advice on air brushes

Started by Browning 9mm, September 13, 2023, 11:59:18 AM

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Browning 9mm

for far too many years I have been using rattle cans, both for my wargames [20mm] vehicles and railway [n] but I am about to make a start on my [too large] stash of 1/72 aircraft kits, and the videos I have been watching all seem to show air brushes for painting.

my previous experience with an airbrush was with a very basic Humbrol one some years ago.

so, for a total idiot, what would be a good, reasonably priced, easy to master, air brush ?

thanks in advance for all advice and suggestions.

chrism

#1
I started out with a Timbertech cheapie that came as a kit with a compressor, but didn't really have a lot of joy with it - although that may well also have been that I was using acrylic paints in  it.

I've since switched to a Harder & Steenbeck Ultra D, with which I'm very happy although it did cost more for the airbrush alone than the full Timbertech kit did - and I have also switched to spraying enamels. Still using the Timbertech compressor, though.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0090ZD6WA/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Can't be sure if it was the change of airbrush or the paint (or both) that made the difference. Sometime I really ought to try the Timbertech with enamels as a comparison. Not going to try putting acrylics through the newer one, though.


Steven B

Look for dual action, internal mix.
Dual action means you have control over the air flow and paint flow. Internal mix means the air and paint are mixed within the air-brush rather than outside.

The main choice is if the paint cup is gravity or siphon fed. Gravity feed airbrushes have the paint cup mounted on the top. Siphon fed ones suck the paint up from a paint cup mounted under the airbrush. Siphon type generally have a larger capacity which can be handy for scenic work. Top feed cups should be large enough to allow most N gauge locos and rolling stock to be done without refilling.

I went through a couple of basic air-brushes from Machine Mart.

I now use a Neo for Iwata CN - it's a good value beginner/intermediate tool with spare parts that are easily available.

Badger are the other brand to look out for. Have a look at the Model 100.

You'll also need a compressor - this needs to be oil-less (many designed for DIY can feed oil into the air stream to lubricate tools, you don't want this for painting!). The likes of Iwata and Sparmax make some really nice (v. quiet) compressors but they do come with a heavy price tag.

I use a generic chinese one with a built in air tank like this one
The build quality can be somewhat variable but mine works just fine.

I'd also suggest a braded air-hose and possibly a moisture trap. You'll also need plenty of cleaner (I use Cellulose thinners followed by a airbrush aerosol cleaner).

Finally, and probably most important, get yourself a decent mask that's been designed for use with paint vapour. An old covid facemask won't protect your lungs from the spray.

SB

Newportnobby

I have an brand new unopened 'inherited' item and if anyone can say it'll do what you want I'm sure we can come to some arrangement, Alan.


ntpntpntp

#4
For serious airbrushing sessions and fine work definitely a quality dual-action internal mix airbrush with a compressor which has an air tank and moisture filter.

For me the cup has to be on top, being a lefty I hate side-mounted cups which get in the way, and I'm not a fan of cups/bottles mounted underneath unless it's for spraying a large area. Mostly I'm working with small amounts of paint dropped into the cup with a pipette. 

To be honest though, sometimes I can't be bothered to set all that up for just a quick bit of work for one little model or for weathering track and scenery (the air hose gets in the way :) ), so I use one of the cordless (USB charged) self-contained dual action brushes sold for nail artists but also advertised for modellers. They're not super high quality but good enough for my needs.

I currently have the re-chargeable airbrush set up with my spray booth (mains powered extractor fan) :)

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PaulCheffus

Quote from: Newportnobby on September 13, 2023, 12:26:45 PMI have an brand new unopened 'inherited' item and if anyone can say it'll do what you want I'm sure we can come to some arrangement, Alan.



Hi

That looks exactly like the compressor I use with my Iwata CR Revolution. The cheap airbrushes that come with the compressor of that type are ok but personally I would get something better.

Cheers

Paul
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Steven B

Quote from: Newportnobby on September 13, 2023, 12:26:45 PMI have an brand new unopened 'inherited' item and if anyone can say it'll do what you want I'm sure we can come to some arrangement, Alan.

It's a good starting point - easy enough to replace the airbrush with something more refined (or just easier to find spares) if you decide air-brushing is something you want to continue with.

SB.

Ensign Elliott

I'd avoid the cheap ones you see at shows for around £40 or so - they are poor quality and you'll get frustrated with them.

I can really recommend the Iwata Neo as a good beginners airbrush. I can also recommend the Iwata Eclipse CS as a fantastic all-round airbrush.


Jim Easterbrook

Another vote for cheapo compressor and an Iwata brush. I splashed out on the Iwata Revolution CR which is made in Japan. It's one of those tools which just feels perfect in the hand. I can't explain why, but some things just have that characteristic.
Jim Easterbrook
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Browning 9mm

many thanks for all the replies, a lot to think about and investigate / cost out.

Mick, I may well in due course get in touch re your offer.

I have usually painted even quite big a/c models with rattle cans, but within the stash I have a number of Shacks, of various types, and a number of 'V' bombers, and the videos I have been watching have shown me ways of doing the camo schemes on these with masking patterns or tape and air brush.

the one I still have, the Humbrol one, is to my mind more of a spray gun than an airbrush.

to be honest, I rarely use it, as by the time I've set it up, got the compressor out, prepared / mixed the paint etc, I could have done the job with rattle cans and brushes.

and then there is all the cleaning afterwards.

so not a decision to take in haste.

Also I tend to spray with rattle cans outside or in the shed, whereas it looks as though a spray booth will also be needed with an airbrush.

decisions, decisions.

Railwaygun

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Lawrence

Just out of curiosity, what kind of pressure are folks using for acrylics?

middlefour

Quote from: Lawrence on October 01, 2023, 09:26:46 AMJust out of curiosity, what kind of pressure are folks using for acrylics?

I use around 25psi for acrylics and 30psi for enamels. I tend to use the Tamiya acrylics which don't seem to need a lot of thinning.
Steve

Steven B

20 to 30psi depending on how thick/runny the paint is. Air brushing is an art of balancing paint consistency, air pressure, paint flow, distance to model, drying time, temperature and humidity.

You'll soon learn what works and what doesn't.

Lawrence

Quote from: middlefour on October 01, 2023, 10:45:58 AM
Quote from: Lawrence on October 01, 2023, 09:26:46 AMJust out of curiosity, what kind of pressure are folks using for acrylics?

I use around 25psi for acrylics and 30psi for enamels. I tend to use the Tamiya acrylics which don't seem to need a lot of thinning.
Have been thinking about getting some Valejo Air paints which go in the cup neat also the Scale75 stuff which, again, can be used without dilution or mixing.
Unless my cheap chinese compressor is telling lies, I have tried to go for 18-20 psi for acrylics, as @Steven B mentioned, getting that paint consistency is key. I was speaking to the guy who runs a local aircraft model shop and he actually recommended Halfords undercoat rattle cans, his results were impressive. I have tried it on a couple of projects and so far results are promising, the final colour coats will be the tell though!

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