New Toys! (or Adventures with Airbrushing)

Due to an abundance of birthday Amazon vouchers (thanks Mum!) I’ve decided to buy an airbrush!

A wee bit of research on Amazon threw up a number of options – I went for a kit that included everything I needed to get started (containing airbrush, hose, compressor, moisture trap, power supply) and then a few extra bits – airbrush thinner, airbrush cleaner, cleaning pot, a dust mask, some disposable gloves and some ready mixed airbrush primer. While the reviews for the actual airbrush in the kit weren’t great I decided to go ahead and get the kit anyway and upgrade to a fancy airbrush later if the kit airbrush was indeed rubbish (it wasn’t!).

There are a few reasons why I wanted an airbrush.

1. The ability prime small numbers of miniatures no matter what the weather.

Previously, I’ve used spray cans to prime miniatures and it always feels wasteful in paint to do anything less that 7 or 8 minis at a time and, since i need to use the cans outside, I’ve had to wait until it was not raining and not too windy to do it (something that doesn’t happen that often in Scotland!) Now, I can prime one miniature with a tiny droplet of primer indoors!

2. I can base coat and highlight miniatures easily.
With the airbrush I can pretty much use any existing paint I’ve got as long as I thin it down sufficiently with the airbrush thinner. This means I can spray a base coat of any colour onto a model (rather than just the coloured spray primers I have). The speeds up the painting process by a great deal. I can also then spray from above with a highlight colour to give the impression that light is hitting the miniature from an overhead light-source. Follow this with a simple wash to emphasise darker recesses and then pick out detail with a standard paint brush and it gives a quick and easy paint job. This is particularly useful for creature models that are mainly one colour like these star spawn from Mansions of Madness.

3. I can do fades of colour really quickly.
With an airbrush it’s really easy to taper off the colour allowing you to create transitions very easily. With a normal paintbrush, the sword of the Catachan model below would have taken me ages, painstakingly brightening the paint and applying many many layers – but now with an airbrush one quick sweep allows me to create the same effect in a fraction of the time.

As I get more practice with the airbrush I’m hopeful I can do more and more interesting things with it – more dynamic fades, stencils that sort of thing. Stay tuned for more updates!