Friday, January 4, 2013

Things not to do your first time Airbrushing

Besides the Anon that schooled me on my Harlistar/Invisi-council list last week this is the most foolish I've felt recently.  Figured someone, besides myself, can learn from this.

A lot of people thin paints with Windex.  Airbrush Medium from Blick.  Guy behind the counter wasn't too convincing.  These are two thinners I'll use with Citadel Foundation Knarloc Green.

If you use an airbrush regularly and wish to drop some knowledge.  Please do  If you want to point and laugh, feel free to do so.

Let's fast forward a bit and say that I wasn't able to get the thinned GW paint out of the airbrush.  I wasn't going to stop though.  Tried 1:1 Medium and Knarloc.  Also 1:1 Windex and Knarloc.  Only after extremely thinning down Knarloc was I able to get some results.  I blame my lack of research and familiarity with thinning paints for airbrushes.  Picks of mistakes.

Possibly best idea so far.  Put eye dropper in water to soak it so paint does not dry inside it.  First problem I foresaw with using an airbrush was what would I do with my GW paints.  They aren't conducive to being poured into the cup.  Bought some eye drops.  THen problem would be cleaning droppers.  This is on a smaller scale then what I will be doing.  It has worked wonders.

Knarloc Green

Medium added.  This didn't work.

3:1 Windex to Knarloc

Finally some result of using GW paints for Airbrush.

Things not to do:

Completely ignore almost every piece of advice from your friend who uses airbrushes semi-regularly.  Example.  Ignored Lane's suggestion to have a spray box so your paint doesn't mist over your murder table.  Already making one.

Believe you have enough skill to airbrush with Citadel Paints with "thinners."  Example.  Yeah Windex works.  When you've been doing it for awhile.  Mediums are also helpful when you've been at this for awhile.  Can see where I was able to put a little green on the left Eldar Rangers robe.

Think those guys who wear latex gloves are afraid of getting paint on their fingers.  Example.  I'd rather spend a couple of seconds tearing the glove off than spend more time washing it off.

Disassemble your airbrush and don't put it back together correctly.  This one ate up about 20 mins of my time last night.  example the screw wasn't holding the pin.  Nothing happens when you pull back on the trigger.

So far what I've done with the airbrush.

The effect on the cloak was unintentional.  Then started spraying purposely.  Looks great.  Can't wait til I get that down.  Robes will look awesome.

Think you don't have to practice on paper before you start botching models.  Yeah, botching is the right word.  Example.  Modelling buddy Brian said "Practice 15 mins a day.  If you aren't getting thing out of it stop."  He stole that line from semi-famous solo-guitarist Joe Satriani from the mid-90's.  I know other 40k'ers remember him and probably still have one of his cds.

Which airbrush did I buy?  This kit from Amazon.  Figured an ok starter kit for airbrushing.  Have my eye on a Harder and Steinbeck and Iwata Eclipse Airbrush.  Not sure which one I'll up end up going with.  Suggestions?

This wouldn't be a proper unofficial "how to" without some positive notes.

*First of all Airbrushes are super fun.
*Airbrushes have a steep learning curve.  Will say they are harder to learn than paint brushes. (so much for those who say airbrushes are an easy way out)
*Going to use the little instruction booklet that came with the airbrush.  Practice on that every day for a couple of weeks before using it again on a model.
*Cleaning is easier than brushes.
*Have patience.  It's going to be a fun weekend with my new toy.

slainte mhath

p.s. I predict Ron at From the Warp is going to come back to blogging in about 3-4 months with tons of information about airbrushing.


  1. You won't do away with your brushes but you'll also never look back. Also Vallejo surface primers and vallejo matte varnish are awesome.

    1. Thanks, Zab. Watching some videos and yeah brushes will still be used. Agreed Vallejo paints are awesome.

  2. I used an airbrush for basecoats before, but I was using water to thin the paint (and I didn't thin it enough) so it kept clogging. Other than that it was awesome. Now I'm in a small apartment, so the loud compressor isn't that great for the neighbors. Any suggestions to help that? I really want to do more airbrushing.

    1. Noise was my first concern. I also live in an apartment. Tend to paint late at night, 4am some of the time, usually til about 1am. Didn't want a mean compressor upsetting people. When I was looking at air compressors dBA was the first thing I searched for. The decibel, noise rating, was a factor. I wasn't looking at airbush compressors. Was looking at the kind used for pneumatic tools, airguns for nails. As it turns out most airbrush compressors are on the quiet side. They are also quite compact.

      My airbrush compressor dBA is 59. That is quieter than a conversation at 3'. TV's are louder than that. If you worried about noise I'd suggest a placing a towel under the compressors feet. The towel will act as a ground and accept some of the vibration which is also noise. The closer to the door your compressor is the more likely it will be herd.

      Paasche's TC-20 dBA is 59. If that is still too loud than you might want to construct a box for the compressor. Then you have to be considered about ventilation. Machines don't like heat.

      Do you know the noise rating of your compressor?

    2. Just did a little test. My airbrush compressor on the floor to the right of my murder table. My painting station is against the wall to the hallway of my apartment. So it is about 6' from the door. Took the airbrush off the compressor and turned it on so it would just run. Stepped into the hallway and closed the door without it locked. I could not hear it. Mind you I also have sealed my apartment door with weather stripping to avoid noise bleeding into the hall. This cannot be seen from the hallway.

      I think you should be fine, cpyke, as long as you're using an airbrush compressor.

    3. Well I haven't been using an airbrush compressor. the one I've been using is more for pneumatic tools and it's pretty loud. I think my dad has an old airbrush compressor so maybe I'll see If I can borrow that (and if it is quiet enough since it's pretty old). Thanks for the help!

    4. That makes sense. Most of them appear to be 88 dbA. That is louder than vacuums. Can imagine how that would upset neighbours quickly. Especially with it turning on and off frequently.

      If there isn't a problem with your TV then an airbrush compressor is exactly what you need.

      Glad to be of help.

  3. I have one of these:

    it's 60 db, and it's quiet enough that I have it on with two kids sleeping in the house. :-)

    They have a slightly smaller and cheaper one too with only one tank.

    One of the things I've found to be true, is that sticking with the approved thinner for any paint gives the best results, but I'm not a chemist. ;-)

    1. That looks like a monster of a compressor. Curious if the second tank actually helps with maintaining constant air pressure.

      I would agree. Approved thinners are advisable. Wish GW would provide information regarding thinning their paints for airbrushing.


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