WTF? Airbrush? I call foul!!
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Thread: WTF? Airbrush? I call foul!!

  1. #1
    Senior Member -Ice's Avatar
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    Default WTF? Airbrush? I call foul!!

    Okay, I know airbrushing is a valid technique in painting but for minis?

    I'm not slamming airbrushers here, but I feel that airbrushing a mini (aside from a primer) is cheating... like someone taking a gun to a knife fight.

    Having said that, I'm new enough to the hobby that I can admit that I'm probably not looking at the whole picture. So.... what are the pros and cons of airbrushing? Do 'Eavy Metal painters do airbrushing? Do YOU do airbrushing?


  2. #2

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    I've never used an airbrush, but I would think using one for a gaming scale miniature would be incredibly difficult and if someone could, props to them for figuring it out. I don't think there is a right/wrong way to create. So, I'd have a hard time calling foul.

    jim

  3. #3

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    It takes time to learn to use an airbrush, just like a standard brush. Just another tool in a painters armoury imo.

  4. #4

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    I've never used one, and really haven't seen too many examples (other than on vehicle models) where they've been used effectively.

    But, yeah, I think it's just another tool as well. More power to whomever and however you get it done!

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    Brushlicker gohkm's Avatar
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    Mate, it's just another tool, albeit one that you'll need some practice with. It's brilliant for quickly getting a basecoat on a load of figs. It's easy to blend with, especially at the larger scales. I do use my airbrush occasionally, but it's not something I do very often because the clean-up is a pain (yes, I'm a lazy bugger). It's a little unfair to call airbrushing 'cheating' without considering its efficiency and usefulness within a given context.

  6. #6

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    Hi, My name is John and yes, I use an airbrush. Personally, i dont see the issue, I think alot of people misunderstand or over estimate what u can do with an airbrush, I couldnt paint a 52mm mini with an airbrush let alone a 28mm mini. What i do use an airbrush for, is to speed things up, I use it to put my undercoat on, then my base coat, then with a lighter colour i spray from above to find my highlights, just what alot of painters do with spray cans. All am really doing is using the airbrush to place my mid-tones down, the highlights, the shadows and the blending need to get a smooth finish all happens by hand, am just skipping a few steps so I can get on with the proper painting.
    So chill out a little, airbrushes arnt magic tools that give u a perfect mini with perfect blends, their just tools that help speed up the menial tasks when ur starting a mini and unless ur working on big minis or tanks, are actually very, very limited

  7. #7
    Senior Member -Ice's Avatar
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    Vehicles, yes, maybe. Big tower terrains. But I'm talking about painting your little humanoid mini, not gargantuan pieces of plastic.

    Darkmessiah/John, yes, I do see the benefit of using the airbrush to prime/basecoat batches of minis (makes the process faster) but I'm glad to see that it doesn't replace proper painting.

    Oh, and sorry if the title/message seems like I'm freakin' out, I'm not, I'm just surprised that there's yet another "secret" that I've uncovered. The plot thickens!

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    Coffin Dodger / Keymaster airhead's Avatar
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    I've painted a lot of things with my airbrush. From cakes to helmets to kids. I could not imagine doing a 28mm mini in its entirety with an airbrush. Details of that scale are just too tedious to do with an airbrush and too easy to do with a fine pointed brush.

    And as already mentioned, it would take lots of cleanup to change all the colors required for the standard mini. You'd spend 40 hours working on the brush and 40 hours masking off the areas to get 1 hour of painting.

    I'll stick with base coats and clearcoats. Although I do most of my clear coating with a can of DulCoat and I prime with real primer...from a can - either Krylon or Tamaya depending on the mini.

    ***
    What is the foul?

    My paint brushes run $20-$25 each with lord only knows how much in paints (GW, Reaper RMS, Vellajo - just for minis)
    Vs. an airbrush that is about equal to my paintbrush collection. (not counting pinstripe brushes.)

    This hobby, like most, is what you make it. If you want to paint with 3 bottles of craft paint and a $2 brush, go for it. If you want a full studio and a mountain of paint and every miniature tool known to man, go for it.
    Last edited by airhead; 11-15-2010 at 06:18 PM.
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    Superfreak!!! Torn blue sky's Avatar
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    Tis a mighty handy tool, yarrrrrr.
    Personally i'd only use it for vehicles and the like. Big stuff. I paint everything else the laborious way.
    I have a cunning plan...So cunning you could pin a tail on it and call it a Weasel...

