after it dried for a week.
The low temp casting metals (frequently called white metal) do hold on to oils (including fingerprints) pretty well, so they must be cleaned well before priming. I use either Krylon or Rust-0-leum primer. Then they finish normally. These castings can also be polished with metal polish for a good "polished metal" appearance but they then dull rapidly. A clear lacquer or polyurethane coating, however, does hold the shine.