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Plundersquirrel

Airbrush Paint Thinning?

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Hi,

I've asked for an airbrush for my birthday, a Badger one of some description (I'm sure I can find it if it matters. I'm planning on using it for some Airfix tank models and a Spitfire. I do have some previous experience with models,although I've only done about 8 before. I was just wondering how much I should thin my paints for use in the airbrush. I'm planning on using Humbrol acrylic paints (they do say that they can be thinned for airbrushing, but they don't say how much I should thin it). Also, would water be sufficient for thinning? If so, any advice on what amount of paint to water I should use would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks!

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I thin my humbrol and revell enamels with white spirit..simple as that..just thin it so it's as thin as water..

Daz

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You can thin Humbrol acrylics with water but they will spray better and leave a better finish if you use an acrylic thinner. Humbrol make one which would work fine or you could try Ultimate thinner which is formulated to work with any acrylic paint. Try thinning the paint 50/50 with the thinner and adjust the ratio from there. The thinner the paint the lower the air pressure needs to be. It also depends on whether you get a gravity or suction feed airbrush. The best thing is just to experiment and see what works best for you.

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Sorry,didn't read this properly...i advised on enamels,not acrylics...sorry,long day

Daz

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You can thin Humbrol acrylics with water but they will spray better and leave a better finish if you use an acrylic thinner. Humbrol make one which would work fine or you could try Ultimate thinner which is formulated to work with any acrylic paint. Try thinning the paint 50/50 with the thinner and adjust the ratio from there. The thinner the paint the lower the air pressure needs to be. It also depends on whether you get a gravity or suction feed airbrush. The best thing is just to experiment and see what works best for you.

Ok, Thanks!

I thin my humbrol and revell enamels with white spirit..simple as that..just thin it so it's as thin as water..

Daz

Cheers!

Sorry,didn't read this properly...i advised on enamels,not acrylics...sorry,long day

Daz

Oh, right, no problem :)

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I don't know anything much about airbrushing but have just purchased my first airbrush, so I've been watching some good youtube films on the subject and one guy was mixing 2 to1 (2 paint and 1 thinners) I've just bought some Tamiya X-20A Acrylic Thinners but haven't tried it yet, I'd be interested in knowing if any one else uses it.

Kev.

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I don't know anything much about airbrushing but have just purchased my first airbrush, so I've been watching some good youtube films on the subject and one guy was mixing 2 to1 (2 paint and 1 thinners) I've just bought some Tamiya X-20A Acrylic Thinners but haven't tried it yet, I'd be interested in knowing if any one else uses it.

Kev.

I do! Roughly 2 parts paint to 1 part thinner works well for me.

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I generally use X20 thinners as well for Humbrol and Tamiya acryllic paints. Although I haven't yet used the ultimate thinners or cleaners I can't comment there. In the whole I thin on a 50:50 ratio 50% thinners :50% paint and spray around 20psi. However, i have just got a new compressor so that may change as i get use to the way this new compressor works, but has worked fine in the whole. The thicker paints need a slightly more generous helping of thinners, and vice versa but i always use the above as my starting point.

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I do! Roughly 2 parts paint to 1 part thinner works well for me.

I generally use X20 thinners as well for Humbrol and Tamiya acryllic paints. Although I haven't yet used the ultimate thinners or cleaners I can't comment there. In the whole I thin on a 50:50 ratio 50% thinners :50% paint and spray around 20psi. However, i have just got a new compressor so that may change as i get use to the way this new compressor works, but has worked fine in the whole. The thicker paints need a slightly more generous helping of thinners, and vice versa but i always use the above as my starting point.

Ok, Thanks, I'll fiddle around with it for a bit, and I'll try both of these. Before I spend money on thinners, I'd like to try it with water. Any recommendations for a ratio with that?

I don't know anything much about airbrushing but have just purchased my first airbrush, so I've been watching some good youtube films on the subject and one guy was mixing 2 to1 (2 paint and 1 thinners) I've just bought some Tamiya X-20A Acrylic Thinners but haven't tried it yet, I'd be interested in knowing if any one else uses it.

Kev.

I'll check these thinners out, cheers.

