Air Brushing

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Air Brushing

Post  Planes on Sun Jul 01, 2012 2:07 am

So, it seems I have an air brush at my disposal now (compressor run, suction fed). I know that there is at least one person who lurks these forms and wields such a tool, so I was wondering if people had some general advice for usage, technique, and maintenance of such a beast. I figured with the coming Allies system and me electing to go with Grey Knights for mine, the air brush almost seemed a prerequisite for painting them.

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Re: Air Brushing

Post  Deadlytoaster on Sun Jul 01, 2012 11:07 pm

Nope no idea here, but! i will watch this forum as when the mysterious air brush wielder appears i will glean what i can from his knowledge Very Happy

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Re: Air Brushing

Post  Planes on Mon Jul 02, 2012 11:58 am

Having experimented a bit, and skimmed through older, similar posts in this forum, I find that my major line of questions lies in a direction other than "how do I thin my paint". The main issue I find myself contending with is PSI. My airbrush is rated for 15-35 PSI, but the compressor I am using only just barely goes as low as 35 PSI. I am starting to think I will need to get a secondary regulator to drop it down further for finer turned control.

I am also starting to think the airbrush I found is single action, as opposed to dual action. Single action being like a can of spray paint, there is only ever "on" if you want to use the paint. Dual action allows for, depending on the user's experience and skill, going anywhere in between pencil thin and an inch-wide cone one might use for base coating.

So far I have only tried the airbrush on two things so far: a batch of cork'd bases that I am preping for Spyders and a Destroyer Lord, and a toy monkey whom aspires to one day become a Jokaero.

Over all, I think the bases turned out alright for what I was attempting with them. I used a heavily thinned Warpstone Glow on them, and when they dried the paint had soaked down into the cracks of the cork, giving an effect similar to an ink wash. The effect turned out subtle to the point that I doubt my camera would even notice that the green is there. A few more coats would give me finished bases, I think.

The other "test subject" did not fair so well, not being composed of a highly porous substance. For that, I tried using watered down Reaper Phoenix Red, which only served to re-affirm my hatred of that paint line. I spent more time trying to get the paint out of the bottle and into the jar than I did airbrushing with it. What came out wasn't a nice even spray, but globs of orange. I had be thinking of using this airbrush on my Night Scythe, but if that's what it is going to do, I am not so certain any more.

Tips? Advice?

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Re: Air Brushing

Post  ScottRadom on Mon Jul 02, 2012 10:22 pm

I am not a fan of the reaper line for anything.

You still need to prime the surface to hold the paint. It sounds like you didn't do this with the cork tiles. As a side note for something as porous os the cork I would use a brush on primer first then a spray primer. I find the brush on gets absorbed by the surface and the spray primer helps give the entire surface the proper consistent base for painting.

I'd reccomend a hobby pressure regulator. I too use a big ass compressor and I use a moisture trap and regulator I bought from Hobby world.

Nothing wrong with a single action airbursh. Just remember that is sorta limits you to using it like a can of spray paint but at least you get to pick the exact colour. There's plenty of youtube videos of people doing good work with airbrushes that can be duplicated with a single action. Look 'em up, that should help.

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Re: Air Brushing

Post  Planes on Tue Jul 03, 2012 12:18 am

I had only spray primed the cork bases using the brandless spray paint that I can get locally in Biggar. Magnificent stuff, it is. But man, once you got those bases into the light they pop something fierce! I was thinking about subsequent coats, but I think I like them as they are now.

So, by the sounds of it I can use the spray paint as my primer, then hit the model up with the air brush as a spray base coat, and maybe some light gradient work, but most everything else will be by hand, such as the energy in the plating gaps on the Night Scythe, or the heraldry on the Knights. Better than nothing, I suppose, but overall a touch less than I was hoping for. Still rocking a one year warranty on it, at least. Maybe closer to Christmas I can work my way up to a two stage brush.

I suppose this means my Night Scythe will look a touch more pristine than the last. I did prime it black, though.... maybe some light sanding could fix that...

