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Heather's Workbench - The Netherlands, 1940


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I know I could start a whole new thread on the airbrush saga, but there’s a ton of them on BM already. I’ll keep my thoughts here, and eventually I’ll get back to building model aeroplanes, I promise!

 

I really need much longer to try and get to grips with my airbrush. I’ve already said I don’t find the double-action type easy to control, but let me fill in some background so you know where I’m coming from.

 

My First AirbrushTM was a Badger 200 kit. You set the needle to give the spray pattern and size you wanted, adjusted the air pressure on the compressor valve, and just pressed the trigger. I like to think I did some of my best work with that airbrush. Parts were cheap, I bought a fine nozzle and needle set to supplement the standard medium set. I was happy.

 

I felt I could do better, though. Other folk used dual-action airbrushes, so perhaps I was missing out on something. I started investigating what else was available. It took me over five years to make a decision, and I ended up getting a reasonable deal on an Iwata Eclipse. It has a separate cup, and for larger jobs I got the plastic side bottle thrown in. I had a rocky start, but things settled. I got a couple of large loco paint jobs done, although I was essentially using about 20psi and just pulling the trigger right back. No nuance needed, just paint over large areas.

 

I wanted a smaller compressor. Up until now I’d used a semi-pro workshop compressor. It was fine, but couldn’t really give me a reliable pressure reading below 20psi. I settled on a Sparmax Arism, which came with braided hose, dump valve thing and moisture trap. Flat out it gives me 25psi. With the valve, it seems to get down to virtually nothing. Sounds good.

 

I just can’t work with it. Too many variables, from paint type, paint/thinners ratio, pressure setting, trigger setting… it begins to cook my noddle! This weekend I’ve been trying to understand what I’m trying to achieve, but I think I ought to get set up with some food colouring and just sit there playing with it. I’ve tried Xtracrylix (which I’ve used and had good results with before), Humbrol acrylic and Colourcoats (again, good results before). Could I get the paint consistency right? Could I heck as like! So lodges, spattering, and finally air flow restrictions. I ended up doing a deep clean on the airbrush, which fixed the air flow at least. 
 

Another go today, with Colourcoats, and still spattering as I apply air pressure and pull back the trigger. I really cannot cope with a dual-action. I can’t get the control to give me a fine spray, and I end up getting annoyed. I’ve experimented with blocking the trigger travel, with limited success, but there has to be a better way.
 

I have decided I made a mistake with the choice of airbrush. Some years ago I had the chance to try an Iwata Neo pistol grip. That actually felt comfortable to use, and I felt it had good control. Of course, I then went and bought something entirely different! Anyway, I’ve been looking round and found this pistol grip Sparmax job. (I know there are more expensive and probably better versions of the same thing, but I’m not made of money!)

 

The bit that got my attention was this:

 

Quote

Pre-set handle to control colour flow

 

To me, that sounds a lot like my Badger setup. Set the needle size/pattern, then use the trigger to vary the air pressure. Is that right? 
 

Any sage advice and real world experiences would be appreciated before I press the "buy" button and make a mistake again!

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Posted (edited)

I have to admit the first time I tried airbrushes it was dreadful and afair I had a good badger airbrush at the time.
 

Airbrushing and Finishing Scale Models (Modelling Masterclass)

Brett Green

and 

Airbrushing Scale Model Aircraft

Robin Carpenter ( He uses Aztec airbrushes which have a similar pistol grip)

 

We’re my two main references before going in to airbrushing.

 

Display4top Portable Airbrush Gun With Mini Airbrush Air Compressor Kit For Art
Was the airbrush and compressor I got and am still using. Tbh at €30 odd euro it’s worth getting one as a practice set. I find I have to remove the rear barrel when spraying and sometimes do have to fiddle with the mechanism but I get pretty good results.

 

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The albatross and the Junkers JI were both done free hand, the Stuka as you can imagine took a lot of masking.

 

I think Moa may use the pistol grip type airbrush.

 

I have a badger compressor and iwata airbrush I haven’t used yet ( though I did use the compressor to blow up some balking for a graduation party for my daughter)

 

hope that helps a little bit.

