Over the course of my review of the Daemons codex one of the major themes was how most units received significant point decreases. In many cases, units that were previous mainstays were also significantly changed. The result of this for me has been a lot of painting that needs to be done, with a nominal deadline of The Da Boyz GT. Luckily, I purchased an airbrush to help speed the process this spring and had some initial success working with a Black/White/Gray color pallette. I dabbled a bit with some pink and blue, but a few weeks ago I made my first real attempt at painting flesh tones using an airbrush.
It did not go well - more from a pure operational standpoint than a painting standpoint, but I really need to resolve these issues if I am going to make it for Da Boyz with the army I want - otherwise it is going to have a lot more Bloodcrushers and Fiends than I originally planned. Here are some of the problems I ran into:
Ain't no nozzle got time for that
I think I spend 3/4 of my time cleaning the Airbrush and about 1/4 of the time spraying paint that I had thinned too much because the thicket paint kept clogging it. My process for preparing paint included dropping it into a mixing container, using a 1:2 mixture of paint and water respectively and then straining it in a tea strainer to make sure no clumps made it into the paint pot.
Obviously I missed the mark here at some point - I am wondering if maybe my cleaning procedures are more flawed than anything else. I did some research and they suggested dental picks as an option (the soft ones) to clean paint nozzles and delicate areas.
At this moment to clean I first remove the needle, drop it in some water (okay I am more gentle than dropping it) with some simple green in it. Then unscrew the cap and pop out the nozzle - letting them soak. I soak the front end of the airbrush as well, and then use a Q-Tip to clean out the paint pot. I gently wipe the needle down with a Q-Tip or paper towel. The nozzle I am not doing much for other than letting it soak and running a dilute simple green through it as a final clean.
I really wanted to use the Airbrush to lay down a uniform first layer to work over - that had been my procedure when using a brush. First I would lay down the base color I wanted - avoiding some of the deep recesses since I usually prime black so there is some natural shading, and then I would begin building up the other colors. This time it seemed like I could not get all those recesses nor cover the model evenly.
Also, I am having trouble judging how much paint I had actually laid down with the brush - I had a product that I liked from a blending perspective but as it dried the top layer become less opaque and the model became flat - and a prime candidate for me to try again.
I am struggling with what pressure to run the brush at - the suggestions I have heard is anywhere from 15-20 psi. However, they are a bit unclear whether that is at the brush or at the pump. I assume it is at the brush - in which case I need to get a handle for what my line losses are in the compressor - I have a feeling I am coming in pretty low. then again, much higher air pressure and I think I will blow models away.
A Way Forward?
With some of the pressures of summer starting to fade - and with my devotion to house project while I think on this problem - I am going to have some extra time to experiment more with my airbrush. I think to an extent I should have opted for an easier to use airbrush. However, I am committed to getting it running properly and to speeding up my painting time.
I have some straightforward models - Chaos Warhounds that will become Flesh Hounds of Khorne. Since they will be actually Flesh Colored I plan to build them up from Dark Brown as a base and Light Brown as the main color before using flesh colors at the highest level. A wash of Ogryn Flesh (new color is called, now it escapes me) and a drybrush of 50/50 Elf and Rotting Flesh will round them out. All of this being done in the next month though is predicated on that airbrush.
Any tips, tricks or thoughts would be appreciated so that I can spend less time on the trial and error of mechanically operating an airbrush and more on the trial and error of blending paint!
Here is my own to do list for Da Boyz this year - it is actually much shorter than last years, which might mean a less angry spouse:
18x Seekers - Riders Primed, Mounts need drybrush, unbased
18x Flesh Hounds - Primed, unbased
9x Screamers - Primed, bad airbrush job to fix
2x Soul Grinders - final dry brush and details
It is a lot, so we will see if some of my finished Fiends decide to come out for Da Boyz in replacement of the Screamers.