Airbrishing fine detail - how useful is a crown tip?
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Thread: Airbrishing fine detail - how useful is a crown tip?

  1. #1

    Default Airbrushing fine detail - how useful is a crown tip?

    I've so far been using a cheap Chinese airbrush, mainly for zeinthal priming. I'd like to step it up and try airbrushing finer details, for example on 28mm Inifinity miniatures using an Angel Giraldez type technique (see this blog post for an example).

    I'm a bit uncertain on the tip size needed, my choice so far is an H&S Ultra 2 in 1 which comes with 0.2 & 0.4mm nozzle, so I can use it for fine detail with the 0.2 and have the 0.4 for priming etc (although I'm aware of the potential blocking problems with the 0.2).

    However, one thing the H&S Ultra doesn't seem to have, unlike the more expensive models, is the option of a crown/precision type tip - as can be seen on this H&S Infinity.

    I know such a tip makes cleaning easier, but I don't think I can justify the extra cost on that alone, unless it's a really big deal. However, I've read that such a tip makes doing fine detail work easier as you can get a bit closer to the surface, and see where the needle is.

    Do you think a tip like this makes it worth getting a more expensive airbrush?
    Last edited by GrantC; 09-29-2016 at 10:19 AM. Reason: Spelling error

  2. #2

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    that tip is needed mostly for protecting the needle.
    The price for the CRPlus is higher not because of the crown, but the nozzle/needle. Instead of the usual 0.2-0.3-0.4 it has a 0.15mm one. Which in theory helps with much smaller details, but unless the paint is really thin or even better not acryl it WILL clog a lot.
    There is a video called microairbrushing. There they use a normal 0.2mm needle + solvent based, thinned AB paint (to avoid clog and make transitions slowly) + no crown(to get closer to the surface) + about 5-10 psi(to have better control). The result in the tutorial-video? Freehanding about 20 skulls+little flame effect on an area the size of a 20cent with AB only. It was pretty impressive and at the same time: no way I can do it.

    As for the crown/tip
    I always AB without it. Mostly because I'm lazy and the crown my AB (HnS Evolution) has is a PITA to clean.
    Yes without it I can get much closer to the surface, getting much finer pattern.
    But at the same time I have to be much more careful of the needle. It's very easy to bend it making it mostly unusable (haven't done it with the HnS AB, but with another noname one).
    Forgot, that it works again.

  3. #3
    Coffin Dodger / Keymaster airhead's Avatar
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    Crown tips let you do a couple of things:
    Get your fingernail or q-tip in there a little easier to clean the tip build up.
    Let the overspray out when you get very close .

    Most tips (air caps) will still leave the needle protruding a little, so caution is always advised to prevent needle crash.
    If you're painting people, a tip crash can leave a permanent tattoo on the subject.

    SECONDLY:
    AB's are great for laying down primer, base coats and large areas. The amount of masking involved to paint minis with an AB would (in my opinion) be way not worth the effort. That said, doing some preliminary work after the base coat is easily possible. Areas like wings, body armor (space marines, fantasy/medieval full plate, etc), and other "large" areas could be done or at least begun with an AB.

    About the finest line I can get with my Iwata HPB is around a heavy pencil line. Your milage may vary.


    Good luck and show us your work.
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  4. #4

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    Thanks MAXXxxx, I'll check that video out for some inspiration. I hadn't thought of just leaving the tip off - that might be a viable option. The thing with the price is that with the (cheaper) Ultra, you can't get a crown-style tip for it, you can only get it for the more expensive H&S ones. As far as I know the needles & nozzles are the same in all of the H&S brushes, and you can get 0.15, 0.2 & 0.4 with any of them.

    I do have reservations about the time taken for masking etc, airhead - the mini's I'm looking at have a lot of armour plating, but the plates are pretty small for an airbrush. The 'Giraldez method' seems pretty painstaking, but people like 1 minute war manage to achieve pretty good results in much less time with a few tricks. I don't expect to paint my minis like either of them anytime soon - which is one reason I hesitate to spend a lot on an airbrush - but you've got to start somewhere!

