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23089 Views 64 Replies 24 Participants Last post by  Richard Johnson
I don't know if this is a topic we have discussed before however it seems like a good idea to bring any thoughts, hints and tips on the subject together in one thread.

Several thin coats are much better than one or two thick coats and a priming coat is always a good idea no matter which material is being painted.

It is a good idea to obtain a large card box and create a spray room within it with a turntable upon which you can place the subject. This keeps the paint within a contained area and being able to turn the model rather than you having to work your way around a static model makes airbrushing more manageable.

Why don't a few of you give it a go on an old loco body that is a bit tired?

You may be able to create that loco that you have always wanted but which the manufacturers always seem to overlook!

And of course airbrushing works well for scenic backdrops, buildings and other model railway subjects. You can practice on a cheap Dapol kit before progressing to something more expensive.

Happy modelling
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Now we have this thread i will do some photo step by step articles when i get a chance.

one of my biggest pieces of advice is that you dont need an expensive compressor. you gan get a very cheap diaphram compressor and use a decent hose. the large bore of the hose acts like a small resevoir.

and an for moisture filters!! all compressors will start producing moisture but only after about 20 minutes of continuous running. how long does it take to spray a coach side!!

For the airbrush itsself i have 2. my first brush was a cheap one for about £25. it was a double action internal mix aribrush and it was total crap. the paint actually formed a scale on the needle and after about 5 minutes it was totally unusable. you had to strip it down, clean it and rebuild it!
after that fiasco i was so fed up i decided to splash out and i got a badger 155 anthem. it was fantastic. evrything is finger tight. it has a self centering nozzle and a cutaway handle to make the needle easy to remove.
i will take pictures after work and post them tomorrow morning.
it is a pleasure to use and gives excellent results. it was about £100. Buy the best you can afford. it does make a difference.

My last thing (for now!!) is to turn cleaning into a small religion.

This thread is very exciting. (at least i think so!!)
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This is one of my latest projects. the coach was built then the whole thing sprayed with a white undercoat.

then the post office red then sprayed in gloss varnish.

Then the transfers were put on and its waiting for the numbering.

I have 4 of these but its the only picture i have with me!

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I never weather my rolling stock. i dont build a mini real world, i build a mini utopia!
But it shouldnt be too difficult. but really you barely need an airbrush to do it. too many people fall into this trap. particularly with steam loco's chalks and pastels are far more convincing.
Spray a light coat off satin varnish and then drybrush chalks into the apropriate places.
The most important thing when weathering is to have plenty of pictures when you are doing it. i am yet to see a factory weathered loco that looks anything like real weathering. most of the time they just blast it with an airbrush and it looks dreadfull.

I took some pictures last night.

My airbrush equipment. compressor hose and airbrush.

The airbrush itself. a badger 155 anthem. although it dosent get recommended for modeling work (i believe on account of its slightly higher price) it is a very good airbrush.

Note the cutaway handle for easy needle removal. especially important as the paints we use are far thicker and stickey than the inks that airbrushes are designed for.

It has a double tapered needle (the guts are shared with the badger 360) that enables a huge range of line widths. ideal for us as it means that we can do anything from very fine 4mm grafiti to large scenery work. note also the self centering nozzle. there is no screw thread on the nozzle. it is simply held inplace by the airbrush head. i really love this feature as it means there are no stripped threads like on the 150 and the 200. there is no wrench evrything is finger tight. a wonderfull invention.

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Compressor £60
Hose £20
Airbrush £120
all the other odds and ends you need like some jars and pipettes and various thinners (fast medium and slow) come to about £40

total about £240 (it sounds like alot when you say it like that!)

I never mind spending money on tools. I figure that I have 50 years of modelling ahead of me so I would rather get the decent ones to start with and use them for my whole life.

first of all the mst important item is the brush itself. Single action airbrushes in my opinion are a waste of time. they are ok for covering large areas but you have no control over the spray. if you are doing scenic work then thats fine you can just blast it. dut forget doing detail work. it just cant handle it. single action airbrushes are basically on/of.

So you need a double action. che cheapest double action (apart fromt he piece of junk i started with) is the badger 150 at around £50-60. give squires a call.

the only method of air supply i recommend is the compressor. the tyre conversions cannot handle the higher pressures required, so forget them.
then theres the cans you buy at hobby stores. they are ok for very short periods of spraying because they get very cold very quickly. this dosent sound major but pint works best when its slightly warm (i leave mine on the back of the telly for 10 minutes before using it) and having a very cold supply ruins that. also bear in mind how much you are going to be doing. i use my set up alot but you ight not so a can for £5 that lasts 10 minutes might keep you going for a year. but the costs add up.

there are 2 types of compressor. the diaphram type (that i use) and the piston type. diaphram compressors dont tend to come with a resevoir but they are very small and cheap (i picked up mine for about £60.

Piston compressors are the type you see at car garages. they usually have a resevoir so you can run a nail gun or drill from them. they are larger and slightly more expensive (around £100 from machine mart) they can be noisy and you need to check this before you buy it.

hoses depend on the type of compressor you buy. all compressors produce air in pulses but the resevoir absorbes this. just like the silencer on your car does. if you are going to be running nailguns and drills from your compressor then you need a resevoir because the piston or diaphram cant compress the air fast enough to keep up with demand from the tool. but an airbrush only uses about 0.6 cubic feet of air per minute. so in theory you cont need a resevoir. BUT you do need to get rid of that pulsing action. you want to spray your paint not blast it!

You can either use a seperate air resevoir or a larger hose. i use a larger hose. its braided and about 15 ft long and about 8mm in diameter. the hose itself acts like a small resevoir. it dosent store enough air to be usefull but it does get rid of that pulsing.
mine was about £20
but if you buy a more expensive compressor with a resevoir you can use the crappy nylon hose that comes with most sets. its swings and roundabouts.

