Airbrush vs HandBrush

Airbrush vs HandBrush

Hello again, today we’ll be discussing a very crucial topic for any modellers that want to take their modelling skills to the next level. Should you go for airbrush vs handbrush? As I have more experience with airbrushing, my articles will focus on airbrushes. I will cover the pros and cons, what to look for and the basic mechanics you should be aware of.

To start off, for me, deciding to go the airbrush route was a no brainer, when I decided to fully commit to the hobby I started lurking on many forums looking at the works of pro modellers. I was really captivating by the shading technique. Now, I am pretty sure this is achievable via hand painting it seems easier and more practical with an airbrush. Also, I used to have very shaky hands so I did not see myself using a hand brush on an entire kit.

Determined to invest in an airbrush, I began my research, the main point that kept appearing was single action and double action airbrushes. Airbrushes come in various shapes, brands and sizes but the internal process that enables you to paint your kits is the same except for the triggering mechanism.

With a single action airbrush, as the name implies, the paint will flow out of the nozzle as soon as you pull the trigger backwards. On the other hand, with a double action airbrush, two actions are needed in order to spray the paint. First, you need to push the trigger down. This will push the air coming from your compressor out through the nozzle. This is quite handy when you want to hasten the drying process of small pieces. Secondly, while the trigger is still being pressed downwards, you slowly pull the trigger backwards and you paint will flow out. The further back the trigger is the more paint that will come out.

Obviously, double action airbrushes offer more control over the paint flow, making advanced techniques like shading possible. On the other hand, they tend to be pricier. I have never used a single action airbrush but I believe they can be useful for covering large surfaces and even priming if you find primers in spray cans are not for you.

The other thing you have to consider with airbrushes is the type of feed you would like to have. The main ones I am aware of are gravity feed (like the airbrush in the pictures above) and siphon feed, (having a bottle hooked up below or on the side of your airbrush). Due to my lack of experience working with a siphon feed airbrush, I am in no position to tell you the pros and cons between the two options.

Once you have set your eyes on the airbrush you would like to get, you need to pick a compressor. The compressor will basically store up air for you to use through the airbrush in order for you to apply your paints. Most stores sell them in a set, making the process of picking one less arduous for you.

In the eventuality that this is not the case, ideally you want a compressor that has an automatic on/off feature so that it doesn’t keep running when not in use, a tank for storage purposes so that you constantly have air when you need it and a moisture trap that keeps water from getting mixed into your paint flow. You might also want to consider looking at the decibel rating. My compressor sounds like a small airplane taking off so airbrushing at 3 AM to meet the deadline for a competition might not sit well with the neighbors.

An airbrush/compressor set is an important investment. Before you fully commit I would strongly suggest you look at videos and instruction manuals in order to have an idea of what the maintenance entails. You want to make this equipment last.

Lastly, you want to invest in a tool that can be upgraded over time. As your skills grow and evolve you will have different needs, there is a wide range of accessories for my Iwata that are available. I even ordered some very recently, this is an airbrush I have had for many years.

I hope this article shed some light on what you should expect if you are thinking about going the airbrush way.

Remember, this article is based on my opinions and experiences but are in no way THEway to go. Like they say, many paths lead to Rome.

Hand Painting – Virgil Romero

Hey guys, as you can see by the title, this article will be about hand painting and airbrushing. Handzy covered the airbrush part of the article, which I found every informative. It is now my turn to cover the hand painting portion.

Let’s start with the most important item: brushes, when looking for a brush, you want a brush with a pointed tip, as for brands it will be up to you. I personally use Citadel and another brand I got at my local art store. The reason why I started with hand painting models is because of cost, brushes range from the starter basic $7 brush to the top of the line $30 versions. My collection only cost me around $45, and just like an airbrush there is the option to upgrade to pure sable hair brushes.

Brush collection

What’s the second item? Well it’s easy….WATER. Simple H2O to clean your brushes before, during and after each paint session. Water is important since it not only acts as a cleaner, but a thinner as well. Though not the best at thinning paint evenly, it does get the job done.

The third item will be paint pallets, but those are very affordable as some people use water bottle caps and foil, and you can find them at your local Dollar Store. Pallets play an important role by increasing your work time with paint.

For me, details are important, and I know for a fact that hand painting was the way to go for details. With hand painting washes, edge highlights and those little details that an air brush cannot get to.

 Washing, This means going over your model with a darker color to get into the deep recesses of the model. This step is done after base coating the model.

 Edge highlighting Is a technique used to create artificial lighting on any model. It gives the model a more realistic look and giving it more textures. This axe shows a combination of washing and gradual edge highlights to give a glowing effect. You can also see the armor plates highlighted to give artificial lighting.

Details are very important for me, they give life to a model, the body of the chariot is a good example of combining washes and edge highlights. This is what keeps me on the hand painting train, but can this be applied to gunpla? Well yes, my GBWC entry is a good example.

Looking at the back, you can see I washed the cables on the legs, edge highlighting on the back, arms and flamer, fine details with dry brushing and even painting custom flames on the skirt.

This concludes my portion of the article, there is no wrong or right way to paint your models, it’s a preference in the end. There are many effects that an airbrush can do that a paint brush CANNOT do, and vice versa.

Happy painting!

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