Kirb your enthusiasm!


"Pink isn't a color. It's a lifestyle." - Chumbalaya
"...generalship should be informing list building." - Sir Biscuit
"I buy models with my excess money" - Valkyrie whilst a waitress leans over him

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Airbrushing Highlights

Hey guys, I know it has been a while since I posted, I am wrapping up this semester of school and have been rather busy. I start finals next week so I wanted to get a quick post in before the chaos ensues. After finals I should be posting on a more regular basis, look forward to some updates on my LRC conversion, and other airbrushing techniques.

For now let’s get to how I airbrush mini’s. First off I keep it real simple, when I paint my mini’s I break it down to a base coat, a highlight coat, then 3 coats brushed highlights, followed by the detailed painting. With this approach you will be able to put out your soldiers pretty quickly.

The first thing I want to talk about briefly is paint mixing, I will do a more in depth article in the future, but for now I will simply say I mix my paints at a 50/50 mix, further the thinning agent I use is a 50/50 mix of Windex and water, I find that Windex works very well with Vallejo and GW paints.

To achieve the darker red that my BA army has I use the following colors. The base color is Vallejo “Red Black”, the intermediate coat is Vallejo “Flat Red” and then my highlights are achieved using the flat red, white and sunburst yellow. On a side note I add a drop of future floor polish to paint whenever I hand brush paint, again another article I plan on doing, the wonderful product known as “Future Floor Polish”!

Back to the painting, once I have mixed my paint up I then attach my mini to a hemostat that I picked up at a hardware store, the hemostat really helps in the airbrushing process, it keeps the mini out of your fingers so you don’t end up getting paint all over you, it also helps to manipulate the mini at various angles so that you can ensure to get all of the paint in all of the little cracks. I typically choose darker colors for this coat. When it is combined with the next coat you get a very natural, subtle and smooth looking highlight, this technique is a form of what is called “pre-shading”, more of that in a future article.

After this coat is applied a quick spray of Windex, followed by some water and I move on to my intermediate color, “flat red”. Now this is where a little bit of skill and understanding comes in. This coat will function as the base coat for your highlights, so it needs to be applied from the direction that you want your light source to come from, in my case, straight down from the top.

This effect would not be able to be achieved through the use of a single action airbrush, because I have a dual action brush I can control the amount of paint that my gun sprays out, that means that I can keep my paint coats thin while maintaining a degree of transparency, this is what creates the subtle blend. As the two extreme colors overlap, they create a natural blend. It will vary depending on airbrush type and mixture of the paint, but for me to achieve this effect I pull the trigger back about 30%.

Once this coat dries I then move on to hand paint some highlights on the very edges, then I paint the other detailed areas on the model. I don’t claim my stuff is award winning but this method helps speed up the highlighting process and produces a great result that looks wonderful on the table. Now go have some fun and try it out yourself!!

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