11 April 2011

GW spray gun review

I realized that painting 15mm miniatures was a lot more time consuming than I would have ever imagined; especially the first steps that I paint my Polish army in could easily take hours when having to paint larger units or platoons. And the Polish platoons are massive with 12 rifle stands, 1 command and an optional upgrade with anti tank rifles and mortar teams. 15 stands to paint by hand! Painting 1-3 at a time is not a problem, but considering that I have 3 platoons and 1 full scout platoon with 2 sections and a cavalry platoon...

So I hit Lead Adventure, Steve Dean and The Miniature Page last night, asking around about the GW spray gun. I received mixed reports on its performance, some people said it was horrible, som said it worked well. I have no real funds or desire to invest in a proper airbrush and compressor as I really only need this for my 15mm Early War Polish stuff. And checking the internet, there were not that many options here in Sweden that would let me get away cheaper than the GW spray gun and 2 cans of propellant.

I had to bite the bullet and see for myself. And after having used it once - I have to say it works amazingly well. I did some 2 hours work in 5 minutes.

Here's the deal, the spray gun is NOT an airbrush, it lacks the properties of fine tuning and accurate bursts. It is however an excellent piece of gear to use custom paint and spray it over a large number of miniatures fast. In my test I used Foundation "Khemri Brown" as that is the base and highlight color of my Polish uniforms. I undercoated the models with black primer and mixed the foundation paint with water roughly 2:1. Perhaps a third of the foundation pot. I really didn't want to mix too much as I have yet to assemble the rest of my infantry, I think I could have added a tad more paint but I sprayed 2-3 coats on all models from all angles. The next step painting my miniatures will be washing them with devlan mud and highlightning all uniforms with khemri brown again. Real easy to paint but at the same time it is quite time consuming if you have to do it by hand.

I have never used an airbrush before in my life, but after having watched the video on YouTube on how to use and clean the spray gun I managed to assemble it, mix the paint and paint my models without problems. As such it is very user friendly. Question is how durable the spray gun itself is, I doubt I will use it so many times that I will experience it breaking down - but its not meant to be a long term investment. If you need to airbrush stuff often you will probably get an airbrush and compressor if you already haven't got one. If you on the other hand, like me have a little sidetrack into 15mm or similar project that might require basecoating lots of models fast then the spray gun is a good solution.

Both the attachment that goes on top of the propellant bottle and the airbrush itself has a little gear allowing a certain level of adjustment. If I have one complaint it has to be the container where you put water/paint. You have to jam it into the spray gun, there is nothing that really holds it in place except the somewhat tight fit between the components. I don't think it would have taken too much effort fixing that problem during production.

What else could I tell, I guess I will keep you guys updated on how the spray gun performs and make a note about it here on the blog every time I use it.

The reason I bought 2 propellant bottle is because people online and GW itself has advised getting two bottles since apparently they will freeze up if you overuse them at any one single occasion. I did not experience any trouble today with mine, but it was a really quick paintjob. At least they are cheaper than the paint theys sell in same sized bottles. There is probably a much cheaper version of the propellant out there if you look hard enough, don't really know if I will find anything cheaper here in south Sweden. The platoon that I painted today barely used up any of the air, quick bursts and it was done.

So my verdict, if you only need the properties of a rough airbrush from time to time then this could work. You will not find an airbrush and compressor this cheap anywhere else.

 Here's the video on YouTube btw, showing the instructions: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J5IG6F301Js


  1. One thing you can do is set the propellant can in a warm-to-hot water bath while you're using it. This will counteract the rapid cooling that occurs.

  2. Thanks - a very useful review. I think it will be even more useful when you want to under & basecoast some more 28mm stuff, especially vehicles.

  3. Thanks for the review. I recently discovered the Tamiya range of spray paints. Their whole paint range is now available in cans of spray paint. Could be another easier option for you.

  4. @Beccas yep certainly! Though I may get some use of this spray gun for a custom paint mix of my own at some point (I keep telling myself).

    I also have a few experiments in mind for 1:56 scale vehicles - might actually repaint something I have at home to try out my rust/dirt mix I usually apply with a brush.

  5. Thats exactly what I would want to be able to do- like weathering around tracks, or mud splash effects from underneath. That would probably be more in the realm of a full airbrush though.

    What I dont want to two sets of paint - one for burshwork, another thinned down properly for use in an airbrush

  6. Thanks for your review. I recently discovered the Spray guns range of spray tools. Their whole guns range is now available in cans of spray paint. Could be another easier option for you. Thanks for sharing with us this wonderful information.

    Spray Guns

  7. Thanks for the review. This is very helpful and can give some insights for those spray gun lovers. Thank you for sharing the experience!

    Air Spray Gun

  8. Thank you for sharing this interesting and informative article, painting with airless spray gun will be faster and more interesting!

    Spray Gun


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