Another airbrush thread... wheeee!
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Thread: Another airbrush thread... wheeee!

  1. #1

    Question Another airbrush thread... wheeee!

    Hey everyone, hopefully you are not getting sick of these but here goes another thread about airbrushing.
    Total noob in this, but I want one for Christmas, because I have seen that guy from awesomepaintjobs doing very cool stuff with it plus there is a guy called Bulldog on Warseer who made some insanely great looking Space Hulk Terminators using airbrush - and that's what I wanna do to.

    I have read some of the other threads around here, checked the long and very informative tutorial and came to this conclusion:

    double action and compressor are a must

    considering I am going to do batch painting of probably 5-20 minis at once and more footsoldiers than tanks (well at the moment, I do have some Gundam kits laying around that I didn't dare to ruin with my brush skills and there are a couple of nice Gradius kits out there too... but I digress) it should be a fine "tip" and gravity fed

    I am thinking about getting an Aztek set, from what I understand they are kind of forgiving when it comes to noob-handling and making mistakes... now, here is where I am kinda stuck and my insight to this topic ends... I am afraid I can't decide which of the available ones are best suited for what I wanna do (painting Warmachine stuff and Space Orks in squads). My basic idea is to get the colors and highlights going with the airbrush, washing and or black-lining with a micron the recesses for definition and just doing hard edgelighting and some small detailing by brush. So I am looking for an airbrush kit that is somewhat easy to maintain, quick to clean and good, preferably ready to use colors for quick and hasslefree airbrush-action.

    Could anybody recommend an Aztek kit that would serve me well, and also point me towards a good compressor?
    Also, advice on colors would be much appreciated. I hear Vallejo are doing great with their Vallejo Air range, but maybe there are better alternatives out here?

    Finally, if anybody knows a good shop in Germany (or in Europe shipping to Germany) for airbrush, compressor and colors that would be great.

    Cheers,
    Aulbath

  2. #2

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    Hi Aulbath. I was going to wait and let the more experienced airbrush users offer you advice, as I am only a beginner, but I think there is a place for novices such as myself to share what they have learned so far. Different members will offer different advice based on their own level of experience, tastes, and preferences. I will share what I have learnt so far, what I think would be good for you, and you can consider my advice alongside the other replies you are sure to get.

    Firstly, I spent some time and money on a single action airbrush and aerosol cannisters. I think you are right in going straight for a double action brush and compressor, as this is what I am using now and I cannot even compare it to my old Badger single action. I would not recommend a single action brush and air cans to any beginner, I do not consider that you can do "airbrushing" with such a setup; it may be useful for spraying terrain, or doing wall art, but these little devices are more like budget "spray guns" - *in my opinion and experience*. So yes, I agree, get a compresor and double action brush.

    The compressor I use is very simple. It switches on, sprays at approx. 20 PSI (which I find to be just fine), is a little noisy, and is A DREAM compared to air cans freezing up and losing pressure as they empty. When I got my compressor, it was like heaven! Goodbye cans! More experienced airbrushers will be able to tell you about all kinds of advanced features and properties you can get on more expensive compressors, but from somebody who is learning to airbrush, I say, get a simple compressor that allows you to get started, there is so much technique and facility to learn, your first year is not going to be spent wishing for a better compressor, it's going to be spent learning to use and maintain an airbrush. I have an AB-AS06 compressor, one of the little "budget" blue ones from everythingairbrush.co.uk I can't imagine needing anything different, ever. I would certainly be a very advanced airbrusher if I ever outgrew this piece of equipment.

    So, once you have an entry level compressor you need an entry level double-action airbrush. Why entry level? In my experience so far, because the time and practice it is going to take you to learn to keep your airbrush clean (as in, airbrush clean, which is like RIFLE clean to a soldier) - you are going to get your first airbush in such a mess, you should not buy a really nice one first. Like your first car, you are going to prang it - so get a cheap on. Get a nice car once you are better at the steering wheel. I hope that makes sense. The *second* time I sat down to use my double-action, it did not spray correctly. I had read many articles about how to clean my airbrush, and I thought I had done it properly. Reading articles and doing things for real are different matters. You learn fast, there is clean, and there is AIRBRUSH CLEAN. So, get a cheap non-brand double action airbrush to learn with. Learn to control the airflow, learn to clean and maintain your brush, learn what NOT to do by doing it and thinking GARRGH! Then..go and treat yourself to an Iwata or something nice like that, once you can look after it. I plan to do that in the new year.

