Monday, January 9, 2012

Air brushing is AWESOME.

So, Christmas day arrives and I unwrap my present from my wife to find she has got me a dual action, internal mix air brush! Which is pretty cool, as I've been going about them right up to the point I found out how much they can cost! Since then my air brush and I have been starring at each, both in the knowledge that the time was approaching when I will have to have a go and use it to create 'artistic' modelling effects. This filled me with some intrepidation, given my normal inability to transfer the glorious image I have in my head, down my arm and into the paint brush, pencil or whatever where, as usual, it becomes some sort of childs drawing complete with stick figures next to a square house, all being overseen by a very yellow and smiley faced sun.

So this weekend the moment had arrived - I had the paints, I knew how to clean the air brush (essential!) and I was ready to go. For my first outing with my new tool I decided to paint clouds onto my backdrop. I read a few articles and watched a couple of videos on youtube to get the general gist of things. The clouds were for the winter sky, so they needed to be quite heavy (snow laden) but also I wanted some drama to them. After some practice I hit the layout for real. I started first with laying down a random medium grey to create the basis for the area by clouds would cover. Then, using a darker grey and a torn piece of paper as a loose mask I created the bottom of the clouds, which makes a sort of layered effect. I only held the mask lightly, and moved it a bit to make sure the lines didn't appear solid. Finally I changed to a light grey/white, and picked out the high lights at the top of the clouds, and underneath the dark layers that are on top to the other layers of clouds.

I finished off with some more touching up in places I wasn't happy with - places where I had misjudged my target area, or got the flow wrong. The beauty of airbrushing is that is dries very quickly, so adding more on top of what you have already painted is a simply affair.

And viola, here are the results...

I was so pleased with what I have done. Comparing it with what I've seen on other models I believe its not a bad job at all for someone who can't paint for toffee and has only just picked up an airbrush! But I must confess, I'm addicted to the airbrush now.

Whilst I was on a roll I decided to have a go at a simple bit of weather on my plastic peco tunnel entrances. I sprayed them over with a bit of medium grey and then got the black out and added some grime...

They still look a little flat, but not bad for 5 minutes work.

So here is Simon's top tips and advice... so far...

  •  Getting the paint mix is essential, too runny and it'll look uneven and runny on your medium, to thick and it won't spray well/at all. Mix seems to range from 1:1 to 2:1 paint to thinners ratio. Your thinning solution depends on your paint, with the acrylic paints I used it was just water. best to experment
  • Get some sealable containers to put your mixed paints in. I means you can mix enough paint at the right consistency and keep it, and its easily to hand when you need it.
  • Have something to test spray onto before you spare onto your medium proper - at least until you are used to the brush. I'm certainly not used to it.
  • Clean the airbrush IMMEDIATELY after use and learn how to do it properly. Using the acrylics I used (Revell Aqua Color) it was just a case of using water. Follow the manufactures cleaning instructions. Don't be scared of it though, it doesn't take long, and its not difficult to do properly.
  • Practice first with cheap paints and get used to how the paint flows through the airbrush.
  • Look up airbrushing tips and tricks on the internet, if you want to do something, some is bound to have done it before!

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