About Aaron Simons
First place winner of Hobby/ Model category
My name is Aaron Simons and I have built scale models most of my life. I started when I was about 10 and I’m now 45! So that’s 35 years of building and painting to get to where I am today. My passion is mainly around building Sci-Fi and military models. Having served in the Airforce for 8 years, I carried my passion for military aircraft into my love of scale models.
I live in Sydney Australia and have a wife and 2 teenage daughters who are also very artistic. I have always found beauty in decay, and this translates to my painting style of weathered and worn machines. I find that this style really helps to bring out a realism in my work and I pride myself on painting models where it’s hard to distinguish from the real thing.
Over the years I have competed and won many scale modelling competitions including Gunpla Builders World Cup (GBWC) – which I was lucky enough to win twice in 2018 and 2019. Winning GBWC is amazing and I got to represent Australia in Tokyo both times!
As much as I can, I like to share my knowledge with fellow modellers and enjoy helping people develop their own skills. I predominantly use an airbrush for painting my models. I prefer to use lacquer paints as they allow much more flexibility and tend not to dry at the tip. I find lacquer paints allow for much finer detail work and are easier to clean up. Over the years I have had owned many airbrushes and compressors, but for the last 4 years I have increasingly more Sparmax equipment in my arsenal. My favourite Sparmax gear is my MAX-3 and SP20X airbrushes; my TC-620X compressor; and my SB-88 spray booth!
I was humbled to win Gold for the Hobby section of the 2022 International Airbrush Competition and thankful to Sparmax for running such a great event!
1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, what is your background? When did you start airbrushing and what was the learning process like for you?
"I have been a scale modeler since about the age of 10..."
My name is Aaron Simons and I am 45 and live in Sydney Australia. Online, I am known as “WeatheredAz”. I have been a scale modeler since about the age of 10 and love armor, sci-fi and military aircraft. I also love Gundam models and have won the Australian Gunpla Builders World Cup (GBWC) twice and represented Australia in Tokyo both times. My background is military which is where I get my love of military aircraft. I started airbrushing when I was about 20 and initially found it quite difficult. I learned what I could from other modelers, but this was the days before YouTube, so I mostly learned through trial and error.
2. Can you tell us a bit more about your winning entry piece? How / why did you choose it? How long did it take, and what inspired you?
My winning entry is a 3D printed model of the MOOSE mech from the movie Chappie. I designed the model myself in Fusion 360 and printed the model at home. The design and printing of the model took about a year of work. The 3D model is actually available on Gambody.com from my artist's account. The painting process took me about 2 months as the model is very large and highly detailed. I like to make my models look weathered and worn, so the theme I had for the MOOSE was a battle worn machine that had seen a lot of action in the field.
3. What does airbrushing mean to you and what drives your passion for airbrushing and creating art? Also, how do you find the ideas for your other works?
Airbrushing is a huge part of my painting style as I think it’s unparalleled in terms of the subtle blends and shading you can achieve. Airbrushing is also extremely efficient when painting large or multiple models. It allows me to achieve effects that are simply not possible from a hand brush. Building and painting models is a huge part of my life and this artform has always captured my imagination. I find inspiration everywhere and I follow many artists across various genres. I am also a prolific collector of art books which also provide a great source of inspiration for my own style.
"Airbrushing is a huge part of my painting style as I think it’s unparalleled in terms of the subtle blends and shading you can achieve."
4. What are your goals / targets for airbrushing? What do you want to achieve?
These days my goals are a lot simpler. I love to share my work and help others get better. I do compete in some competitions, but for me now I tend to focus on developing my style and perfecting the specific look I am after.
"I generally challenge myself by always trying new techniques and styles of airbrushing."
This not only helps you to discover new approaches, but it also helps to develop a unique style. In the future, I hope to compete in more international scale modeling competitions and continue to grow as an artist.
5. Do you specialize or prefer to work on a specific surface?
In terms of airbrushing, I only paint scale models and their dioramas I build.
6. How would you describe your style(s) in airbrushing?
My painting style has always been a more realistic look. I love weathered and worn machines, so this translates to my personal painting style. Airbrushing is particularly great for achieving subtle fading and shading which lends itself to achieving a worn and weathered look.
7. Any advice to beginners looking to start airbrushing?
The best advice I can give is that you should stay away from cheap equipment! Over the years I have seen so many beginners buy a cheap $30 airbrush off eBay and then wonder why they struggle to learn. Cheap airbrushes give cheap results! Learning to airbrush is made much easier when you learn with a decent airbrush. These days companies like Sparmax make it very affordable to buy decent airbrushes at a reasonable price, so there’s no excuse for buying cheap rubbish from eBay.
"The best advice I can give is that you should stay away from cheap equipment!"