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Darthp00p00

Intro to airbrushing?

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I am a terrible painter, new to airbrushing, and am already getting some pretty cool results.

 

I know more about what not to get than what to get, though, so the best I can do is share my setup.

 

I have a Badger 105 Patriot. It is gravity fed, meaning that it has a cup on top and paint literally just drips into the airstream when the needle is pulled back. I've heard at least one person refer to it as a quality airbrush for beginners. In any case, the two brands that there seems to be a consensus about are Badger and Iwata.

 

You will want a compressor with a tank. If you do not have a tank on your compressor, then your airflow is coming from whatever air the compressor can compress at that given moment. This leads to potentially inconsistent airflow, and spotty results. Leave tankless compressors to the makeup artists, who just need something portable and quiet that shoots air most of the time. We can also go into oil lubricated and not, but then we're splitting hairs and its more about how much noise the compressor makes. Mine is a non-oil lubricated, refurbished Rockworth somethingorother with a three gallon tank. I currently cannot find it on Amazon where I bought it from at the moment, but it's a loud, trusty machine and came with all sorts of nifty extra parts. I can fill my own car tires now! Wee!

 

You want a moisture trap. This... should be pretty self explanatory. It traps moisture that was in the air you compressed, which could potentially interfere with paint consistency. I have one. It's shiny.

 

You will need hoses. Depending on your setup, you will need one or two. I have two, as my moisture trap does not stay mounted on my compressor. One needs to have the proper attachments for your brush. I bought a Badger-made hose just because I didn't trust myself to get the correct one otherwise.

 

Your compressor should come with adapters for everything under the sun, in terms of getting your rig all connected. If it doesn't, adapter kits are fairly easy to find. Oh, and make sure you get some thread tape, so that you can guarantee airtight connections.

 

Paints... Badger makes a range called Minitaire specifically for airbrushing- even if you don't buy into Badger paints, you should check out their line of Ghost Tints, you can get some pretty cool effects with them. Tamiya  (spelling) is a brand that I hear is terrible for brushing with and wonderful for airbrushing with. Vallejo is already formulated with airbrushing in mind straight from the bottle, and is another good choice. I believe the resident Airbrush Genious, Erebi, uses Vallejo. I personally already had a bunch of Reaper Master Series HD paints- I bought a bottle of Liquitex Airbrush Medium, which I use about one drop of per ten drops of paint to get them to just the right thickness (or thinness, if you will) for usage in an airbrush. I've taken to using it as thinning medium for hand painting, too, but I use multiple thinners based on how pigment moves within them anywho, so yeah, that's more about my preferences than anything that could be counted as a recommendation.

 

Airbrushing miniatures is... different from airbrushing a canvas or a posterboard. I find that I'm usually using minimal paint flow and only really manipulating distance from the model to apply paint in different ways. Your mileage may vary. In any case, I would recommend looking up Airbrush Tutor, and watching in the very least his basic videos on how airbrushes work, double-actioning, and anything else that catches your fancy on his pages.

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+1 to most of what Hive said, though I'll argue a point or two.  With a tanked compressor, the tank functions as a moisture trap allowing the air a chance to cool after being compressed.  Leaving what moisture came in with the air prior to compression in the tank.  I've never used a moisture trap and last year I was painting outdoors in the 90% humidity that Indiana calls summer, with no problems.

 

Paint, Vallejo makes a specific line that's ready for airbrush usage, they call it Model Air.  Regular Vallejo Model Color or Game Color needs to be thinned prior to usage.  I use the Vallejo Airbrush thinner, I buy it in the 200ml bottle.  You can also buy large bottles of pre thinned airbrush primer from Vallejo.  I haven't used the Badger Minitaire, but I want to.

 

https://sites.google.com/site/donsairbrushtips/  <- Don's airbrush tips, a great resource for reviews, techniques and what not

 

http://www.airbrushaction.com/  <- Airbrush Action, online and print magazine, it's another great resource, plus they have a buyer's guide.

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I had heard that, about not needing a trap with a tanked compressor. I'm just... maybe overly cautious? I don't think my moisture trap has ever actually trapped moisture, but I feel muuuuuch more comfortable with it there. It's just one more thing I can be absatively posolutely sure about.

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I had heard that, about not needing a trap with a tanked compressor. I'm just... maybe overly cautious? I don't think my moisture trap has ever actually trapped moisture, but I feel muuuuuch more comfortable with it there. It's just one more thing I can be absatively posolutely sure about.

 

To each their own.

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If you have a small tank then yes add an external moisture trap. A smaller tank suffers from water build up a lot worse then larger ones. Once you start getting into big multi gallon tanks its much less of an issue but you need to make sure you drain your tank from time to time (especially if you're using it in a high humidity area ;)).

I don't use an air brush, though I may get one eventually, I do however work with compressors quite a bit.

