A few weeks ago I had the chance to go spend time with the good ol' parents. We went to dinner as usual, since I don't get to see them all that often. Afterwards, my dad allowed me to use his airbrush kit to paint some (or most) of my troll heavy warbeasts. Ever since that first time I used it, I have always wanted to get my own, but lack the space in our apartment to store it.
As I painted, I realized how little paint I needed to use to cover all of my warbeasts. It was frickin' awesome! I base coated my Mulg, both Earthborns, regular Mauler, and bomber, with half the amount of paint I use to paint half of those models.
Today I am going to go over how to take care of your airbrush kit first, and then go over some exercises to practice your technique on the airbrush.
The Airbrush: Proper Cleaning and Care
First of all, I am going to mainly talk about one specific type of brush, and that is the gravity-fed airbrush. I have more experience with this kind, than I do with the bottle-fed.
Before you ever start using the airbrush, you need to have all the materials that you need to keep your system working at optimal performance. Testors has two different liquid solutions, paint thinner and cleaner. The paint thinner is self-explanatory, it thins your paint! It has similar properties to just plain tap water, but it is still a chemical.
The cleaner is where its really at. All you need is to use 2-3 drops from the bottle to clean your paint well and the air shaft in the brush. You then stir it around in the well to make sure you get all the paint off, and then you spray it out. This, however, is only a temporary measure. I prefer to do a deep clean every time I use an airbrush.
To do a deep clean of you airbrush, you will need to take apart the brush and clean each of the affected parts individually. I use about 10-12 drops total when doing a deep clean, and it keeps the airbrush in tip-top shape.
There are several things you need to keep in mind about each of these parts:
Be careful not to bend the tip of the central pin that lies in the air shaft. It is what allows the even spray of paint onto your model.
In some airbrush systems there are is a small cap that goes onto the pin. DON'T LOSE IT. PERIOD!
Practice, Practice, Practice...
Using the airbrush is just like any regular brush. The switch on the brush does two things: releases air pressure and releases paint into the shaft. It takes practice to use, and a lot of time to master it and find a balance. What you can do to practice without using models, is use a paper towel first.
The objective is to spray even narrow lines over an over. This helps you get the feel of the system, and how much pressure you should put on the switch. Keep doing this for about 30 mins to an hour, or until you feel comfortable. This is also a good idea before you paint your models, so that you can get into "the groove" with the brush.
The next exercise is much like the first, but instead of straight lines you are going to attempt to draw a simple picture with the brush. Using different colors and very little paint, this will help you practice shading for your models.
I wish that I had pictures for you to see as an example. I may go down to my parents again just to get some WIP's and examples of the exercises. Thanks for reading, and good luck with the airbrush!
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