Friday, April 13, 2012

New airbrush kit - first impressions

Christmas came early to me! However, instead of Santa Claus, it was the DHL delivery guy who brought the airbrush kit :) Trembling with excitement, I took the box from him and immediately started unpacking.

I layed out everything in front of the camera, and placed a soda can for size reference. Few words about the items you can see in the pic after the break.

I found an online store where i bought the complete package so:
  • K130 airbrush
  • AS180 compressor
  • water pot for cleaning
  • 1,8m long hose with 1/8' endings
  • brushes for cleaning the airbrush
The total I paid was 430 PLN which = approx $135 (incl. shipping)
What's also really nice about getting it all in one place is that they packed it in a large box which now serves as a paint station! Win-win all accross the board :)

All the items are very well made. They feel really sturdy and solid. Even the water pot is glass and not some cheap plastic. The airbrush has a nice heft to it, the plastic part is made from good material, all the elements fit nicely with each other. Same goes for the compressor. It seems to be really well built.

As you can see, the compressor itself is not very big. It's roughly 30X30cm. According to the very short instruction manual it generates 47db worth of noise. That's enough to hear it in a quiet apartment (such as mine), but not loud enough to wake the neighbours - far from it in fact. It does vibrate a little but it has rubber ends on the legs to dull that a bit. I've placed it on a mushy rug and didn't hear the neighbours knocking so I guess all is good :)

Having a 3L tank, it works by pumping the air there and then turning itself off. In practice it takes roughly 1-2 mins to fill it and then it shuts down so the actual noise comes down to 0db. Pretty sweet! The tank allows the air to come out in smooth bursts. The compressor is also equipped with a moisture damper (or whatever it's called) that takes away the moisture from the air before it goes into the hose.

The airbrush + compressor combo is as idiot proof as it gets (well not quite but I'll cover that in a sec :). You basically just plug the compressor to your power outlet, attach the hose to it and to the airbrush, power it on, wait for the compression to complete and then you can start spraying. By default, the pressure reaches 4 bar or about 58 PSI which is waaaay too much for our purposes. Once it drops to 3 bar it starts to recompress.

Being a noob I loaded up my airbrush and started spraying with those settings. I knew that the pressure was too high, but for some reason I couldn't get the adjusting knob working. And so I painted like 3 models until I decided I have to find out what is going on :)

I went to youtube and lo and behold the solution was so easy it made me feel like a total tool. Instead of pressing on the knob and turning you just had to lift it and then turn LOL. Ok so I adjusted the pressure to 15 PSI and did the rest of the models.

Guys, know this, even despite my noob setback with the pressure, I had 9 models fully coated in my 1st layer of paint in about 15-20 mins total. That is S I C K. And one other thing - I simply dilluted the paint with water (!) and it worked just fine. I'll try windex for sure or maybe even a retarder in the future, but I had none of those at my house at this time so water had to do. And it did ok. Of course, if you pour too much into the cup, it might dry up a bit after a while.

To sum it up, I'm super excited about this purchase. I know for sure that I have a long road ahead of me, mainly concerning learning to apply and mix paint properly but I am happy to be in that position rather than not! I know that those of you who are well experienced with airbrushes will have a good laugh from all of this. For the rest of you though, I'll report my "new" findings and experiences as I go along and hopefuly you'll be able to learn from my mistakes  :)

Last but not least, a quick snapshot of the selected few of the guys I basecoated tonight:


  1. "9 models fully about 15-20 minutes"

    And to think that it took me several hours with a brush...

    By the way, did you prime the models before airbrushing or did you airbrush straight onto the plastic?

  2. Yea well that was kinda a semi fail because at first I thought they will be painted reguraly so i spray primed black. Then I bought the army painter angel green and basecoated with that dark green colour. But then I got the airbrush and decided, that since I do catachan layer anyway, I'll just spray it on so I did :)