Adventures with Airbrushing! Learning Curve! (Part 7)

Well, the booth is set up.  The airbrush is here.  Paints are here!

Now, the smart thing to do is:

  1. Get a piece of card.  Try the brush with water on the card, and get a feel for the pressure, where you get overspray, where you get a good spread, and just practise working the trigger for a bit.
  2. Once you feel confident with the flow, grab another bit of card, and do the same thing, but this time, use paint to really see the way the spray works.
  3. Then, and only then, move onto some test models, ideally metals you can easily strip, and get a feel for evenly spreading the paint over the erratic shapes on the models.

Of course, smart is not my middle name.  I instantly grabbed a plastic Tyranid Carnifex that’s been sat primed white for ages, and sprayed it Ochre!

It worked well!  I was pretty cautious with the trigger, and whoosh!

I then moved straight onto spraying metallics, which are notoriously difficult to clean, as I discovered by cleaning the airbrush afterwards. 🙂  Even allowing for cleaning time, though, I basecoated 30 marines with a clean even cover in minutes … far more effective than if I’d done it by hand.  Rock!

Amusing anecdote.  I got a quick release coupler for my airbrush.  Brilliant, especially as I can plug my airbrush off the hose for cleaning awkward angles without emptying the air tank!  Huzzah!  It has a built in pressure regulator – basically a tiny screw that opens or closes the valve to allow air through.  If you loosen that enough with a full tank of pressure …. ping!  #replacementpartordered

What have I learnt so far?  Well, discipline with cleaning the brush pays for itself a thousand times over in time.  Run a little cleaner through before you start (especially if the cleaner contains airbrush lubricant).  Clean the brush properly at regular intervals, even if spraying the same colour.  It really avoids a lot of problems with clogs, and each individual clean is pretty easy.  Avoiding having to strip the brush makes a huge difference to hobby time!

Moisture traps are invaluable.  The amount of water mine catches – with a moisture trap on the compressor already – was a big wake up call.  For about £3, its probably paid for itself in my hobby time avoiding problems.

Plan your airbrushing.  If you are spraying lots of models, make sure you have a spot for them to dry as well!  if you are changing colours through a session, start with the lightest, so if a tiny amount makes it through the clean, it won’t affect the darker colour coming next.

If you have a lot of models to do for the same colour, try spraying them at once, rather than having to set the brush up each time, especially if adding thinners and changing the consistency – it can slightly alter the shade, which isn’t ideal!  Or you can forget exactly which colour or mix you used…..

I love my new airbrush!  I feel like its giving me my hobby time back!  There is a bit of a learning curve, but I would say for doing basic sprays it isn’t as hard as I thought!  The impression on line is that an airbrush is an arcane art – thats true for the complex stuff, but the simple stuff?  Not too bad!  Worth looking into!

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