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Airbrushing - The Buyer's Guide


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52 replies to this topic

#21
Agatheron

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I have the GW spraygun. It was using it that gave me the taste of what airbrushing can do when I did a camo scheme on a FW Vulture... When I realized the rate at which I would go through propellant cans, I decided to go for a compressor first, but as timing would have it the price was also right on a decent double-action airbrush. I had to pick up some adapters to get a badger hose to work with my compressor... but a badger braided hose works on the GW spraygun just fine. I still plan on using my Spraygun for larger projects such as my Realm of Battle gameboard... but I've had a few projects get in front of that one. I suspect that I will be able to do the gameboard quickly with both the spraygun for broad stuff and the dual-action for more precise details, and a brush for the most precise... For basecoating armies and tanks, the spraygun works as well as any single-action airbrush might. If you want to tighten up the paint stream, you need to tighten up the nozzle to about a half turn open and you can get as narrow as about 1/4 to 1/8" of an inch... but any type of precision work needs a dual-action airbrush. A compressor gives a solid, reliable air pressure, while the cans lose pressure as you use them more, and as they spray, they get cold, also losing pressure. So getting a consistent spray necessitates the eventual need for a compressor... plus the amount you'll end up spending on compressed air eventually adds up if you're doing a lot of models.
______Agatheron \_______
--Remember, long, uncontrolled bursts,
and indiscriminate target selection.
____________________________/


http://chaplainsbrush.wordpress.com/

#22
Grimbadd Zaggasnikk

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It seems to me that none of you have the GW airbrush, and all have like "pro" ones and loads of experience with using airbrushes.
Is it because the GW one is rubish? or is it just that, whilst basing and washing models the GW (or similar cheap 'n' cheerfull ones) will do you, for finer details and different coat thickness' you need a slightly better one?


on the GW airbrush: it wastes a phenomenal amount of paint, is very hard to clean properly, and is very bulky
so all in all it is not particularly good.
however, as Agatheron said it's ok for very large areas (and they have to be large, it's very hard to get a spray pattern under 2 inches diameter with it, one of the main ways it wastes paint)

So, for [u]simple[u] basing/washing of a load of models, will a cheap/the GW airbush do? and do you need to thin paints down, get a compressor e.t.c. if you're just basing/washing models to save time?


always thin your paints, otherwise they simply won't go through the airbrush
get a compressor if you don't want to use up a can of proppellant every mob, a compressor pays for itself suprisingly fast as well as giving you consistent airflow




Oh, and does it save time when doing tanks and horde mobs? because I've heard different opinions on this. :?


almost always a yes, as long as you are not trying to do too many layers of hilights! for basecoats and washes there is no quicker method due to the smooth coats airbrushing provides.


for cleaning:

quite a good explanation, however do not put windex or other cleaners that contain ammonia through your airbrush, it corrodes the chrome on the brush actually making them harder to clean

there are tons of really useful airbrush videos all over youtube, personally I find seeing someone do it far easier to understand!
hope this helps!

#23
Goregob

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Thanks for clearing things up guys! Very appreciated. :thumbs
Now to find some more "toolz of da trade". Haha.

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Thanks for reading my post.

#24
Watching Paint Dry

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I don't own a GW spray gun, or similar, just my dual action airbrush... but I have tried to use mine to base coat stuff. I've found it quite inefficient to use an airbrush to base coat. Since you're thinning the paints you need more to get a solid coat. This becomes a problem because you don't want the paint to pool or drip (washes would be fine, but I've never tired it). So, you're doing many thin coats, and I find this too time consuming just to get a base colour. To this end, for base coating, or covering large areas I use spray paint. I can get a really nice even coat and its way faster than using my airbrush. I started using the really cheap cans of flat black spray paint from walmart, but moved over to the slightly more expensive Krylon flat black cans. This ends up being more economical because the fan nozzle gives much more effective coverage and the can ends up lasting longer. From there, for vehicles, I can use my airbrush to build up the highlights. Red works great for this, as the black showing through in the recessed parts is the look I'm trying to achieve.
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#25
Gobbla

