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More accurate / detailed spraying = Smaller needle / nozzle set?


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Hi model makers,

I currently have a .35mm airbrush and want to be more accurate with spraying, now that i am used to airbrushing.

Is it a case of getting a smaller needle / nozzle set to put into airbrush or do i need a new airbrush?

 

I am about to try out black basing then spraying each panel on a MIG31, so any help would be appriciated.

 

Thanks

James

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  • James Palmer changed the title to More accurate / detailed spraying = Smaller needle / nozzle set?
13 hours ago, James Palmer said:

Is it a case of getting a smaller needle / nozzle set to put into airbrush or do i need a new airbrush?

Not necessarily either - the lines you get from a smaller needle/nozzle won't by default be any finer. 

The width of the smallest line possible is as much dependent on the paint used, fineness of the pigment, thinning ratio, air pressure etc as it is on needle/nozzle size.

If your airbrush has an needle movement restrictor with which you can set the trigger movement this will help greatly with airbrushing consistent fine lines without getting cramp in your hand, it enables you to set the trigger position for the line width you want, so you can pull it back fully without having to find and maintain the correct position.

In summary, you will want:-

Paint with fine pigment, well thinned

Low operating pressure (as low as possible consistent with paint atomisation)

Trigger open just enough to allow minimum paint flow.

Airbrush as close as possible to the surface being painted - this can be reduced by removing the needle protection cap on the front of the airbrush, but leaves you vulnerable to needle tip damage as it isn't now fully exposed.

I have a 0.35mm nozzle in my airbrush and lines down to 1mm are straightforward, as is freehand 1:72 scale soft edge camouflage patterns, it just takes practice. 

I'd suggest experimenting and practicing with the airbrush you have to see what you can achieve before splashing out on new kit - a smaller needle/nozzle won't automatically give you lovely fine lines. 

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7 minutes ago, Dave Swindell said:

a smaller needle/nozzle won't automatically give you lovely fine lines

Very true - and it may cause you more problems with spraying in general. Some water based acrylics don't seem to play well with fine nozzles ... if you are going to use a 2mm or 1.5mm nozzle you probably want to be using enamels or lacquer paints. A lot of the top end fine nozzle airbrushes are designed for graphic artists who use ink.

 

Cheers

 

Colin

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I use a 0.18 Iwata airbrush and going small from 0.2 has been a revelation to my airbrushing and it gets used for every thing 'cept "varnishing" and priming.

 

And yes with the right paint will give very fine lines, the issue is are you steady enough of hand to make use of the facility, this is where I am concentrating my efforts to spray sans masking those 1/72 scale seat belts.

 

For me these small nozzled airbrushes and enamel paints were created in heaven and were made for our game, I have just done the paintwork over black  and dark grey primed with mottled undercoats on the Special Hobby's Tempest V all done with 0.18 nozzle and was in no way disadvantaged.

 

I like to spray small and close and as has been said low air pressure and volume are key as well as paint thickness which is true of all spray paint.

 

I use enamels almost exclusively with the odd foray into lacquers and they work exceptionally well in the small nozzled airbrush, for me "Acrylics" are a fiddle on too far with too fragile a finish to make them suitable model paints. I have never tried them in the 0.18 as I have too much respect for my airbrush and models, to all those who use these paints with aplomb good luck to you, so I would heed the advice given above if "acrylics" are your chosen poison as I suspect from experience there is something in what is said.

 

Using a small nozzled airbrush has now made airbrushing an integral part of the build rather than just a covering/finishing tool.

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Just to say that I found my Iwata 018 far easier to spray fine lines with than my Iwata Hi-Line CP-CH which will also spray a pretty fine line the ).18 CM-B does it far easier as the sweet spot on the trigger is far easier to find and hold so it makes keeping that spray a doddle and you can just concentrate on your hold rather than your hold and keeping the spray right. The CM does seem to be designed for fine spraying more than the larger needled Iwata.

 

Just as buying an airbrush won't instantly give you a fine finish however with the CM_B doing fine lines with ease came straight away it must be its ergonomics and a trigger than has  bigger sweet spot on Its travel.

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12 hours ago, James Palmer said:

I will have a crack with a lower pressure and close to the surface and practice first and see how that goes.

Remember you might need to thin your paint more to suit working at lower pressure - the secret is getting the balance of pressure/distance/paintmix. Its a lot of trial and error, so don't worry if you can't get it first go! 

 

Cheers

 

Colin

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