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Made in us
Privateer





The paint dungeon, Arizona

So, with GW puttin out a paint sprayer, we're seeing alot of people getting interested in being able to spray lots of paint onto many figs all at once. I'll start with a disclaimer on the GW sprayer-unless you want to pay out the nose for the toy flamer handle- its a waste of money. You can go to any craft store and buy a Badger sprayer for about 15$- its the exact same setup=minus the flamer handle. If you're near a Harbor Frieght-you can get one for 8$. However- even at 8$, these things suck. They might be useful for doing some grade school art project, but for modeling purposes- they are a waste of money and paint. Which is why GW is selling it- so you'll piss through more paint, and buy more paint and propellant. The results from these sprayers is erratic at best, and poor on average. They dont coat evenly and clog quite often. Its not uncommon to spend more time fighting the sprayer than actually using it.

I learned all this about 10 years ago when I realised I was too lazy to base coat lots of figs by hand, trial and error, and alot of very trying errors that also made me learn how to strip paint

So onto the useful info. Im gonna tell you about real airbrushes(not toy sprayers), Im gonna tell you some basicas about what they can do, where to buy, how to feed them, and point you to some other resources.

Ok, first up is what can an air brush do for your miniature painting? Well, the obvious is base coating. A sprayer basically spits out paint, some of which lands on your figs. But an airbrush, with properly thinned paints, and the right air pressure puts out a very fine and controllable stream of paint. My preferred brush has a max spray pattern of about 1.5 inches, which will cover even the largest models with several passes. This can be dialed down to 1 inch or so for infantry, as a smaller pattern means less overspray. Less overspray means less wasted paint. High quality brushes with fine tips can even be dialed down to do 1/32" lines, which means detail work is possible. However, you wont be painting eyes, or likely even faces with an airbrush. Some things are just more efficiently done with regular painting techniques. With the finer control, and superior atomization of paint air brushes have- they use alot less paint than the sprayers do. The thinner layers might mean an extra pass or two, but it also means that the paint wont be gunking up the finer details on the figs. This also means you dont have to spray half your desk to base coat a squad of guys

The next major use for an air brush is weathering effects. Using a minimal paint flow and a fine nozzle- you can use inks to get those really nice burnt metal looks on exhausts, flamer nozzles, melta guns, and stuff like that. With a broader spray pattern you can dust a model with earth tones to make it look dirty, or add rust tones to make the model look older and worn. These techniques all combine with traditional brush methods for aging & weathering, but give you more options for different results that are often easier- and better once you learn how.

And, an often over looked use of air brushes- is very similar to base coating. You can use them to seal/varnish your figs. I prefer this method to using the various rattle-can sealers, as if you've painted for any period of time youve had minis get ruined when a spray sealer does something funky and clouds up, goes on fuzzy or cloudy. With the control an airbrush has, you can apply several thinner layers which minimizes any mistakes compared to the heavy layer a spray can puts out.

There are other tricks and techniques you can use an airbrush for- but they're pretty lengthy to get into here. If theres enough interest I can do tutorials down the road.

Now- many of you are saying 'Ya, all that crap you just said is cool- but airbrushes are too expensive!!'


To which I reply- never doubt the power of a woman when shopping is involved!

Quality air brushes can be had these days for 50$ or less- and I do mean quality. But, before I get into prices, lets look at the two types that are available.

There are single action, and double action.

With a single action- only one thing happens when you push the trigger- air flows out. Just like the sprayers we talked about above, its just an off/on switch for the air flow, the paint flow is adjusted at the nozzle up front. A Paasche Model H is a good example of a decent single action brush. Ive had one of these for years, and they can do some good stuff, but it takes alot of practice to figure out how to set all the fiddly bits just right. I havent used my model H in years because of that.

Now, double action-means the trigger can do two things. Push down and air comes out. But, it also slides back and forth- and this controls the paint flow volume. This is why double action brushes are pretty much the only thing artists are using since you dont have to stop painting to adjust the paint setting. You can use a lil paint for shading stuff, or alot for solid coloring just by moving your finger.

