Adventures In Airbrushing – Part 2

I didn’t have time to do too much with my new airbrush yesterday, but I did set it up and briefly try it out. Key observations:

  1. Wow, does this create a lot of spray! If this turns out to be a piece of equipment that becomes a permanent part of my toolbox, I’m going to have to get a spray booth, and possibly a respirator. Until then, this is for outdoor use only.
  2. The sample paints that came with it are extremely pigment-heavy. It probably too me 10 minutes to flush out all of the residual paint when I was finished using it.
  3. Using this thing is really pretty easy!

I put my new airbrush through its paces in earnest today, painting several terrain pieces using craft paints that I thinned down with airbrush thinning medium.


Fun fact: All terrain-making can trace its roots directly back to the condiments table at fast-food restaurants.

Key observations:

  1. Much to my surprise, airbrushing unfortunately isn’t very well suited for basecoating my terrain pieces. Despite all of the spray that’s created, it doesn’t put out nearly as much volume as spray cans, and it probably would have been faster to use a normal brush for the basecoats.
  2. Those airbrush paints that came with the set are seriously pigment-heavy! Cleaning the brush after using my custom paints didn’t take nearly as long!
  3. Again, much to my surprise, I was able to get pretty good results airbrushing the layers that I would normally drybrush in the past. This is actually the opposite of what I had anticipated — I had assumed that the airbrush would be great for basecoats but be unable to replicate the effects of drybrushing. Truth be told, if I have to choose one over the other, I’ll take basecoating by hand over drybrushing any day, so this is a welcome discovery!

I’d definitely call this day a success and I’m looking forward to getting deeper into using this new tool. It’s actually really exciting to finally be able to try out something that I’ve been aware of and interested in trying for some time but which had remained elusive for one reason or other up until now. I might even get around to painting miniatures again someday, lol!


4 responses to “Adventures In Airbrushing – Part 2

    • I’ll have to give the basecoating another try. No question that airbrush priming works for minis; I’m pretty sure it’s the texture on my terrain pieces that makes it less effective. For one, the type of 3D printing I use (FDM/FFF) creates parts that are quite porous. Second, I texture them with sand before priming/basecoating, so that makes them absorb the paint as well. Actually, as I typed this, I just realized that maybe priming with spray paint before basecoating with the airbrush might be worth trying…

      Do you use a gravity or siphon feed airbrush? My research steered me towards getting a gravity feed because it’s supposed to be better for minis, but I wonder if something about siphon feed (higher air pressure, for example) would actually make those types more suitable for terrain?


      • I use a gravity feed one. The porous surface could explain it. Maybe seal it with a coat of varnish and then paint it? Or as you say, prime then use the airbrush for the painting. I seal my porous surfaces with acrylic medium. Works quite well.


  1. Good to know that I’m on the right track with the gravity feed! Thanks for the other ideas, more things for me to try. We never truly master our craft, do we? There are always new techniques to experiment with and learn.


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