Friday, 8 November 2013

Brush Up: Sprue Cutters Union #16

Welcome wargamers and hobbyists, to the art room. This room may look a little dishevelled, uncoordinated, littered with random objects and fresh out of the 1970's, but it's modelled precisely on the room where I used to take my art lessons when I was at school. And before anyone comments, the room was old when I was at school in the 90's. I was not at school in the 70's...
- What is your preferred airbrush/paint brush manufacturer? -
Ok everyone, this week the Sprue Cutters Union has been asked the very simple question above, which for me is especially simple to answer, as I don't own and have never utilised an airbrush...
The reason for this is simple: the wargaming miniatures I paint are generally too small to benefit from the use of an airbrush, apart from vehicles, but I don't have enough vehicles in my generally infantry heavy collection to warrant the purchasing of an airbrush either. One day I might consider one, if I think it would see use, but not at the moment.
This leaves the good old dependable paint brush.
In the begining, there was Citadel. This is the 'paints and brushes' arm of Games Workshop, who's models I collect and who's paints I generally use on my projects. Citadel paints, citadel brushes etc etc etc. I have always found the quality of Citadel products to be pretty good, but like anything, paint brushes wear over time. The tips become less sharp, they lose the odd bristle through copious use, they generally start to look a bit like they have seen battles from the sharp end rather than just the prep end.
When it came to replacing my citadel brushes recently, I decided to have a look around, in shops and online. I wasn't really looking for a particular manufacturer, just a good quality brush that wouldn't lose bristles like I lose Warhammer games, and was cheaper than the now significantly inflated cost of the Citadel brushes. As it turned out, the Citadel brushes were not all that costly for their quality, and many other brushes were at least as expensive. I wasn't in a crazy rush, but the brushes I was trying to eek a little more life out of were getting on my nerves, so I kept looking, every time we went into a shop that sold any kind of art supplies, at the brushes they had and the prices.
Eventually, my wife and I were actually in the local cake and crafts shop in our village, a great little place with some interesting bits and pieces, and talented owner who runs workshops and bakes cakes to order which have some incredible decoration iced onto them. I swear that woman could make any cake I wanted. In fact, I wonder whether I should make a special request for my birthday cake. A Tyranid spore mine maybe...
Anyway, back on topic, the craft shop sells cake decorating brushes, which I guess are intended for painting icing with patterns or colour or whatever, and they came from about size 1 to size 4. I got chatting to the owner and her scale model building husband about the brushes, and it turned out they could order whatever sizes I wanted. After having a good look at the brushes, and finding out that they had been selected by the owner's husband (who knows a thing or two about painting miniatures) ordered a couple of size 1's, a couple of 0's, a couple of 00's and two 000's right there and then.
After I picked up the brushes, I was cautiously pleased with them. They were pure sable, smart brushes, but had only cost me a measly £1 each! For that kind of money I expected to get something that looked nice in the beginning but would quickly wear and fall to pieces. Not so. A few months down the line, the brushes are still good and have kept their tips (most important when adding fine highlights and small details), and I can't see me needing to find another brush supplier anytime soon. Not at that price.
As for the manufacturer, the size 1's were marked as 'Windsor Cake Craft', but whether this is one of the brushes produced by the well known Windsor brand I don't know. The rest are marked as AES, who I have never heard of, so if anyone else has had experience of brushes by AES, I would be interested to find out how you fair with them.
If you would like to read more posts on this topic, especially those written by scale modellers who will extoll the virtues of various brands of air brush, I invite you to check out the links below to their most excellent blogs.
Also, for anyone who thinks they might like to join the Sprue Cutters Union (#spruecutters), look here for details on how to join. All you need is a blog, and a passion for miniature modelling. We would love to have you aboard.
As always, thanks for reading...