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Personally I wouldn't use water - whilst acrylic is water based, acrylic thinners have flow improvers and retardants in them to aid the flow of the paint through the airbrush. The retardant helps to stop the paint from drying as it is atomised as it comes out of the tip. I tried water right at the beginning of my airbrushing, and got horrible results. After that I went with Revell Aqua thinner and then onto Tamiya thinner. Since then, I have stuck to Tamiya for the last 3 years . It's partly through experimentation, and also research (BM, youtube, and reading various magazines) that I came up with the ratio that I use. What a lot of sources say is thin the paint until it's the consistency of thin milk (!) So in other words, no too runny, but not too cloggy (or in goldilocks terms - just right). It takes time. You'll not get it right first time. I didn't, and I'm sure most on here didn't. Take your time, experiment, get a really, really knackered cheap old kit to practice on, that way then if you bugger up the paint job you wont care - it's just for practice.

The only two definite things I will say on the matter are : don't use water - use a proper thinner it will be better in the long run (plus the paint will dry quicker once it's on the model!) and also, I have used the Tamiya X20A thinners for nearly 3 years. They work fine in Humbrol, Tamiya (obviously) and even Xtracrylix (Hannants brand acrylic paint). Not so good in Revell Aqua, but fine for the others mentioned.

Regards

Treker_ed

Edited by treker_ed

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I'm pretty new to airburshing too and found this really useful. If you have £6-7 you could buy this eBook (which has a really good section on troubleshooting) and there's currently a free video that I found really useful. Worth looking through the rest of the site too IMHO.

As the other guys say, practice, practice, practice and try to learn from (inevitable) mistakes... it's easy, as pilot say, to get "pecked to death by ducks". It may not be just one problem, but a combination of several, for example paint too thin and pressure too high. Or both just right but you're spraying too close or trying to put too much paint on at once.

Spray thin coats and keep it moving!!

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Personally I wouldn't use water - whilst acrylic is water based, acrylic thinners have flow improvers and retardants in them to aid the flow of the paint through the airbrush. The retardant helps to stop the paint from drying as it is atomised as it comes out of the tip. I tried water right at the beginning of my airbrushing, and got horrible results. After that I went with Revell Aqua thinner and then onto Tamiya thinner. Since then, I have stuck to Tamiya for the last 3 years . It's partly through experimentation, and also research (BM, youtube, and reading various magazines) that I came up with the ratio that I use. What a lot of sources say is thin the paint until it's the consistency of thin milk (!) So in other words, no too runny, but not too cloggy (or in goldilocks terms - just right). It takes time. You'll not get it right first time. I didn't, and I'm sure most on here didn't. Take your time, experiment, get a really, really knackered cheap old kit to practice on, that way then if you bugger up the paint job you wont care - it's just for practice.

The only two definite things I will say on the matter are : don't use water - use a proper thinner it will be better in the long run (plus the paint will dry quicker once it's on the model!) and also, I have used the Tamiya X20A thinners for nearly 3 years. They work fine in Humbrol, Tamiya (obviously) and even Xtracrylix (Hannants brand acrylic paint). Not so good in Revell Aqua, but fine for the others mentioned.

Regards

Treker_ed

Ok, cheers. I went to Bovington Tank Museum today, and while I was there I picked up some Tamiya thinner (in hindsight it's probably cheaper at Hobbycraft :) ). I'll try that out. Thanks a lot for the advice! Just a couple more questions: do you hang your models when painting them? I.e. Do you place them on cardboard or from a wooden frame or the ceiling etc. Also, about how far away from the model should I be spraying, and how long can I spray for before the paint dries? Do you paint the model as you are building, all at the start, or when you're finished? Thank you very much for your time!

I'm pretty new to airburshing too and found this really useful. If you have £6-7 you could buy this eBook (which has a really good section on troubleshooting) and there's currently a free video that I found really useful. Worth looking through the rest of the site too IMHO.

As the other guys say, practice, practice, practice and try to learn from (inevitable) mistakes... it's easy, as pilot say, to get "pecked to death by ducks". It may not be just one problem, but a combination of several, for example paint too thin and pressure too high. Or both just right but you're spraying too close or trying to put too much paint on at once.

Spray thin coats and keep it moving!!

Ok, cheers, I'll take a look at them and keep your advice in mind!

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We all evolve our own strategies. I only do aircraft - WWII and beyond, and Monoplanes only (no bloody rigging that way!!!!!!!!!!) so I mask up as I go along. But I'm getting ahead slightly. Different strategies.

Early on, I would prime and paint everything I could whilst on the sprues, then glue it all together and find out what a mess I was making and do a lot of touching up with a brush. Slowly as I got used to the airbrush, I have evolved my methodology. Some I will do on the sprues, but only if they can be attached after the main bits. So now, I will look through the instructions as a whole, and build up sub assemblies (if it is possible), kind of the way they now make ships, and if those bits need internal painting I will do those bits as I go along.