Now- for the shopping portion regarding air brushes, Im only going to focus on double action brushes. Many people think they're super complicated and hard to use. But honestly- if you can put a rhino together you can use a double action brush

I just bought a new double action airbrush off ebay for 50$. Free shipping too. Some people will tell you that only the big three air brush makers Paasche/Badger/Iwata make quality air brushes. And thats a bunch of crap. The 50$ brush I got this week is pretty much a knock off of the high end competitors, mostly Iwata , which is about a 170-200$ airbrush. Mines an 'Air Pro Tools' PS 900, and so far I really like it, more than the Iwata I have(and paid alot more for). So, look around, shop, if you see a good price on a brush somewhere do some research- google it- hit up airbrush forums and ask about it. And make sure you can get parts for it

Now, getting a good brush is only half the battle. You need to feed it, they eat lots of air. We have a few options here, most assume you have to use an airbrush compressor for an airbrush. But, thats not the case. I really dont like those lil dinky toy compressors, theyre alot better than propellant cans, but the only thing they are good for is running an airbrush. And the generally arent cheap. But- they are small/comapct, and arent super loud (but they arent quiet either- turn one on at 3 am and you WILL piss off your roomies). The biggest hindarnce on these lil guys is cost, they can be pretty weak(some only handle 30 psi) and many have a weird airflow- since they have no storage tank the air is pumped right through the hose- so it pulses sometimes and that can mess up fine lines & such. You can spend anywhere from 40-250$ on these things, Harbor Freight has decent ones on the cheap- but they are pretty low pressure, and I have no idea how loud they are. Higher quality ones are usually a bit quieter. But, they get annoying, as they have to be running the hwole time you use your brush.

Now, my preference is a real air compressor. The type you can air up car tires, basket balls, air mattresses, and even dates for your lonely freinds One would think getting something thats bigger and has a pressure tank would cost more than the airbrush compressors, right? Ironically, a little 2 gallon, 100 psi(more than any airbrush ever needs btw) compressor from harbor freight will set you back 70$ with a 5$ set of adapters your airbrush hose connects right up. The most important feature to look for when using a full size compressor is a Pressure Regulator. Some compressors have this built in, and it lets you dial in the air pressure thats coming out of the hose to what you want. If you find a compressor without a regulator- and you know how to use a wrench or two, you can pick up a 5$ regulator and attach it your self. Airbrushes usually run anywhere from 15 to 90 psi depending on the gear and type of paint- so a 100psi compressor will cover that no problem. Now, the biggest benefit of this is that these compressors have air tanks attached- which means you can fill them up- turn the compressor off- and spray away using the pressure in the tank. And jsut turn it back on when your pressure runs low. Down side, this type of compressor tends to be pretty noisy. So using it in a garage is fine, but at 2 am the people in the next apartment might not like you anymore. You can work around this, jsut air up the tank in the afternoons or something similar if you live in a congested area. You can also spend a bit more, and get a compressor with a larger tank. More tank naturally means more air, and longer praying times. My 10 gallon tank at 125 psi spraying at 50psi will last well over 2 hours of work time before it dips under 50 lbs. So, for a smaller 2 or 3 gallon figure 20-30 minutes of work time.

And, one last trick. If you want to paint in peace, and jsut cant run a compressor where you live, we can get an air tank. These come in 5 and 10/11 gallon sizes. Theyre sold at auto parts stores and even walmart for about 30$. Theyre intended to be used to air up car tires, so usually have a lil 2 foot hose with a tire thingy on the end. Grab a wrench, and take that hose off. Take that hose down to the hardware store- and find a pressure regulator thats the same size as the fitting on the hose. Now, the pressure regulator will have a hole for the outgoing air- you need to buy a 'male coupler' to screw into that. The easiest thing to do is just buy a 10$ coupler kit, they usually come with a tire inflator doohickey and a blower attachment- as well as several couple pieces the will fit your air brush hose(most brushes have 1/4 fittings- so the 'male' couple fits right in). If you have an oddball brush you might have a 3/8's hose fitting and will need a 3/8's to 1/4 adapter. It sounds alot harder than it is, most guys at a hardware store or autoparts store can tell you what parts to grab one you tell them what you're up too. Oh, use the teflon thread tape too- otherwise your air will leak out :( S0- you got an air tank- but its empty. Take it to your local gas station/convenience store. Ideally find one with free air. These lil tanks have a valve stem just like a tire. Fill it up to near the tanks recommended max pressure. It might take a lil while, 10 minutes is pretty boring when you're holding a hose on an air tank and its really cold or hot out But, jsut think of your minis, and getting to air brush them for a couple hours with all that air And free air, quiet painting, for about 40$ isnt too bad a deal.

