Friday, March 30, 2012

Important - lack of updates

The dead period this passing week stems from unforeseen circumstances, having an M, an E and a 3 in their name...

...regular updates resume next week. Thank you for understanding.:)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Little Owl Paints - Baerwyn, Elf Archer finished

Here he is, my significant other's first miniature. She started (and finished) him before the paladin lady.

It has been great to watch her work. I rarely see anybody with that level of concentration; she's like that with everything she does.

 I think the pictures speak for themselves here. She is very close to surpassing me.

The only thing I've actually done on the miniature - the base:

What do you think, Internet?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Little Owl Paints - Baerwyn, Elf Archer PIP

My beloved's another project. She seems to enjoy Reaper miniatures very much.

In her own words: "I couldn't paint an army. It's so repetitive". 

Stay tuned for the finished elf.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

So you still want to start airbrushing?

So you've gone out, got yourself the tools. You have your airbrush, your compressor, some paint, cleaning equipment. Now what?

"Well, paint with it?" would be the most obvious answer, but hold on. We will get to painting eventually. Today, we'll focus on how the airbrush works. And there will be homework.


  1. Nozzle. The part that is nearest to your work piece and also the one you will care about the most. On the picture the nozzle itself is not visible; it's a very, very tiny funnel in which the needle's point sits. Just behind the nozzle the paint and air mix together, and by retracting the needle the nozzle is opened, allowing the spray to happen. Unscrew the needle guard for a very thin line; this is essential for detail work.
  2. Air valve. Here the magic begins. By controlling how much air gets into the mixing chamber different effects can be achieved. The rule of thumb is that the thinner the paint, the less air it needs to spray. This also controls the thickness of the line you produce when painting. When undercoating and varnishing (and cleaning) open the valve all the way. When actually painting, tighten the screw as you see fit. This, as with all things, requires practice, but is quite easy to grasp: if your paint spills, you need less air, if the nozzle clogs or paint starts spraying in droplets, you need more.

    Be careful with low air amounts: the lower you go, the sooner the nozzle clogs. It's inevitable.
  3. Trigger. It works in two ways: when depressed, it opens the airflow. No control happens here, it's merely a flow/no flow action. When pulled, the needle is retracted and paint is released into the mixing chamber. Combine both of these and you will have what airbrushes are supposed to do.

    This is the most vital part to practice. The amount of paint released is essential. You can control it better with the screw under point 5, but when practicing, unscrew it all the way and control the trigger only with your finger.
  4. Paint container. Easy as that.
  5. Needle screw. By tightening or loosening it you control how far the trigger (and hence the needle) can be retracted and how much paint is flowing. Some airbrushes actually have a scale printed here, which is very helpful. As with the air valve, when cleaning, open it all the way. However, when undercoating or varnishing it is tempting to allow more paint to flow - be careful with this. It's all too easy to make a spillage. Two or three thin coats are better than a single thick one - and the airbrush covers wonderfully thinly.

Alright. That's the long and short of it. Now practice.

Get yourself some white foamboard. It goes for dirt cheap at art supplies stores. This will be your practice sheet. Here is mine:
For your very first encounter with the airbrush, don't use paint, just tint some water. See how it behaves, how flows, how it reacts to different pressures and amounts released.

Remember, an airbrush is not a brush! It does not touch your material - distance between them is a factor!

As for the promised homework, do the following:
  • doodle, simple as that
  • draw a straight line
  • draw some parallel lines. Try to be as neat as possible.
  • draw a circle, again, as perfect as you can
  • draw a spiral
  • draw a triangle
  • draw a rectangle or square
  • draw the thinnest line you can
  • fill your triangles and squares with a gradient.
Got it? Great. See me here next week for your reward. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Little Owl Paints - Shaedra, Female Paladin PIP #2

Painting is more or less finished. Now for the base.

From what I gather, she has some very special plans for basing. I've heard something about a frozen lake? A hillock? Blackthorn bushes?

Whaddaya think?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

So you want to start airbrushing?

Before we begin - this will not be a guide written by a master for beginners. I'm far from being a master of an airbrush. But I am a self-taught practitioner of it and some of the things I've learned myself I was not able to find in any of the guides I'd read. And I read a lot.

So, you want to start your adventure with the airbrush? Good for you. Great, even. The airbrush is an awesome, versatile tool. It will perform some amazing jobs, you will be, eventually, able to achieve some great effects.