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by GrantC View Post
    but people like 1 minute war manage to achieve pretty good results in much less time with a few tricks.
    Even he uses it only the way Airhead described it. For the first rough colors and first highlights. After that back to the good old brush.

    The only exception was with the Rebots, but there there was overspray to the finished area at a few times (the purple bleedin over to the 'finished' NMM parts for example, later shades with black on the NMM remedied it, but it's still double work if not masked properly)

    AG-s method is not that bad. Basically it comes down to:
    - AB one of the main color
    - mask it (if you chose flat surfaces it's not that hard to do)
    - AB the other main color
    - remove mask (again on mostly flat surfaces it's easy to remove, on filligree... a pain)
    - do blacklining
    - do edge highlight
    - paint small details that are different color (lenses, head, hair, leather stripes, etc)
    Last edited by MAXXxxx; 09-29-2016 at 10:56 AM.
    Forgot, that it works again.

  6. #6

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    Just remember,... no matter how fine a line you make, it will always be "fuzzy". It just the nature of the airbrush. It you want crisp/sharp lines, you'll need to mask or use a brush.
    It's only a flesh wound!!!


  7. #7
    Coffin Dodger / Keymaster airhead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAXXxxx View Post
    ...- mask it (if you chose flat surfaces it's not that hard to do)
    ...
    - remove mask (again on mostly flat surfaces it's easy to remove, on filligree... a pain)
    Have you tried silly putty for masking irregular areas?
    Easy to remove and you can mash it pretty thin.
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  8. #8

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    I have Angel' book, humbly named "Angel GiraldeZ Painting Miniaures from A to Z".

    Well, Infinfity minis anyway. His work is really amazes me.

    He uses a .2mm airbrush and .15mm airbrush, and all Vallejo acrylics. He recommends 1.8-20 Bars or about 25-30psi. He masks with masking fluid, modellers masking tape, and plastic wrap to mask off models.

    I have .3mm airbrush, all the same paints, and I cannot replicated his work, in spite of step by step directions. I think this is more me not being a pro painter than 0.15 vs .3mm needles. I have had bad luck with Vallejo liquid mask but I blame the the Vallejo polyurethane primer pealing off.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by airhead View Post
    Have you tried silly putty for masking irregular areas?
    it's not the irregular that's a pain, but the raised detail. See Cynwall for what I mean. ( http://underthemountainblog.com/wp-c...ynchronime.jpg )
    Last I tried was liquid masking. Worked more or less ok, but still a pain especially at removal.

    Quote Originally Posted by mjs101 View Post
    I have .3mm airbrush, all the same paints, and I cannot replicated his work, in spite of step by step directions.
    not really your fault. Most of the book are pretty pictures and color recipes.
    Not much info on how-to and where-to.
    And altough I think it will be mostly the same, but I'll buy the 2nd book that can be preordered from 17th october.

    Quote Originally Posted by mjs101 View Post
    I think this is more me not being a pro painter than 0.15 vs .3mm needles.
    true. I use a thicker needle (0.3 or 0.4 atm).
    Altough I mostly AB on larger figures but on 28mm this was what I could do with a 0.4mm: https://www.facebook.com/gamesdaybud...type=3&theater
    (clothes, most of the grey NMM)

    Quote Originally Posted by mjs101 View Post
    I have had bad luck with Vallejo liquid mask but I blame the the Vallejo polyurethane primer pealing off.
    let's just say: I'm not a fan of the vallejo primer lately. Even though it's not a real primer I like GW-s sprays better.
    Last edited by MAXXxxx; 09-30-2016 at 03:50 AM.
    Forgot, that it works again.

  10. #10

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    You can buy a infinity crown and fit it to an ultra, I have both an ultra and a infinity, as I needed a new needle and nozzle and it was £25 for the pair or £55 for an ultra with 10 Vallejo paints. Seemed a no brainer.

    I put my spare infinity crown on the ultra, just remember its a different sized crown for 1.5/.2 and .4

  11. #11

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    Oh, that's good to know, thanks. I've got the Ultra now so I'll look into that once I've had a good go with it.

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