I didnt cover basic usage and cleaning of an airbrush- as alot of it would take a ton of text, and there are dozens of tutorials online covering that stuff now. Youtube or google it and you're all set

Also- two great resources I found, while not really oriented at the scale modeling crowd- they are excellent airbrushing sites:

www.airbrushtricks.com has lot of wicked video tutorials and demos, again, not geared towards our usage, more about case modding and such- but still cool stuff that will give ideas.

www.airbrushtechniques.com Has a really active forum with people that seem really helpful. They may not know GW paints and all, but they can tell you how to make your brush work better and give you ideas.

For those of you out there with airbrush experience feel free to add to this. Those with questions feel free to PM or post them too. I realize this is a pretty basic guide, but its info I answer alot. So at least now I can reply with a link to this thread ^_^

Keep an eye out in the painting & modeling thread, as I'll start puttin up pics of what Im doing with airbrushing so you can see first hand the results and benefits( and if any problems pop up you can listen to me whine about them!).

Edit note: I'll add some pics of the rig I use to help illustrate some to the items Ive mentioned above.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2009/06/18 04:55:00


 
   
Made in us
Moustache-twirling Princeps





About to eat your Avatar...

This is looking like another great airbrushing thread.

You sound like you have a lot of experience with airbrushing minis. I would personally like to see some WIP pics so I can start to get a better idea of the techniques. I spray painted for around 2 years, although most of my time was spent painting in books. Spray paint is ridiculously overpriced in most situations, and I have absolutely no desire to buy some god-sent Montana spray paint to base coat my models.

One thing I would be interested in would be metals, bronze and copper to be exact. I will be getting an air compressor and airbrush set for my next tool, ooh the precious . My first project will most likely be the hood of my car, because it needs some new paint and a nice mural. I will make sure to share my experiences when I begin to use the air-brush on minis.


 
   
Made in us
Privateer





The paint dungeon, Arizona

Im seeing alot of views, but no feed back.

Is it too much of a text wall?
   
Made in us
Regular Dakkanaut





Gave it a quick read over at 12:03 AM; however, for what its worth I think you hit upon the most common topics and gave solid advice.
   
Made in us
Jinking Ravenwing Land Speeder Pilot





San Diego, CA USA

Yes the wall is intimidating lol . It is a lot of reading but it will separate the serious from the curious . There really is a lot of "need to know " tips in there and general info . With I. G. being the flavor of the month many would love a camouflage air brush tutorial for vehicles . It's funny that in order to make a comparison between knockoff and big name brands is you have to have experience using top of the line . And sharing what you think performs just as good saves new air brush fanatics from spending the money on the flashy stuff . Thank you for sharing .

 
   
Made in us
Shunting Grey Knight Interceptor





Louisville, KY United States

Thanks very much for the post i have been looking into getting an airbrush for a few months and now i have a little more confidence on the issue of actually buying one.
   
Made in us
Executing Exarch






Odenton, MD

Great post, I would love to see some pictures. How much do you thin the GW paints to use them in your airbrush? How do you keep it from getting to runny?
   
Made in us
Jinking Ravenwing Land Speeder Pilot





San Diego, CA USA

The rule of thumb for any paints you stick in the airbrush is consistency of milk. But like the OP stated. It's best to put it on in thin layers to prevent drips and save detail.

 
   
Made in us
Watches History Channel



Korea (South, of course!)

Wow, this a fantastic post, covering everything a beginner would want (and need) to know about airbrushing.

