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Ahoy Mates :D

 

With all the interest I see here on MSW about airbrushing I thought it would be helpful to have a thread that allows those with more experience to share what they know with those who are just starting out in. 

 

If there are enough responses I will request the thread get pinned  

 

Please free free to post what ever you like, questions, answers, practicums, links to your videos or other logs here on MSW that you think might be helpful to others 

Edited by JPett
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Ahoy Mates :D

 

PRIMING 101 PE and Resin

 

Any of us that have experience airbrushing resign or PE know the importance of a good primer.

 

After much experimenting and many disasters I use exclusively Mr Hobby Resign primer and Mr Hobby Leveling thinner. Either one could be the poster child for dangerous chemicals used in the hobby industry so a proper paint booth and mask are requirements. This combination does adhere to resins very well and not come off when using low tack tape. It also does not flake or ship off when sanded like many other primers. A coat of Johnson's however will make most primers easier to sand. The Mr Hobby can be wet sanded with Tamiya 1200 or 1500 and repainted with no problems  

 

Primers can be one of the hardest paints to apply with an airbrush. Many have a separate airbrush just for primers and flats. These paints dry very fast and will clog the tip of your airbrush in seconds. This is followed by splatter and an unhappy modeler. I use a Neo  Dual-Action Airbrush with 0.35 mm tip and Gravity Feed Cup for everything. 

 

First never thin primers in your airbrush cup when using gravity feed airbrushes. It is impossible to stop the paint from immediately filling the bottom of your cup regardless of how much thinner you have in it. This glob of primer will proceed to your nozzle as soon as you pull back on the stick with negative effects on your airbrushes performance regardless of how much you stir. Use a suitable container and mix yourself up a batch and then use that directly in your airbrush. If you prime everything as I do it will never go to waste.

 

Actually first should have been wash your parts. I use an old paint brush, Ajax dish-washing soap and cold water. Never use hot or even warm unless you want to reassemble them. Then I use air to dry them. Then they sit for a few hours. 

 

Thinning primers. I thin primers as much as 60/40 (sometime more). The 60 being thinner. The thinner you can paint with primer the better your kits will look. Mine is so thin it takes between 5 to 10 coats to cover. The good news is all the coats can be done in one sitting. Apply a light coat, apply some air; a properly applied coat will dry in about 10 seconds. Apply another coat and repeat until the part or kit is covered. My first coat is so thin I can only see it by the shimmer. Buy doing it this way you will have a super thin, super tough primer coat that does not hide the smallest detail.

 

As far as the spray pattern I only pull the lever back (Double action) about 25% and work close to my project for the small stuff. Larger areas I am further back but still only around 50% on the throttle. With this much thinner, pull back any more and you will only flood the surface and cause a run. It is important to find your happy place too and do this off your work. I spray into a paper towel and get the setting and then without changing a thing move to my project. I also never stop while the brush is aimed at the project. Spray away then stop. The distance where the paint is wet on the surface of your project, barley covering and not flooding is where you want to be. The good news is with this much thinner if you do flood or saturate an area just switch to air and disperse it. In most cases you will never see it after it dries.

 

Good luck and happy modeling 

 

Pic is of a PE assembly for Alliance Model Workshops SMS Vulkan 1:350 scale primed as described. It is a total of 5 parts CA'ed using Jet Super thin.

 

Edit: I removed the text regarding this primer and PE. Although it does work it is no better then the Tamiya which is also quite good 

post-108-0-01347100-1423437242_thumb.jpg

Edited by JPett
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JPett

Thanks for starting this thread JPett, I'm hopeful it will get a lot of tips and tricks.  I've tried air brushing a couple times with less than satisfactory results.  I don't know anyone around me that knows anything about it and would really like to learn.  Looking forward to some good tutorials.

