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23096 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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Xmas surprised me with these beauties and at a reasonable price too....

Visit My Website

Bought from Simple2trade online......

Not used them in anger yet but a quick tryout with water looks ok.


From the looks of it I have that compressor and have found it to be extremely quiet with plenty of capacity for modelling. I use an Aztec airbrush and have no complaints, I mostly use acrylic paints but have used enamels with no problems so far.

When using masking tape try not to let the paint build up against the edge of the tape, (spray away from the edge). If there is still an edge I've read that you can rub down the paint gently with fine wet and dry, although don't know if this would work well for a gloss finish.

There are a number of low tac materials used by graphic artists (e.g. frisk film) and lining tapes. I've not used the tamiya masking tape but if it's as good as their other products it would be worth a try. You could experiment with a thin strip of de-stickied sellotape overlaid by masking tape. (the risk is that if the tape is too tacky it will lift or mark the paint from the surface you are masking)

I've found that masking fluid is good for small irregular shaps but I wouldn't use it to get a hard straight edge, also don't leave it on too long after the paint has dried as it can fog some clear plastics (as I found out to my cost

There are lots of hints and tips on the net, but the only real advice is to try things out first and practice.

Have fun with your airbrush

Chris g
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I fast read this thread and there are some good tips.

I think that it is important to realise that spraying requires two things to be operationally successful. One is a turntable or some way of turning the job without masking it. The other is a spray booth. The latter is essential for indoor spraying.

Spraying in a cardboard box is good for paint absorption but hopeless for light. You are spraying in the dark. I tried cling film and a light source but that too didn't work unless you are prepared to make a new booth for every session and you still get some paint fumes in the room. Outdoor spraying is not really an option due to weather and dust problems.

I am on the point of experimenting with a cheapo transparent box and a bathroom extractor fan and a hose out of the window.

Paints don't stick too well to polythene so it should be easy to clean.
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QUOTE (dwhite4dcc @ 15 Jan 2010, 20:35) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I am on the point of experimenting with a cheapo transparent box and a bathroom extractor fan and a hose out of the window.

I bought the box today. £6.99 at The Range. There were others cheaper but I needed some fluting and a fair size to fit the fan.

I'll keep you posted.
I to use everthing airbrush

Kit i have is a little 1/2 hp compressor with 15l tank and moisture/oil trap, Airbrush wise i use a Devilbiss Dagr with optional cups for the larger jobs, also have a mix of jets and needles

I'm a believe in you get what you pay for, i have had cheap brushes in the past but thy never last
Last time I built an extractor (for lead casting) I used flexiable ducting
flexiable ducting
will give the ideal.
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B & Q do it as well. 3 metres for £4.10
Hi All,
I am totally new to the world of airbrushing, so please bear with me.
Before I discovered this thread, I hunted around the web for airbrushing tips and tuts and realised that I needed at least a dual action airbrush. Some more searching found that several hobby shops sold the Expo AB602 set for around £100 and this included a compressor(with small tank), gravity feed airbrush and moisture trap, hoses. It seemed like a reasonable deal, so I bought one. Now I am not so sure I made a good decision. Has anybody had experience with this airbrush? I am not a great artist, so I don't need to make things more difficult than they have to be.

Also advice on the following will be appreciated:
1. Which is the best paint to use. My local hobby shop sells Revell and the local art shop Humbrol. Are either of these suitable?
a. for matt finishes
b. for gloss finishes
Or should I order from the web for other brands?

2. I have used some Revell 'EMAIL COLOR' (which I think is enamel), thinned it with white spirit, and it seemed to work, but from this thread it seems I should be using Revell thinners, which will dry faster. Does it also affect the finish or just drying speed (asuming you are prepared to apply very thin layers slowly to stop running).

3. Is water + teensy bit of fairy good enough for thinning acrylic(from earlier in this thread) or is it better to buy bespoke thinners for acrylic as well.

4. I have not seen varnish sold anywhere(for airbrushes). What type of varnish are we talking about and where to get it?
5. What is the closest you should bring the airbrush to the object? It seems like it will have to be very close to get a very thin line. I realise that the closer you get the less paint you have to apply, but this I can control quite well with this airbrush ( including pre-setting the stop to limit paint flow).

Any advice much appreciated.
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**** Both revell and humbrol are fine. White spirit is also fine for both.... I use it all the time and rarely use other thinners (the common exception is buffable metallics).

Realy important - stir it until your hand is ready to drop off - then stir it some more (before taking some out of the tinlet/bottle to add the thinners!)