One thing I'd like to see is your take on "canned air".

I've often read that serious airbrushers won't touch them with a 12-foot pole, but their price makes them look very attractive for beginners with a tight budget.

Getting a real compressor (or air tank) would naturally be much cheaper in the long run, but I think beginners would want to know how long that "run" may be.

Just my 2 cents!
   
Made in se
Lead-Footed Trukkboy Driver





The bit stuck on the side of England. Wales isn't it.

THanks for that , I bought an airbrush off ebay with a small compressor. I haven't made best use of it yet due to poor results. But you've inspired me to give it another go . I'll try it on my new valk.

 
   
Made in us
Privateer





The paint dungeon, Arizona

Just keep in mind airbrushes are an art tool- just like a brush. You didnt pick up a brush and get the paint on your figs just right the first few times- it took practice. learning how to work different colors and all that.

Airbrushes are the same thing, practice=improved results.

And canned air.....*sighs*

If I for some reason wanted to carry an airbrush in my purse....you know, for painting emergencies.....I would probly use a can of propel. It works ok for toy sprayers. If for whatever reason you just gotta have portable theyre ok. But given the option I'll lug my 5 gallon tank around with me(or bribe someone into carrying it for me....) Seriously- canned propellant is wasted money if you plan on doing more than a few sprays- an air tank is 1 or 2 boxes of figs, a compressor is about 3 or 4 boxes.
   
Made in au
2nd Lieutenant





Australia

So, if i wanted to just airbrush a base coat (other then black,white,grey) onto models - what Airbrush would your reccomend? note that i wouldnt be using it on a serious note - just a way to fasten my painting blocks

and to the wall of text - the detail is great and it goes in-depth about the properties of an airbrush - how to use it etc. 5/5

*Ex Username: Gutteridge*


 
   
Made in au
Anti-Armour Swiss Guard






Newcastle, OZ

Solid advice.

+1 to everything you said. I agree wholeheartedly.

I learned how to use mine from an expert (Pro SFX modeller). Books helped, but nothing beats good old hands-on experience.


I'm 50.
Old enough to know better, young enough to not give a ****.

That is not dead which can eternal lie ...

... and yet, with strange aeons, even death may die.
 
   
Made in gb
Hardened Veteran Guardsman





Twyford, UK

This is much appreciated. I shall start looking into aquiring an airbrush and compressor!

Can you perhaps link to a few good tutorials online?
   
Made in us
Stealthy Space Wolves Scout






Hi !!
And thank you !!

This was great and couldn't have been more timely for me ... I was about to decline a free airbrush and compressor because I thought it was too complicated a process. Well, between free equipment and your information, I'm going to jump into the pool.

The kit I got is an Aztek Dual-Action with a Speedy compressor. Know anything about them?

Thanks again !! I hope you will post more airbrush techniques and pics.



"You never see toilets in the 41st Millennium - that's why everyone looks so angry all the time." - Fezman 1/28/13
 
   
Made in gb
Whiteshield Conscript Trooper



Wiltshire, England.

Adding to others, I would aslo like to thank you for this guide as it's swayed me more towards getting an Airbrush, something I've been mulling over for a little while now as I can see the uses, especially to stop some of the side effects of sprayers. The information will be proving very useful in my considerations, and your shopping guide is nice for those of us of a masculine persuasion.
Will definitely be nice to see some pictures of products produced from this method.

Thanks once again.
   
Made in us
Fixture of Dakka





dead account

This is a way helpful thread. I'm glad I've held off from buying the GW sprayer... didn't even like the flamer looking handle.
   
Made in us
Privateer





The paint dungeon, Arizona

Thanks for the feedback guys.

I'll hopefully get some pics up over the next few days, of my gear and the maybe some WIP stuff started.

Im in the process of turning a spare room into more of s studio space so I can get all my modeling and gaming stuff in one place.

Once thats done I'll be able to do pics alot more easily since everything will be at hand rather than scattered about

For those asking about tutorials, tutorials take up alot of time. And doing a tutorial myself, when there are likely already several out there with similar information seems kinda silly Use the websites I gave info for and look up thier tutorials, and use google and youtube also. If you find some good ones link them here! We can all learn from them

If, a few months down the road theres an obvious need for tutorials on specific techniques I'll think about setting some up based on what everyone needs.
   
