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mctrl87

Calling all brush/hairystick painters

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Hi All,

I see there is generally lots of information about airbrushing, both here on britmodeller and on the web in general, but there doesn't seem to be nearly as much information about hand brushing. I thought it might be a good idea if we had a topic dedicated to discussing hand brushing where people could ask questions and share advice/techniques.

I hand brush all of my kits except where I use a rattle can for priming / base coats, unfortunately I can't afford an airbrush and even if I could I don't have anywhere suitable to use it without an awful lot of set-up and tidying up afterwards.

I'll start us off, I was wondering what kind of viscosity/consistency is a good starting point for achieving thin layers when brush painting. I have seen all over the web that for airbrushing the general advice is the viscosity/consistency of semi-skimmed milk, is this also true for brush painting as I would have thought this was too runny / watery.

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Advice from better painters than I is that several thin coats are better than one thick one, and the comment about it running off the brush as if it was milk is familiar, if unspecific as to the type of the milk.

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I'm with Graham, sometimes I use the hairy stick for the main paintwork but will give two or three thin coats rather than one thick one. Full fat milk for me!

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I tend to use a 5:1 ratio when thinning my paints for brush painting (Humbrol enamels and Turpentine as thinner) and that normally creates a mix that is thin enough to avoid brush marks but not too thin to require more than 3 coats for good coverage.

I too lack access to an airbrush and after the best part of twenty years don't really fancy going through the learning curve all over again.

Regards

Tom

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I use Vallejo acrylics for most of my hairy stick work. The viscosity varies: I find it's more about flow than thickness, so a bit of flow improver and a bit of water in varying proportions, until it "feels" right. Multiple thin coats are much, much better, and a good brush, soft with plenty of "spring" helps.

HTH,

M

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Use a flat brush. better/quicker coverage. The secret is to keep a "wet edge". Dont keep going back over where you have painted, if your paint is the right consistency it will flatten out nicely. As said thin coats are best. Also different brands behave differently.

sorry if Im teaching you lot to suck eggs.

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This thread's good timing... been meaning to ask this question for a while:

Been modelling for 40+ years and I've always cleaned my brushes with polyclens (or similar). For various complicated reasons I'm thinking of changing to turps or white spirits. I've got distilled turps but that's too expensive as a brush cleaner (and possibly too strong anyway), what's the best cleaner?

TIA

Neil

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This thread's good timing... been meaning to ask this question for a while:

Been modelling for 40+ years and I've always cleaned my brushes with polyclens (or similar). For various complicated reasons I'm thinking of changing to turps or white spirits. I've got distilled turps but that's too expensive as a brush cleaner (and possibly too strong anyway), what's the best cleaner?

TIA

Neil

Turps or White Spirit should be fine as a brush cleaner for Enamels. :)

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I've always used distilled turps for brush cleaning. About £8 for 250ml from the Range, lasts for ages before I need to buy a new bottle. A useful tip I found out is to store brushes tip downwards when drying them after cleaning, surprisingly the glue that holds the bristles in the ferrule isn't waterproof (or solvent proof either) so the less exposure to moisture the better and storing tip downwards lets the liquids drip off.

Regards

Tom

** Edit - I just use water for cleaning on the occasions I use acrylics, mineral solvents like turps tend to cause the acrylics to 'jellify' on the brush and that is a real pain to get cleaned up.**

Edited by TomW

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I use cellulose thinners for cleaning my brushes. A lifetime habit. Costs about £8 for a 5 litre tin.

On technique;

I usually paint with an enamel first, then a second coat is the same colour in acrylic. If its a camo scheme then the second [and third/fourth] colours are acrylics. Or enamel, as mood takes, or if its a colour only available in enamel.

I mainly use the Humbrol paints. I have several commonly used colours in the 3cc pots which I have thinned with Klear. This not only helps them be a thined coat, but it speeds up the drying and adds gloss to a matt colour.

I now add ''flow enhancer'' to every large pot of acrylics as soon as its opened. F/H slows the drying and helps eliminate brush strokes.

I haven't found anything to slow the drying of enamels, but I use Terebine driers to speed up drying in some pots of enamel when I've discovered that they are either very slow at drying or simply refuse to dry at all.

I seem to get away with things that cause problems with others; eg acrylic over enamel, or vice versa, putting on coats of paint before a previous one is full cured dry, mixing wet enamel with wet acrylic to get wood pattern....

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I haven't found anything to slow the drying of enamels, but I use Terebine driers to speed up drying in some pots of enamel when I've discovered that they are either very slow at drying or simply refuse to dry at all.

I never knew such a thing existed, very interesting! Drying/curing time and fumes/toxicity are the two main factors that have pushed me to try Acrylics, thus far with mixed success I might add. Plus Humbrol's formulation problems while outsourcing production of their enamels hasn't helped!

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HI

member 'Plastix' has done some great work with brushed acrylic,

in this thread http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/234968337-two-148-mkvb-spitfires-tamiya-and-airfix-new-spitfire-collection-expansion-project-photo-update-110515/page-6

Hi tmaci6. I use Humbrol and Revell Acrylic paints for the majority of the painting plus occasionally some from Games Workshop's Citadel paints range for bits and pieces ie Nuln Oil for oil stains etc. Also, I don't own an airbrush so to get a smoother finish, thanks to advice from fellow hairy stick painters here on BM, I have started using flat ended brushes for most paint jobs except fine detail work.
These are the brushes I purchased and have found them to be very good:
15006156946_777572164e_c.jpg

It did take me a while to get used to them though so it would be worth practicing on something before trying them on anything important.
Thank you Steve.

