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AltcarBoB

It's over the airbrush has to go

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I have been struggling for nearly a year to get the hang of my airbrush. I cannot get a consistent finish or it clogs and splatters or leaves a gritty finish. 

 

I have practiced, practiced some more read blogs watched videos practiced again and nearly launched the airbrush down the garden. 

 

It's started to ruin my enjoyment in building kits, getting towards the end of construction and I start to feel the pressure. The last three kits I have gone back to the hairy sticks and it's been enjoyable again I look forward to splashing paint and I am not too bad at it.

 

So it's time for us to part ways the airbrush has to go the only problem who gets to keep the compressor.

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What paints have you been struggling with?

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Also, what airbrush have you been using? It's the one area I'd suggest going for the best you can afford right off the bat instead of trying airbrushing out with a cheapie, which can kill your enthusiasm very quickly!

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1 hour ago, Tony Oliver said:

What paints have you been struggling with?

Acrylics, Vallejo, Humbrol and Citadel I am not too bad with enamels but I don't want to use stinky paint and thinners that give me asthma.

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1 hour ago, Avgas said:

Also, what airbrush have you been using? It's the one area I'd suggest going for the best you can afford right off the bat instead of trying airbrushing out with a cheapie, which can kill your enthusiasm very quickly!

H&S Ultra with 0.2 and 0.4 nozzles running off a 2 litre compressor. 

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I have tried rattle cans on several occasions and done pretty well so in future if I absolutely have to spray some paint I will be going to the auto parts shop and browsing the catalogue.

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Rather than writing off the airbrush setup just yet, find someone who has the same brush and let them play with it, it might be that it’s down to your technique that’s the problem or the brush might be at fault. You’ll find out and what you need to do to sort the problem. 

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Posted (edited)

Before taking such drastic action, have you considered switching to enamels?  I ditched acrylics* ages ago and never looked back. Gone are the days of nozzle clog, paint beading on the surface of the model, paint coming off in chunks when the masking tape is removed and paint wearing off with light handling. In my experience, Vallejo paints were amongst the worst I've encountered. I have no idea how people put up with their foibles! They may not smell, but boy, do they stink!

 

I mostly use Colourcoats, Humbrol and my old collection of Gloy, Compucolor and DBI enamels. Drying time can be lessened by adding a few drops of Rustins Dryers, though if you use Colourcoats's own brand of thinners with their paint, the drying time is comparable to many acrylics. It really is that good.

 

I know that some don't like the smell of the thinners associated with enables, but if you're using paints such as Tamiya and Gunze, you'll probably get better results with Mr Leveling Thinner anyway, which is a pretty hot thinner with a comparable amount of odour.

 

* the only water-based acrylics I still use are Aeromaster/Polly Scale. I'm not sure what ingredients they used, but I found them to be a cinch to use (with a few drops of Slo-Dry) and were hard-wearing and stayed put on the model. Such a shame they were discontinued.

 

Cheers,

Mark.

 

edit: just saw you post about asthma. I assume you're using an extractor and respirator? I wouldn't spray anything without either. 

 

 

Edited by lasermonkey

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9 minutes ago, lasermonkey said:

Before taking such drastic action, have you considered switching to enamels?

Not being picky, but he did say no to enamels because of the smell and his asthma.

One paint that I didn't see you mention is Tamiya. Even though I have a lot of the other acrylics, Tamiya is my go to paint for spraying. I don't like them for brushing though. I use a couple of Iwata brushes and although I have had clog ups with some acrylics, I've never had it with Tamiya. Give them a try.

 

John.

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How do you get on spraying water through your airbrush? I know it sounds daft but if it doesn't spray water nicely then the problem might not be with your technique at all. Insufficiently thinned paint and dirty airbrushes are the most common causes of problems for newcomers to airbrushes. It can be quite surprising to see how thin the paint has to be to spray nicely (especially through a 0.2mm nozzle, I'd stick with the 0.4mm with acrylics anyway).

 

I hope that helps, it can be very frustrating to begin with and I can still remember that same nervous pressure when approaching the painting stage but once you get into the swing of it everything just seems to click into place as it were. 

 

Duncan B

 

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I find Tamiya or Gunze both work fine in my Ultra (or my Evolution), or even the two makes mixed!  But any of the other acrylics need more care in thinning and use I've found, even or especially if they say "airbrush ready"...

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If I were to hazard a guess it sound to me like first, Acrylics are finicky to start with, so combination of not thoroughly mixed with the thinner and/or not thin enough, also I wouldn't doubt tip dry being a major factor.  Vallejo can be a touch tricky to get used to but it does spray nicely if you use it's thinner once you get the hang of it. The art of acrylics I find is to keep a Qtip and some open IPA (both the beer and isopropyl) handy, when it seems to struggle slightly aim it at something like a paper towel and give a full blast after which dip the QTip in the IPA and use it to clean the nozzle and needle off.  The trick is to catch it before it spits, and you will know that is about to happen as you will start to have to pull the needle back farther to get the paint to move.

On the other hand there are some damn good hairy stick manipulators out there..........

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I'm also an acrylic fan for the same smelly reasons.  :who-let-rip:

 

I had tried numerous different brands of acrylics with mixed results.  Finally, I tried Mission Models paints.  End of story.  I've switched over to them completely except for the times when I need something  rather specialized.  Of course, with Mission Models expanding their range of colors almost daily, the need to resort to other paints is becoming less and less.  I use them in both my H&S Evolutions with both the 0.2 and 0.4mm needles and in my Infinity CR+ with the 0.15 and 0.2mm needles.  I have the Infinity style crown cap on both my Evolutions and the Infinity CR+ but I remove it when spraying and I've had no serious  tip dry issues.  I keep a cotton bud with MM Thinner/Reducer handy and if any issues arise (rarely), I just give a gentle wipe the needle tip and continue.  Just have to be a bit careful that you don't hit the needle since with the cap off, it's out there exposed.