Paint. i always use phoenix precision paints. i do have question marks about a couple of their colours but mostly they are very good. they are a very technical paint in that if you dont do it right then the results look crap.
its about £1.95 for a 14ml tinlet or about £4.95 for a larger tin. i always buy the larger tins but its up to you. its available in bigger tins but unless you are modelling in 1:1 then you wont use it.

If you are going to put transfers over the top then you need gloss varnish to go on before the transfers and satin (or matt if you are that way inclined!)to go on afterwards. to spray varnish you need to use a much slower drying thinner. this is difficult to explain but you need the varnish to be a wet sheet on the model in order to get a good finish. when you try this you will understand what i mean. practice on a very old model you dont want frst.
To spray paint you need a quick drying thinner so the paint dosent run. this is especially important on 3 dimensional surfaces - such as models!
again i get my thinners from phoenix. about £5 a can.

there are a couple of other people producing paints like railmatch. railmatch used to do enamals but recently they have turned to acrylics and i dont have much sucess in spraying them so i will leave that for someone else.

Transfers-or decals, yes fox are the biggest firm. they are the only ones i have use but i am making a few coaches at the moment that will need transfers from HMRS. a few other firms do them too. my royal train is lined with transfers from hurst models.

there are some costs you just cant get aroung like spending at least £50 on the brush and whichever way you do it around £80 on the compressor/hose.

You will need a few tins of paint and thinners. about £20 and pipesses and cleaners and other bits and bobs. about another tenner if you are carefull.

Look out for deals. at a decent show there are usually a couple of good deals. tools 2000 usually have a good deal. but the vivaz airbrushes they sell was the first one i had and i have already made my feelings on that clear.
you can walk into most hobby shops and get spares for a badger (even my 155 that is one of the rarer brushes)

Spray booth. i use a box on its side and it works ok for me.

i think if you are carefull you can get a good set up for about £150.

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Sorry Ryan i didnt see your question. yes an airbrush is ideal. lay the track first and do the whole lot in 1 go. it dosent take long. you can do a whole layout in an hour or 2

or mask it with a piece of corogated cardboard wedged in the point.

Try spraying a very thin layer of satin varnish with an aerosol can and then using a very soft makeup brush with some pastels. its possible to get just as good a finish as with the airbrush especially when used in conjnction with some varnish. but i rarely see glossy weathering. i have some boxcars that were weathered in this fasion. now if only i could find them. i will have another look tonight.

For oil stains and leaks i agree use paint. although once again ground up black pastel mixed in with a bit of gloss varnish looks very good.

The WD looks great but i'm not convinced buy the 37. sorry. but then as i said i like all my stock spotless. so mabye i am biased.

i totally agree with evrything you said except the aztec. i tried one (admitidly about 4 years ago) and it just felt like a plastic toy. i know they do a metal handle one but i not keen. i thought they were a bit of a gimmick.

Also the plastic parts? are they suceptable to the solvents that we use in our hobby. remember they were designed for graphic designers not model makers.

"For masking best to use selotape. Standard masking tape is too thick and leaves an edge. Take the "stick" off the tape by taping it to and pulling it off cotton material a few times." noooooooooooooo the last thing you want near a paint job is bits of fluff!!!

I have little doubt it will be good to start with but i wonder what it will be like in a year or 2.

papa. i think we are going to have to disagree on the weathering issue and the aztec brushes.
I did take a picture of my big boy that was weathered withought an airbrush but sadly i forgot to review the picture and when i got to work and viewed it it was far too dark.

"You may not be convinced by the 37, I'm not sure what that means" i didnt think it looked realistic. it was better than the factory weaathering that hornby and bachmann do. but your WD was very good.

The interchangable nozzels are a gimmick. admitidly they should be much easier to clean but if a needle and nozzle are well enough designed then there should be no need for the small/medium/large nozzle. a double or tripple taper will do the job just as well.

I use the tamiya tape too. it comes in a nice dispenser thats totalle rubbish but it does keep it clean which is half the trick with masking tape.
I have been hearing good things about eurostar masking tape. but i havent used it personally yet.

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out of interest what thinner/pressure/distance do you use for spraying acrylic?
i had a go with acrylics about a year ago but i wasnt happy with the results. but i know it was my technique rather than the paint. it either wasnt going on thick enough to cover or it was running all over the place! i love the idea of cleaning with windowlene! i once put myself in moorfields eye hospital by blowing cellulose paint thinner into my face using an airbrush.

I tried one of those. its identical to the vivaz i spoke of earlier in this thread.
I think it would be great for inks and very thin acrylics but for enamals it just didnt work. its far too fine and it clogged at evry opportunity.
The compressor is fine for airbrush use. but get a better/longer hose for the reasons i stated at the beginning of this thread.

If anyone is in london and wants to compare a decent airbrush with a bad one i would e happy to let them have a go.

It went back after about a week.

"Hmm, i found them ok, aslong as you use proper air brush paint. You can use enamel paint, aslong as you thin it with white spirit first, its fine."

For the majority of railway colours you cant get "propper airbrush paint".
White spirit is a very poor reducer for airbrushing. its just too slow. you will end up doing about 10 coats. its much better to use a faster thinner and do it in 2 or 3 coats.

I hab problems with the vivaz clogging when i used both phoenix and tamya paints (the tamya acrylic was thinned with their own brand of thinner specially for the purpous and the phoenix was thinned with their own brand QAD)

Once again there is an open invitation for anyone who fancies having a go.

in a shameless plug you might try the airbrushing tutorial that is linked in the bottom of all my posts. it should answer some of your questions.

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