Edited by Marklo
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A friend of mine had similar problems and he did a day course with the Airbrush Company at Lancing in Sussex which he says was well worth the money, his airbrushing has improved greatly since. HTH

 

Looking forward to watching you bring the D XXI to life.

 

Stay safe         Roger 

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2 hours ago, Heather Kay said:

 Anyway, I’ve been looking round and found this pistol grip Sparmax job. (I know there are more expensive and probably better versions of the same thing, but I’m not made of money!)

 

 

 

I have this airbrush and I use it all the time when I have to spray big surfaces, like priming and clear coating - not for really fine stuff like mottling in small scale. I have to say I really like it - I love the pistol grip, it's very comfortable. To use it, you just squeeze the trigger: squeeze it a little and a little paint comes out, squeeze it all the way and a lot of paint comes out :)

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22 minutes ago, elger said:

 

I have this airbrush and I use it all the time when I have to spray big surfaces, like priming and clear coating - not for really fine stuff like mottling in small scale. I have to say I really like it - I love the pistol grip, it's very comfortable. To use it, you just squeeze the trigger: squeeze it a little and a little paint comes out, squeeze it all the way and a lot of paint comes out :)

Cool! Since you own one and like it, can you explain how the handle preset works?

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1 hour ago, Heather Kay said:

Cool! Since you own one and like it, can you explain how the handle preset works?

I wish I could but I've never used that feature - I think that you can use that twisty bit at the end there to limit how far you can pull back the needle. If you limit it, it simply prevents you from pulling it back all the way, and that way you can limit the amount of paint that can come out.

 

But as I said I never use this feature, mainly because the trigger is quite intuitive in my experience; as I mentioned, pulling it back a bit gives a little bit of paint, pulling it back all the way sets it to full blast. A bit like a throttle lever.

 

Unlike a regular double action airbrush where you have to push the lever to make the air flow, and then you pull the lever back to move the needle to make the paint flow, with this it's all a single motion - the air starts flowing automatically when you start to pull the trigger back a little.

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I might also recommend something like the single action Paasche H, Heather. @Navy Bird uses one for most of his painting showing that dual action is not necessary or even desirable in some cases. With a single action you pre-set the needle position and it stays there until you adjust it - it's funny how a really fancy dual action airbrush comes with the trigger stop that really just makes it act more like a single action. It takes a little bit of work to 'dial in' a single action, but once it's there, you just have to press the button for air and you're good to go.

 

If Colourcoats is splattering, it's probably not down to your technique - it may be reacting with something left behind in the brush. Cellulose thinners are good for blowing out Colourcoats clogs in an airbrush, but use their thinner to actually thin the paint. You have to be patient with enamels because they stay sticky for a while, especially glosses.

 

Another thing I'd recommend, is an inline MAC valve/quick release combo. That way you can just leave your compressor set to 30 psi or so and do all the adjusting with the MAC valve. Thinner paint tends to like lower pressure and vice versa for thicker paint - but not always. With a MAC valve, if things aren't spraying quite how you'd like, give it a quarter turn in one direction. If it gets worse, go back that quarter turn then give it another quarter turn the other way. You'll be amazed at how quickly you can dial things in this way, and it covers a multitude of paint/thinner ratio sins (within reason of course).

 

Sorry for droning on Heather, hopefully a little of this was useful anyway!

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15 minutes ago, Cookenbacher said:

I might also recommend something like the single action Paasche H

Hmm, I’ll take a look. Ta. :like:

 

I do use CC's own thinners for their paint. I’ve taken the view that I should try to use the appropriate thinner for each manufacturer these days. I think the airbrush had been clogged for a bit, since I switch between acrylic and enamel with only a fairly cursory squirt through with thinners. I suspect there was a reaction with paint residue inside the brush. After I found out how to extract the nozzle and dunked it in some cleaner it started to work a bit better. It may need a bit more of a deep clean, but getting gunk out of minute spaces without damaging something critical - perhaps Billy-puss might donate one of his whiskers as a probe!

