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Hi, I'm being lazy and I hope it's OK.  I tried doing a quick search on air brush paints but didn't come up with what I'm looking for.

 

What is the best paint to use with an air brush??  Also, what is the best way to thin and what is the best thinner.  One last question, what is the best way to clean the air brush?

 

I guess while I'm at it, is there a better air brush over others?

Edited by Worldway
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Hi Derek, if you are talking about acrylic, (water based paints) I tend to just use good old tap water to thin them if needed. You can certainly buy special acrylic thinners, and some of these might be of use if your drying time is too short or long. Mostly though if the atmospheric conditions are pretty stable in the environment you paint in, tap water will do the trick just fine. Its more about experimenting with the level of thinning down required and the needle size you are painting with.

 

As for cleaning, again with acrylic paints I use a product we get here called Windex. It is a mild window cleaning solution. If I spray through 1 small cup gun amount it cleans my set-up like brand new. Then I flush again with 1 cup of tap water. I have never had blockages in the needle assembly cleaning this way.

 

Chris

 

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It depends also on what size of areas you would want to paint. For small quantities I use pre-thinned ready to use paints. Of course, you buy a lot of water there, but it saves the hazzle of messing around with thick paints and trying to get a homogeneous dilution. Over here in Europe I have used Schmincke Aero-Color (artists' range), as well as Vallejo's modellers paints. There are quite a few specialist suppliers for modellers on the market now, e.g. Gunze from Japan.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On ‎12‎/‎6‎/‎2017 at 9:33 PM, marktiedens said:

Vallejo makes a line of paint called model air - it`s pre-thinned & can be sprayed without extra thinning. They can also be brushed just as well. They are very high quality paints.

 

Mark

I have only used Valejo paint both the regular and the air version.

Both can be thinned a lot without loosing pigmentation. 

I learned something new about the Valejo bottles (a reason not to throw them away once depleted) I was to open my red one and the top came off.

Which was perfect as the paint was clogging up in the tip.

Rinsed it under warm water and the top was as new.

This way I can blend my colors to my own liking and store it without drying out.

5a36b9c0b6443_Valejopaintbottle.JPG.972d602be7df0efd48d61be175915ff9.JPG

The thinner from Valejo is not compatible with MS paint and other acrylics. Tried and the outcome was extremely bad.

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Derek:

You've asked a loaded question when you asked about airbrushes...I'm confident you'll receive many different answers.  The correct choice of airbrush, of course, is the one that works for you....I'm not trying to be funny with that comment, it is just that I have observed over the past 4 decades that different airbrushes seem to work differently in each hand...and there are many trade offs.

I am a Paasche snob...bought my first one in 1975 and am still using it along with a handful of other Paasche models, several in duplicate picked up along the way.  My first one is sort of like the axe that has had a couple of head replacements and several new handles.  Part of what I love about Paasche airbrushes is that parts obtained today can work in my first airbrush...that is huge as these are just tools and as such will need replacement parts over time.

I use a nitrogen tank as air source...again the way I started and was taught back in my graphic arts days....absolutely zero humidity issues which can be a factor during our North Carolina summers.

As for paint, I'm still a fan of solvent based paints...have a stash of Floquil paints I still use and am starting to roll over to Scalecoat as my colors run out.  Someday I may master water based paints, but for the past 20 years I've tried I cannot achieve the same quality of finish.

Since I use solvent based paints, I have a paint booth in my shop that exits to the outside after filtering.

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Tonight I placed an online order for Vallejo Model Air paints.  I bought "inexpensive" acrylic paints from my local art store and didn't have very good results with the airbrush.  I'm sure I added too much water to thin it.  This is certainly going to be trial and error as I'm sure you all know.  I figure with having Vallejo pre-thinned paints half the battle is won.

 

On another thread I started about Model Shipways paints, someone commented not to use them in an airbrush because the pigment size is too big and will clog the gun.  However MS claims their paint is suitable for air brushing.  I'm not sure if I should try them or not.

 

Thanks for all your suggestions and comments.

 

 

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For mixing/stirring the Vallejo paints before use, I use these mixing balls:

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Mixing-Stainless-Balls-6-35mm-Paint-pots-Vallejo-Model-Color-Citadel-/281190910666?hash=item417848caca

 

Open the top and drop one in. Shake the bottle before each use. I use the 6mm balls for the regular bottles, and 8mm for the larger primer bottles. Some of the thicker brush colors, get a 8mm. To tell which bottles have them (I don't open a new bottle, until I need it), I put a dot with a permanent marker on the bottle when I add the ball.

 

These balls are specially coated, so as NOT to rust, very important! A regular BB or steel ball will rust.

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Derek:

Stick with the airbrush paints.  Hobby paints have a much finer pigment size than other paints.  They are designed to not hide detail under a thick coat of heavy (large pigment) paint.  The larger/coarser pigment paints hide detail. 

