Things are all white in Neu Celle, my fledgling Martian colony. I think it’s time to introduce some colour. The other buildings I’ve painted so far have been done with a quick but effective method which I think looks pretty good, so I’m sticking with it here. Therefore the next stage was to basecoat the buildings using a pale stone colour. I chose Tamiya XF-55 Deck Tan (not the similarly named XF-78 Wooden Deck Tan), which is a very light shade. Since I had a lot of buildings to do at one go I dug out my old Humbrol airbrush from the shed and decided to use that. After transferring the paint to an airbrush jar I thinned it down about 2:1 with Tamiya acrylic thinners and off I went.
The whole process went pretty quickly, definitely much better than using a brush. I held the models in one hand (with a disposable plastic glove on) and sprayed them in mid-air rather than on a table – that way I could get at any bottom edges and made sure there was no ‘shadow’ where the airbrush couldn’t reach (I know the building above is on the table, I needed my other hand to hold the camera for the photo !).
The Humbrol airbrush definitely isn’t a precision instrument, but for this job it was ideal. I haven’t used it for a while and had forgotten some of its quirks – the compressed air ‘powerpack’ (an aerosol with a screw thread for attaching the airbrush hose) gets cold as it’s used, and like anything that gets cold, the pressure drops – so you have to increase the pressure via the control screw every so often. A couple of times I had to stop completely and warm up the can again to restore the pressure. One tip I do remember is that if the plastic tube that takes the paint from bottle to spray tip gets clogged, a good replacement is a plastic paint brush protector (the little clear plastic tubes that come with decent paintbrushes to protect the bristles). However I can’t knock it for this task, especially since I bought it off a mate at the wargames club for a tenner !
The next stage will involve the trusty airbrush again, although I might need a new powerpack for that …