The reason why I started to do terrain years ago was quite simple. I had reached a level in painting where there was nothing more to learn or do. My skills were godlike. In fact my miniatures were so close to reality that nobody wanted to buy them or even show them on CoolMiniOrNot. This is the reason why the majority of you haven´t seen my brilliant figures. They didn’t look like figures anymore but 3D -photographs. Anyway I turned my attention to terrain and to this day, I still suck at it!
Because my weak attempts on terrain doesn’t please me any longer I have to start painting again to make them look a little bit better. Still I’m not returning back to brushes but I will challenge myself to learn a new tool, the airbrush! I have seen people doing nice stuff with them, although I could do better with brush of course, so why not have a try?
Paints are the same so no problem there. Airbrush looks like a pen and as you might already guess I’m almost as good an illustrator as I am a painter so that’s OK. The painting style is almost like with spray can but in smaller scale so where is the problem? Also because I only have two children, a bigger mortgage than Mount Everest and a job that is only pleasant for the mind but not the wallet I have plenty of extra cash which screams to be spent so why not to buy ridiculously expensive gear to collect some dust under my workbench?
So if you are interested in following me on my personal quest from rookie level to the Ultimate Airbrushing stardom, read on!!
When you decide to buy an airbrush the first thing you do is scour through the internet to gather some information. THAT IS MADNESS! You only find thousands of opinions about different airbrush brands, compressors, spraying booths, and arguments about is it bad or not to use Windex to clean your brush. Sellers of course tell anything to sell the product so there is no trust in there either. The only opinion which matters is your own and you only can compose one when you try it yourself. This is where I ended up after hours of internet madness. Then I just decided to buy the stuff and let the faith decide the rest.
I ended up using PK-Pro to get my compressor. They don’t sponsor me or anything but I have to say that the delivery was super fast and all the goodies were packed extremely good!
My choice for a compressor was the Wiltec AS196. Why? Because it´s black, it looks cool and the name is like Wild Tech! Nice. It also packed two cylinders, an air tank, and is oil free. How do these affect to airbrushing? I don´t have a clue but it sounded good, twin cylinders. Wicked! There were some instructions also but why would I need those? I was surprised by the small size of the compressor.
Something that I picked up from the net and sounded reasonable was the need of a water separator and a manometer to control the pressure. I don’t like people spitting on to the streets so why would I like my airbrush to spit all day long over my scrappy terrain? This came with the compressor so it was one more reason to pick this compressor.
I think I saw somewhere that with this I could control the pressure between 0-9 bar. As you can see the scale goes all the way up to 10. I guess that 10 bars comes in need when you finally realize how much money you spend on stuff you don’t even no how to use and you want to blow the whole house up. Of course this can’t happen to me because this is my destiny. I’m like Luke Skywalker and the airbrush is my lightsaber. This compressor is my Yoda who breathes life in to my makings!
It was a nice surprise that PK-Pro added with out extra cost some sealing tape with the order. This is used to make the connections airtight.
I also ordered some agitator balls for my paints because somebody said that all the pro´s use these. I have 50 of these now so that already tells something about my competence with the airbrush!
The Second package came from a Finnish distributor. The reason for the change of supplier was the fact that PK-Pro doesn’t stock the brush I wanted. Again delivery was speedy and everything nicely packed.
The chosen weapon for the war of illustrations was Badgers Patriot 105. Why you may think? Straight from the introduction of the brush, “No-nonsense type airbrush”. Great! All I need is Greatness. I have also heard rumours that Badger will happily return your money if the brush specs can’t keep up with your developing skills. That´s fair.
For the connection from the brush to the compressor I acquired braided nylon hose. It´s black and it will look cool along side my black compressor.
I really don’t like to smell anything through my nose so I bought Iwata´s cleaning station to help the cleaning off the brush. Some say that you could use any glass jar for the job but I think that if there is this much stuff inside a little cardboard box like that, it must be very useful and important, at least for pro´s like me.
Now I had all the gear unpacked and ready for the second phase.
This should be a no-brainer. Just take the necessary parts (brush, hose and compressor), some sealing tape and but it together. Instructions are for weak minded! Unfortunately there must have been some kind of production flaw in my tape because it ended up looking like this no matter what I did.
I’m sure that when PK-Pro reads this article they will send me some amends like fruit basket or Swiss chocolate for the troubles that I had to endure. Mmmmm….chocolate.
Well who needs some tape. I have a grip of a gorilla so I can tighten the connections so tight that even a Genie can’t get out. Sadly there were not a single mention outside of the instructions or the specs on PK-Pro´s website that the compressor had a 1/8″ connection and because the hose is 1/4″ my adventures were over at least for now.
Funny that the dealer who sold me the hose didn’t inform PK-Pro about the size of the connection because he had to know that I would buy a compressor for the hose! Who would buy a hose without a compressor? Foolishness! I have said it before and I say it now again that ordinary customer service is deteriorating year after year. Lucky for them that I’m peaceful as a Pope so I’m not going to be offended by this but naturally expect that my money will be returned.
Well the start for ultimate airbrushing wasn’t as smooth as I hoped for. This kind of misfortune could really kill some aspiring artist dreams but because I know that my golden paved road to mastery is just behind the corner I can leave this hardship behind and get myself ready for the possibilities of the future. As soon as these little problems are solved I will continue my journey and I believe that in the next article you will have the honour to see my already considerable skills with the airbrush in action.
Farewell until then and remember to read this article again because it’s quite good!