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by -Ice View Post
    Oh, and sorry if the title/message seems like I'm freakin' out, I'm not, I'm just surprised that there's yet another "secret" that I've uncovered. The plot thickens!
    the thing is ice airbrushes have been around for along time and they have been used in mini painting for almost as long, its hardly a secret and is used in many military modelling techniques. Just to clarify, what is it u have the issue with? how could i use my that you would consider cheating? am just not sure where ur coming from exactly

  11. #11

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    Like my uncle says "dont knock it until you try it"

    Nowt wrong with an airbrush. I dont see how its cheating. Try one yourself, you might just like it!

  12. #12

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    I've never used one, though I have every intention of buying one at some point in the future when I can afford one.

    At the end of the day, most of us paint with the intention of producing the best looking models our skill will allow, if you can achieve a certain effect quicker or better with an airbrush than a brush, then why not use the airbrush?

    Besides, from what I gather using an airbrush effectively is a skill in itself, and like a brush takes a large investment of time to master, so I certainly wouldn't be so quick to label it a cheap or cheating painting method.

    They are two seperate, and very different tools that compliment each other very well. In the right hands they can both can produce spectacular results. Kudos to everyone that has mastered them both.
    Last edited by Genryu; 11-15-2010 at 09:15 PM.

  13. #13

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    I've been using airbrushes for about 18 years now and honestly I'd be pretty damn impressed by a mini at our scales here that was painted to any reasonable standard with an airbrush. Cheating? By no means. At this small scale it takes alot of finesse and skill to get results.

    As was mentioned it's a traditional tool for small scale figure painting, and has been widely used in the hobby for various painting effects for a great long while. There's really no stigma attached to airbrushing that I'm aware of...in fact it's a respected skillset to have for painting figures/figurines/models in general.

    Would'nt do without mine, too useful to even think about going without.

  14. #14

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    Once I started painting more armies than single minis I took up airbrushing and haven't looked back. I do tons of my work via airbrush, and use regular brushes for washes and details (also edge highlites and drybrushing). Most of the stuff in my gallery over the past year and a half (not just the vehicles) is heavily airbrushed. I see it kinda the opposite of cheating - I think anyone who paints more than 1 army a year is silly not to use one.

    www.minijunkie.com

  15. #15
    Senior Member delta 408's Avatar
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    I'd love to use an airbrush for my minis. I'm a really slow painter and it takes me forever to finish just one. It's just that I'm afraid to try since GW paint are a bit too thick for an AB and i'm not sure how much water to us to thin them.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by -Ice View Post
    Okay, I know airbrushing is a valid technique in painting but for minis?
    Yes, also for painting minis.

    Quote Originally Posted by -Ice View Post
    I'm not slamming airbrushers here, but I feel that airbrushing a mini (aside from a primer) is cheating
    So you actually *are* slamming airbrushers. If I'd gave you my airbrush, wanna bet that the results would be horrible instead of great? I have taken years to only understand how to mix the colours correctly for mini painting, although then I've done only vehicles. But trust me, I had a lot of unsymmetrical stuff with splattered colour instead of a nice blend. You can see many airbrushed pictures in the gallery that I find horrible, because they've been done without skill. That these still get rated high, well, that is more cheating imo.

    Quote Originally Posted by -Ice View Post
    Having said that, I'm new enough to the hobby that I can admit that I'm probably not looking at the whole picture. So.... what are the pros and cons of airbrushing?
    Pro:
    - You can make large areas fast
    - There won't be any large brush stroke patterns in the result
    - You can do very fine blends

