How to get started with airbrushing?

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How to get started with airbrushing?

Postby gilltech » Tue Feb 24, 2015 10:28 am

OK so it’s time to move from 'hairy stick' paint jobs using Humbrol & MM enamel on 1/72 aircraft, to airbrush work on larger models, 1/48 & maybe 1/32.
How do I get started? The web shows a bewildering range of guns & compressors, prices are all over the place.
Advice given in a previous thread mentions a brand called Iwata.
Whatever compressor I get needs to be very quiet, I do my modelling hobby once the kids are in bed asleep or when my wife is sleeping off her nightshift.
And do people use acrylic paints for airbrushing rather than enamel?
Any advice would be appreciated, thankyou.
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Re: How to get started with airbrushing?

Postby RAAFBrat » Tue Feb 24, 2015 1:57 pm

Hi John. Welcome! All I use is a little EBay "Makeup" compressor & air-brush that is VERY quiet & cost me a whole $60.00, delivered. I use exclusively Tamiya acrylics thinned 50/50 with Metho & clean the airbrush with straight Metho. I have once sprayed Testors Gloss-Cote through it thinned with Humbrol Lacquer Thinners then cleaned with the same thinners with no ill effects. I'm very happy with the results so far & I'd never airbrushed in my life until I bought this little jigger :).
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Re: How to get started with airbrushing?

Postby AndrewPerren » Tue Feb 24, 2015 2:23 pm

Hi John

This is a really loaded topic so expect as many opinions as you get responses. Iwata is a very well known brand at the premium end of the scale for both quality and price. They are available from Adelaide Moulding and Casting. I use an Iwata and it performs very well.
They also have small quiet compressors for inside the house. Both acrylics and enamels can be airbrushed but you may want to choose the acrylic option if smelly enamel spray painting inside the house will ruin the domestic harmony.

My advice for what its worth -
1. Begin with a double action gravity feed airbrush (0.3mm needle will be fine for most paints)- better to learn on the proper gear from the start.
2. Buy as good as you can afford and avoid the really cheap end of town - it is a precision instrument - you will usually get what you pay for.
3. You Tube is a great source of how to videos for free.
4. Keep your airbrush clean, clean, clean. The parts are extremely delicate and will repay you with good service if looked after.
5. Try to avoid swapping back and forth from acrylic to enamel - I guarantee the brush will gum up internally and be very difficult to get clean.
6. Practice on something not important until you are happy with your techniques. Then paint your latest build.
7. Did I mention practice ! - Find some system you can work with an stick with it.
8. Air pressure and thinning ratios will be the keys to your success. Aim for the lowest pressure to achieve a good spray atomization and thin more if necessary. ( Its a whole subject in itself 8-) )

Also check out Runway 13 in Canberra for mid range airbrush & compressor deals.

Hope that helps.

Andrew P (A1)
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Re: How to get started with airbrushing?

Postby gilltech » Tue Feb 24, 2015 7:58 pm

Thanks guys for taking the trouble to help, that all sounds very encouraging!
I hadn't thought of YouTube for how-to videos; it is the paint mix & thinning that I've been pondering over, I just have to get stuck in & give it a go.
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Re: How to get started with airbrushing?

Postby rwaldram » Tue Mar 03, 2015 7:19 am

Also, do a google search for airbrush courses in your local area. Some hobby stores run them (a great one was The Parts Box down in SA), some TAFE's run them and some professional companies also do (theres a company in Penrith that train everyone from makeup artists to hobbyists (such as us) to automotive spray painters).
It'd be so much easier if they made kit's of this thing
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Re: How to get started with airbrushing?

Postby Viking » Fri Aug 07, 2015 8:24 pm

Thanks for this. I'm getting back into models after a ~30 year break and just bought my first air brush. I look forward to screwing things up totally.
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