Wargaming Tradecraft: Things to come... (shiny)

Things to come... (shiny)

I have a most wonderful wife who decided to spoil me at Christmas this year by setting me up with everything I need to get started airbrushing. There was a great sale on a compressor with an 8 gallon tank before the holidays and it's been sitting boxed up waiting for an airbrush to compliment it. (Which was delayed greatly due to the move, new job, etc) While killing time before attending a show in another city on Tuesday, I used my phone (more on living in the future in a later Blog-Fu article) and Googled me up some art stores in the area and came into the possession of this beauty:

iwata Eclipse HP-BS
It's an iwata Eclipse HP-BS, 0.35mm nosel, dual action (can control both the flow of paint and air) with a small resevoir (which is all I need... did the below photo with it half full) and is supposed to be able to do hairline level work. It's going to take a fair amount of practice, but don't you worry, I will share my experiences of what works AND what doesn't work. You'll be able to see both successes and failures and learn at the same time I do. So far it seems like a quality and versatile product. Handles well and I'm getting the hang of adjusting the air and paint flow.. now I need to learn how to be consistent.

Also a thanks to the guys at Mercury Art & Craft Supershop who were very helpful and explained all that I needed to know. (confirming a bunch of what I'd already read, but also going over some of the airbrushes adjustment, care and upkeep) I'm big on appreciating customer service. (little known fact: Canadian politeness rarely extends to the service industry, since it's near-impossible to get fired here) I had tried emailing a couple online vendors/brands suggested by a few of the pro-art blogs around, (since their sites had an overwhelming selection) but nobody got back to me.

The compressor / tank is a Husky (Home Depot's brand) set that came with a whole bunch of attachments for filling all sorts of tires, painting walls, stapling and hammering. (It'll do anything up to 150 psi) The compressor is oil-less, which means cheaper and less maintenance, but louder. That's alright though, because it fills the tank pretty quickly and 8 gallons means it doesn't have to be on that often. Long hose means I can hide the unit away since it's got some size to it. Also, huge benefit of a tank over just buying a compressor means you get a constant stream of air, rather than all the noise and possible spurts as a compressor chugs away by itself.

I'll go into more detail on the compressor/tank and airbrush later and separately once I have a little more experience on them.

And yeah, I may be able to paint up a storm on minis, but I'm still not so good at the 2D artwork. I tell ya, I can't wait to start using this on models. I feel like Link, finding another one of his objects of power in one of his quests.

Also happened to wander into a GW while swag was being distributed, yay me.

Oh, and just because it fits my mood and feeling of creativity right now:


  1. I look forward to hearing your experiences. I really need to get an airbrush but keep putting it off for some reason, probably afraid I'll just screw things up when it counts. I already have a compressor, similar to yours, so I just need to bite the bullet and get an airbrush.

  2. Hey Dave. How is that airbrush working out for you? Have you had a chance to play around with it with all the other stuff you have going on?

    As I may have mentioned before, I'm considering taking the plunge and buying an airbrush as well. I am considering a compressor that is not designed specifically for airbrushes, though not quite as massive as the one you have, just a 1-gallon 100-PSI max and I had a couple questions. I have heard from other people with compressors designed for higher pressures that it can be hard to dial in a lower PSI in the range that you would want to use with an airbrush (~15-35ish). Have you had any trouble with that? Another concern I have is that the compressor does not seem to come with a moisture trap to prevent sputtering and the like. Have you had any issues with this or have you added a moisture trap to your setup? I know you can buy a regulator/moisture trap designed for airbrush compressors for about $20-$25 or Iwata makes a moisture trap that attaches directly onto the airbrush to catch any moisture just before the air enters the airbrush for ~$35 so there are some options out there.

    Just trying to get a little more info. I hope your airbrush is working for you and all your other projects are turning out well.

  3. Quick edit/update: Just found that Iwata pistol grip filter/moisture trap on www.dickblick.com for $21.99.

  4. I've played around with it some and I'm definitely liking it. I can see a larger paint feed being good if you're doing large areas, terrain, etc.. but I don't think the smaller one will be a problem for minis.

