Airbrushing Tips and Guides

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DerAdlerIstGelandet

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So I have not built a model in about 20 years, but I decided to return to the hobby. I was still a beginner air brusher when I stopped building models, so i'm sill a beginner now… :D

I just bought a new airbrush set, nothing crazy, but it had great reviews, and people shared pics of their models in the reviews. So I figured it would be a good beginner set to learn on. It came with a compressor, two gravity feed airbrushes, and one siphon feed airbrush. It also came with several different needles, bottles, and cleaning stuff.

My questions:

  1. What is best for an airbrush noob to practice learn on? Gravity or siphon?
  2. Any tips for ways to practice and learn?
  3. What is the correct consistency of the paint?
  4. The guide I have says 20-30 psi? Should you be on the lower or higher end.

I'm going to start off with my kids Titanic model, so at least it won't require crazy camo.

After that I plan on doing the Bismarck and the Hood, followed by a few military helicopters. Once I have the helicopters down I want to get back into WW2 aircraft again.

Its going to be a long but fun journey.
 
Its a minefield Chris and the best thing I would recommend is to watch some of the videos and start playing with bits of plastic or even card just so you can get the feel and see the results of what your doing. As for paint ratios, I have to confess to being a lazy sod and now have a range of acrylic paints suited only to airbrush use. As for the pressure, again this would depend on the nature of the spray your doing, be it close in or just general. I will leave that for others to chat about as many are far more expert than I. Just as a matter of interest, I use gravity fed sprays and always ensure that the moisture is removed from my compressor before and while spraying, mine has a little water reservoir with a press release valve just before the air feed pipe. :D
 
You'll probably find that a gravity-fed 'brush is easier Chris. Syphon types tend to be for larger areas, such as R/C models, with a relatively large paint bottle underneath, which can be awkward to handle for smaller scales.
For practice, start with kids water colour paints, the liquid type in medium sized bottles, which are fairly cheap and last some time. Spray onto paper or card. This will allow you to get the hang of the trigger controls and various pressures, and I'd suggest starting at around 15 psi, and then slowly increasing pressure to see the effects.
Mix the paint with water, so that it flows down the mixing jar/cup with the consistency of milk - you'll need to experiment to get the desired consistency.
Once happy with the practice sessions, move onto your preferred paint type.
I use enamels, so can't advise much on the various acrylic mix ratios, not having used them much.
But for enamels, the mix ratio is normally around 50/50 paint/thinner, with more thinner for a lighter coat. Again, some experimenting is needed.
An average pressure would be around 15 to 18 psi, and down to maybe 12 for very delicate jobs such as mottles. Again, the paint should flow down the side of the mixing jar like milk.
As has been mentioned, there's a lot more to this than can easily be explained, but it is NOT as difficult as it sounds. the key is practice and experimenting, an you'll soon get the hang of it.
The first time I used an airbrush was back in the late 1970's, and the pic below shows the (rather ambitious) attempt on the second model I painted, a 1/32nd scale FW190 which, considering the relatively short practice time, wasn't too bad. Paints were Humbrol enamels.


2011-04-11_29.JPG
 
Its a minefield Chris and the best thing I would recommend is to watch some of the videos and start playing with bits of plastic or even card just so you can get the feel and see the results of what your doing. As for paint ratios, I have to confess to being a lazy sod and now have a range of acrylic paints suited only to airbrush use. As for the pressure, again this would depend on the nature of the spray your doing, be it close in or just general. I will leave that for others to chat about as many are far more expert than I. Just as a matter of interest, I use gravity fed sprays and always ensure that the moisture is removed from my compressor before and while spraying, mine has a little water reservoir with a press release valve just before the air feed pipe. :D

Thanks for the tips. I planned on spraying on cardboard first. Trying dots, lines, and connect the dots.

Yes, this compressor has a moisture reservoir as well. Good to know to do that though.
 
You'll probably find that a gravity-fed 'brush is easier Chris. Syphon types tend to be for larger areas, such as R/C models, with a relatively large paint bottle underneath, which can be awkward to handle for smaller scales.
For practice, start with kids water colour paints, the liquid type in medium sized bottles, which are fairly cheap and last some time. Spray onto paper or card. This will allow you to get the hang of the trigger controls and various pressures, and I'd suggest starting at around 15 psi, and then slowly increasing pressure to see the effects.
Mix the paint with water, so that it flows down the mixing jar/cup with the consistency of milk - you'll need to experiment to get the desired consistency.
Once happy with the practice sessions, move onto your preferred paint type.
I use enamels, so can't advise much on the various acrylic mix ratios, not having used them much.
But for enamels, the mix ratio is normally around 50/50 paint/thinner, with more thinner for a lighter coat. Again, some experimenting is needed.
An average pressure would be around 15 to 18 psi, and down to maybe 12 for very delicate jobs such as mottles. Again, the paint should flow down the side of the mixing jar like milk.
As has been mentioned, there's a lot more to this than can easily be explained, but it is NOT as difficult as it sounds. the key is practice and experimenting, an you'll soon get the hang of it.
The first time I used an airbrush was back in the late 1970's, and the pic below shows the (rather ambitious) attempt on the second model I painted, a 1/32nd scale FW190 which, considering the relatively short practice time, wasn't too bad. Paints were Humbrol enamels.


