Thursday, 30 August 2012

Airbrushing: Paint review (Blog Week post4)

I picked up the last of my orders of paint yesterday from the post office, and rushed home eager to try it all out.  I'll start off by saying that (funnily enough) for airbrushing, Vallejo Model Air paints are an absolute dream.

So amongst the new paints etc I ordered, I decided to pick up some Vallejo thinner, and grabbed some of their cleaner whilst I was at it (damn you Amazon).  I'm very glad that I did.  I mentioned in my initial airbrush post that Windowlene is a good medium to thin paints with, and to clean the brush between colours.  For a beginner though, the branded thinner is fantastic, comes in a dropper bottle so it's easy to add to the mix, doesn't need to be pre-mixed with water and is ultimately made to be used with Vallejo paints so it naturally works well with their formula.

I decided to test things out on some bases I've made recently, so I fired up the compressor and loaded by brush with the Vallejo grey primer I picked up when I first purchased my gear.  This is actually the only stage I had trouble with last night, I couldn't manage to get the primer to flow well at all, it was thick, and seemed to be coming out onto the paper very clumpy. I added thinner, and even a little of the cleaner which I had read might help.  I was ready to dissassemble the airbrush to find out what was wrong with it (in a sulk I might add) as I think I may have altered some of the needle screws which control how the needle and trigger interract before realising a i don't have a clue which way of a screw turhn adjusts what... I happened onto a YouTube video where the painter thins the primer pretty heavily (10:1) so I decided that my heavy handedness/eagerness was to blame and washed out the primer.  I decided to try out one of the VMA paints to see if I had any more luck before blaming the hardware (a poor workman, right?).  German Grey steps up to the plate, couple of drops of thinner stirred in with a wet brush (saturated with water) and knocks it out of the park.

Fantastic coverage
Fantastic consistency
Awesome colour/tone

I can't begin to describe how impressed I was with the VMA paints to be honest, it made using the brush as easy as it appears in some of the YouTube channels I watch.  I decided to bust out a second colour to make sure the grey wasn't a fluke, and it certainly wasn't. I don't remember the name of the brown colour, but it was just as much of a joy to use.
There wasn't much time to thin down any regular paints I've purchased from the VGC range, but I did have a quick fuss with them on my trusty elf spearman-colour-test-guy, and they're great. Good coverage, good pigmentation etc

I definitely learned some valuable lessons in my short airbrush session yesterday;

- Thin paints, multiple layers. As the paint dries so quickly, it's really no hardship to add multiple layers of paint to the model, and the amount of frustration saved with thinner paints (better trigger response, less chance of clogging) is massive.

- Time. I'm beginning to think that airbrushing would be better suited to the weekends.  This isn't because it's an overly arduous set-up/pack-up process, rather because by the time I'm back from work/work&gym, helped to prepare/consume an evening meal, washed the dishes and helped with lunch for the next day it's not far from 21:00 so I would feel a lot happier taking more time at the weekend to use my airbrush, and not feel rushed/constrained with time.

- Practice. It will definitely take some practice on paper/test models (poor spearman) before I feel like I can apply something more than base coating to a model I would not want to ruin.  To be honest though, this works out great for me at the moment - base coats on a few models at the weekend combined with a few hours practice with the airbrush leaves with me a load of base coated models to 'regular paint' in my short evenings during the week.

The more I use the brush, the more pleased I am that I took the plunge and bought the set-up.  It's definitely a steep learning curve, and not without it's frustrations, but in the end I'm sure it will be worthwhile.

Thanks for stopping by

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