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All this airbrush talk inspired me to paint up my Ork Fighta Bomba. Itís still a work in progress. But, I want to throw out some newbie/old guy tips. Iím kinda both, Iíve had the brush for nearly two decades, but Iíve used it very infrequently. I had purchased some Testors water based airbrush paints for another project (which has also languished). Never used them before. I have a bottom loader, so I just screwed an applicator cap onto the paint pot, and went to town. Wow! The paint went on perfectly, and it reminded me of why airbrushing can be so much fun. Then I switched to mix-your-own paints. Yep, still a pain. Get it right, great fun. Get it wrong, the brush either clogs, or the paint runs. Some paints just will not work; mainly some artist paints from squeeze bottles. Older paints are also a pain. Too many particulates. Very frustrating. On the other hand, GW Chainmail and Boltgun metal went on perfect right out of the bottle (hard to pour, though). Newbs, do yourself a favor. Try using airbrush paint until you get the hang of it.

#26
Kaptun Krum

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Ok doing a bit of threadmancy here but thats because I am looking to buy an airbrush now as well. I think that the one I am thinking about was mentioned above. The Eclipse HP-CS. I found a good deal on it. If you go to hobby lobby's website occasionally they will have a 40% off any one item coupon. 40% off an airbrush kit is pretty significant so I think I am going to take advantage of it.

http://shop.hobbylob...ssories-330266/

then maybe the next day I can order the compressor and get 40 % off it too. ;)
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#27
mr chickle

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A very handy topic indeed. This thread has answered many questions that i never even thought to ask. I have only owned an airbrush for several months so I dont have anything to add on that spectrum. However there is one important point to consider, in most cases the compressor isn't limited to your airbrush, there are a multitude of handy gadgets that can be attatched to it that become far more efficent using air power. Orbital sanders, riveters, cut-off saws, nailers, screwdrivers, mini grinders and rotary tools to name but a few. If you have an interest in woodwork or have a small workshop then you can purchase most powertools to run off the compresser, both more efficent and consderably cheaper than their mains equivalents. It's surprising how useful the compressor can be.
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#28
Prowla

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Iwata has a new entry level model called "Ninja Jet" out, any experiences? It seems to be slightly weaker than Silver Jet.

#29
Badteef

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You should remeber that airbrush is not an wonder tool... it's just an ordinary tool. You still need lots of practise to become good painter with airbrush.
Boss Badteef and da bunch!

Looking for this mini:
http://www.collectin...day_Ork_Nob.jpg

#30
Agatheron

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You should remeber that airbrush is not an wonder tool... it's just an ordinary tool.
You still need lots of practise to become good painter with airbrush.


Very true... An airbrush is simply an additional tool for the painting arsenal. Even so, there are some effects that are much easier to achieve with an airbrush than with standard brush painting. It also speeds up the process in painting larger models or projects. For example, it took me far less time to paint my Realm of Battle gameboard with the GW Spraygun and airbrush attached to my airbrush compressor than it would have had simply brush painted. It also used far less paint as well.

I have been able to get blended textures, particularly in lenses, that are very difficult to replicate the quality with a brush. Additionally, airbrushes can allow for certain techniques that would be impossible with a brush, such as the salt masking technique or the hairspray technique in terms of so called "paint removal" tricks for chipped paint.

Where airbrushes fall down is in the small little fiddly details that either requires extensive masking, or is simply impossible given the nearby details. I have tried them with Ork skin with limited success... even in using them, I found that I had to do some extensive "blacking down" of the model once the skin was complete... and then no other details on the model individual model could be done using the airbrush, short of spraying on matte varnish.
______Agatheron \_______
--Remember, long, uncontrolled bursts,
and indiscriminate target selection.
____________________________/


http://chaplainsbrush.wordpress.com/

#31
Shabbadoo

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Iwata has a new entry level model called "Ninja Jet" out, any experiences? It seems to be slightly weaker than Silver Jet.