View attachment 736208

I think it looks amazing.

Thanks for the tips,
 
You'll probably find that a gravity-fed 'brush is easier Chris. Syphon types tend to be for larger areas, such as R/C models, with a relatively large paint bottle underneath, which can be awkward to handle for smaller scales.
For practice, start with kids water colour paints, the liquid type in medium sized bottles, which are fairly cheap and last some time. Spray onto paper or card. This will allow you to get the hang of the trigger controls and various pressures, and I'd suggest starting at around 15 psi, and then slowly increasing pressure to see the effects.
Mix the paint with water, so that it flows down the mixing jar/cup with the consistency of milk - you'll need to experiment to get the desired consistency.
Once happy with the practice sessions, move onto your preferred paint type.
I use enamels, so can't advise much on the various acrylic mix ratios, not having used them much.
But for enamels, the mix ratio is normally around 50/50 paint/thinner, with more thinner for a lighter coat. Again, some experimenting is needed.
An average pressure would be around 15 to 18 psi, and down to maybe 12 for very delicate jobs such as mottles. Again, the paint should flow down the side of the mixing jar like milk.
As has been mentioned, there's a lot more to this than can easily be explained, but it is NOT as difficult as it sounds. the key is practice and experimenting, an you'll soon get the hang of it.
The first time I used an airbrush was back in the late 1970's, and the pic below shows the (rather ambitious) attempt on the second model I painted, a 1/32nd scale FW190 which, considering the relatively short practice time, wasn't too bad. Paints were Humbrol enamels.


View attachment 736208
That is the bizz. Glanzed over it, thought it was a period colour for a second.
 
Much has been said already Chris. Through practice with different paint ratios and pressures you'll soon come to understand what's right for you and your brush. Practicing on cardboard is fine as long as you understand that it is an absobant material that will not react to your techniques the same way as painting on hard plastic.
 
I've been airbrushing for almost 50 years. The advice given is good. The hardest part is cleaning the darn thing. I would also advise buying a good one, either Badger or Pasche for example. Badger is still made in Chicago, and with a lifetime warranty. I can attest to that. I sent back a 40 year old finelline XF 150 and they rebuilt it completely for the price of shipping. Badgers have teflon seals and are not affected by any paint solvents. Chinese guns, while half the price, have o-rings that are dissolved in acetone or lacquer thinner. Useless. I bought a set of these for general use and didn't get a month out of them before they copletely failed. When acrylic paints dries in the fine channels, the only way to get it out is with aggressive solvent. You need a gun that won't dissolve in it. If you can't clean it, it won't last very long.

If you're serious, buy a compressor with an air reservoir, regulator with gauge and water separator. I used a Badger diaphram compressor for years. While rugged and trustworthy, it lacked those features and pulsed a lot when running which was sub-optimal. I sprayed at what ever pressure it produced naturally. I upgraded five years ago and very happy that I did.
 
After practicing a lil on cardboard I started airbrushing the hull of the Titanic model yesterday. Turned out pretty decent. Just a few small spots I need to sand down a lil and repaint.

I'm glad I started with something basic like a ship that does not require curves like camouflage of an airplane.

I did by some premixed watercolors to practice with too before I move onto camo.
 
After practicing a lil on cardboard I started airbrushing the hull of the Titanic model yesterday. Turned out pretty decent. Just a few small spots I need to sand down a lil and repaint.

I'm glad I started with something basic like a ship that does not require curves like camouflage of an airplane.

I did by some premixed watercolors to practice with too before I move onto camo.
pictures, we demand pictures ! :lol:
 
Disclaimer** I am not, nor claim to be, an expert, or even close to one when it comes to airbrushing. However I have progressed, over the past couple of years to feel that I have achieved a level that is 'passable'.

So, having said all that, my journey to date has had me purchasing various recommended dual action brushes. Both expensive and inexpensive. A couple. for me, are really easy airbrushes to use. My main go-to airbrush for coloring major areas and applying sealer coats is the Iwata HP-M2. It is not a dual action but an airbrush that allows the needle to be adjusted to control the amount pf paint sprayed (replacing the trigger control of a dual action where air pressure and paint flow needs to be controlled with the one trigger). My second go-to is a Creos PS-289; a true dual action but with air flow control (air pressure)and a functional dial in needle travel nut (adjusts how far the needle retracts and thus the amount of paint flow). Again, as others have said, it will be a personal decision but if not careful an expensive one to zero in on the 'perfect'. But ALL will produce exceptable coatings. Just what kind of control will you eventually want to have??

As for practice I would go to someplace like Hobby Lobby and buy some of their discounted small scale models, These will eventually, as with me, become your 'paint mules' for practice. A bit of IPO and some rubbing and you have a clean canvas. No need to assemble the small bits, you just need the surface areas.

My paint choice, and there are many on his site who have their own, is Vallejo Model Air. My main reason is that these paints are water based and easy clean up. Sometimes though Vallejo just does not have a proper color and you will have to move to Mr Color or Tamiya, both solvent based.

But the bottom line,,,, spray away and don't worry about 'perfect'. Each new build will be better than the last, trust me.
 
Well I something went wrong. Yes I will post pictures, but I went to paint the black part of the hull today, and where it meets the white part it bubbled up and the white paint flaked. Not sure why?
 

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