Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Army Painter Spray vs. Citadel Spray Gun

As mentioned in my post last week I used Army Painter's Dragon Red spray to base coat my Angels Sanguine. This was after I fell out with Citadel's Spray Gun. Read on to find out why, some pro's and con's of each, and a couple of pointers I picked up along the way.

Originally I bought the Citadel Spray Gun (£18) to do this job - undercoating my Angels Sanguine. I wanted to follow the 'Eavy Metal instructions shown in White Dwarf 357 (for painting Blood Angels) as the basis for the A.S. paint scheme which is a base coat of Blood Red and Dark Flesh 50/50. It worked fine on the test model I did once I had the settings right, the problem came when trying to spray batches.

The spray gun uses canned propellant (£5) which, after a few minutes use, loses pressure and stops working effectively. For this reason it's suggested you buy two cans of propellant (another £5, yep - I fell for the sales patter) and switch them over every now and again. In other words it's a bit of a pain to use:

Stage 1: Mix and thin paints, pour into pot and attach to gun.
Stage 2: Spray away!
Stage 3: "Oh, no paint's coming out"...fiddle with needle and cap of can (pressure).
Stage 4: "WOAH!! Too much paint." Re-fiddle.
Stage 5: "That'll do"...psst, psst (psst = the noise of spray!)
Stage 6: (By now I've painted four models the exact colour I want - cool.) Ps...st, p...ss..t..........."Ah".
Stage 7: Change propellant can, then repeat stages 3-6. Forever.

Left Marine - Army Painter *-* Right Marine - Spray Gun.
Don't get me wrong - there are pluses. You can literally paint ANY colour. This is good, and would be really good for individual models (where a covering can be done quickly) to get a unique base colour. Once you have the set up (i.e set up for the thickness of paint etc) it's easy to blast away, as long as the cans hold out!

I know, I know, enough waffle. I wasn't happy with how these guys all came out. Some were smooth (see above), some (from nearer the group edges) were a bit more spattered. So on and so on. Also, because the paint is thinned to allow it to fly out of the gun it doesn't cover the black undercoat without a few layers. Around this time Jawaballs wrote something for BoLS and mentioned Army Painter sprays. The picture he showed with it was a very similar colour to what I was going for and it all seemed so...simple.

Off I (virtually) went to Wayland Games and ordered myself a can of Dragon Red. They do two reds, I went with Dragon as it's a little deeper/darker. Above in the picture you can see it compared directly to 50/50 mix of Blood Red and Dark Flesh - close enough. So, how was it to use?

We've (probably) all used a spray undercoat before right? And using one spray can must be the same as using another, right? So I thought but, as it turns out, no. No it isn't. Below is a close up picture of the first test model I sprayed when deciding to paint over black or white undercoat:

Click to enlarge if you can't already see the horrible fuzz!

Lesson One: Always read the instructions. 
The instructions tell you to spray from a MAXIMUM of 20cm. I hadn't seen this so I ended up with fuzzy the Terminator here. Lesson learned. 
Lesson Two: If you read the instructions then obey them.
"Apply thin crossed coats" it says on the tin. But what happens when there's that little patch you just can't get the spray to spray into? You keep trying right? Bad move, this happens:

Now this doesn't look like much in this photo but there's a real loss of detail on the chest skull, between a few 'feathers' and around the rope on his leg. Frustrating as, again, I really should know better.

For the first few models there was the odd little up and down but over all the rest of the batch came out really well and with a very consistent finish. The big plus with Army Painter is it's a format we're all almost definitely going to be familiar with so there's no learning curve as long as you read the label. The results are reliable and you really only need one coat, even over black, to get good coverage. 

So, in future, 99.9% of any Angel Sanguine models I do will probably be base coated this way. I'll keep hold of the Citadel Spray Gun and crack it out when I want a really specific colour on a model, and when I'm feeling VERY patient!

If anyone else has their own experiences to add, either positive or negative feel free to leave a comment down below. In the meantime I have the joys of a day off tomorrow so hopefully there'll be some good Stormraven process to report on in the next few days!
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