Tom

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Ahoy Twintrow :D

 

If it helps the biggest problem I had when I started out was rushing. Airbrushing requires prep, patience and practice. Lots of practice, I shoot between 20 and 25 PSI, thin the crap out of everything and never rush. Learn to build up layers. The best advice I can give you is to go out and buy some cheap model kits and start painting. Once you get into the grove you will be amazed at how good some of these cheap kits can look with a good paint job. I am a PE addict and love resign kits that have a ton of it. The PE will really test your skill with the airbrush. Especially truss work where you need to paint the inside without over spaying the outside.    

 

If you use Acrylics buy that companies thinner. Guys have all kinds of home brews which do work but in the beginning it is best to eliminate everything so the focus is just on you developing the skill and finding your weaknesses.  I like the Tamiya paints but only if you thin them with lacquer thinner which i know is the opposite of what I just said. I am however past the learning stage and can play. Beginners should try a line staying only with that manufacturers recommended products. Buy only a few colors, some thinner and spray away.  

 

Another big mistake is let your stuff dry. Yes you want to build up layers but once that is done put it away. Some paints take 24 hours to cure. When you start mixing and matching you can cause a chemical reaction that can take a week to cure. I don't paint everything or one color all at once. I paint a few parts, work on something else and maybe paint that , then come back to the first thing I painted in a few days. This way I never fret about getting it all done: I know that chances are that color will be back in the cup in a few days so who cares if I missed a spot or need a touch up. Plus too much air time and I start making mistakes. . 

 

Biggest mistake. Learn to clean your airbrush and do it frequently. Get a cleaning kit. I can break down and completely clean my airbrush in under five minutes. I do mine at the first sign of trouble or when ever I change paint types. I have a little jar that all the parts go for a  swim in, less the body and needle. Then I take them out one at a time, clean them, line them up, and once thier all clean assemble the airbrush. 

Edited by JPett
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Somewhere down this road, you may want to get an ultrasonic cleaner. They can be had inexpensively and they have a dual use. One is cleaning your airbrush hardware (caked on paint, usually). The other is the Admiral's "bling". Cleans the stuff nicely. Just use the correct solvents for the jewelry.

 

For the airbrush parts, I use Windex (ammonia version). My old Badger 350 had gunk caked in the nozzle but a few runs in the cleaner took them off the nozzle. There are other solvents used for ultrasonic, but I've only used Windex.

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Ahoy Canute :D

 

I have read many comments about being very careful when using ammonia in my airbrush. I use Windex and cheap glass cleaners all the time as a quick rinse and have even found mixing some in with acrylics helps the paint to settle. I always dilute it though and never use it straight.  Word is prolonged use of ammonia products can damage the chrome plating on the internal parts of your airbrush. 

Edited by JPett
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I use a 50/50 mix of clear windex and demineralised water when painting with acrylics. Works well for me. I also store unused mixed up paint in labelled syringes which I stopper with a nail. I can suck as little as 1/2 ml of unused paint from an airbrush. Sometimes this is all I need for a small job. Waste not want not!!

Edited by hornet
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Some great stuff in here. I have an Iwata and absolutely love it. A great, great airbrush that works very effectively at creating Luftwaffe mottled camo to large areas. I have only used it on plastics - planes, tanks, and a ship. I wouldn't trade it for anything (well...). I use Testor's Model Master paints and thin them to the consistency of skim milk - and I use the generic paint thinner found at walmart. Never any any paint problems whatsoever.

 

As others have said, if I am doing fine detail work (the mottled camo, for example) I will dial down the pressure (will go as low as 10 psi or so) - but with that, you have to make the paint even thinner. Larger areas, I will go a higher psi and open the trigger (mine is a dual action airbrush) more. Practice, practice, practice.

 

After each use I disassemble and thoroughly clean it. I have had that airbrush for six or so years for now and have never had any problems - just had to replace the needle due to my clumsiness... And I have never used one of those ultrasonic cleaners, although I have always wanted to try one and the admiral said that was a no-go. So, small brushes and pipe cleaners it is!

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Thx Spiff

 

I will have to try your 10 pound suggestion as I am also big on lots of thinner. I am not a skim milk drinker so I tilt the paint in the cup and watch how it runs back down. For me it should immediately run back leaving only a slightly opaque film on the wall of the cup. When I mix up batches I use a glass jar and this same technique

 

I love my Neo

 

Perhaps you could do a post on how you do your mottled camo.