 

Check Youtube for excellent videos from MM regarding how to use their paints as they're a bit different from any other acrylics that I had ever used.  :thumbsup:

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@lasermonkey

 

Interesting you mention Gloy. Not tried them through the airbrush. How do you find them? I find them great to brush with, and as for DBI, I find them so good to brush that I couldn't better with an airbrush.

 

Steve

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I've sprayed with them a fair few times, usually with just white spirit as a thinner, but with a few drops of Rustins Driers added. It takes ages to dry otherwise! I did go to use some gloss Maroon the other day and the only thinner that successfully worked with that was Mr Levelling Thinner. Everything else I tried with it went gloopy. Not sure what was going on there!

 

Cheers,

Mark.

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Posted (edited)

I used to use an airbrush.   But then as I got older my air started falling out.....

 

PZ5013_l.jpg

Edited by IanHx

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IMO, Jamie’s comments are where you should now start. Just use straight thinner or water through your AB and see what happens. If all goes well add some food dye and start shooting this thin mix onto some paper towel. Practice some squiggles and straight lines and get your confidence up, as it sounds like that needs a pep up as well. 
 

When you’ve mastered that (and you will) mix a batch of thinned paint and pour this into your AB. I always add the paint to the thinner rather than the other way around. Adjust the air and start spraying. When this starts to work, try to keep everything at a consistent setting. You will get the feel of it when things are right. 
 

My real ‘aha’ moment came when I switched to using Gunze’s Mr Color Leveling thinner, however that won’t help your asthma or overall life longevity! 
 

Cheers and good luck.. Dave 

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Thanks for all the kind useful advice but I really have got to the point where I just want rid of the airbrush.

 

I enjoy working with hairy sticks yesterday I spent ages carefully replicating Italian splotchy green over sand desert camo on a Breda Ba65. I could have done it quicker with an airbrush and probably better but I know I wouldn't have enjoyed it. 

 

The airbrush is going onto eBay and I will use the money to buy some new Winsor & Newton brushes.

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If you are looking for good sable paint brushes then give AS Handover a look. They have an excellent range (not just sable) and are my paint brushes of choice.

 

Their sables have the best points I have ever used, well bodied and long to hold paint, keep their point and shape. They are the longest lasting brushes I have.

 

AS Handover.

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Do you already have asthma? Reason I ask is because you said you don't want the stinky paints to give you asthma. If you don't have it, all you need is a good mask and you certainly won't get asthma from painting. As for the airbrushing I seem to read a lot of people lately in the forum are struggling to get to grips with using an airbrush and I always seem to see that they're using acrylics. I'm sure there is a link between acrylics and people struggling to airbrush them, using all sorts of retarders and flow improvers to help matters and still not having any success. I'm sure the acrylics are the problem, not the airbrush. I'm lucky as I'm competent and never have any trouble with most types of paint through an airbrush. I hate to see people struggling to paint and sometimes wish I could just be there and show them how to airbrush. Maybe I could make a video lesson or something?? All I can say is the airbrush is just a tool to master and once you do it's invaluable. Essential to build models, no, but invaluable non the less..

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I feel your pain, I struggled for ages with an Iwata airbrush, nearly lashing it in the bin, then I swapped from acrylics to enamel.

Problem solved.

I'm sure that its possible to spray acrylics but i just never could.

And yes, get a good mask.

Or spray outside, this means only painting in summer though.

 

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Guys this thread is interesting, I also have struggled with airbrushes using velejo. I have 2 brushes, an aztec and a H&S, never considered going back to enamels though I do have a good collection. 

What thinner do I use for enamels? White spirit? or something else? 

I get on better with the H&S than the aztec but there isn't a lot in it,both are getting close to going on evilbay. 

Thoughts.

G

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I read a lot about people who struggle with Vallejo paints, getting tip dry, clogging, blocked airbrush etc and it is frustrating. I never had any problems using Vallejo Air, but the main difference I think is that many who struggle are maybe painting aeroplanes/armoured vehicles with camouflage schemes, where they may need to close the nozzle and use really low pressures to achieve very fine lines/coverage. I believe that is the situation when acrylics can become troublesome as they can dry in the tip and clog the airbrush due to the paint coming out through an almost closed nozzle. Myself I used Vallejo for larger car model parts, so i never needed to spray fine lines and stuff. My tip was always 0.5mm and way open to get good coverage. I'm sure this is why i never suffered the same problems, the paint never dried in the tip because it was always wet and flowing and practically couldn't dry. Enamels by nature dry slower than acrylics so I would assume that may alleviate some of the issues associated with faster drying acrylics. I've moved over now to mostly Mr Color lacquer paints and these do spray perfectly and easily. However the smell and stronger nature necessitates use of an extractor and a good mask. They're not something you want to spray inside your house for example without the right kit. I would say to anyone using an airbrush to keep trying. It's a tool, that's all, and one that when mastered can truly give some amazing results. I'm lucky. I used to paint full size cars as my job, so when it came to airbrushing models I had the basics nailed down already. The transition from spray gun to airbrush was pretty straightforward. But I know that using an airbrush to many can be a real trying experience and I always say that if those first few attempts are a disaster, you'll probably not carry on using an airbrush..

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I've rarely had a problem spraying Tamiya acrylics with many different airbrushes. I hate brush painting with them though.

 

Revell Acrylics are good once you get the thinning right.

 

I fancy trying to spray enamels next...

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