Where To Start With Airbrushing: Part Two

Bravery, paint brands and sub-assemblies

If you are yet to stumble upon the first part of this series, I strongly advise you give it a gander. For those unaware, this series of articles is aimed at those who are new to airbrushing or are on the fence. Acquiring an airbrush has changed my hobby life for the better. I’m here to inform you and convince you to stop sitting on the face and grab one. Else, if you linger, you’ll end up wondering how you ever survived without one just as I did.

Last time I told you all about what to use your airbrush on first as well as a few handy tips once you’re used to it. This time round, I’ll be going into a little more detail as to some tricks and tools to help you get the most out of your airbrush. All tips in this series comes from my experience of using an Iwata Eclipse HP-CS, kindly bestowed upon me by the great guys and gals at www.airbrushes.com. It’s truly proven to be a sensational bit of kit, even in comparison to other airbrushes for beginners that I’ve dabbled with.

Overcome Your Fears

In using a regular paint brush, there were a handful of colours I’d rarely entertain. Bright, cyan-esque blues? Absolutely not. Yellow? Get outta here. Whites? You’re crazy! However, with an airbrush, these colours very quickly become more than manageable.

These greens and purples I would have purposely avoided of before I got the airbrush. But in getting one, so many more doors are open to your painting capabilities. Don’t restrict yourself due to fear or unease!

Be it that you’re considering getting an airbrush or have recently got one, use it at every point you can with any colour you can put through it. No longer fear the more radiant colours for fear of brush marks or blotchiness. I now find myself using colours such as Sotek Green or Averland Sunset infinitely more than I would previously. Put your old uneasiness aside with colours you don’t normally use, the airbrush will blow them all away.

Expand Your Paint Arsenal

Previously, before I took up airbrushing I was strictly a one-brand hobbyist. This was purely out of comfort and not wanting to take a risk. This was another mistake that has likely set me back from achieving some great things over the years. However, acquiring an airbrush is the perfect time to start experimenting with different paints from different companies.

This is particularly true for any paints that come in dropper bottles as this simply makes putting them in the airbrush far, far easier. If you’ve been using Citadel since you started, now’s the time to go crazy! Grab a couple of Vallejo Game Colour paints, along with some Army Painter ones, too.

I actually started using a series of metallic paints from DarkStar. Before now I was worried about putting metallic paints through my airbrush. However, these work wonderfully. They go on smooth and are quite forgiving if you spray onto areas that you don’t mean to as it’s easily covered up. Combined with some washes, you can get some great effects when using their Blue Steel or Graphite on the same model.

There’s a good variety of paint brands out there. When getting an airbrush, that’s the best time to branch out and see what works best for you.

Don’t limit yourself to one brand of paints. If you’re willing to dive in to the world of airbrushing, this will be a far easier jump to make.

Plan, Prepare, Proceed

The airbrush will do a lot of the work for you once you get used to using it. Nonetheless, there are still plenty of steps to take in order to get the most out out of it. Especially when it comes to larger models, you’ll find sub-assemblies become essential to getting the best results.

Purple Squigs mounted by green Goblins wearing black robes. All painted far more easily and quickly than would be permitted with a regular brush. Sub assemblies make using an airbrush even more of a fluid process.

When first approaching a model that can be painted in sub-assemblies, start thinking about where you can best use the airbrush in the process. For instance, if there’s areas you’re wanting to paint metallic, you’ll likely want to paint them separately to everything else. Especially since doing metallic colours last in your paint jobs you’ll avoid contaminating other paints with left-over metallic flakes.

One thing that can be troublesome with sub-assemblies is how to paint such small pieces without marking or blemishing the paint jobs. There’s plenty of easy and cheap methods around this. For example, I use an old bit of MDF industrial terrain with a bit of 1mm brass rod coming out. This way I can drill into areas of the sub-assembly and mount them on the rod, allowing airbrushing from all angles. Best of all, this was very cheap and quick to do.

Not only does mounting your models like this work well for airbrushing, it’s great for conventional brushing, too. It allows you to get to most parts of the model unopposed.

Where Acceptable, Take Risks

You’ve potentially already taken a big risk in investing in your airbrush set-up. Don’t let the risks (and potential rewards) end there! Start going crazy with your colours and blending them. Practise your zenithal highlights or object-sourced lighting. We learn by doing and experience is the most valuable teacher.

Of course, I would not advise splattering neon-green paint all over your goblins or orcs. However, the greater risks tend to bestow the greatest rewards. You won’t know if you don’t try, after all.

With this Loonboss I experimented with more metallic paints than usual. Mixing some of the aforementioned DarkStar paints and washing them with different colours. The effect is distinctive but not overpowering.

I hope this piece has been helpful to you as a new or potential airbrush owner. Again, having owned my airbrush for a few months now I simply couldn’t imagine living without it. If you’ve been considering purchasing an airbrush setup I’d strongly recommend taking the plunge. I don’t regret it and with plenty of patience I’m sure you won’t either. Keep checking back for our next article in where to start with airbrushing.

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