Edited by JPett
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At a hands on demo I was having problems with my Paache.  The demonstrator looked it over then eyeballed the needle and found that it had a slight bend.  He said I must have dropped it.  Be careful of the needle.  If you are having problems eyeball it.  As a result when I needed a new air brush I found a Badger 360 for a decent price and picked up some extra needles to be on the safe side.  I was also told to use the correct needle/nozzle for the application.  Plus keep a container of cleaner near by and spray it every now and then to prevent clogging.

David B

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Thx Spiff

 

I will have to try your 10 pound suggestion as I am also big on lots of thinner. I am not a skim milk drinker so I tilt the paint in the cup and watch how it runs back down. For me it should immediately run back leaving only a slightly opaque film on the wall of the cup. When I mix up batches I use a glass jar and this same technique

 

I love my Neo

 

Perhaps you could do a post on how you do your mottled camo.

You are welcome.

 

I really dial it down when doing fine work. Skim milk is almost water-like, just a touch thicker. Its been a while since I have used mine, but its like riding a bike. It will take some practice to get the right consistency (whatever brand/type you use) and once you have done it a while, you just mix it until it looks right. Honestly, I never have gone by a specific percentage ratio mix - I just eyeball it.

 

A good thing to remember is to have a piece of card stock (box lid, whatever) or whatever to shoot that first bit - in other words, don't first open the nozzle when pointed at the model as it is likely to spit a little. Use the test target to get that first bit to avoid any splatters...ask me how I know. :D This is especially true when very fine work.

 

You keep the paint/thinner mix in a jar? Interesting. Have always heard for the best finishes to not do that. I just mix enough to do the job and go from there.

 

The mottled camo can be fun but also tough and about as fun as pulling teeth. Some people will go to the trouble of making a mask and holding it a bit above the surface of the model in order to give a soft edge (not masked), but I prefer to do mine freehand. As I said earlier, I thin the paint to almost water (maybe even a 50/50 or even higher thinner ratio) and use around 10 psi. This is where it helps to do the first shot on something else to avoid splatters.

 

Check out this FW190D-13. I can't claim this model as it isn't mine (taken from the net), but you get the idea of what I am talking about. I did one similar but it unfortunately didn't survive one of the moves. I have another at home that only has a little bit of mottling, and will try to take pics of it and post. If you look along the sides and rudder/tailplane, then you will see this free-hand type of painting. This type of painting involves low pressure, low paint/high thinner ratios, and a very steady hand. I always like to first practice on a piece of card stock to get used to what I am doing and also to practice the design - because, as you can see, there isn't any really rhyme or reason to the pattern. I always try to replicate how the original was painted...

 

post-4096-0-45233800-1423593152_thumb.jpg

Edited by Spaceman Spiff
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g'day all, this is a great and very much appreciated thread. my question - i live in australia and am currently building the trumpeter 1:200 bismark with the mk1 design full upgrade kit. lots of p.e. so an airbrush is a must for me; but which one? there seem to be so many on the market its just mind boggling and then to add a compressor well the combinations are endless and the price range huge. so can someone tell me what a good gun and compressor for me to purchase here in australia please? i have never used and airbrush but am extremely experienced in industrial commercial spray painting i.e.. airless and hvlp. i really just want advice on a good specific model of both gun and compressor.

 

cheers chris

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Hi Vossy

 

I bought a Sparmax AC 500sr (see link below) about 12 months ago and I am very happy with it. It is very portable, has a tank which means the compressor doesn't  cut in very often - and even when it does it is very quiet. I teamed it up with a sparmax DH 103 dual action airbrush (about $100). I also bought a mini spray booth from ebay for around $100. I posted some pics of the spraybooth setup on another thread a while ago. Check it out if you are interested. Airbrushing is fun once you get the hang of it and you get some very smooth/even results that look great! Best of luck with your search.