    Contra:
    - You can mess up an entire model faster
    - You have to mask other areas very often, because the colour flows with air anywhere you might not want it. Masking can be a real horror!
    - If you don't have perfect control over your airbrush, you don't get thin lines and your surface that should have received a blend will more look like camouflage than anything else. Means it isn't a nice blend, but blobs of colours.
    Like that: http://img607.imageshack.us/img607/7043/22267087.jpg
    - If you don't have perfect control over your airbrush, you will load one area with a blob of fluid colour and then make it run all over your model because of the air pressure the airbrush outputs.
    Similar to that: http://img299.imageshack.us/img299/7277/37112855.jpg
    - Blends with an airbrush will never look the same like a blend with a brush. Well, they can, but nobody will probably do that afford. An airbrush blend with a colour that is very different to the underlying one will always look "placed over" it. To make it look the same you have to use a lot of intermediate mixed colours which takes incredible much time for cleaning the airbrush, mixing the colour, etc, etc.
    What I mean with "placed over" can be seen well here: http://www.coolminiornot.com/264225 No offence, but that guy seems to be relatively new. All that is airbrush and you can see it from a distance. What really makes me dislike him is that he said he did quite some blending while that probably was or at least can be done in a few minutes with an airbrush.
    - Cleaning up. Seriously, cleaning an airbrush is a horror and if you don't cleanse the important areas of all colour, then you will get into troubles spraying. Acrylics dry fast, giving it a retarder isn't a better idea either (for me at least). So if you leave a tiny bit of colour in the nozzle, the next run can dry in there much faster than with having it cleaned perfectly, although you will still receive the same problem a few minutes later. If that happens, then the paint starts to splatter and might not want to flow out of the airbrush at all, which may lead you to opening the channel a bit more which results in a large blob of suddenly running colour. And you have to clean the needle and nozzle quite often with acrylics unless you like that "no colour or blob"-game.
    - Because of the way an airbrush puts colour on a surface, it makes a difference if you put blue over black or black over blue (or any other colours, the order is important). So once you have sprayed too much colour at one area, you have messed it up. You can't simply go over with the base colour, as that will give an entirely different look. Blending with a brush is easier to fix in that parts, because the colours actually do get mixed. You might run into similar problems when doing juicing though. Still a brush has much better control over where you want the colour to be, since you touch the surface. With airbrush you always have to guess where it will go to.

    Quote Originally Posted by -Ice View Post
    Do 'Eavy Metal painters do airbrushing? Do YOU do airbrushing?
    Yes. Although 'Eavy Metal is using it only for vehicles (I've seen it on some super heavies and the new DE vehicles for sure). I'm also using it on 28mm miniatures, but I can tell you that this is not easy and will require a huge time masking and still a very large amount of time to adjust some parts of blends and work out the details. Simply airbrushing won't speed up the process that much either. Some minis are also easier to airbrush than others. Marines for example are easier imo (large flat areas, minis often come in parts), Eldar are a harder already (fixed metal poses with lots of overlapping items, arms/legs or armour plates).

    PS:
    Sorry for the photoshop examples of what may happen with an airbrush, but it's 8am and I don't feel like making a demonstration shot (also it's too dark outside to photograph it). If you wish though, I can make a picture of these issues for real. They are surely horrible if they happen and they will happen often in the first years of airbrushing. And if they do, the model (or at least the part you're working at) is entirely ruined.
    Last edited by Hendarion; 11-16-2010 at 04:06 AM.

  17. #17
    Superfreak!!! lizcam's Avatar
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    I'm with the "just another tool" crowd. Skill is skill weither you use a brush, airbrush, sponge or rock. I felt it was cheating for a while but if you're going to get bad results with a regular brush having an airbrush won't nessecarily make you any better.
    We done done it now. We're finally hitched. We are now the dreaded two headed Roger - Liz - Bunting monster you have all feared.

  18. #18

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    I'm with Hendarion here. To me brushing, airbrushing -- who cares, when the result is acceptable. Naturally, no one can finish the entire mini with an airbrush only -- as mentioned airhead, there always be tedious details that can be done with pointy brush only, but for large areas good airbrush with straight hands can be handy.

    Oh... And i often airbrush my minis. I'm not a master-mini-painter-blah-blah at all, i do it just for fun, but here couple of acceptable samples: here red armor was airbrushed, but then there was a lot of brushwork, and here the entire mini was airbrushed and then tiny details were brushed on.

  19. #19

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    naw it's not cheating it's just another optional step in evolution of your painting. Learn to prime, learn to get the colours on the right parts, learn to shade and highlight, learn to wash, ink and glaze, learn to wetblend, learn to paint in non metallics, learn to airbrush.

    28mm figs are too small to really 100% airbrush, most I've done is space marine armour and that's really only because a marine tends to be 90% one colour, everything else needs brushwork.

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wicksy View Post
    Like my uncle says "dont knock it until you try it"

    Nowt wrong with an airbrush. I dont see how its cheating. Try one yourself, you might just like it!
    agreed, they are great to have but to do anything significant requires a LOT of skill. give it a try and say if you still think it's cheating!
    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v433/freak-in-a-cage/freakinacage-1.jpg

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