    Like I said, I am a beginner. I love my airbrush and I learn something new about it everytime I sit down to use it. I am experimenting alot with it at the moment in order to learn how to use it well and keep it clean and spraying as I need. I have tried vehicle work, and basecoating and shading on infantry models. I have used it to paint and shade bases, and terrain pieces. I have sprayed acrylics thinned with screenwash (spray and colour great, I have no intention of trying Vellejo Air or similar), thinned varnishes, washes, and inks. I have tipped it over (it's a side feed, useful if you need to spray upside down, I learnt, which I don't, when I upgrade I'll get a top feed - I recommend you get a top feed) and covered my hand in green paint, and I have put it down on my desk forgetting it has a cup of paint attached. I have left the needle in after cleaning it like a newb, and I have spent two hours wondering why my compressor is shutting off when I connect the brush because I had not left it five minutes to gain pressure and warm up first. All of these things you can learn about with simple equipment.

    In summary, get a simple compressor and a cheap non-brand double action top feed airbrush. You will do entry level airbrush equipment such as this about as much justice as a beginner guitar player with a 1960s Fender Strat. Once you can play a few notes, you can go shopping for a better tool...

    I hope this "beginner's eye view" is useful to you in some way. I think a dozen people may now post and disagree with what I have told you. Airbrushing can be like that.

    It's a lot of fun good luck!

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    Coffin Dodger / Keymaster airhead's Avatar
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    Sounds like you've already made up your mind.
    As to which Aztec, I don't think it really matters, they all use the same tips and that is where the business is done.
    Find a good kit with a decent compressor and a full set of tips and you should be good to start.

    Don't expect to be cranking out some of those dropships in the first week. Just like painting minis, there is a big difference in skill levels between putting paint on vs. demon level quality.
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  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aulbath
    I am thinking about getting an Aztek set, from what I understand they are kind of forgiving when it comes to noob-handling and making mistakes...
    Very; they're actually hard to damage. But do read up on how to strip them down and clean them to avoid errors that might not be obvious to you.

    Regarding what model to get, nearly all the Azteks work the same way and they use the same nozzles, so in terms of spray quality they're practically identical.

    So I think the decision with the current lineup should probably come down to weight - go with the chrome model if you think that the weight will suit you, go with one of the resin-bodied ones otherwise. If you pick option B then all you have to do is choose the set that gives the best value for money (usually this will come down to the largest A470 set, assuming it's within your budget).

    Quote Originally Posted by Aulbath
    ...also point me towards a good compressor?
    There are a number of prior threads with recommendations of specific models by airhead and one or two other members as a starting point. If you have to look from scratch a couple of the threads from the past year or so go into detail about what to look for features-wise.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aulbath
    Finally, if anybody knows a good shop in Germany (or in Europe shipping to Germany) for airbrush, compressor and colors that would be great.
    With the strength of the Euro against the dollar, and how low the prices can be in the US, it might be worth ordering the airbrush from one of the American online suppliers; even with shipping it could still work out cheaper (sometimes much cheaper) than a European source; the contrast can be particularly wide between the UK and US, even with the presumed buying strength of Sterling items can be significantly more expensive in Britain.

    No real idea on the compressor front, but they can be heavy so it might not be feasible to order one from another country. Maybe check on some German-language modelling forums?


    Quote Originally Posted by scottjames
    So, once you have an entry level compressor you need an entry level double-action airbrush. Why entry level? In my experience so far, because the time and practice it is going to take you to learn to keep your airbrush clean (as in, airbrush clean, which is like RIFLE clean to a soldier) - you are going to get your first airbush in such a mess, you should not buy a really nice one first.
    This is largely sidestepped with Azteks, one of a few reasons I recommend them to hobbyists who are looking to get their first gun and who don't need specific abilities that are outside of their scope.

    As for non-branded traditional aibrushes, the potential problems and worries with them have been highlighted in a couple of previous discussions. If you have an airbrush that might require spare parts these need to be available, you will need one at some point - possibly more than one and possibly sooner than you'd like - and many of those cheaper metal airbrushes don't have spares.

    Einion

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    Hey Aulbath, welcome!

    I've got an Aztek A470 in the wood box, which is a nice kit. To be honest, though, I don't use most of the other nozzles it came with (I too mostly paint Warmachine/Hordes stuff). I find I mostly use the "Fine" (tan) nozzle, and occasionally the "Medium" (blueish) one. The other nozzles are neat, but you can do without them for a while, and you can always pick them up at your leisure. You might poke around on ebay; you can sometimes find some really good deals there.

    As for paints, you can use pretty much any paint you want, as long as you thin it properly. I use P3, Vallejo Model Color, and some Golden Airbrush colors for the most part. I highly recommend Golden Airbrush Medium for thinning--works just fine with the P3 and VMC. I've not use the Vallejo Air colors, but I have heard they're pretty decent.

  6. #6

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    Lots of input here, thanks guys. Unfortunately, been a bit caught up in work - I will reply properly when I have the time (which should be by the end of the week).

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    Superfreak!!! Torn blue sky's Avatar
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    Watching this thread with interest! I've a Titan and a Razorback that I need to do (ok, have needed to do for more than a year...) I figured, presumably not wrongly, that an airbrush is the way to go!
    I have a cunning plan...So cunning you could pin a tail on it and call it a Weasel...