Made in us
Yellin' Yoof on a Scooter




That was a good read, nice job.

I have been using my airbrush for a couple of years with a tank less compressor, and I can safely say, buy one with a tank. The pulsation effect is annoying at best, and disastrous at worst.
   
Made in us
Moustache-twirling Princeps





About to eat your Avatar...

The winking orks, THEY BLIND ME!!!

I am looking forward to seeing some WIP progress pics. With both you and Tallamantim dropping photos I am sure to learn quite a bit.


 
   
Made in us
Squishy Oil Squig





Thanks for the nice writeup. I'm learning to use an airbrush for vehicle weathering. I just bought the PS900 that you spoke so highly of b/c I like the idea of having a dial to regulate air flow - seems like a handy thing to have for a beginner. Got it off eBay for the same price you mentioned... probably from the same guy.

Perception is Reality, Facts are Negotiable  
   
Made in us
Flashy Flashgitz





Southern California

Nice tutorial. Long, but thorough and enjoyable to read. I’ve had a double-action Badger for over 20 years. I bought it to paint military models. When I got into GW painting, the airbrush probably sat in the closet for 10 years. Then, it came out for a little while 5 years ago, and it did some outstanding work on Eldar vehicles. Then was put away again. I’ve pulled it out recently to help paint a Stompa, and am also using it to basecoat some Marines. I’ve painted a lot of 40K armies over the years, and as you can see, I have not really used the airbrush all that much. I think many GW’ers might find that to be the case, unless they are painting a bunch of vehicles. I’m certainly not advising against buying one. An airbrush and a good compressor can be had for a reasonable price. But, most people in this hobby will find it has relatively limited uses. On the plus side, once the paint is properly thinned, and the spray is properly set, airbrushing is both fun and efficient. Also, some very nice things can be done with one.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2009/06/19 00:58:22


 
   
Made in us
Sslimey Sslyth






Busy somewhere, airin' out the skin jobs.

I've long thought that good airbrushes were really cost prohibitive...its kept me away from the technique.

This past weekend, Michaels ran a coupon in their paper/junkmail for 50% off any item in the store with very few exceptions. I specifically asked if a $180 airbrush could be purchased under that discout...one I've been drooling over. The manager I talked to said that it was definatly included in the offer.

You just have to keep your eyes open for the good deals. Arts/Crafts stores that are destination locations frequently run "deals". I'm keeping my eyes open for another coupon where I'm ready to finally pick one up.

GREAT tutorial by the way. I'll definatly be keeping my eyes open here.

I have never failed to seize on 4+ in my life!

The best 40k page in the Universe
COMMORRAGH 
   
Made in gb
Bounding Dark Angels Assault Marine




London

Hmm. Very little to add, I've been using an airbrush for non-28mm models for ages and I agree with everything the OP says more or less. What I will say is that I actually love my Aztec/Testors A320 AB more than any of the more expensive double-actions I have as it's a single-action brush where you can specify the spray size, and it's incredibly easy to maintain. My other most-used airbrush is a Tamiya spray-work single-action one that I only use for rough sprays of primer and occasionally base coats, anything that's for a large area. My more expensive double-actions don't really get any love at all!
   
Made in us
Privateer





The paint dungeon, Arizona

Gobbla wrote:Nice tutorial. Long, but thorough and enjoyable to read. I’ve had a double-action Badger for over 20 years. I bought it to paint military models. When I got into GW painting, the airbrush probably sat in the closet for 10 years. Then, it came out for a little while 5 years ago, and it did some outstanding work on Eldar vehicles. Then was put away again. I’ve pulled it out recently to help paint a Stompa, and am also using it to basecoat some Marines. I’ve painted a lot of 40K armies over the years, and as you can see, I have not really used the airbrush all that much. I think many GW’ers might find that to be the case, unless they are painting a bunch of vehicles. I’m certainly not advising against buying one. An airbrush and a good compressor can be had for a reasonable price. But, most people in this hobby will find it has relatively limited uses. On the plus side, once the paint is properly thinned, and the spray is properly set, airbrushing is both fun and efficient. Also, some very nice things can be done with one.


