25 September 2020
In our last article we looked at the advantages of airbrushing and why it has become so popular for painting miniatures.
But with so many airbrushes to choose from, how do you know which one is right for you?
We asked expert, tutor and commissioned artist Myles David for his thoughts:
“You aren’t just buying an airbrush, you’re choosing a partner in crime. You’ll build a relationship with this thing, develop a technique and pattern of work wholly yours. You’ll spend hours cleaning, maintaining and curating to this piece of machinery that helps translate that idea you have in your head into reality. It’s our magic wand, and choosing the right one is essential.
Iwata has a range of wonderful airbrushes, but if you absolutely need to paint the eyes on a nat I recommend the . I’m a miniature painter, so having an airbrush that can plot out large swathes of colour as well as working in small, tight spaces is a must. Not only can you create beautiful pre-shades, defining the volumes and values to start the painting process, but you can also lower the PSI to smooth blends made with traditional brush work. Either end of the spectrum, this tool adds depth, definition and interest to my work.”
Lil’Legend Commission Painting Studio
The Airbrushes.com guide to choosing the right airbrush:
Single Action: a method of activating an airbrush whereby depressing the trigger delivers both air and paint simultaneously.
Dual Action: a method of activating an airbrush whereby depressing the trigger releases air and drawing back on the trigger releases paint. Dual action airbrushes allow the user superior control and are more widely used than single-action.
Siphon Feed: in a siphon feed system, paint is drawn up from a bottle, jar or colour cup mounted underneath the airbrush. This style may be preferred when using larger amounts of spray medium and using multiple-bottle set-ups. This is sometimes referred to as bottom feed.
Side Feed: a siphon feed system where paint is drawn from a colour cup or bottle on the side of the airbrush. It allows the use of a variety of cup and bottle options and offers maximum visibility of the spray surface.
Gravity Feed: the most popular type, where paint is drawn into an airbrush from a colour cup mounted on top of the airbrush. This style works well with smaller amounts of paint and utilises every drop, making it economical to use.
Pre-set Handle: sets the spray to a desired output for greater ease, control and less finger fatigue. By simply adjusting the pre-set handle to a position where you want the trigger and needle to stop, you can limit it from going any further. This allows you to pull right back on the trigger and always get that predetermined amount of paint. It's most useful for pre-setting consistent coverage or consistent lines and helps you avoid accidentally pulling back too far to flood the surface you're spraying.
Quick Flush Cutaway Handle: allows easy access to the needle so that you can quickly empty the paint reservoir for cleaning.
Top button / Trigger Airbrushes: have a conventional top trigger with a finger button. On a single-action airbrush you press it for air. On a dual action airbrush you press it down for air and pull it back for fluid.
Pistol Trigger Airbrushes: feel and act like a spray gun trigger. This makes it easier for people who are used to spray guns move into the smaller scales of airbrushing. Also it is very ergonomically comfortable and can help avoid repetitive strain from long sessions of painting. Due to the smooth and comfortable ease of operation, a pistol style trigger is particularly favoured by customers who suffer with decreased mobility in their hands.
Now you know what these airbrushing terms mean, it’s good to ask yourself…..
What type of paint or fluid?
If you are spraying thicker paints or paints with heavy pigments, you will require a larger nozzle size. Airbrushes with larger nozzles such as 0.5mm will cope best with the heavier, more viscous paints. The finer airbrushes such as 0.18mm nozzles work excellent with well thinned, finer-pigmented paints.
airbrushes are known for their versatility. Eclipse's high flow allows it to atomise a wider variety of liquids with less need for reducing or thinning. Eclipse Series offers a broad spray range, as compared to other airbrushes, where it is possible to achieve a controlled fine line to controlled wide spray.
What level of detail or width of area?
Intuitively, you can assume that a smaller nozzle produces a finer spray pattern and a larger nozzle produces a wider spray pattern. However, Iwata airbrushes are so well designed and engineered, that even the largest 0.5mm nozzles are capable of producing fine lines, making them very versatile airbrushes. So it becomes a question of how fine you want to go beyond that.
The airbrushes are for extreme detail spraying and for airbrush users who demand absolute precision. What makes Custom Micron special is that every head system is custom matched and hand-tuned to meet Iwata's rigorous performance standards for superior atomization. Replacement Head Systems are tested and tuned to the same standards to ensure that Custom Micron will maintain its precision over time.
What degree of control would you like?
Since all Iwata airbrushes can produce fine lines, the question becomes more about how much control you want.
, with its Micro Air Control (MAC) Valve enables incremental control of airflow and easy adjustment for a fine to medium spray. Using the MAC Valve, easily create stipple effects by turning the valve to restrict air flow.
What is your budget?
Look at your budget carefully, as getting the best you can afford now is much less costly in the long run than buying twice. This doesn’t mean that the most expensive is necessarily best for the purpose.
We have a wide range of airbrush brands to choose from including Iwata, Sparmax, Paasche, Badger and more, all with airbrush models to suit requirements and budgets:
Where to buy from:
The Airbrush Co Ltd has more than 70 years’ experience in airbrushing and selling specialised airbrush equipment in the UK and all over the world. We do have a great website that you can visit, but we are more than just an online seller, we have humans here you can speak to on the phone to discuss airbrush types, paints, troubleshooting, anything really. Just give us a call on 01903 767800 or email .