If I can, I will build up the cockpit to a certain point (especially if it is a tub construction as it will have sidewalls) and then paint it. adding in detail as I go. The last two kits I have done, were a Dassault Rafale M (Revell 1/48) and I'm in the middle of a FAA Hellcat II (Hobby Boss 1/48). Different ends of the spectrum time wise, but similar approach with the interior painting. Built up the cockpit tub to a point, primed, and airbrushed the overall main colour (grey in the Rafale and interior green in the hellcat) then added the detail colours. When doing the Rafale, had a light bulb moment, use cocktail sticks to add colour to the various switches and buttons (much easier then trying to use a fine brush and gets the paint to exactly where you want to place it).

When I'm happy about the way it looks, finish off the interior details, add the seat (unless it's an integral part of the tub construction) button up the fuselage, get the seams done etc, etc. Yes lots more construction to go before painting but I'm skipping ahead to that bit for you as I'm sure you don't want to be bored about how I still don't seem to be able to get invisible seems (damn you all seems!!!!).

When priming I currently use Tamiya aerosol primers (fine is better) but, I suffer from Asthma and was only diagnosed this time last year, so I have to try and move away from this or get a spray both. Short term, cheaper option - change primer. So it's been suggested to try Vallejo primers which are polyurethane based. Just bought a small bottle to try, which I will do on the next kit. But I d it in sections (as in painting) - undersides first with the top down so the wings are being supported by a box sides, then when dry the top and sides.

As said, I mask up as I go along when painting the exterior. And it does also depend on if I'm doing a German splinter pattern or RAF pattern, or even USAF/USN pattern. I always start with the undersides - most of the time (not always) it tends to be a solid colour (easy life). Acrylics dry quickly. I do allow a couple of hours for this coat to dry. Most often, it only needs one coat. Very rarely, depending on the colour, does it ever need a second coat. I then mask up. This is when it can get awkward. Squiggly patterns need something like blu-tac or similar then you infill with tape or your chosen medium. I go through tons of tape and this is probably the single most expensive consumable used. Then the main colour next. If it's a two tone pattern (eg RAF Dark earth/Dark Green) do the lighter colour first then the darker. It's easier to cover the lighter colour with the darker, rather than the darker with the lighter. Similar process here for masking blu-tac worms (loads of you-tube videos) show how to do it, I've learnt how to free hand (very low pressure, very fine line and narrow aperture on brush). But I do mask up for German splinter patterns as these are very precise straight lines.

Once dry, I use Humbrol Clear to gloss coat and seal the paint ready to place the decals. once done, I then don't do another full gloss coat. I tend to only cover the decals themselves with a brushing of clear varnish, do a panel wash (I rarely do any other weathering or chipping etc beyond a wash) and then do a satin coat to seal it all in and finish off.

This is only my methodology. Other people do things differently. I personally don't show my models or enter into competitions. No-one in my family knows anything about the aircraft I build except me so I dont bother with super-detailing or going the whole hog and spending 6 to 8 months building in details that will never be seen. Without hijacking the thread - I've attached a couple of pics of one of my latest builds - this was done using the above methods. It's a Tamiya F4U-2 Corsair 1/48

DSCN9110.jpg

DSCN9107.jpg

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We all evolve our own strategies. I only do aircraft - WWII and beyond, and Monoplanes only (no bloody rigging that way!!!!!!!!!!) so I mask up as I go along. But I'm getting ahead slightly. Different strategies.

Early on, I would prime and paint everything I could whilst on the sprues, then glue it all together and find out what a mess I was making and do a lot of touching up with a brush. Slowly as I got used to the airbrush, I have evolved my methodology. Some I will do on the sprues, but only if they can be attached after the main bits. So now, I will look through the instructions as a whole, and build up sub assemblies (if it is possible), kind of the way they now make ships, and if those bits need internal painting I will do those bits as I go along.

If I can, I will build up the cockpit to a certain point (especially if it is a tub construction as it will have sidewalls) and then paint it. adding in detail as I go. The last two kits I have done, were a Dassault Rafale M (Revell 1/48) and I'm in the middle of a FAA Hellcat II (Hobby Boss 1/48). Different ends of the spectrum time wise, but similar approach with the interior painting. Built up the cockpit tub to a point, primed, and airbrushed the overall main colour (grey in the Rafale and interior green in the hellcat) then added the detail colours. When doing the Rafale, had a light bulb moment, use cocktail sticks to add colour to the various switches and buttons (much easier then trying to use a fine brush and gets the paint to exactly where you want to place it).