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    Brushlicker Valander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Torn blue sky View Post
    Watching this thread with interest! I've a Titan and a Razorback that I need to do (ok, have needed to do for more than a year...) I figured, presumably not wrongly, that an airbrush is the way to go!
    I recently did a Raek and pair of Harriers. An airbrush is really a great tool for use on the beasts.

    Just remember, if you haven't used an airbrush before, it's not "magic" and won't give you instant, amazing results. It, like every other tool and technique, takes some practice. What I found on doing those beasts was that it was actually good to start with the shadow tone, cover the entire flesh area, then start "misting" lighter colors up. This lets you use the natural "zenithal" highlighting, and if you don't have tons of pressure for the highlights, you can get an effect that's similar to drybrushing (in that it hits only raised areas), only much, much smoother.

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    I figured on going from shadows, makes more sense , technically. I'll be looking forward to giving it a go =D
    I have a cunning plan...So cunning you could pin a tail on it and call it a Weasel...

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    I can recommend http://www.h-haider.de/

    It is a store based in Munich and the owner is quit friendly, when it comes to asking a whole bunch of newbie questions.

    I didn't bought my airbrush gun there (made the classical "buy cheap, get cheap" ebay fault), but I used the store to pimp my compressor with a pressure tank and a friend of mine, bought a Victor AB3 gun there. It's a gravity feed dual-action gun with a 0.3mm needle and he was quit successful and happy with it.

    Regarding the colors: I use Model Air colors and I'm satisfied with them. The only drawback is the limited color range if you're not into historical models. Basically you can airbrush with nearly all color ranges, but dedicated AB paints are easier to handle in my opinion, the VMA stuff for example don't need any further thinning so you can use them right out of the bottle.

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    Coffin Dodger / Keymaster airhead's Avatar
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    Let me note that lots of "ready for airbrush" paints mean that you are buying more water and less paint.
    Some companies add more binder and flow improver to make up the difference, but I prefer to reduce a heavier bodied paint to airbrush use.

    The only solid exception I make for that is airbrush cake coloring. I tried to reduce food coloring to something sprayable. In the end it was cheaper to buy ready to go stuff. (My daughter was little and wanted a cake with a character that was not licenced, so none of the local shops would put the character on the cake. A page from a comic book, some butter cream icing, a bottle of purple airbrush cake coloring and we were happy happy.)
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  12. #12

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    Hey everyone,

    went and bought the Aztec set that comes in that sweet wooden storagecase. Still looking for a compressor, I think I have found one well priced and handy version (including pressure tank, pressure control and that "avoid moisture"-thingy) over at that Haider Airbrush place, but those guys haven't replied to my mails (yet). Probably got lost in spam or something, gonna try again later this week.

    Now with the actual airbrush covered, the compressor in the works there is the matter of paints left. For starters I think I am going with Vallejo Air, are there any brands with brighter colors available? Since I love my models bright and striking it seems I won't be able to cheat around thining paints. What do you recommend for thining paints (this has probably been covered a million times before) - what's the difference between "thinner" and plain old water? From what I understand the ratio should be slightly more thinner/water than color? Any recommendations for cleaning liquids?

    Just spend the last evening experimenting with different color primers prepping some models, just the thought that I could do this much more controlled and "to the point" soon makes me all happy. Can't wait to try it out.

  13. #13

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    regarding that store: They have very small opening hours, calling them during those is the best idea. At least it worked for me. Sent them a mail once and their reply was to call them and ask my questions via phone.

    @other color range: You can either thin normal TTG color ranges like the GW, p3 or vallejo stuff, or search for a local craft store and buy some dedicated airbrush colors like createx auto air and other stuff.

    @thinning: The difference between dedicated airbrush thinner like the golden medium, liquitex airbrush-medium or the Vallejo thinner and just thinning with water is that those thinners allow you to thin paints a lot, w/o getting into some problems you may get if you use too much wateraint. If you browse around the net you will find tons of different opinions on thinning vallejo and GW paints. Lots of the US crowd uses windex window cleaner, some guys use plain distilled water, some prep that with liquitex flow aid, while other guys swear on the airbrush-mediums I mentioned above.

    The ratio itself depends on the consistency of the paint and how thin you like it and what you want to do with it. Most tutorials on the web tell you that you should thin your paint down to a consistency of skimmed milk.

    @cleaning: Get a dedicated airbrush cleaner. I own the vallejo stuff and it works, but I guess any other brand will do the job too.

  14. #14

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    I would add that one of these airbrush cleaning stations is a must have, it stops all that nasty airbrush cleaner floating around your house. You should also wear some kind of respirator while using the airbrush, unless you want to inhale atomised paint of coarse.

    For techniques look at some of the scale modelling web sites, most of the guys on those use airbrushes and there are good tips to be found, pre shading the panel lines and recesses is the norm for vehicles and gives a very good finish when done properly.
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