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Re: Air Brushing

Post  Roland on Tue Jul 03, 2012 8:53 am

related question...

I have the GW "air brush". I'm looking to use it for basebcoating, and not much else.

a) what size compressor am I looking for? a little 2 gal pancake or should i just go for a 5 gal+?

b) will I just need an adapter or something to attach it?

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Re: Air Brushing

Post  System Commander on Tue Jul 03, 2012 10:08 am

From personal experience using an airbrush.. Youndefinitly want one that can regulate the air flow.. To 25-35 psi.. Ive alwaysjust used 30

The bigger the less it will run of course.. But you dont need a big big one. I have a 3 gallon one.. Runs every 15 mins if im using it non stop.

You can come grab mine if yiu want to try it out.

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Re: Air Brushing

Post  Planes on Tue Jul 03, 2012 10:12 am

I would imagine that any compressor that has a reserve measured in gallons would likely need a secondary regulator, unless the built in one can already drop as low as 10-15 PSI.

With it starting every 15 minutes so so, keep in mind the bigger ones tend to be loud when they do such, made be jump a touch when I was doing those bases.

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Re: Air Brushing

Post  Planes on Tue Jul 03, 2012 1:40 pm

Well, the nice man down at NAPA got me set up with a secondary regulator, so once the storm passes and I have my lunch I can try it out. I am thinking for the armor plat gaps on the Night Scythe I can try out the fine art of masking.

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Re: Air Brushing

Post  Planes on Tue Jul 03, 2012 4:01 pm

It seems I keep getting lucky when it comes to painting. Having gotten the regulator and everything needed to hook it up, I decided to mix up some Tamiya paints to base it. Originally I had planned only to base one piece of the underside, incase I screwed up. Then I saw how my blend turned out at EVERYTHING got it, even a touch of it on the bottom of the cork bases I was doing. Blend is as follows:

3 parts Flat Aluminum
2 parts Gloss Black
1 part Acrylic Thinner
2 parts Water

The end result came out darker than Leadbeltcher, and it applied super smooth and even. I even had spare of the mix left over, which I dumped back into the metallic jar. I am starting to think that given how early in I am on the Wraiths, I might start over and base them all with this mix, and then go back and detail by hand. Photos to come later.

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Re: Air Brushing

Post  Planes on Mon Jul 09, 2012 12:04 am

Following the basic forms an air brushing tutorial I found via YouTube, I went a head and tested it out. And by testing it out, I mean I sprayed 29 dudes.

  • 1 custom Foot Lord
  • 1 Destroyer Lord
  • 2 custom Spyders
  • 5 Death Marks
  • 10 re-based Warriors
  • 10 Gauss Immortals


This is half because I just went through a major building binge to get caught up on the models that I have been putting off forever, and half because I wanted to minimize the paint left over in the air brush's jar, as re-depositing mixed paint into one of the "mother" jars tends to contaminate.

I went through the first two steps presented in the video, the first being basing the entire affair with the previously described Faux Leadbeltcher. The second step was introducing three parts Titanium Gold and 1 part Water to the remainder of the previous mix and spraying only from high angels relative to the base of the model. The intent of this is to create a shadowing effect, as parts you would need low angels to hit remain the same color as the base coat, which is darker than the second coat. The issue I noticed upon doing this myself, however, is that the tutorial was done with a fat old Terminator, where as most of what I am working with are spindly, spydery Necrons, and this provides very little to cast a shadow upon. There is still plenty of work left to do on this new batch of models, though, and I picked up some Nuln Oil shade while I was in town, along with a brush who's only purpose in life is to be to apply washes, shades, and glazes.

If nothing else, the resulting color is pretty.

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Re: Air Brushing

Post  Planes on Wed Oct 24, 2012 8:50 pm

I am also wondering if anyone air brushes with the Citadel line of paints here. I notice that the new line dries pretty darned quick. Anyone have a paint to water/thinner ratio they find works well for them? I am also starting to see the advantages of a gravity fed system, if one is doing a lot of quick colour changes for detail work (ie: force swords).

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