 

Now, the MAC valve is what came with the Sparmax compressor, but I couldn’t remember what it was called. I’ve been trying to learn how to make it work. Maybe it’s me, getting frustrated with things, but it doesn’t seem to give much variance between full pressure and no pressure. Lack of practice on my part I think.

 

I have a plan to get some food colouring and just sit playing with the setup until I feel I have some control. I will still research alternative airbrushes, though. Double-action really doesn’t suit my fingers.

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I know it might not help much Heather, but when I started needing to use an airbrush alot, I didn't have the money for a good Airbrush like an Iwata. I had to settle for bargain basement. I figured I could relearn from that then when I could I'd get a "Good"

airbrush. But it's actually held up better than an expensive set. 5 years on and aside from a good cleaning every so often hasn't failed me yet. The company's here in the States they do ship globally.

https://tcpglobal.com/collections/airbrushes-gravity-feed-master-airbrush/products/mas-g222-set

 They have a little bit of everything.

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Hello Heather,

You probably already know but if not take a look at Paul Budzik;s  Scale Model Workshop on Youtube, he has a few short videoson airbrushing that might help

 

Box On

 

Strickers

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Right, back to some styrene bothering.

 

49983069318_3c141c4dd1_b.jpg

 

:hmmm:

 

I think I understand what’s going on. Thing is I didn’t intend to use the resin parts if I could help it. Ooh, there’s some scratchbuilding to do as well. Most of the resin parts are replicated, albeit fairly low relief, in the plastic. Hmm.

 

49983069418_f592f32060_b.jpg

 

Well, I thought it worth a while seeing if the resin bits worked. As I expected, the cockpit really won’t fit in the fuselage with the side panels in place. Having reviewed what we have, I think I will fix the resin side walls to the fuselage, to beef things up there, and use the plastic bits for the basic tub. Other resin detail parts will come into play as well, for the seat, radio pack and rollover cage. Once lost under the canopy it should look okay. While I was about it, I stuck the wing parts together.


Like most short run kits of this type, there are no clear location points moulded anywhere. Unlike the Koolhoven I built recently, the cockpit tub will only fit in one place, so that’s a help.

 

The colour call-outs say "grey" for the interior. With nothing further to go on, I decided to use Humbrol 240, which is their analogue for RLM02. I mentioned earlier you can download a colour PDF of the instructions: well, that is for the 1/48th scale kit, but the paint diagrams are what I’m after.

 

Time for paying work.

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Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, LorenSharp said:

I had to settle for bargain basement. I figured I could relearn from that then when I could I'd get a "Good"

airbrush.

That looks suspiciously like my airbrush.

 

I also try to keep the airbrush squeaky clean and every few sessions I strip it down and leave it to soak overnight in water and washing up liquid. Then dry it off scotch brite  the needle and reassemble. I also stick to acrylics Tamiya, Gunze and Humbrol. Even those can buildup in the nozzle and cause odd results.

 

I’d be wary of switching from enamels to acrylics without a thorough clean I’d expect them to react together. Also I’ve never actually successfully sprayed enamels anyway so that’s outside of my airbrushing experience.

Edited by Marklo
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19 minutes ago, Marklo said:

I also try to keep the airbrush squeaky clean

It's another point in favour of hairy sticks|

 

I usually try to work with one type of paint per session, if I'm honest. Squirting the appropriate thinners through between colour changes, and at the end of the session I take the brush apart and clean most of it. It's all such a faff, and when you add in masking, is it any wonder I prefer to use a traditional brush for most jobs? :cwl:

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Posted (edited)

Ah well,  live and let live and each to their own. I’m a born again airbrushist( if that’s a word, which I’m fairly sure isn’t) I actually enjoy using it and haven’t used a hairy stick for anything bigger than a seat in about a year.

 

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I sort of enjoy things like this, but then again again I like rigging and carving propellors too :) 

Edited by Marklo
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Nice to see you back on the Fokker after a detour. Welcome (back) to the brush-paint club! 