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I have just got into airbrushing myself. I got 2 duel action airbrushes (gravity and jar fed) and a compressor with a tank for a little over £60 on ebay. Really good place to start. Not felt the need for a moisture trap yet. A compressor with a tank on it is key as it will top it's self up and always give you a constant high pressure. What I do need is an airbrush holder!

i've used game workshop paints in it but I am in the process to switching to Vallejo, but its just their normal paints from my local hobby store. I thin them down with 1-2 tiny drops of nail varnish remover and the rest normal tap water. You want to aim for the consistency of milk so I'm told. seems to work well. 

To clean it out I just use nail polish remover again and cotton/ear buds.

I'm just getting it to it and it's super awesome fun, both for models and terrain. go over to the terrain sub section to see my first proper attempt at air brushing

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Great tips, guys!

 

I use a moisture trap that fits on the bottom of my airbrush -- makes a good handle too. Keep an eye out for something like it.

 

Use a mask appropriate to the paints and solvents you're going to be using, especially if spraying in a less then optimally ventilated room.

 

Alexmann, where do you look to find a cellulose thinner?

 

I second Krys' point about an airbrush holder. SOMETHING that does the job well will save you a lot of heartache. And needle tips.

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Theres a whole bunch of terrain I have airbrushed over in the terrain section if you want to see what you can do with it.

What I do need are some tips on changing colours and cleaning the brush out. It takes ages changing colour!

 

I'm finding I tend to loose the paint coming out and just get air or splats of paint. Gave the whole thing a deep clean, my needle was covered in layers of paint. I think a couple of the colours seem to clog it more so I'm going to try a different shade of green out when I get some. 

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I use a o.15 mm nozzle on my harder and steinbach evolution airbrush with vallejo airbrush paints. Those paints are for airbrush, but they need to be thinned before good use!

Go check out some airbrush tutorials on youtube and practice a lot.

What i do before changing colors is spraying cleaner through the airbrush.

Also you can spray short bursts instead of 1 continue spray.

Buying a sonic cleaner makes life easier as well.

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In the good ole' USA, cellulose thinners seem to be referred to as "lacquer thinners." I grabbed a quart container, and it has worked wonders for cleaning out my airbrush after a few days of use.

 

In the meantime, I'm going to have to take back my suggestion for Liquitex airbrush medium. It works, but I was having a lot of trouble with my airbrush gumming up- trouble that went away the moment I decided to try anything else. I still like it for hand painting, though. 

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In the good ole' USA, cellulose thinners seem to be referred to as "lacquer thinners." I grabbed a quart container, and it has worked wonders for cleaning out my airbrush after a few days of use. 

 

You know that makes sense, since lacquer is made with 'nitro-cellulose.'  At least the good stuff is.

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Moisture Trap: When a compressor compresses air, it does just that, along with everything in it, including (you guessed it) water. Over time this water accumulates in your tank - it will have a drain on the bottom somewhere that you can open (when the tank is unpressurised!) and drain it. If you don't do this, your air will be wet, which will cause all sorts of nasty effects, plus it will rust the inside of your tank. The more you use your compressor, the more this will happen. A moisture trap mitigates the effects of the moisture trapped in your tank, but it won't save you forever - simple tank maintenance is very important (and probably the single most overlooked aspect of airbrushing).

 

+1

 

I used Tamiya paints for years, they're great for airbrushing (terrible for brush painting!), but Vallejo and others weren't on the market then.

 

In my experience Tamiya was way better to brush paint with than the oil based paints other manufacturers offered at the time.

The modern day water based paints most wargamers use these days aren't that much better to brush paint with in my experience, they are mainly very different in their use, which is why most people used to brush painting with modern day water based paints find Tamiya paint terrible to brush paint with.

Being solvent based Tamiya paint does smell rather awful, you also need special thinner for it, and cleaning brushes etc. is much more of a hassle.

Modern day water based paints are much easier in their general use.

 

Keeping your airbrush clean is probably one of the most important things to avoid problems - and I mean clean inside, not out. Neat propanol is also great for cleaning out airbrushes as it's miscible with both water and solvents, so it's essential if you want to spray both enamels and acrylics with the same brush.What's really good for cleaning stuff out of your brush are cellulose thinners - they burn away all the **** that deposits itself inside your brush and on your needle (but they're not nice to your lungs, so use sparingly and wither in a well-ventilated area or with a chemical mask).

 

You'll also have to avoid skin contact; cellulose thinner penetrates the skin and gets into your bloodstream, which is something you don't want as the stuff is highly carcinogenic.

So from a health perspective it is advisable to limit yourself to water based paints that don't need cellulose thinner to clean away...

 

And keeping your airbrush clean is the single most important aspect of airbrushing, period!

Never ever think cleaning your airbrush is something you can postpone to some later, more convenient, point in time.

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