 

 

https://www.frontlinehobbies.com.au/products/SPTC610H

 

http://modelshipworld.com/index.php/topic/7362-airbrush-recommendation-for-newbie-sprayer/

Edited by hornet
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Here is a great video on airbrushing by the owner of Badger Airbrushes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tsW-vN0_lHw&list=PLCBpnrOqQtw0q8e3ET10-hp_Vd9suOzri&index=13

While he of course recomends his produces, he also does not do so exclusively, nor is he afraid to tell when you should by another brand. Lots of useful beginer, and advanced stuff. The War Gamer Consortium site has a lot of great airbrushing info.

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g'day all, this is a great and very much appreciated thread. my question - i live in australia and am currently building the trumpeter 1:200 bismark with the mk1 design full upgrade kit. lots of p.e. so an airbrush is a must for me; but which one? there seem to be so many on the market its just mind boggling and then to add a compressor well the combinations are endless and the price range huge. so can someone tell me what a good gun and compressor for me to purchase here in australia please? i have never used and airbrush but am extremely experienced in industrial commercial spray painting i.e.. airless and hvlp. i really just want advice on a good specific model of both gun and compressor.

 

cheers chris

Be sure to post some pics! As far as airbrushes go, there is a wide-range of makes and models, from single action to double action. From what I have seen, Badger and Iwata are some of the best. But of course, you get what you pay for.

 

My personal setup is an Iwata HP BCR dual-action airbrush (dual action airbrushes make it much easier to do fine painting and detail work) and a Craftsman compressor. If you go the compressor route, get one that has an adjustable regulator that allows you use different pressures (this is very important for detail work).

 

Practice, practice, practice!

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Good thread, very helpful.

I started learning how to airbrush when I began my build about a year ago.  I only use it occasionally. For instance, I just used it to paint one pintle and one gudgeon that needed to be black. It is a lot of effort to get ready for just the two pieces but with the air brush I can see the heads of the nails on the pintles.  Very nice.  

 

My process is to run a load of cleaner (brand compatible) through the cup after every use.  Running about 1/4 of the feed cup I repeat four or five times.  Maybe overkill, but I will do almost anything to avoid taking it apart.

 

My set up is an inexpensive one, a compressor made for beauticians and two inexpensive, double action airbrushes. One supposedly similar to the Iwata.  They seem to work pretty well and serve their purpose now but if I continue to use it I can see an upgrade of both the compressor and airbrushes in my future.

 

I use acrylic, Badger Model Flex Marine Colors.   They also seem to work pretty well and the colors are labeled in marine nomenclature which is kind of nice, i.e., hull black, wrought Iron black, etc.

 

J Pett,

Hmmm... five minutes to break down and reassemble?  Well, I can break it down, clean it a rebuild the gun in just under three hours... yes, three hours.  All those teeny parts.  The most trouble is with the little feed gizmo that hooks to the trigger and its spring.  It can real frustrating. After the last time I reassembled it my trigger became sluggish. It lacks the smooth, responsive feel it had.  The next time I take it apart to clean I will see what I might have screwed up.

 

I think my real challenge will be when I start to use it to varnish.  Since I work inside, I found it much easier to stick with acrylic.  It dries while still in the air and I can easily vacuum any paint "dust". I'll have to figure out a collection / venting system without having windows that have standard frames for opening.

 

Richard

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Richard, if you are going to use an oil based varnish you might want to consider getting yourself a cheap single action airbrush to apply it. I bought a very cheap one for $17 an I apply a 50/50 mix of satin polyurethane and low odour turpentine. I find the cheap single action is fine for this job and it is easier to clean out an oil based product from it than it is from my more expensive double action sparmax DH103.

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I have a Badger Patriot (double-action, gravity feed) that I love. One thing that I do with it is after painting and cleaning out the paint cup is fill the paint cup with water and shoot the clean water into the sink, and I put my finger carefully (not to bend the needle) over the tip to cover it. This reverses the action of the air from suction to pressure, and it blows any paint remaining in the needle mechanism back into the cup. I alternate finger on, finger off, finger on...... several times until clean water stays clean in the cup. Oh, yeah..... if you have a gravity feed airbrush this may spit paint out of the cup so cover it up until you know how it reacts!

