Wednesday, 18 April 2012

The Wonders of Airbrushing

A quick one from me today.

I bought a GW Airbrush about a year ago, and its just sat in my hobby box since I got it. I think it was both fear of not being good with it and the thought of all the effort it would take to clean the thing that kept me from even trying.

However, the prospect of base coating nine rhino chasis's, twenty marines and three sentinel hulls in a short space of time made me think its worth a pop.

Even for what is essentially the equivalent of a early learning centre toy laptop of an airbrush, for something so simple its brutally effective. For what was about £25's worth of kit after propellant and the entire pot of paint it guzzles, having nine rhino hulls base coated up in less than 30 minutes, and all tidied away, well, its worth it.

I personally will be upgrading very soon, I plan on doing a Dark Eldar army around the winter time, and I imagine that will be done all airbrushed now (already know what colour scheme I want!), but for the time being the cheap-a-matic basecoat machine will do.


If you use the same base coat in large quantities on models (marine / non-detailed models) or tanks, and still apply your first basecoat by brush after priming, pick up this bit of kit. Its cheap for what it is, will give you a better base coat (no brush strokes, same consistency throughout the model due to not having to reapply water as the paint dries) and in much quicker time.

As for the consistency of the paint. I basically filled the tub about 55% with paint and 35-40% with water, being mixed with the propellant sticks it to the model very well anyway.

If you serious about getting into airbrushing, and by that I mean doing more than the base coat, I'd probably not use this unless you are on a budget. It is fine, but I could see it quite easily getting clogged up with lots of use (I.E being asked to do 3 or 4 coats per sets of models). 


I am very very late to the airbrushing game, thus have no idea what to purchase.

Having a quick look around there are people recommending airbrushes all over the shop, and basically I have no clue where to start or finish. Budget wise, while I don't have a budget, lets just say around £250 is perfectly fine and I won't think about it, I'd stretch further if it was basically a "this is the best on the market, and will solve problems you will encounter" or whatever.

So any recommendations?


  1. the problem is mate, you need to buy the airbrush itself, as well as a compressor (electric, usually). all in all, this could easily arrive at £250. there are a number of sites that do kits, with all you need to get going immediately, which is what i bought at Christmas. I'll be trying it out properly when the days get a bit longer! if you come over one evening or weekend soon we can try mine out and you can go from there.

  2. I've edited it for clarity, I thought the compressor was bought separately and was fairly stock.

  3. I have beem using an airbrush fro over a year now,
    I bought this
    and it only costs 95 pounds, that compresor and 2 airbrushes.
    I have used them with no problem at all.

    Some of the work i have done with it.

    undead unit filler, Airbrushed and then painted in one session (3-4 hours)

    space wolf lord

    fire hawks- raptors

    grey knights (3 hours work - basecoat base and miniatures.)

    1 tactical 1 sternguard and a rhino painted from top to bottom in half a day. Airbrush-details-wash- pigments

    Airbrush realy helps and especialy for D eldar you can achieve some nice effects.
    from awesome paint job blog

  4. Very interesting post mate; I've still not ventured into the Airbrush camp despite a couple of my friends now being converts.

    I Fear change and anything with moving parts (which i have a habit of blowing upon contact).

    Still looking at all the vehicles I've got waiting to paint and reading this post, I'm sorely tempted to give it a try.

  5. I use an iwata Eclipse and I am very happy with it. I got it for about 125 bucks, but as people mention, the compressor is greater might be able to find a decent one for around 150 if you really hunt for it.

    Here's a tip - mix your paints with windex instead of water. Works much better.

    Also, get yourself one of those 3-in-1 airbrush tools that includes a cleansing pot, airbrush holder and mixing well.

    Lastly, I'd say practice makes perfect as always.

  6. I've heard about this windex trick.

    What shocked me was how simple it was, I was getting fairly good effects off just literally playing around with it.

    I do admit though, my propellant had been in the shed a wee while and I was a little scared when breaking the seal lol.

  7. Look around pawn shops for a good deal on a used compressor (a real one not an airbrush compressor). You will need an air regulator to get an appropriate psi rating. I picked up my first brush and played with it on a piece of cardboard. For basic base coats, it doesn't take much practice.

    As far as paints, I like Vallejo Model Air if for nothing else, they are pre-thinned and are cheaper than GW paints. They also tend to be nicer when brushing compared to the old GW paints which is useful for layering... I guess that's why GW has some new layering paint.

  8. I forgot about the model air ones actually, had some for painting as they are actually fairly decent.

    The layering stuff still needs watering down though. By layering I am pretty sure all they mean is that you have "step 1 step 2 and step 3" paints that are all cohesive and work together, where as before you would get base coat A, then create stage 2 with paints b and c, then highlight using white in that mix, or bone, or xxxx for example. Now its just much more liner - it seems.

    Looking forward to my next project being air brushed base. I am still too rooted in blending everything I do, and while the airbrush gets a similar effect, I like the complexity of blending and its effect over the one I created off the airbrush, while I was no master, I did find I could achieve a solid effect even straight off the bat, and now I've had time to think about it I should be a bit better.

    I really want to practice masking off area's to airbrush, being able to get a perfectly straight line for halves/quarters/stencils for example seems so good and a powerful effect.

  9. Oh and cheers for the consumer advice!

  10. I use a £40 dual action airbrush and a cheap a/b compressor.
    Works fine, the myth that you have to spend hundreds of pounds is absolute rubbish. Especially if you're mostly basecoating.
    Its the person using the tool that makes the difference, not the tool itself.

  11. As long as the quality is fine and its well made I think there isn't going to be too much of an issue.

    This is why I am asking for peoples experience. Generally my route is to get the one I feel won't break down, typically more expensive, but since I have zero grounding in this style of art, I can't tell / know.

    Like I say, its a while before I'll do a full army with airbrush, so a "cheap" one is fine for now, but as much info as possible is brilliant.

    I might get a 40quid one just for base coating.