But it has a learning curve. It is a sizable investment. Also, some people dismiss it entirely as a "get-done-quickly" kind of tool. Some even go as far as to compare its usage to dipping the models in wood polish. World-view and idiosyncrasies aside, I've found the airbrush to be useful at first and indispensable afterwards.

So, let's go over the basics. I'm not going to explain terms like single-/double-action or feed type, you can easily find these in other sources and you're bound to have heard them if you want to buy an airbrush. Instead, let's focus on the usage.

First things first - get a double action, gravity feed airbrush. These are more expensive than single action ones (the Citadel spray gun being a notable exception), but they will perform all the tasks single-actions are capable of and more. Paasche and Harder & Steenbeck are very good brands that still maintain a decent price for some of the simpler models. Don't go into the high end at first, even if you can afford it: Iwata, for instance, is out of the question for beginners in my opinion. If you have money to spend, get a compressor. Some companies sell starter sets: an airbrush and some basic paints. These are usually a very good option. I know Vallejo does this.

Get a dedicated air compressor for airbrushing. This is the part that turns most people away from airbrushing altogether. Don't bother with canned air, it's a huge waste of money. Compressors can be a bit noisy and they are pricey, but in the long run they pay off several times their worth. After you get the hang of airbrushing and want to do it more, you can go for a more powerful, industrial compressor with a bigger air tank, but that's way ahead on the road. Stick to dedicated compressors for airbrushing for now.

Nozzle cleaner. Your airbrush will love you.
Get yourself a set of proper cleaning tools: a paint remover/airbrush cleaner, a nozzle cleaner and some cleaning wires. Airbrushes need maintenance and care. They need regular cleaning and they will perform admirably for a long time, even the Chinese "pseudo-Iwatas".

The cleaning wires are a necessity. Once in a while it is simply obligatory to disassemble your airbrush and clean it thoroughly. Paint can gather in the weirdest of places, but the wires, with the aid of an airbrush cleaner, will get to these places.

The cleaning station falls under the "not necessary, but very handy" category  It's essentially a fancy glass jar, but it prevents your workstation from getting uber-messy when cleaning the airbrush and your body from inhaling all these great fumes of paint thinner. It also doubles up as a great airbrush holder and a water pot. It works like a filter - you pour water into the jar, screw on the lid and put your airbrush into the rubber-rimmed hole. When you clean the 'brush, the bad stuff stays in the water and doesn't flow away. Really, a very handy piece of equipment and - in comparison with the rest - a pretty inexpensive one to boot.

Paints, duh. Dedicated brands for airbrushing exist; Vallejo Model Air comes to mind as the most prominent, but there are many others, not only acrylic. My advice is to get one or two colors of airbrush paint to get the idea of how the dilution and saturation should be. You can of course use normal paints (and primers, and varnishes, and alcohol for pigment sealing) in airbrushing, therefore paint thinner is an absolute must. As far as priming goes, Vallejo (I swear, they don't pay me a dime!) makes a great primer in a couple of interesting colors. And the best part is you don't need to dilute it! 

As a final note before we get to actual painting practice: the above seems like a lot, I know. It is a big amount of stuff. But airbrushing is just one of those things that you have to invest a lot into at the beginning, but lesser and lesser so as you progress. I've purchased all of these over the period of two years, always thinking "why the hell haven't I done it sooner?!".

Next time, we'll go over the basics of actually painting something. Stay tuned!

LEGAL DISCLAIMER: All the images used are copyright of their respective owners. Used without permission for demonstrative purposes only. No challenge to their status is intended.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Little Owl Paints - Shaedra, Female Paladin PIP

...Little Owl being what I call my girlfriend. Don't ask.
See, she's got her own artist's mark! ;)
Rather, take a look at her work. She has taken a great liking to this mini by Werner Klocke, and, well, is very diligent in painting it to the best of her ability.

Has she done a good job so far? You be the judge.

I know for a fact she has her prying eyes on Heinrich Kemmler next.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Night goblin fanatics - done!

Teeny-tiny models, great fun in painting. I was really surprised at the quality of these.

Plus, I understand they are quite good on the field of battle. Not uber-powerful anymore (I remember the old times of the 5th edition when my two fanatics utterly destroyed a ten-strong unit of Chaos knights), but still very much a viable unit choice.

I love their dynamic, wacky poses. Very much in keeping with the orc army 'feel'.

This fella has to be my favorite. I don't know why, I just love him.

That's it for this week. See you on Tuesday, have a great weekend!