When I'm happy about the way it looks, finish off the interior details, add the seat (unless it's an integral part of the tub construction) button up the fuselage, get the seams done etc, etc. Yes lots more construction to go before painting but I'm skipping ahead to that bit for you as I'm sure you don't want to be bored about how I still don't seem to be able to get invisible seems (damn you all seems!!!!).

When priming I currently use Tamiya aerosol primers (fine is better) but, I suffer from Asthma and was only diagnosed this time last year, so I have to try and move away from this or get a spray both. Short term, cheaper option - change primer. So it's been suggested to try Vallejo primers which are polyurethane based. Just bought a small bottle to try, which I will do on the next kit. But I d it in sections (as in painting) - undersides first with the top down so the wings are being supported by a box sides, then when dry the top and sides.

As said, I mask up as I go along when painting the exterior. And it does also depend on if I'm doing a German splinter pattern or RAF pattern, or even USAF/USN pattern. I always start with the undersides - most of the time (not always) it tends to be a solid colour (easy life). Acrylics dry quickly. I do allow a couple of hours for this coat to dry. Most often, it only needs one coat. Very rarely, depending on the colour, does it ever need a second coat. I then mask up. This is when it can get awkward. Squiggly patterns need something like blu-tac or similar then you infill with tape or your chosen medium. I go through tons of tape and this is probably the single most expensive consumable used. Then the main colour next. If it's a two tone pattern (eg RAF Dark earth/Dark Green) do the lighter colour first then the darker. It's easier to cover the lighter colour with the darker, rather than the darker with the lighter. Similar process here for masking blu-tac worms (loads of you-tube videos) show how to do it, I've learnt how to free hand (very low pressure, very fine line and narrow aperture on brush). But I do mask up for German splinter patterns as these are very precise straight lines.

Once dry, I use Humbrol Clear to gloss coat and seal the paint ready to place the decals. once done, I then don't do another full gloss coat. I tend to only cover the decals themselves with a brushing of clear varnish, do a panel wash (I rarely do any other weathering or chipping etc beyond a wash) and then do a satin coat to seal it all in and finish off.

This is only my methodology. Other people do things differently. I personally don't show my models or enter into competitions. No-one in my family knows anything about the aircraft I build except me so I dont bother with super-detailing or going the whole hog and spending 6 to 8 months building in details that will never be seen. Without hijacking the thread - I've attached a couple of pics of one of my latest builds - this was done using the above methods. It's a Tamiya F4U-2 Corsair 1/48

DSCN9110.jpg

DSCN9107.jpg

Ok, thank you! I've never used primer before, what does it do? I work mainly on 1:72 fighters and 1:76 tanks by Airfix (although I did just get a Revell B-17; the paint scheme is very confusing!); should I wash the models before painting etc. ?

Thanks again!

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Washing is each to their own - I never have and have not had any problems (yet......). Manufacturers do use special chemicals to aid in the release of the plastic from the moulds when using high pressure injection moulding (I will happily be corrected if I am wrong on that point) and in the instructions some do suggest washing the parts in warm soapy water before painting to remove any trace of these chemicals. In front of me at the moment I have the 1/72 Airfix Blenheim Mk 1 instructions, and Airfix suggest "surfaces to be painted should be clean - before parts are removed from the sprue, wash in warm, soapy water, rinse and dry thoroughly." As I said, I don't and so far not had any disasters.

Another alternative, once built, sanded etc. is to give it a quick wipe over with some surface wipes that painters use to prep the surface to remove dust, grime & grease.

Without getting too technical (which I cant cause I don't know the technical reasons anyway.....) primer helps the paint bond to the surface of the plastic better. I would assume the primer in some way chemically bonds to the plastic and forms a unified layer that the pigments of the paint layer can adhere to. I'm sure that there are BM members out there that can explain this better that I can, but it is generally a god idea to use a primer of some description. If you are in the UK, a good and convenient source of primer is actually Halfords grey plastic primer. Cheap, and lasts for several models especially as you are only working on 1/72 &1/76 kits as you've mentioned above. However, if you are painting lighter colours (yellow, red, white for example) use a white primer as these colours are harder to cover using a dark primer.