Thinning depends a little on the particular paint and also the ambient temperature but between 25 and 35% for enamels is usually right. If you use a Hot thinners (a more volatile one) yes it'll dry faster BUT it will also not flow on the model as well.

Experiment with pressure as well as paint. 20 to 25PSI is a good place to start...

Generally acrylics need a bigger aperture (or larger needle size) and a wee bit less pressure than enamels but again its a practice and learn thing...

For thinning acrylic I'd use a little distilled water and alcohol or the recommended thinners - I would absolutely never use detergents.

all brands have a clear coat range - look for times with no paint on the lid :). Generally thinning varnishes is similar but a wee bit more thinners than paint is my experience.

practice on odd shaped stuff - if you can paint a coke can with a nice even coat all over you are most of the way there!!

you mention thin lines - really thin lines need a top quality airbrush....

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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.

I've actually been on ebay just now looking at airbrush kits... i think the big thing for me is a spray booth as i dont have a dedicated hobby area and if i get anything "wrong", its a case of paint on the carpet or the kitchen tiles
so any ideas would be good.
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QUOTE (pedromorgan @ 8 Feb 2010, 15:09) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>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.

Great tutorial. Looking forward to parts 2 and 3, especially how to mix the damn paint to get the correct consistency
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I read the first part of your tutorial, which is what triggered the questions. I can't wait for the rest; the first bit is much appreciated!!!

@RichardJohnson: Thanks for that. I will proceed with Humbrol mostly (better price from art shop) and white spirits.
By the way I bought some of your hand lamps for 00 for 2 of my locos - brilliant job, they are really nice. Before that I used the little square LEDs that come on sticky back; they were okayish, but these are super. Thanks for the trouble of making them.
Paint wise i use distilled water and a touch of IPA for acrylics and the proper thinners on anything metallic or 1 - 2 pack paints

When you mean "varnish" do you mean lacquer ? if so i tend to use acrylic lacquer in a can be it flat, gloss or satin. acrylic lacquer (aka top coat) will go over the top of most paints except chrome

Prep will make or break any paint job

tools wise you get what you pay for tbh i wouldnt spend less than £40-50 on a brush cheap brushes dont last
This is not my job,but possible will help somebody make "spray room" in house.Russian job.

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Health and Safety Warning.

I wouldn't recommend using household extractors for paint booths!

The motors are not flash shielded, so there is a possibility for a fire.
You may be fine 99.9% of the time, but it only takes that .1% and you could be cooked.
Solvent vapour whether it be white spirit or IPA is highly flammable.

Either wear a good mask or do it in a well ventilated space. Preferably both.
*** In industrail applications that is valid... but not in this application.

Terry the likelihood of managing to achieve flashpoint via a fan as igniter is very close to zero - the airflow is far too fast and the combination of possible output from airbrush (quite small) vs total airflow from a fan (very big) is way beyond a volatile mix.

When we were developing our own spraybooths I tried everything possible with six or seven fan types and lots of other factors to ignite airbrush fumes... Using every possible solvent including really volatile stuff like full strength IPA, Methylene chloride, MEK, Toluene and automotive acrylic thinners.

It proved nearly impossibl to create ANY flames without being quite stupid - actually beyond stupid as we really ahad to TRY to make it go bang... (actually in the interest of making sure customers were safe we really did try everything - even with a piezo igniter, a lit cigarette and a flame from a barbeque lighter (BIG cigarette lighter) IN the booth I couldn't get a fire)

As these spraybooths were to be sold to the average modeller to double check my work I also engaged the services of an industrial chemist whow worked with me (he's a modeller too so not too exy :) :)) and he also tried. Even with him knowing the exact flashpoint air/fuel mix for each solvent and trying to make it happen, it was simply not possible to make it go bang unless we took it far beyond ANY possible air/fuel combinations possible with an airbrush.

Of course its always good to play safe, but like hollywoods insistence on cars exploding at the slightest hint of an accident or the slightest bullet impact, the realty is that exploding modellers spraybooths are an urban myth...

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All this mention of 'IPA' is a great waste of beer! I would never thin down anything other than my blood with it!

Will head for the protection of the garage now ready for the fall out of my sense of humor
Richard, I agree, mostly, with you. Hence my 99.9% point.
However having been a paint chemist myself in the past, H and S is extremely important, and folks should be made aware of the dangers, however remote.
It is then their decision to do what they choose.

So don't shoot the messenger!
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