Kind regards,

Stix

I should also mention that both Revell's and Humbrol's paints work best when thinned and applied in several thin coats rather than one coat with the paint neat. I use water to thin mine. I put a small amount of water on an old plate and then put some paint also on the plate, but not too near the water and then mix the paint with small amounts of water until I get a consistency I can work with. Unfortunately I cannot give any precise ratios as I do it more by trial and error. Again it would be worth practicing on something you aren't worried about before doing it on the actual Spitfire.

Kind regards,

Stix

there are a load more photos showing how he works in the thread.

There is another very helpful thread as well, when I remember where it is I'll add in in.

But, remember with the acrylic, it will look awful at first, which is why you need multiple thin coats. As has been suggested, you need to get the method right. It's possible as the link shows.

HTH

T

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I've always used distilled turps for brush cleaning.

I use cellulose thinners for cleaning my brushes. A lifetime habit. Costs about £8 for a 5 litre tin.

Thanx guys

Very interesting ... I would have thought both were a bit too strong and would damage the bristles over time. As you say BK, cellulose is cheap as chips and I always use it on enamels for thinners/cleaning with an airbrush so there's an ample supply hanging around :)

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Thanx guys

Very interesting ... I would have thought both were a bit too strong and would damage the bristles over time. As you say BK, cellulose is cheap as chips and I always use it on enamels for thinners/cleaning with an airbrush so there's an ample supply hanging around :)

I'd be careful with using cellulose thinner, in my experience it attacks and destroys the handles of your brushes, even the fumes are enough to cause the handle to become tacky/gunky! :(

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I use white spirit normally, but when there are signs of gunk gathering at the root I clean them using cellulose thinner. Over the years, I think that generally it was excessive and vigorous cleaning that did more damage to the hairs than any particular choice of thinner.

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A google of "Britmodeller painting with acrylic tips" gets these

http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/234934830-brush-painting-tips-for-a-large-area/

This is the one I was thinking of above,

http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/234956915-humbrol-acrylic-any-tips-on-using-them/

Rob Vulcan has some excellent tips in this,

also worth a read

http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/234912126-brushing-tamiya-acrylics/

In my youth I always used enamel, but after some experience with oil based paint around the house I switched to acrylic, all my widow frames are done in it!

It's harder to use, but I really do not like dealing with oil base paint, well the fumes and clear up specifically.

I have an airbrush, but nowhere set up to do this, so I got some flat brushes and used some Humbrol acrylic from a starter set. It was OK, not finished it, more practice is needed, but I can see it being very workable when you get the hang of it.
HTH
T

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I use Humbrol enamels in the little tinlets, I use Humbrol thinners to thin them down in silver foil jam tart cases and clean my brushes using off the shelf white spirits.

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This is a good thread with some useful tips, but there is one problem I have, more so with enamels. How do you stop the bristles of the brush seperating? There is nothing more anoying than trying to paint something intrically and then a paint laden hair springs out and gets every where. I have ruined many a brush with this problem, is it the way I clean them?

All advice gratefully recieved!

Cheers now

Bob

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Use a decent brush first & foremost, cheap & nasty is a false economy. Before you use it for the first time, give a swish or two over some sandpaper to remove any loose hairs.

When you're using it, keep it flat, wiping off excess paint on the side of your mixing pot.

When you clean it, give it a good swirl in your white spirit, shake it off then draw it between your fingers to squeegee off the last of the spirit & let it dry naturally & flat, not stored vertically.

I have found that as the brush gets older it starts to spread & give up the ghost, so then buy a new one.

Hope this helps.

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Just tried out model air paint with a brush(I really like it for the the airbrush) for the first time and it look,s very nice after two coats with a couple of hours

drying between,well thinned Tamiya is my normal choice.

SDC13466%20640x480_zpsxnnjth7m.jpg

I wash acrylic off with very hot water soaking the brush for a minute or two then squeeze dry with kitchen towel and re-shape.

Edited by stevej60

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Aside from spraying my kits with Halfords primer from a can, I brush paint everything.

The biggest improvements I got were from investing in some really good quality, flat brushes; thinning the paint (mostly Revell but also Vallejo & Humbrol) with flow improver and water and; building up the coats thinly - usually 2 but sometimes 3 coats depending on the colour.

Until I get a dedicated hobby space, I'm sticking with the hairy sticks!

Dermot

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... Before you use it for the first time, give a swish or two over some sandpaper to remove any loose hairs.

Thanks for the tip, I'll have to give that a go the next time I get a new brush! :goodjob:

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How do you stop the bristles of the brush seperating? There is nothing more anoying than trying to paint something intrically and then a paint laden hair springs out and gets every where. I have ruined many a brush with this problem, is it the way I clean them?

This seems to be an unavoidable problem no matter what you do, although the quality of brush has an impact. Some brushes come with clear plastic sleeves to fit over the barrel and that helps. I always use them .. until I lose the sleeves, that is!

The general tip is to clean them, then lick your fingertips and smooth the point out with your saliva covered fingers. Oooh sounds gross but it seems to work, for a while anyway

I've read somewhere that the problem lies with the oils in the brush drying out over time. I vaguely remember someone (a very long time ago) suggesting you wash them, then roll the bristles on a soap bar and then shape the point, apparently this helps restore the natural oils.

But I've never tried this technique as I would have thought the soap would react with paint the next time you use the brush.

Neil

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