Now this is an acquisition that I have been considering for a number of years but I have managed to talk myself in and out of purchasing one multiple times. Finally though I decided I wanted to make the move into airbrushing and thus set about researching the subject fully as a decent brush is an expensive commitment. Now there is loads of information and guidance on the web from other hobbyists...but the trouble is nearly all of it is contradictory. Eventually though I established that both a high-quality airbrush and compressor were vital to achieve good results... It is clear that there are some names on the market that seem to dominate the airbrush industry (Iwata, Badger, Steinbeck) and these are acknowledged as the premier league of airbrushing... However a little bit of digging revealed something quite interesting, it seems that many of these top-end airbrushes are actually made for these market leaders by another company... yes it seems the less well-known company Sparmax actually manufacture models on behalf of the other firms who then just add their own branding.
With this in mind I decided to look at Sparmax's own products and found that they were of a comparable quality to more well-known competitors but at a significantly reduced price (though they are still by no means cheap). The more research I did the more I was confident that this company could provide me the tools I needed at a reasonable price.
I have to say the airbrush just looks bloody gorgeous!
The model itself is a gravity fed, dual-action airbrush which general consensus indicates is the best type for miniature painting.
The compressor that my partner bought me is also a high-end product, and from what I have read it seems that a decent compressor is actually more important than the airbrush itself as a smooth, consistent air supply is needed to deliver a professional finish. In order to maintain continuity I went for a Sparmax 510 with integral tank, and once again this product oozes quality with its professional matte black finish and robust construction.
I also bought myself a basic airbrush spraying booth from eBay to give my somewhere to spray my toys without destroying my house. This comes with its own extractor fan which is vital for sucking those insidious paint particles out of the air.
I trialled the whole set up this weekend, utilising the two intercessor squads from the Dark Imperium boxset as my test models. I used the airbrush to apply both the initial black undercoat (Citadel Air Abbadon Black) and the first basecoat (Citadel Air Kantor Blue) and I have to say I was massively impressed... This is a real game changer for me. Usually basecoating my Primaris Marines by hand requires multiple layers to get a deep rich blue and thus can take up to an hour and a half per figure... Whereas I managed to knock out the entire formation above in exactly an hour...and the finish was lovely and smooth. The longest activity was actually cleaning the airbrush itself when I had finished.
It is clear that this airbrush is a fantastic piece of kit, and although it took me a little while to get used to I can see this is going to be a vital tool in my painting repertoire!
So for Christmas I have asked Santa for a big box of Citadel and Forgeworld airbrush paints!