 

This works with siphon feed airbrushes too and you will see bubbles come up from the siphon tube when you put your finger over the tip.

 

Anything I can do to avoid disassembling that thing I will do :-)

Edited by HSM
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I mainly spray enamels with my Iwata but have used acrylics. I prefer to run 91% alcohol through my airbrush as this is great at getting acrylic out - especially the stubborn stuff. I have also heard that Windex works great, too.  Now, enamels are a whole different beast. I run lacquer thinner through it when I am cleaning the airbrush.

 

My Iwata only has a few parts so it takes like five minutes to disassemble, clean thoroughly, and reassemble. Pipe cleaners work great. It is also a good idea to use some oil made specifically for airbrushes on some of the parts. I know what some of you are thinking - won't that get into the paint the next time you use it? Maybe, but before I start painting I will always spray paint thinner through it just in case. Never had a problem.

 

Never have sprayed oils, but I awlays use Humbrol's Satin Cote - which is a solvent-based varnish and thin it with lacquer thinner. Never a problem. It is my go-to for final coat on my models (never have built a wooden one).

 

Now, for traditional varnishes - I have never tried it but know someone who sprays them using lacquer thinner and who says he never has a problem with it in his airbrush. I have never seen it used so I can't comment. Take it for what it's worth.

Edited by Spaceman Spiff
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Ahoy HSM  :D

 

It should be noted that when you cover your needle and backwash your airbrush you should never follow this up by spraying. It should always be the last step before you dump your cup or empty the jar so you don't contaminate your airbrush.

 

 

This is a great link for anyone interested in cleaning their airbrush (Any Brand) 

 

http://www.iwata-medea.com/support/faqs/faqs-airbrush-maintenance-and-cleaning/

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  • 2 weeks later...

Ahoy Mates :D

 

In my never-ending quest to improve my airbrushing techniques and models  I have found this video

 

It is not an airbrushing video although he does use airbrushing paints. Most noticeably Vallejo's new Metal Model Air colors which may be of interest to many here. What he achieves is impressive. The author has also turned me onto a new hobby.

 

Airbrushing plastic utensils.  They are cheap and provide an excellent surface in which to develop painting skills, new techniques or possible color combinations before applying them to your models. I am developing a collection of spoons that are weathered, have panel lines and rivets, depth to color, fades, and even look like their made from everything from leather to metal. I plan to paint a spoon, knife or fork (forks are good practice for covering multi layers objects) before I paint anything on my kits. It only takes a few minutes and confirms my mix, pressure, airbrush and warm up the operator before the main task. 

 

Edited by JPett
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For anyone that is using acrylics, Vallejo makes a really good primer available in white, black and grey.  It goes on smooth and provides a nice texture for the paint to stick to.  I utilize it on all my miniatures and plastic models.  I use Vallejo and Badger Minitair paints exclusively.  The nice thing is they are great in airbrushes and when I break out my brushes.

 

The Valejo liquid metals that JPett mentions above work fine on this primer too.

 

From my mini painting hobby, those liquid metals are the bee's knees.  Great coverage, and the metal flakes are very fine and produce a superior finish.  Note: You MUST thin with rubbing alcohol.  Adding any water based thinner to these will create a big mess.  But the finish of these makes the extra work worth it.  Also you can use them on acrylic surfaces without damaging the underlying paint.

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Richard, I use about the same air pressure for the polyurethane/turps mix as I do for the acrylic (20 - 25 psi). Both are very 'watery' so apply similarly. I think it is just a matter of experimentation on a scrap piece of timber or something similar until you are happy with the way the poly mix is going on. I have just used a can of spray poly in the past but I have found that the dilution method using poly/turps in a single action airbrush gave a better result because the volume at which the mix is delivered is less. You just need to apply more coats. I think they dry more quickly too. In fact I have since bought a better quality badger single action airbrush to replace my super cheapie. Haven't used it yet but will soon be experimenting

Edited by hornet
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