 

I do not recommend the MS paints - the  pigment size is not comparable at all to an airbrushing paint.  I had some donated to our club and I could not in good conscious pass it on to anybody who was contemplating airbrushing - it looked to me to be the same consistency as house paint.  On the off chance that the stuff I examined was atypical when some time later a couple of jars were offered at another club's meeting I took a jar to check it out and my opinion did not change.  I have over a dozen air brushes with small to large needles/tips and I wouldn't even try to use any of this stuff through any of my brushes.  In fairness to Model Expo this is the only Model Shipway's labeled product I don't fully recommend. 

 

Do a search here on airbrushing - there are some very detailed posts by experienced users on using the right paints.

 

Kurt

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I don't brush paint except on very rare occasions and didn't try them with a brush, but I would not personally use them with a brush due to the rather coarse pigment that in my opinion would produce a rather coarse and heavy coat of paint.  Thinning doesn't affect the pigment size of the paint so the coverage would look coarse (in my opinion).  I did dab some onto some scrap wood in the shop and decided they were not worth spending time on.

 

The old Floquil (solvent based) and the current Badger Modelflex Acrylic paints have a pigment that is very finely ground to about 1 micron.  Other hobby paints are probably close but I have personal knowledge of the Floquil and Badger paints.  Typical house paint has a pigment size of 17-19 microns - they all advertise "covers in one coat!".

 

I find the MS paint unacceptable but that doesn't mean that other won't say they are the best thing since sliced bread. 

 

Kurt

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Thanks Kurt.  I have some old Floquil and I do like how they apply with just a regular brush.  They are going to run out soon and I will need to try some other brand.  Never used an airbrush before as I alway thought those things were for painting motorcycle gas tanks and flames on hot rods :D...  You know to make em go faster.....

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I have used the MS paints with a brush. Kurt's correct. The pigment is too coarse and obliterates any fine detail.  I found it also has to be diluted with water to flow properly.  I used the artist's technique - put a small dab of the paint on a piece of card stock, dip the brush in water, then into the dab of paint and swirl it around a bit on the card stock, do this repeatedly till it thins to a consistence you want, then pick up paint on the brush directly from the card stock and apply to the model. 

 

I agree with others - Vallejo is a good replacement for Floquil

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Thanks for all the great advice.  I have a long way to go before I get proficient with air brushing. I found a Canadian supplier that sells the Vallejo line.  They are reasonably priced and shipping isn't too bad.  I'll try the paint and see if I can achieve the desired results.  I have two airbrushes.  One is by Campbell Hausfeld which has the paint bucket under the brush.  The other is a decent no name product that has a cup on top of the brush.  The no name has two tip sizes.  I think it's just going to be a matter of trial and error until I get the results I want.

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I recently tried a new brand, Mission Models Paint.  I was very impressed with the performance using an air brush (Iwata CP-CS). 

 

In the past I have used floquil, tamiya, and model master with good results using Paasche and Aztek airbrushes.  I tried the Model Expo paints and was not impressed at all.

 

The Mission Models paints are water-based acrylics, non-toxic and odorless. The paints contain high-quality organic pigments with no additives. This results in infinite shelf life as there is no possibility of hardening or separation of pigment and medium in the bottle. The paint bottles (1oz) are sealed and include mixing ball which helps to thoroughly mix the paint before use. The paint is airbrush ready from the bottle, but it could also be thinned with MMP thinner (about 20-30%). 

 

Since they are new, they are still bringing colors to the marketplace, so they may not have every color you want at this time.

 

Do an internet search on "mission models paint review" and you can see what others think of this paint.

 

I have no affiliation with MMP, just a happy user wanting to spread the word so other can consider utilizing their product.

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  • 7 months later...

Like Cliff above, I've been using a Paasche double-action airbrush I bought in the 'seventies and it's still going strong. I also lament the loss of the Floquill paints to what seems to me to be rather misguided and exaggerated environmental concerns. (No need to drift into an argument over VOC content, air quality, and climate change here. It's a matter of scale.)  I've had good results thinning some artists' acrylics with denatured alcohol. I just don't see how thinning with water makes much sense unless one is painting watercolors on paper. When the surface isn't absorbent, the water sits there too long, takes too long to dry, and tends to run excessively. Oil-based coatings, on the other hand, "stick" better because the solvent (alcohol with acrylics) dries very rapidly. I prefer the results with oil-based paints and so I've found using high quality artists' oils (in the toothpaste tubes) thinned with linseed oil and turpentine and with a touch of Japan dryer to be an excellent replacement for Floquill.  Artists' oils are also a whole lot less costly, ounce for ounce when applied, than the "bottled" stuff. They are charging an awfully lot for a little bit of pigment and a whole lot of thinner which is going to dry quickly and become useless once the bottle is opened.

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I've been too lazy to read all the replies. For me, I use a badger double-action airbrush and compressor and model master acrylics. I thin with water or acrylic thinner, but generally adjust the size of the needle to get the spray I want. I find this is easier.

Each time I use it, I blow a full bottle of water through it to clean it. Then I check to see if it needs additional cleaning.

I go for very thin coats, repeated multiple times. 

I like the Badger because it is easy to disassemble, clean and get spraying. I'd tried a Model Master airbrush and the thing locked up within 15 minutes, never to be used again.

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