Monday, February 18, 2008

Holy crap, airbrushing rocks!

Today I tried my first experiment in airbrushing. Just before Christmas, I caught a pretty good sale at Hobby Lobby on a "starter" airbrush set (yeah, it's a Paasche, but at least it's double-action) and a compressor. I bought it with the idea that I'd use it to paint vehicles. I've been working on a Predator and finally got it all primed and ready to go, and thought that now was as good a time as any.

After a little experimenting with the mix, I got pretty good results. By "pretty good results", I mean that I got the entire body of the Predator painted a nice, fairly even ultramarine blue in a little under an hour -- and that includes a couple of starts and stops to fiddle with the mix, the airbrush itself, etc. All things considered, I'd say that's pretty damned neat. The best part? NO brushstrokes in the paint!

I'll admit that it's not perfect, and that I'm going to have to go back and do a little "fill in" work here and there (mainly on the bottom of the body) and I'll have to do it more-or-less all over again when I do the Whirlwind (my next project). And I still have the turret and sponsons to get done on the Pred, but that's OK. I'm actually very pleased at how it turned out, especially considering this is my first attempt at airbrushing.

As for "what did I learn?" The most important part of airbrushing (at least, to me, at this point) is getting the paint-to-thinner mix right. I used good ol' Citadel Ultramarine Blue paint and thinned it with rubbing alcohol. What seemed to work pretty good was a very thin mix (I've heard people say "about the consistency of milk", but that doesn't mean all that much to me). I settled on an approximately 1:1 ratio. This seemed to give good coverage and paint flow through the brush. A 2:1 (paint:thinner) mix clogged up my brush pretty quickly, so I thinned the mix down and suddenly, things were a LOT better.

I'm very pleased with my airbrush, and I'm looking forward to using it more...

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