 

I've grown to like Humbrol and Revell acrylics, despite their numerous annoyances, because they do seem to dry to a robust state really quickly. I only used Colourcoats once, so I can't comment on them, but I learned to leave Humbrol enamel topcoats at least overnight before even touching them. As a rule of thumb, if I can still smell the paint, putty or glue, I take that as a sign that it isn't ready to mess with!

 

Somewhere in the garage I do have a cheapo ebay compressor that came with two no-name airbrushes. Tried it a couple of times, quite liked the results but couldn't be bothered with the fuss. My hobby is making models, not care and feeding of airbrushes with a minor in masking. If I want spray, I have rattlecans and a garden for a spray booth.

 

Horses for courses I guess, and sorry for the rambling diversion. Back to things Dutch!

 

Regards,

Adrian

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For the resin? Is it worth chopping just the sidewall details you like the look of out of the resin and simply gluing them to the plastic fuselage sides? Might save a lot of scraping...

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2 minutes ago, AdrianMF said:

For the resin? Is it worth chopping just the sidewall details you like the look of out of the resin and simply gluing them to the plastic fuselage sides? Might save a lot of scraping...

The resin sidewalls are fairly thin, and I reckon shaving a bit off each end will let them fit. It’s a shame the cast tub is too wide as it has some good depth to the tubular frame. 
 

I just clocked the scratchbuilding info on the instructions. It tells me the diameter of the required material but completely fails to tell me how long the parts should be! :facepalm:

 

Anyway, back to the paying work! 

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Sorry to hear about your woes with the airbrush Heather :( 

 

I must admit I'm wavering at the moment; having 'converted' to AB some time ago I'm now re-visiting brush painting, mainly using up my stock of Humbrol. 

For me the big difference is that I get a good result in one airbrush session - brush painting multiple thin coats tries my patience - and I don't have much of that!

Cleaning though is the 'secret' - I often curse myself when I come to use my AB and it misbehaves after a 'too quick clean up' in the previous session.

One thing I find great for nozzle cleaning is one of those very sharp 'needle tools' in the gold casing. Hold it vertically needle up, drop the nozzle on top, rotate the nozzle gently and watch the worms come out! Don't press down though as this can damage the nozzle.

Dental paper points are also great for nozzle cleaning - I use #30 for 0.2mm and #60 for 0.4. If you buy this sort you also get some little boxes!

 

Cookie's already mentioned the MAC valve and he did a great detailed explanation of it for me here. He did say only read it if you don't mind the boring stuff :D 

 

All that said, if I could achieve your results with a brush I probably wouldn't bother!

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55 minutes ago, CedB said:

For me the big difference is that I get a good result in one airbrush session - brush painting multiple thin coats tries my patience - and I don't have much of that!

See, I find dabbing away with brush calming and therapeutic. Horses very much for courses, I think. :penguin:

 

Thanks for the advice, though. I’m going to persevere, though I think I may well end up just using the AB for varnish application. Even then, I seem to find the end result just too flat and uniform, where brushing the stuff gives life to the model. Painting locos and rolling stock works well with airbrushing because it’s essentially vast areas of single colours, and very limited masking required in most cases.

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A little time this evening, before my eyes got too tired and patience too thin.

 

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Three styrene parts made up the basic tub. As ever, no indication is given whether the end plates go on top or on the end of the floor. Would it really hurt the designers to engineer proper and obvious location points in these kits?  In the end, juggling it to fit in the fuselage half got it to work. The cast side walls were trimmed and fitted neatly. There’s a gap at floor level, but you’ll never ever see it once it’s all buttoned up. A cross wall somehow fits behind where the seat goes. Anyone's guess as to where, frankly. To the top of that is a very fine cast of a rollover bar. Another fine cast rod runs across diagonally from the bar to the back bulkhead. The small block, currently on the bench in front with the seat, which I think is the radio, sits across the cockpit behind the rollover bar. I’ve dropped a block of Evergreen strip on the floor where the cast seat will go, because it won’t perch on the moulded peg.

 

It is a bit of a fiddle, but I think it works. Once things are painted, the PE belts and IP installed and the fuselage joined together, I can make a vee-shaped brace from the top of the rollover bar to the rear bulkhead. 