I would spend a bit more and get an Iwata Sprint Jet, or if noise is not an issue, get a compressor something like this:

Sears Air Compressor

For another $40 or so, you can get all of your fittings, water trap(if it doesn't come with one already), quick-change attachments for anything you have that you want to hook up to it, etc. Mind you, you don't have to get this exact model of air compressor, but something similar ought to serve you for a good amount of time. I have had a compressor like this one(mine is a Coleman I picked up at Pep Boyz for $50 on close-out! :biggrin), and it is still going strong after eight years. It stays in the garage, as it is quite noisy.

Here is something else though. I'll likely pick up one of these in not too long, just as a back-up/traveling kit that I won't be too sad about if something happen to it:

Harbor Freight Airbrush Kit

#32
Prowla

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So, I ended up with a basic Iwata kit, a Silver Jet comp and a basic Revolution brush. Let's see how it goes, but an airbrush has a lot of applications in other crafting projects as well. I think it's a good progression: painting minis has taught me a lot of about using colors, and an airbrush lets me to extend that into larger objects as well. A lot of things around the house can be orkified :thumbs

#33
lordmetroid

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Yes, I can prime a unit of ten beakies, and then I can base coat them with the airbrush, all very quickly. I did that a few months ago. Nice, consistent coat. Looks good. I don’t know, maybe I saved some time. I do know I would not buy an airbrush just to do that.

How about base coating around 500 models. My 40k Ork army contains 185 models in total and my Fantasy army contains 271 models in total. Do you think it worth buying an airbrush if you have so many models? I am truly hoping that it will shorten the time painting these two armies considerably.

#34
Agatheron

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Doing that many, it does make it worthwhile... but chances are that's largely a spray gun or spray can kind of approach. Airbrushes make the greatest impact on vehicles in terms of painting. In the time that you would normally paint 1 tank, an airbrush will let you paint 6... or really go to town in terms of detail and shading that you can't do with a brush. That having been said, I have some Skaven that need my attention, and the airbrush is going to make that so much easier to at least get started. When it comes to figures, it really depends on how much "uniform" colour you're going to be working with. Fantasy Slayers, for example, benefit from an airbrush, because that's a LOT of skin to do. Some Skaven, might be the same. If your Orks have a lot of Skin, then airbrushing them green is good. Otherwise, you may consider airbrushing them the dominant uniform colour of the army, and then work the skin tones later. Someone recently painted a mass number of badmoonz by airbrushing/spraying masses of figures yellow.
______Agatheron \_______
--Remember, long, uncontrolled bursts,
and indiscriminate target selection.
____________________________/


http://chaplainsbrush.wordpress.com/

#35
mr_maxime

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I bought a dual action gravity kit from this site http://www.airbrushcity.com/ several years back. Its an odd looking site but the airbrush isnt too bad. It came with the brush, compressor, and a how to dvd. I think it cost me about 150$ at the time. The main problems I have are that the hose connections need to be fiddled with or air leaks and that the compressor moves around a lot. Otherwise it works great.

I havent used it much because im still trying to learn how to use it properly. I also find that paint cups formed directly into the brush make it a real hassle to clean.

 I'm right, and nothing ever annoys me more. - Dim


#36
lordmetroid

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How do one do when changing color? Do one have to clean the airbrush inbetween different colors?

#37
mr_maxime

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How do one do when changing color? Do one have to clean the airbrush inbetween different colors?


Since mine has the paint cup built directly into the airbrush, I need to clean it otherwise the previous color will mess up the new one. Sometimes I have excess paint in the cup when I am changing colors, I have to remove it before putting in the new one.

I dont know if it's necessary with swappable paint cups.

 I'm right, and nothing ever annoys me more. - Dim


#38
Agatheron

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How do one do when changing color? Do one have to clean the airbrush inbetween different colors?


Like Mr. Maxime said, generally you need to clean the airbrush between different colours. If you're doing a shade/highlight of the current colour, then it is possible to add paint right into the cup directly, mix it, thin it and keep right on going. However, cleaning the airbrush between colours is essentially required.

Even Syphon-feed airbrushes, which allow for the fastest colour-swap using different jars of different coloured paint still need to have a "cleaning solution" bottle in order to flush out the previous colour from the airbrush.

