Thursday, January 23, 2014

Airbrushing and the Hobby - First Steps

Well, my first steps at least. I know plenty of folks out there are already using the airbrush as a much-valued tool in their hobby arsenal. But how is a beginner supposed to…well, begin?

I've dug around the interwebz, and come up with an amazing amount of information on not only airbrushing within the miniature war-gaming hobby, but in the scale modeling hobby, and just airbrushing in general. Everything from forums, to blogs (surprising, I know) and YouTube are amazing sources of information, inspiration and material that are invaluable to the beginner.

So rather than make everyone else dig like I did, I've pilled it all together here!

Since I haven't actually picked up an airbrush since high school, where I actually had an entire semester in airbrushing as an elective course, I've been apprehensive to actually use my airbrush. However, about two weeks ago I decided I'd waited long enough, and started researching how in the heck to use the darn thing.

Let me just say that the community really came through, without even knowing that I needed them to come through for me. That being the case, I wanted to pass on what I've found, giving back to the community in my own way.

I've separated all the links below into 4 categories: Websites, Blogs, Forum Posts and You Tube Channels. There are some folks who cross into multiple categories, and I make note of them in each case. I've also tried to give you a little snippet of what you'll find in each link.


Right, cause if you are looking at getting into airbrushing figures for wargaming, you've most likely heard of Les Bursley. Now, I mainly used this site to jump to his YouTube channel, but still.

One of the first sites I found, just by nature of it's name. Actually extremely helpful, and his YouTube channel and videos are fairly entertaining to watch as well. For a beginner, I recommend watching his tutorial videos as he literally starts from the beginning and takes you step by step in how to learn airbrushing. Not Miniature related, but very helpful none-the-less.

Specifically about modeling instead of wargaming...but who cares? Great information here, just keep in mind that author mainly uses Tamiya, and references it throughout the article. Not a bad thing, just not the paint I've chosen to use at this point.

Les is actually a member of this, but this entire community of bloggers, writers, podcasts and videos is a huge resource for the hobby in general, but there is also an intense amount of airbrushing information here.


Mathieu Fontaine wrote a highly encompassing article for his own blog that I recommend everyone read. It includes getting started, what you need, paints, accessories, styles of airbrushes, etc. Just go read it. You'll be glad you did.

The Painting Corps is a great blog to begin with, and the link above will direct you to all their posts that are labeled with "airbrush". They have so many articles on the subject that include materials, equipment, techniques, videos and so on, that it's just easier to supply you the one link and go from there.

Brushthralls is a new blog to me, and unfortunately hasn't been active since September of 2009. However, because of the magic of the interwebz, we can go back in time and read this article!

Surprise, Les has a blog! Mainly used to link to his videos and show off his latest work.


Great post on DakkaDakka by atropos907. He goes into what's needed to get started, beginning steps and a few step-by-steps to give you some ideas.

YouTube Channels:

Many of the owners of these channels I've already linked to above in other forms, but I wanted to link their own YouTube channels independently for convenience. I'll also include some channels I've found that I like and have been helpful. By no means is this an exhaustive list of YouTubers that are an asset to this hobby world with an airbrush, or anything else, these are just some of the ones I've found so far.

Hopefully all of this will help you as much as it's helped me. I see the links above able to help not just the beginner, but also those on the fence on diving into airbrush use, and even those who've been dabbling with it for a bit. Now by no means is this an all-encompassing list of every resource out there, and if you have some nuggets of wisdom, or a lifetime of experience to share, please do so in the comments!!! I'll add them to the links in the post and try and make this as comprehensive a list as possible.

- Tim



  1. Have you actually shot paint through your airbrush yet? If not, you need to stop researching and just frakking do it. If you have, then you can ignore this message.

    1. Hah! Yes, yes I have, just a bunch of dots, lines and assorted stuff like that to get used to the trigger and PSI, etc. On an actual figure? Nope. That should happen next week.

  2. Tim this is a great post with loads of resources for us airbrush beginners to go through. Thanks so much for taking the time to lay out the links and descriptions.

    1. Happy to make it all available, Dai :) Hey, if I'm going to bookmark all the links and channels, I may as well share them!

  3. Thanks so much for sharing your research on air brushing. ^_^ I have been thinking on taking the plunge myself but so far have been prohibited by the cost. By the way I have added you to my blog roll ... hope that's ok with you. I blog too so feel free to critic my feeble attempts at being a miniature painter if you happen to visit my blog. =)

    1. Happy to be a part of the roll, my friend! Thanks for adding me!

      Take the plunge! Watch Badger on Amazon for sales, and also if you go to Adepticon, they HEAVILY discount everything for the convention. Perfect pricing to get started with!

  4. A massive help, and source of information, thank you for taking the time.
    I wish I had you restraint, I dove in head first with an airbrush. I am only just now getting the hang of things.
    Although next I need to invest in some higher end equipment I think.

    Thanks again