    If you can afford to add a few more gallons above 1, I suggest it. I don't use up mine fast, but I think a 1 gallon might end up running more often that your/family/neighbors ears would appreciate. Also, a larger tank means you can work at night when nobody wants that compressor running.

    I haven't had any problems adjusting my pressure - it depends on the valve and the meter though. There's a couple things to look at - size and scale. A larger sized meter will be easier to read as will a SMALLER scale.
    What I mean by scale: If your output only goes up to 100 PSI, you'll want a meter with a max value close to that too. This way you have more control and it's easier to read. (I had a meter at one of my job sites once that went up to about 100 psi, and I only needed 3.5 psi...)
    Think of it like this... a clock goes from 1 to 12 and it's easy to see what hour the hand is pointing at. What if a clock went to 200 and was really small? How easy would you be able to tell the hour?

    I totally missed getting a moisture trap, and while i haven't had any problems yet, it's my luck I will. (And the summers where I live now are supposed to be muggy) I couldn't find the Iwata specific one you mention on that site, but I'll probably first look at compressor moisture traps at my local hardware store, before looking for hobby ones. (to protect all the air coming out of the compressor) I also don't want any extra weight to the airbrush, I like it's feel.

    I'll do a more detailed post later once I have some more experience with the compressor/airbrush, but hopefully that helps for now. Let me know if you have any other questions.

  5. Thanks for all the feedback and good advice. I've been doing some more research on my own as well and I'm definitely looking for better compressors with larger tanks, especially after reading some reviews about the one I was looking at. Apparently it is REALLY loud, even compared to other non-hobby compressors and several people had it die on them after about a year. Definitely not going to buy that one. Just have to find the right balance between function and price.

    I'm not sure what kind of compressor regulators those people were complaining about since I didn't save the link or anything but I think I've got a pretty good idea of what to look for now.

    For the water trap, since you don't like the pistol grip, you might look into an inline filter/water trap that you can attach between your two air hoses. I hope you can find one at the hardware store because it has been a major pain trying to search for a good solution online. It is surprisingly hard to find the filters by themselves without the regulator attached, but it can be done. Harbor Freight had one listed on their website for about $8 but you can't buy it online, it's in-store only. I don't know if you have a Harbor Freight store near you or even where they would be located besides nowhere near where I live. I couldn't find any in the art supply or airbrush supply online stores that I have looked at in my research but google and amazon.com turned up a few that you should be able to find fairly easily. You can also buy the braided air hose with the filter built in but those are significantly more expensive (~$30 or more).

    If you do change your mind on the pistol grip filter, you can find it on this page. http://www.dickblick.com/products/iwata-airbrush-accessories/#items I had a hard time finding it again because you have to look in the Iwata category - you can't find it in the general airbrushing category. You can also find knockoff versions of the pistol grip filter on ebay or http://www.tcpglobal.com/airbrushdepot/itemdetail.aspx?itemno=ABD+TF-12

    Whew, that was a lot of researching. I know it helped me find a few things and I hope it can help you with the moisture trap as well. Thanks for your insight and I'm looking forward to hearing more about your airbrushing exploits.

  6. $27 at Home Depot. Filters both moisture and dust :)


    Thanks for reminding me to pick one of these up. Might not fit all air compressors without multiple fittings. It's 1/4"

  7. I'm glad you found something that will work for you and I'm glad I could help. It shouldn't be hard to find an adapter if 1/4" isn't the right size.

    I don't know what size hoses and fittings or where you have the filter connected but, according to my research, you will probably want to attach it between the compressor hose and the hose that attaches to the airbrush. I know I said that in my last post but that was just a random suggestion and now I actually have a reason to suggest it.

    Apparently the air is warmer when it's in the compressor and as it travels through the hose it cools down and the water condenses so the farther away from the compressor you attach your moisture trap, the more moisture it will catch.

    Of course, that's assuming the information I found was good. You never really know on the internet. It sounds feasible and the nice long hose on your air compressor should give the air plenty of time to cool before it hits the trap.

    Good luck and hopefully I'll be able to chime in on the whole airbrush topic with some personal experience before too much longer.


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