In my case, it's a gravity feed 7mL cup, so I need to clean it between different colours of paint. However, given the way one airbrushes, you're likely to be using the same colour for quite a while... as well as learning how a single colour can actually create blending effects via feathering.

Tonight, I did just a bit of spraying with a Metallic paint... specifically Vallejo Model Air's Gunmetal. This is intended for working with an airbrush, and typical of metallic paints, it is filled with microscopic reflective flakes to create the metallic look. However, also typical of metallic paints, multiply whatever cleaning time you normally take by about 2 or 3, as it takes an extra effort to get all of those extra metallic flakes out of the airbrush so that they don't mess up the next time you use a non metallic paint.

Even with all that, it's really not that onerous. You get used to it as part of the rhythm of painting with an airbrush.
______Agatheron \_______
--Remember, long, uncontrolled bursts,
and indiscriminate target selection.
____________________________/


http://chaplainsbrush.wordpress.com/

#39
lordmetroid

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So how do one clean it between each color? Do one has to dissasemble the whole airbrush and use a brush and so on?

#40
Agatheron

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So how do one clean it between each color? Do one has to dissasemble the whole airbrush and use a brush and so on?


Well... it depends... There is usually a difference between an end-of-session cleaning vs. a between colours cleaning. It uses some of the same techniques, and if a paint is particularly stubborn it may need more.

Here's what I do for cleaning a dual-action Gravity feed airbrush with a 7mL cup (Grex XG). It presumes I am working with GW, p3 or Tamiya paints through my airbrush. Other types, the steps are somewhat different.

Usually I try to only put as much paint in the cup as I am going to use... you don't need a lot when airbrushing. Paint goes a whole lot further than when you put it on with a brush... and there's far less waste.

While spraying, you may need to unscrew the nozzle cap and scrape off dried paint from the tip of the needle that can throw off your aim, or will have the airbrush seeming to be clogged until you pull back the needle and get waay too much paint.

If I am working with an airbrush and run out of paint, but simply need to add more of the same colour, I pour some basic pharmacy-bought rubbing alcohol (70% Isopropyl) into the cup, swish it around, and dump it out into a container. I then spray out the remaining fluid through the airbrush. I then mix up more of the same colour paint, and pour it into the cup do a test spray, and then carry on painting.

When switching colours, here's my step-by-step.

1. As with the adding more paint above, I pour a small amount of rubbing alcohol into the cup, swish it around, dump it out, spray out the rest. I then take a paper towel and clean out the inside of the cup, except for the very bottom.

2. Add more rubbing alcohol... put my finger over the tip of the airbrush, and work the lever as if I am spraying. This forces air back into the cup through the needle's tube, and the gurgling action helps clear out some of the paint. Dump out the cup, spray out the excess.

3. add more rubbing alcohol... this time, unscrew the back part of the airbrush allowing the needle to be loosened. Pull the needle back, but not all the way out of the airbrush. Work it back and forth and more paint should loosen up. Dump out the cup with the needle partially out, but before spraying out the excess, use a Q-tip to clean around the base of the cup where the needle rests. This should give the last amount of paint. Spray out the excess.

4. Put the needle back in, Add a small bit of alcohol, spray it through to make sure it's clear. You're now ready for the next colour of paint.

For the end of Session cleaning, it's much like above, but you also remove the nozzle cap, clean off the tip of the nozzle where the needle rests... and even unscrew that and clean it with a bit of alcohol and a Q-tip. You should also probably pull the needle out and pull it backwards along a piece of cloth/lint-free paper towel to clean off any excess paint.

Another thing you'll need to do is make sure your airbrush is properly lubed in order for it to work well. I use "SuperLube" from Iwata. It's available at most airbrush supply stores. I usually have to make sure that the needle has some so it doesn't stick, as well as the lower part of the trigger.

At the moment, I am getting close to the point that I should completely dismantle the airbrush to make sure all the parts are properly clean. Ideally I should get an ultrasonic cleaner that will pretty much restore it to factory new. Even so, it's not absolutely necessary.

Does this help?
______Agatheron \_______
--Remember, long, uncontrolled bursts,
and indiscriminate target selection.
____________________________/


http://chaplainsbrush.wordpress.com/