WHY WEATHER WITH AN AIRBRUSH?
The airbrush’s ability to spray ultra-fine mists of paint with amazing precision is what lends the tool perfectly to the weathering process. Indeed, application of paint via an airbrush mimics how the prototype accrues dirt, dust and smoke staining in real life.
Many assume that weathering with an airbrush is a quick process. That may well be the case for an expert with years of experience, or for those wanting the most basic of finishes. However, for a thorough and effective job, it takes time to build up just the right amount of paint in exactly the right places.
The complexity of the object also dictates the ease and speed of a project. A plain, flat-sided object offers minimal challenge, but throw in raised and recessed detail, complex angular or circular profiles and a detailed chassis and things get a little more complicated.
For those new to weathering with an airbrush, I’d heartily recommend starting with a wagon as a subject. Having worked through the previous airbrushing exercises in this Skills Station module, you should be confident in getting the paint thinned correctly, setting the air pressure and in the operation of the airbrush itself. Weathering demands that all of these aspects are correctly observed, as we need to be in full control of the paint flow at all times.
The Hornby coke hopper employed in the following demonstration offers an excellent basis for honing one’s airbrush weathering skills, as it boasts lots of surface relief, a fairly complex profile and a detailed chassis. In order to get the ‘dirt’ into and around all of the detail, the airbrush needs to be moved around constantly, approaching the model from different angles and distances.
With such an involved task, the challenge is to maintain minimal paint output from the airbrush at all times, avoiding the risk of ‘over-cooking’ things. We’re not looking to obliterate the paintwork, after all. Instead, our aim is to make the model appear dirty and careworn.