I have to say a lot of what I'm saying here has been learned through doing what you are doing - asking questions, on BM, at shows, and occasionally I've popped along to my local modelling club. It's also worth spending time doing some research on google and you-tube. I've also invested in a couple of books - Modelling Scale Aircraft (Osprey Publishing ISBN 978-1-84603-237-0) & Airbrushing and Finishing Scale Models (Osprey Publishing ISBN 978-1-84603-199-1). And of course, lots of magazines. One of them might you Fine Scale Modeller. It's an American magazine, available from WH Smiths, but every so often they run articles on airbrushing for beginners, finishes, washes, etc. Might be worth keeping your eye out. I'm by no means an expert, certainly by the measure f some of the RFI kits on here, but I'm proud of what I build, and proud of how far I've come in the last 3 years compared to where I started out and the comparison between kits built in Jan/Feb 2012 to now is light years apart. We al have to start somewhere, and it's that journey that helps to make the hobby fun!

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Washing is each to their own - I never have and have not had any problems (yet......). Manufacturers do use special chemicals to aid in the release of the plastic from the moulds when using high pressure injection moulding (I will happily be corrected if I am wrong on that point) and in the instructions some do suggest washing the parts in warm soapy water before painting to remove any trace of these chemicals. In front of me at the moment I have the 1/72 Airfix Blenheim Mk 1 instructions, and Airfix suggest "surfaces to be painted should be clean - before parts are removed from the sprue, wash in warm, soapy water, rinse and dry thoroughly." As I said, I don't and so far not had any disasters.

Another alternative, once built, sanded etc. is to give it a quick wipe over with some surface wipes that painters use to prep the surface to remove dust, grime & grease.

Without getting too technical (which I cant cause I don't know the technical reasons anyway.....) primer helps the paint bond to the surface of the plastic better. I would assume the primer in some way chemically bonds to the plastic and forms a unified layer that the pigments of the paint layer can adhere to. I'm sure that there are BM members out there that can explain this better that I can, but it is generally a god idea to use a primer of some description. If you are in the UK, a good and convenient source of primer is actually Halfords grey plastic primer. Cheap, and lasts for several models especially as you are only working on 1/72 &1/76 kits as you've mentioned above. However, if you are painting lighter colours (yellow, red, white for example) use a white primer as these colours are harder to cover using a dark primer.

I have to say a lot of what I'm saying here has been learned through doing what you are doing - asking questions, on BM, at shows, and occasionally I've popped along to my local modelling club. It's also worth spending time doing some research on google and you-tube. I've also invested in a couple of books - Modelling Scale Aircraft (Osprey Publishing ISBN 978-1-84603-237-0) & Airbrushing and Finishing Scale Models (Osprey Publishing ISBN 978-1-84603-199-1). And of course, lots of magazines. One of them might you Fine Scale Modeller. It's an American magazine, available from WH Smiths, but every so often they run articles on airbrushing for beginners, finishes, washes, etc. Might be worth keeping your eye out. I'm by no means an expert, certainly by the measure f some of the RFI kits on here, but I'm proud of what I build, and proud of how far I've come in the last 3 years compared to where I started out and the comparison between kits built in Jan/Feb 2012 to now is light years apart. We al have to start somewhere, and it's that journey that helps to make the hobby fun!

Thanks for your help and time!

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Well Squirrel, you kinda tapped the motherload with that question.. All the guys answers have been born out and developed by their own experiences and all are valid without doubt. Trecker has shown the results of his system and not too shabby a build, not too shabby at all... a super example and build. But at the end of the day there are so many variables in, gravity fed/venturi/ single or double action airbrush, needle size, type of compressor, pressure, how much you thin the paint, how far away from brush to model even how hot or cold the spray area is... its all a bit overwhelming. BUT!!! if you see the models the guys turn out they are all pretty decent and then some.... its all down to, experience.. these guys have got to know their airbrush set up through hours spent building and spraying. There are a few generally agreed principles, having just moved into acrylics I tried distilled water ( no impurities ) result was OK but have tried purpose made thinner and must admit a better result, have yet to settle on a particular brand but will take advice from the previous posts. Thinning to the consistency of milk meant nothing to me but 50/50 makes sense. I use disposable syringes to get the mix just right and then adjust the mix accordingly until I am happy with the result. At the end of the day its what makes YOU happy.. Throw yourself into your airbrush,experiment with it, make notes so you can change things bit by bit to suit your style, and accept sometimes it will go wrong. There is not a single member here that hasn't had that moment when it all goes pear shapped. You just learn from your mistakes and move on. but above all else experience is a journey not a destination, the trick is to enjoy the trip.

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