My Airbrush Set Up, and a brief buyer's guide.
If you have any questions / comments, please feel free to post on the forum thread for this tutorial.
I have been getting a lot of questions from people asking for recommendations for their first airbrush, to save you scrolling down it is undoubtedly the Iwata revolution CR
. This is what I use, anything painted with an airbrush in our gallery or tutorials has been done with one, and it is a singularly un-fussy and forgiving tool. I have run all possible paints, washes, and mediums through it without complaint, and love it unconditionally
. It's less than £100 quid, and comes with a 5 year guarantee from Iwata, all round win.
Hi all, given that we're now stocking airbrushes I thought I'd write a little break down of what I use, and what we offer.
Firstly - what can be achieved with an airbrush?
If you've seen our twitter feed you'll have undoubtedly come across one of my necron armies:
And from other artists:
(Painted by the ever prolific Lono
<a class="postlink" href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7vk83EH7F7o">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7vk83EH7F7o</a>
Airbrushes are a tool for speed, and with practise they can help you achieve amazing results.
Firstly my philosophy when buying a potentially hobby altering (and expensive!) piece of kit is buy once, buy right/buy cheap buy twice. Rather than get a 'tester brush' - a cheap knock off on eBay I bought a solid piece of kit, with the intention to use it for a long long time. My Revolution CR
is still going strong, despite constant abuse, and no small amount of neglect
We've looked at an initial range to encompass three budgets, but all of the kit is Iwata, which is built to last, there are less pricey options, but nothing here will feel 'cheap'. All of the airbrushes are dual action, and gravity fed, as anything single action is only going to be useful for basecoating. Not only this but they are far more faffy to use, and are probably one of the reasons people buying cheap eBay brushes give airbrushes such a bad rep on forums.
"It blocked all the time, it didn't flow consistently, it was a nightmare to clean"
These were all things I read before buying my brush, and for the 2 day period I used a single-action, bottom feeding airbrush I can understand why!
Gravity Fed= paint is drawn down via gravity from the cup at the top into the brush.
Dual Action = the brush is not just on or off, you press down the trigger to send air through the brush, and pull it back to allow pain through, the further back it goes the more paint comes out.
Here are some amazing pictures to (possibly) make things more clear:
Paint goes in there.
Pressing down = air on, default = off
Once pressed down you pull it back to allow more paint out.
And a picture of a single action, siphon feed airbrush - the trigger does on/off, and the paint is pulled up from the bottle below, in my opinion not ideal for use by wargamers. If you want to cover a canvas or apply fake tan they're ideal, but not for minis
So what do you get if you pay more as far as airbrushes go?
In a nutshell - precision + fancy bits.
We're offering 4 brushes,
The Revolution CR (My Brush)
The Eclipse CS (Now we're getting posh)
HP-C Plus (Super Posh)
The Neo and the Revolution are fairly similar, the Neo is one of, if not the best 'beginners' or 'budget' airbrushes out there, IWATA have set the standard in bringing it out, for what you pay it is outstanding.
The Revolution is a slight upgrade in comparison, they're wonderful to hold, perfectly balanced, and (my favourite aspect) they are complete workhorses, which can be turned to many tasks. While not specialised overly in any way they'll do the majority of tasks brilliantly. I am yet to find fault with mine, and unless you're looking to dot eyes with it this brush will not let you down.
The Eclipse is a step above the revolution, with some fancy doo-dahs thrown in, it sprays finer lines better, and is a precision piece. In the handle there's the option to pre-set the trigger so it can only be pulled back so far. This means you can always
spray lines of the same width, which can be great for panelling, and other fancy stuff.
At the tippity top of our selection there's the HP-C plus, which is to the eclipse what the Revolution is to the Neo, it's got a higher price-tag, but it's about as far as you can get for mini-painting without over-specialising one way or the other (although at 0.3mm nozzle it will not be as efficient for base-coating as the others).
Compressors are a little more simple, if you spend more you will get:
- The capacity to run at a higher PSI (not especially helpful for mini painting IMO)
- A longer use before having to give the poor little engines a break.
- More options - e.g. air tanks, moisture traps, and pressure gauges.
- Different sizes, with cheaper being smaller
- Some (smart jet pro) come with an outer case making them a little more durable.
In short, if you plan on running your compressor for many hours a day I'd spend more, you can always change your airbrush, giving you a 'detail' one and a utility piece, but one compressor will generally fit all, I forked out on mine initially, and it has had even more abuse than my airbrush.
Air Tank: The compressor fills up the tank, and then switches off, working without the compressor running until the tank drops below a certain PSI, then it turns on again and refills it. It allows for a relatively quiet working environment, these compressors aren't hugely loud, but if you're hobbying at night with other people around it may be worth considering. Given the size of these tanks you will get between 10-20mins running time on light work.
The smaller compressors give you a guideline of running them no more than 30mins without giving them a break, if you're too impatient for this, or tend to just work on one model at a time, meaning you can't take 10mins to assemble another mini etc then buying a more expensive compressor may be something you'd like to consider.
We're offering 4 compressors:
Smart Jet Pro (my compressor)
Smart Jet Plus
I hope I haven't rambled too much there, any questions don't hesitate to ask below, or on twitter etc.
As a final note I'd say that although we have three compressors and three airbrushes, with distinct levels of cost (Neo+Neo, Revolution+Ninja, Eclipse+Smart Jet) there is no reason whatsoever not to pick the cheapest of one, and the most expensive of another, or otherwise mix up your selection.
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