Saturday 16 January 2010

Something In The Air - Airbush Inbound!

With a desire to expand my modelling and painting skill set, and also add a fun new tool to my collection, I recently purchased an airbrush and compressor with air tank (well, I say recently, but actually I bought it before New Year and it still hasn't arrived yet!).

Having seen the works of hobbyists such as Julien Casses and Mathieu Fontaine and the wonderful effects and finished they achieve using an airbrush, I want to have a go at producing similarly smooth finishes and flawless blends!

As I've never even held an airbrush before though, I felt it was necessary to do a bit of research on them in order to find out about basic things such as maintenance, set-up, paint thickness etc, as well as learning more about some of the effects that can be achieved. With this in mind I picked up the books "Airbrushing and Finishing Scale Models (Modelling Masterclass)" by Brett Green and "Air Brush Painting Techniques: 6 (Compendium Modelling Manuals)" from Osprey.

Airbrushing and Finishing Scale Models (Modelling Masterclass)

Both were good value for money, with "Airbrushing and Finishing Scale Models" probably the better of the two due to the more comprehensive look at the tool and its applications, however the Osprey book includes some good examples of using templates etc making it worth a look for the price too (about £7 from Amazon).

Air Brush Painting Techniques: 6 (Compendium Modelling Manuals)

I'll be sure to keep you all posted with my experimentation with my airbrush when it arrives. I've got a nice new Valkyrie kit (courtesy of my amazing girlfriend!) that is just dying to get some airbrush treatment!

In the meantime, back to learning how to take care of it to make sure it lasts!


  1. i'm going to be following this with interest as i'm also thinking of investing in an airbrush.

  2. Thanks Vinny.

    It was one of those things I had always seen used on military modelling sites to paint tanks and vehicles, but it was only really in the last year or so that, after I started to see fantasy miniature painters use them to great effect, that I realised I had to have one!

    It's worth doing some reading up first to make sure what you do end up spending your money on includes everything your after. Water traps and a tank on the compressor seem to come well recommended as it improves the quality and flow of air through the brush by both removing water (thereby stopping blobby splattering - the technical term of course!) and by ensuring a constant supply of air rather than a sputtering that can happen without an air tank.

    I intend to try out a few types of airbrush too in the coming months. The one I'm getting is a gravity feed brush with a decent sized cup, but I'd also like to try a siphon feed brush to see if there is much difference in ease of cleaning and switching colours during painting.

  3. Good idea to research these things as they can be a pain in the ass if you dont look after them, and i'd recommend setting up a diy spray booth if you havn't already. Also invest in a tin of Rustins cellulose thiners for cleaning it after every paint session much better value than the spray cans of cleaner.
    Oh and pipe cleaners for those hard to reach areas on a side fed AB.
    Hope you have fun with your new toy and dont stab youself with the needle! it hurts, lots!

  4. I bought an airbrush last autumn and have played with it a bit. I spray in the garage and it's been too damn cold lately. So far, I am knocked out by the results.

  5. Thanks for the comments guys.

    Yes, a diy spray booth is on the cards, though I would quite like a proper one with extractor, just because it would look neater and save more space in my workspace.

    The books I have recommend pipe cleaners and some shaped tooth picks for cleaning. I already bought some Vallejo airbrush cleaner so sorted for that.

    Unfortunately I don't really have the luxury of being able to use a garage for painting space at the moment (live in an apartment) so in my painting room with the window open and a cardboard box will have to do for now!

  6. Thanks Dante, awesome reply.

    I'm going to pick up at least one of those books.

  7. If it's just one you plan to pick up, I'd recommend the "Airbrushing and Finishing Scale Models" book. It gives a far more comprehensive look at maintenance and application of the tool with plenty of pics too.

  8. Gravity fed airbrush is the way to go. I would suggest investing in a 2 in 1 Evolution or Infinity from Harder & Stenbeck airbrush. If you have any question do not hesitate.

  9. Thanks Mathieu, I'll no doubt be pestering you with questions once it arrives!

    There seems to be very little in the way of luterature on the airbrush's applications in smaller scale figure modelling, your own logs and Julien's are the only well written tutorials I have seen. Don't suppose you can recommend any others worth a look?

  10. Yep :)

    I'm Julien Casses and just to said, mathieu will confirm that easely, i'm not using my airbrush for painting :)

    In fact, i have one, but as he is "broken" he is only used for basing the minis, not for the painting part.

    but i can only aprouved that this tool, when it works, it's just fantastic... ^^

  11. Thanks for the comment Julien!

    I had seen you mention using it for basing on the carnifex in your GD winning diorama (beautiful piece by the way!)hence the reference.

    I think (if mine ever arrives, still not here!) I will mainly use it for applying base coats and some directional lighting, but if either yourself or Mathieu have any other good applications for it for painting figures I'm all ears!


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