Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Down The Airbrushing Rabbit Hole

Last night was my first true leap into the airbrushing rabbit hole as I sprayed an actual model. ‘Oni, in your last post you said you made progress airbrushing terrain, what gives?’ Well, that’s terrain and in my book it doesn’t count because you can fudge it up and it’ll still look nice. Write that down in your notebooks faithful blog readers… Always practice on terrain first. Anyway, here is my Ultramarines Vindicator in a stylish Mordian Blue motif.

Vindicator Basecoat (1)

Not only is this infinitely better than using a standard bristle brush, I found that using the airbrush made it incredibly easy to create natural shadows by simply angling the airbrush and spraying across the model at about a 45 degree angle instead of directly onto it. After just this one use it became apparent why so many love and can’t live without their airbrush.

Vindicator Basecoat (2)

Vindicator Basecoat (3)

Let me start this last segment covering the topic of thinning the paints in an airbrush. Citadel paints absolutely have to be thinned as the paint needs to pass through a fluid nozzle with an orifice literally the size of a pin head. Water alone will not work. Why? Because the paint should dry within micro seconds of hitting the surface. If the paint mixture is watery it will pool up and run. Some people will tell you to use Windex (Yes, the blue stuff used to clean windows.) as it has a quick dry agent in with the overall chemical mix. I tried this and they’re right, it does work. The problem however is that Windex contains ammonium hydroxide. This can cause premature wear on the elastomer seals inside the airbrush. So I do not recommend using Windex. In fact the instruction manual strictly forbids  the use of any ammonia containing products in the airbrush. Here’s your solution for thinning the paint…

Liquitex Airbrush Medium

Liquitex Airbrush Medium. This stuff works like magic. It’s worth noting that much more is needed when using the Citadel Foundation paints… A lot more. The foundation paints are thick and will clog up the airbrushes fluid nozzle quickly if not properly thinned. As to how much the paint should be thinned; I’m still learning that to be honest.

That’s all for now, I’m off to spray another tank. I’m thinking the Predator is next. Thanks for dropping by. Cheers!



  1. thanks for the tip, I had luck with water so far and was about to use windex, will try to find other accelerators and tell you about .

  2. water is a pain to to use if you get the mix slightly wrong. i had problems with pooling on my valkyrie. apparently car windscreen washer fluid is also a good alternative.

  3. Have you tried using Vallejo air colors yet? They are extremely AWESOME right out of the bottle, no thinning needed.

    Thewarstore.com sells them.

  4. @ LuckyNo.5 - I'm curious to try these, especially the gun metal.

  5. Have you tried priming the model black and the pre-shading it using white? If you do that before you primary color, and you make sure you do not put the primary color on too think, you can get wonderful shading for almost no work!

  6. Glad to see you're digging your new airbrush, can't wait to see some of the completed models at club one of these days.

  7. I can't wait to see the update of this Oni, I really want an airbrush!


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