Customs: Airbrushing Tips

Discussion in 'Creative General Discussion' started by fschuler, Feb 5, 2007.

  1. fschuler

    fschuler Member TFW2005 Supporter

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    Howdy,

    I've got a few repaint jobs coming up for which I feel an airbrush would be the only way to go. That said, who here uses an airbrush? What kind? Single/double action?

    I've seen the inexpensive units in Walmart, etc., but am really skeptical as to the quality and control afforded by those products. Anyone here tried one of those?

    I don't want to spend a buttload of $$ on one, but I don't want to end up with something that will let me down either. Thoughts? Recommendations?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Ravenxl7

    Ravenxl7 W.A.F.F.L.E.O.

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    I haven't used it yet, but I've got one of the 20 buck Testors units from Walmart. I've read that it's pretty easy and good to use. I'll post some comments on it later after I actually use the thing. Peace out.
     
  3. mr_boogalooba

    mr_boogalooba Well-Known Member

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    yeah I also would to know if airbrush is a good way to repaint !! For now I use Tamiya spray cans to replace the airbrush technic...but it's not the same thing heheheh ;) 
     
  4. Night Flame

    Night Flame TFW2005 Supporter

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    I've been down the airbrushing road numerous times. I used to buy them to repaint guitars, now I buy them to repaint toys.

    While the cheap airbrushes work so-so for large area jobs, they are pretty much worthless for detail work. And, when it comes to toy repaints, sooner or later you're going to wish you had fine control.

    I've went through about four Testors type airbrushes, a couple of cheap Badger airbrushes, and finally, my latest, has been an Iawata double action BCS Eclipse. Trust me when I tell you, the difference between cheap and not-so-cheap is worth it. Also, get a good compressor with a pressure control and an air-tank to smooth out the roughness of the pump. Then you're capable of doing anything with the tool that you have.

    As far as tips go, once you have equipment that works well, the best tip I've got is practice your face off before tackling that dream project. I'm serious. Use the same paints you plan on using on your project, because you'd be shocked about how different different types of paint react in an airbrush. Get your mixes right, and if the paint is lumpy, strain it. No kidding, one lump can make a huge mess with a good airbrush.

    Get yourself some posterboard and something to lean it against and go to town for a few weeks until you're happy with your technique. That's the best advice I've got. Control is going to seem impossible the first couple of times you fire it up, especially in the case of a good double action, because there's a lot of delicacy involved. But within a few minutes you'll start to catch on how to get the air flowing first, how to pull through the stroke, how to open and close the paint-flow while not stopping your movement, and how to keep from causing drip or underspray.

    There's a lot to airbrushing, but it's a very satisfactory endeavor. Sometimes it's the best way to get a nice smooth coat without a lot of polishing after the fact.

    One last thing, don't airbrush indoors without a good paint-booth or ventilation of some kind. Especially if you're using lacquer or enamel. The atomization of paint in a good airbrush is very effective at making toxic chemicals easily sucked into the human lung. And some of those chemicals build up in the body over time rather than just being present for the moment you're in the midst of them.

    I've been practicing my airbrushing for about seven months now and I'm hoping by mid-spring I'll be good enough to start tackling my own dream toy project. Good luck to you.
     
  5. fschuler

    fschuler Member TFW2005 Supporter

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    Night Flame, dude, thanks for the information.

    I'm thinking about getting a decent airbrush, and I have access to some small air compressors that I think will work well (I'll just have to add an air tank and pressure control).

    I plan to use it for any toy painting I do, but specifically, I have some Gundams that I would like to be able to put some very smooth coats of paint on. Thanks for the input.
     
  6. Katamari Prime

    Katamari Prime Hassan Chop! TFW2005 Supporter

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    One thing that makes things easier: Primer. A good primer coat saves you time, paint, and sanity. And with arts you need to do additional work on: Masking Tape.
     
