Airbrush Training

Airbrush Training - Header

I wrote on the page about the work page how it was Games Workshop and the Warhammer battle games that opened up my creative side and gave me an outlet from which to find enjoyment and pleasure. The collecting, assembling and painting of models allowing me to learn the arts of painting, highlighting and dry-brushing as my technique developed and my armies took colour. One thing I never learned to do though was to use an airbrush.

Obviously, as a child growing up the cost of specialist airbrushing equipment was way beyond the reach of pocket money and paper rounds, and of course, why save all that money for an airbrush when it could be better spent on more models and an even bigger army?! However, as I am slowly dipping my toes back into the world of modelling and war-gaming and starting to revisit, although sadly at the moment, without the same enthusiasm, childhood memories of old, I thought it was time to treat myself, to allow myself the chance to paint “properly”, to purchase an airbrush.

And so I spent a long time researching, reading, looking at prices and getting very confused. Throughout my search though one website kept cropping up – www.SnMStuff.co.uk – now, the innocent among you will be wondering why everyone else have just sniggered slightly. And that was my problem, it claimed to be a modelling supply store but did I want it in my Internet history? For weeks I agonised and pondered that question and then thought stuff it!

Looking around the site, thankfully it really is all plastic and paint rather than leather and locks, suddenly I found something really interesting – airbrush training courses. A bit more digging lead to the discovery that they weren’t too far from me either in Farnborough, Hampshire and so I booked the course and went along.

1st Training Course

In the run up to the course I kept emailing with more stupid questions than you could imagine: Can I bring my own lunch? Do you have a fridge to put it in? Where do I park? You definitely do have a fridge for my lunch? But every single time I would be met with a welcoming and reassuring answer. I got a real sense that no matter how mad my questions  they were being answered by someone “nice”.

Airbrush - SnMStuff Paint Display

Arriving on the day, I found that the shop is run by Sean (husband of Mel hence “SnM”) and is a true model supply store with a real emphasis on paints. The range and scope of acrylic paints and extras (inks, washing, weathering kits etc.) along with the brush hardware (both air and traditional) mean that for anyone with a passing interesting in modelling and painting this is a dangerous shop for your bank account.

The course was taking place in a back room and was being run by Brian from Anarchy Models, who through a recent kickstarter campaign has developed a new stenciling system involving low-tac vinyl sheets that makes creating stunning effects and patterns on your models much, much easier and much more precise. And while the day was designed to be primarily, a way of showing off the stencils and how they work, it was aimed at people new to airbrushing as well. Brian and Sean had achieved this by splitting the day into two. The morning was designed to teach you basic technique: how the equipment worked, how to hold the airbrush, how to thin paint etc. before moving on to some repetitive painting exercises – dots and lines – to allow you to learn how to paint and how trigger action, air pressures and distances all effect the final results. After all, just like painting with a brush, it’s through what appears overly basic repetition that you teach your brain the techniques required until they become second nature and you can move up the ladder.

Airbrush - Dots and Lines Practice

Brian’s teaching style is perfectly suited to the content of the course. He’s friendly, helpful and with the patience of a saint, but brings with him enough experience to be able to back up what he’s teaching and inspire confidence with his explanations and help you solve problems. He is also, along with Sean, a true hobbyist who has a real passion for what he does. So while you miss painting a dot for the umpteenth time or continue to paint outside the lines, they are happy to trade modelling stories, tales of former battles and listen to you harp on again about how you once rolled a double 6 thus blowing your mates tank to pieces.

After lunch, the day moves from the basic technique onto showing you Brian’s stencil system and allowing you to have a play. Once you’ve got your head around the fact that depending on the pattern/final outcome you need to use either a positive or negative stencil and how that is somewhat dictated by colour schemes, actually using the stencils couldn’t be easier. Essentially it’s just base coating and sticking, then base coating and sticking etc. until you are done and then “peal and reveal”!

Airbrush - Hellhound Tank

In the information pack they sent out before the course that had suggested bringing along a tank to experiment with and so, armed with an Imperial Guard Hellhound I set about playing with the stencils. Unlike the other 3 attendees on the course, I wasn’t quite as bothered about colour schemes – ending up with a tank potentially more capable of destroying Crinkely Bottom than the traditional fields of battle – but I didn’t care, I wanted to learn about technique and skill more than what it ended up looking like.

In fact, I am now slightly attached to my tanks “expressive” colour scheme to the point that I can’t bring myself to paint over it!

Over all, I found the day brilliant. As I said earlier, Sean and Brian are both seriously friendly guys, whom when it comes to the running of the day, exude a sense of “it’s not too much trouble”. You really feel like that want to encourage, they want to teach. They are two people who love what they do and want to share that around. They want you to get the same enjoyment from the hobby as they do.

With the problems I’ve been having in my life, attending something as new and different as an airbrushing course is way beyond my comfort zone and something, I never would have even entertained, let alone gone through with, as recently as the start of the year. However, I left the course absolutely buzzing and much lighter in the wallet as I had purchased some air powered goodies! In fact, I enjoyed the course so much, I actually booked myself in a few weeks later to do another training day!

Posted on by 5WC in Opinion First Edition

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