In the grim dark future of the 41st Millenium, cowled Tech Priests of the Mechanicum of Mars invoke litanies to the machine spirit to coax their machineries of war into life.
In the not quite so dark present, I have to do similar to convince my airbrush to behave itself!
It really is something of an arcane art.
Don’t get me wrong, I love using the airbrush – a rather nice Iwata Revolution BR with a Silver Jet mini compressor. It can be such a time-saver for some larger projects such as vehicles, the recent Dystopian Wars fleet or the [SECRET PROJECT] I’m currently working on.
However, over the weekend I was having all sorts of problems with the paint not flowing then spurting out sporadically, etc.
Finally, I managed to get some consistent results with it yesterday afternoon. Here are a couple of key learnings to share with you all:
1. Clean your airbrush. I thought I’d been cleaning it adequately. I’d regularly soak the nozzle and needle in airbrush cleaning solvent. Turns out I hadn’t been cleaning out the nozzle/barrel section thoroughly enough though. Mrs Von Deadlock furnished me with a nifty little dental brush doohicky (like a tiny pipecleaner) which cleared all manner of hidden gunk out of the thing.
2. Don’t use water to thin acrylics. It’s fine to thin Vallejo acrylics with water when using a brush, but boy does it dry fast and bung things up when it’s being spat through a tiny nozzle at pressure. I switched over to thinning entirely with Andrea Airbrush Thinner and my results became much smoother and easy to control. I think the dedicated thinner has a little retarding agent in it to prevent that premature drying.
Despite my eventual success yesterday, it does still feel like an arcane art though.
What paint dilution should one use? What pressure to run the compressor at? How far away to hold the brush? What’s the best mix of air and paint flow? Should one remove the needle cap?
So many variables.
I think I’ll stick to the unguents and litanies.