It's dead easy to take a pop at the big games companies out there. When an organisation reaches a certain size, accumulates a particular mass, or otherwise grows to the point where their customers develop a sense of ownership, then your entire operation is more or less available for scrutiny by Joe Internet et al. I never intended to become one of those naysayer, herophobic people that use the net to criticize those that create and so it's goodbye to vitriol, (for a while at least).
I actually paint, build and play a lot more than my blog entries would suggest. It's just that there are so many other great hobby blogs out there, (A gentleman's ones and Colonel Schofer's OCD model blog to name but a few!) that I didn't see where my humble talents really fit in. I now appreciate the fact that blogging isn't about 'Cool mini or not' level painting on every outing. Many people can produce great hobby articles without actually producing something of the 'Chest of Colours' calibre, although that isn't to say that we should stop trying...
I haven't done a painting article since the Axis robots, so it's time to return to my favourite boardgame, Dust Tactics to share my first attempt at using an airbrush to paint small, heroic scale figures, (Obviously, I can't use the airbrush to paint every single part of the model, but it's still a fantastic tool to have in your arsenal!). What
I will warn you, is that this is not a tutorial! It's just a log of my experiments with airbrushing. If you want a fantastic airbrushing tutorial, then watch the Andrea Miniatures video where they paint 'The Old Fiddler'. This article is 'warts and all'. I've documented my mistakes, so that other novices can learn from them.
Here's the paint list:
USA Olive Drab
Vallejo thinner medium
Thraka Green wash
Devlan mud wash
Before starting this experiment, I looked for info regarding the exact tone used for the primer. The closest match that most people suggested was 'Catachan Green', but I found that Vallejo Olive, (while noticeably darker than the primer) just suited me better.
Step 1: I mask the decals with Blu-tac.
Always have some Blu-tac on hand when airbrushing. It's more malleable and versatile than masking tape, but remember, tape will always give you a crisper, neater pattern than Blu-tac, (see my 'Axis robots' article for details).
|Blu-tac masks the decals|
... which have not even been painted yet.
You may also notice that I made an error at this stage. I had initially intended to spray the rubber kneepads with USA Olive Drab, in order to break up the armour area. Unfortunately, I had either gotten water into the mix, or else used too much thinner with the small amount of already thin paint. Either way, the colour simply ran off the target area as my airbrush spat water out in between fitful spurts of paint. Any suggestions as to how this could have happened would be greatly appreciated!
This step is optional and not recommended.
|Why did I mask their faces when they hadn't been painted yet? I have no idea...|
|Mits and fins sprayed with Khaki Grey, (background)|
Step 5: Watch 'The Old Fiddler' to see how this is really done, but here is my attempt at shading the model by short, sharp blasts of 'Gunship Green' from a 45 degree angle below the target. If your mixture is good, as well as your angle, (it's honestly very intuitive. Trust me.) then you should end up with the recesses nice and dark, but with a smooth blend between it and the base colour.
|Shading from below. I actually managed to do it!|
This is why I prefer the open pot, Bottles are a hassle for relatively detailed work, but are great for painting large areas, or priming.
|Mixing Gunship Green and medium Olive in the cup.|
|Highlights sprayed from above.|
My airbrush spat again at this point, but it wasn't a total disaster. Once I had cleaned it out and achieved a more even flow, I repeated the step. It was neater, but I now had a slightly brighter model than I had anticipated.
|Highlighted with a gentle spray of light green blue, from above.|
|Weathering on Flat Brown with some blister sponge.|
|Metal areas painted with Oily Steel, which has also been added to weathered areas as 'chips'.|
|Flesh and skullcaps given their base layers.|
|All green armour areas washed with Thraka Green.|