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Ah, therapy, I could do with some of that! :) 

 

Nice work on the internals Heather. Pretty complicated isn’t it?

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Lovely work Heather :like:

 

I can vouch for the Pasche H as well, being cheap, robust, easy to maintain and does a good job. The problem I had with it was it's size, I prefer something a bit more dainty, I did use a Badger 155 for quite a while but now I've found my comfort zone with the Badger 100's and a Sotar 2020, medium, fine and extra fine as I'm to lazy to change needles. When choosing an airbrush one way to look at it is that it's a hairy stick with out the hair, and a hairy stick is just a glorified pencil, so how you hold your pencil will help you decide on a longer or shorter body airbrush. Another thing is that most 'dual action' airbrushes are not truly dual actions, as a true dual action means that you adjust both the paint and airflow with the trigger, whereas most airbrushes you can only adjust the paint flow, with the amount of airflow being externally adjusted, as with a Mac valve.

 

Paint splatter can be a sign of either paint not being mixed properly with the thinner, the paint not thinned enough and/or the air pressure is to low. Mind you I have a couple of tins of WEM's paints that won't spray no matter how I do things while the rest are fine. The Rule of thumb is to thin the paint till you think it's to thin, then thin it some more. a general rule of thumb I have is 3:1 thinner to paint ratio to start with, then add either paint or thinner as required from there, I never ever load up my cup and spray right onto the model, instead I have kind of a base matte in my booth that I use to paint on and tweak things with, but I do mix my paints in the cup, adding the thinner with a dropper then using a flat tooth pic I  add drops of paint then spin it to mix the paint, after which, using a Qtip to plug then end of the nozzle, I bow air back into the cup at very low pressure. Not necessarily a recommended procedure and perilous when it come to fine needles (in which case I just press my fingernail onto the desk top, stick the tip of the needle in between and give it a spin or 2 till it's straight again) but it works for me. My general working Pressure is somewhere between 15-20 psi, lower for finer work  Over time, if you stick with it, you'll find it's like baking, in the beginning there is the measure of this and a measure of that, but after a period it becomes a pinch of this and a dash of that as there really is a fair amount of leeway in the mixes.

 

For clean up I just use either lacquer thinner or 70% IPA depending on the type of paint (lacquer thinner with Vallejo believe it or not), a dropper and a Qtip, first I flush out the remaining paint if there is any, then I add a few drops of

the cleaner, dip a Qtip in it then scrub out the cup, next I pull the needle and wipe it off with a Qtip dipped in cleaner. I also like to flush out the tip with a dropper of cleaner then wipe out the cup with a Qtip, after which I reinsert the needle. I find it advisable to pull the needle and clean it each time as it's best to clean the shaft while the paint is still wet if there is any that ends up there, or it's use a pair of pliers to force-ably remove it at a latter point.

 

My model building habits were formed at an early age with small bottles and paint brushes so I like to paint as I go more or less, rather then save things up for one big session, so while all the above may seem a bit complicated and time consuming but it is really quite quick and dirty, I can fix a boo boo in under 5 minutes. But like most everything in this hobby there is truly no right or wrong way, just what works and doesn't.........more or less.

 

Enjoying your threads as always :cheers:

 

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13 hours ago, Heather Kay said:

See, I find dabbing away with brush calming and therapeutic

Gday Heather, I couldn't agree more, I've only just started modelling again and started by learning with an airbrush. 30 years ago it would be brush for smaller scale and spray can for larger but mainly the use of a brush - definitely a relaxing experience....

I'm still learning airbrush, apart from the tedious cleaning/set up regime, the kids, wife and cats are definitely not keen on the discharging of the relief valve !!

 

Anyway, for what its worth, I think your work with the brush is great !!

 

Cheers

 

JJ

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If you can figure out those instructions, you can certainly figure out an airbrush! That little lot made my head spin!

 

Coming along very nicely despite the lack of proper guidance. (A problem we all apparently suffered from years ago!)

 

Ian

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