Gobbla, I do very much agree that there are alot of things that cant be done on the 28mm scale with an airbrush, our bristle brushes arent going anywhere Part of this tutorial is with the intent of showing people the pros and the cons of having one

But, there are alot of things an air brush can do, its just another tool that opens more options. They are too big for alot of detail work on regular infantry, but on tanks, monstrous creatures, and terrain theyre wonderful. So, to use them on the lil guys we have to get creative

Ive got some wip stuff for doing up custom SM shoulder pads for example, the technique will likely work well for any army that has squad markings since its basically a stencil sort of arrangement anyone with some green stuff should be able to make.

Thats one of the reasons Im urging people to checkout other airbrush sites, as I cant look at all of them, and Im sure there are other ideas/techniques out there that can make pianting our figs alot easier, and hopefully get us better results ^_^
   
Made in au
Homicidal Veteran Blood Angel Assault Marine





Melbourne, Australia

Great read thanks.

I've just started with an airbrush (my experience here: http://www.dakkadakka.com/dakkaforum/posts/list/244125.page) and found it reasonably easy to get into (without really reading or watching much in the way of tutorials - just jumping in with both feet!)

In regards to the tankless models, I would have though a regulator with a water trap may have helped with the pulsation - as it effectively holds the amount of pressure you dial in on in the chamber and hose, it should (in theory) be able to avoid much of the problems suggested with the tankless systems?

Cheers

There are 10 types of people in the world - those who understand binary, and those who don't.

My work in progress thread 
   
Made in gb
Bounding Dark Angels Assault Marine




London

tallmantim wrote:Great read thanks.

In regards to the tankless models, I would have though a regulator with a water trap may have helped with the pulsation - as it effectively holds the amount of pressure you dial in on in the chamber and hose, it should (in theory) be able to avoid much of the problems suggested with the tankless systems?

Cheers


In my experience it helps a little, but isn't as nice as the models with air tanks I've used but sadly don't own. It's an improvement compared to not using one at all though.
   
Made in gb
Regular Dakkanaut




Nottingham

Thanks for the info, will do my research and ask Santa for one I think! :-)

My comments are my own, and mine own alone. If you have any complaints, please report to Mr Spanky who will take them down for you.....


 
   
Made in za
Junior Officer with Laspistol





South Africa

Thanks,very nice read.And helpful to.
You should make an article about it.

"I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member."-Groucho Marx
 
   
Made in gb
Monster-Slaying Daemonhunter







Mistress of minis wrote:So, with GW puttin out a paint sprayer, we're seeing alot of people getting interested in being able to spray lots of paint onto many figs all at once. I'll start with a disclaimer on the GW sprayer-unless you want to pay out the nose for the toy flamer handle- its a waste of money. You can go to any craft store and buy a Badger sprayer for about 15$- its the exact same setup=minus the flamer handle. If you're near a Harbor Frieght-you can get one for 8$. However- even at 8$, these things suck. They might be useful for doing some grade school art project, but for modeling purposes- they are a waste of money and paint. Which is why GW is selling it- so you'll piss through more paint, and buy more paint and propellant. The results from these sprayers is erratic at best, and poor on average. They dont coat evenly and clog quite often. Its not uncommon to spend more time fighting the sprayer than actually using it.


I've been using one of those starter badger sets for basecoating with valejo model air and it's been perfect. After a few practice tries and adjusting the dials it was fine. Obvuiously it aint gonna dot the eye on a marine but its perectly fine for basecoating. Perhaps like most things, its the person using the equipment more than the equipment itself?

Mistress of minis wrote: Seriously- canned propellant is wasted money if you plan on doing more than a few sprays- an air tank is 1 or 2 boxes of figs, a compressor is about 3 or 4 boxes.


Or you just go to a petrol station and fill up a spare tyre with free air, works for me.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2009/06/19 10:53:20


   
 
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