  7. mr_boogalooba

    mr_boogalooba Well-Known Member

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    Great infos Night Flame !! I'll save this post for future purposes ^___^
     
  8. Night Flame

    Night Flame TFW2005 Supporter

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    Both true. And with plastic, even primer works better if you sand it rough first. Not much, but a quick rub-down with steel wool to take the shine off makes everything else go better.
     
  9. Ops_was_a_truck

    Ops_was_a_truck JOOOLIE ANDREWWWWWS!!!!!!

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    Night Flame's pretty much got it covered. I'll add what little I know...

    First off, I simply don't use an airbrush. At the risk of sounding pretentious, I think my stuff looks fine without one and I've practiced enough hand-brushing techniques (and mastered the Zen of the Krylon) that I can get nearly all the airbrushing looks I'd want without one. I've met TONS of IPMS members and other model-builders that have gone their whole model-building careers without using an airbrush, so trust me - you can just as easily make fantastic models and kitbashes and etc. without them. Also, I want to disclaim that I have nothing for or against airbrush artists - some folks got the knack; I don't. It's, quite honestly, a personal choice.

    Night Flame is definitely spot on with the quality factor - you really do get what you pay for with an airbrush. It's worth it to practice with the Wal-Mart or Micheals cheapo one for a few months (years?) but once you feel like you're ready for a professional one, it's worth it to upgrade. I had a buddy that used airbrushing to do all the camoflage for his award-winning World War 2 planes and OMFG...the difference with an airbrush is amazingly noticeable.

    Practice REALLY does make perfect with airbrushes, too. There's no limit to what you can accomplish with a light douse of airbrushed paint and the right masking, but that takes some practice and patience. Hell, even flubs look good with airbrushing, too!

    Remember to go light - you can add paint, but it's MUCH HARDER to take paint away.
     
  10. C. Wallace

    C. Wallace Freelance Artist

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    As a professional Illustrator and model builder that uses an airbrush almost daily, I would like to add my two cents.

    I own 3 high end Iwata airbrushes, the HPA, HPC and HPBC, they are fantastic top quality pieces of equipment.

    With that said, I find myself more and more leaning toward my Aztek airbrush. Mostly for ease of use.

    You can run ANY type of paint through it, it cleans easy, and the interchangeable tips are a genius part of it's design.

    Taking apart an Iwata can be a huge chore, cleaning it completely can drive you close to insane, and your limited as to the types of paints you can use as some laquers/enamels can erode the seals in the unit.

    For ease of maintainance and great output for illustration work or models, I have to recommend the Aztek.
     
  11. Greyryder

    Greyryder Kitbashed

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    The seals in the newer Iwatas are teflon, and aren't damaged by solvent based paints. (or so says Iwata) I'm surprised that stuff didn't melt the Aztek comletely. Some people will actually run Krylon Fusion through their airbrushes. That stuff will damage an Aztek.

    Personally, I find that being able to dissasemble an airbrush makes it a lot easier to clean. I had one of Testors super low end Aztek style airbrushes, and hated cleaning that thing. Not being able to take it apart meant that all I could do was run cleaners and water through it, and hope that it was clean. I also had a hard time keeping a hold of the so called "ergonomic grip"

    Don't even get me started on those &%$@#(*& plastic nozzles.

    I'll keep the plastic in my kitbashes, and not my airbrush.
     
  12. C. Wallace

    C. Wallace Freelance Artist

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    I wouldn't trade my Aztek for the world. BTW, fusion will not hurt it at all, and you can completely disassemble it if need be.

    Not sure what problem your having with the plastic nozzles, but the fact that when your done you can take them out and drop them right into a jar of thinner to soak clean make maintainance all that much easier.
     
  13. Night Flame

    Night Flame TFW2005 Supporter

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    As far as cleanup, I ended up buying a sonic cleaner for my Iawata. I do the usual maintenance on it, clean it up good, disassemble, and run it through the sonic cleaner a couple times. Haven't had a problem yet. Yeah, it's a pain to clean, but it's the first airbrush I've had where I didn't feel the need to clean between colors I can pretty much just unclip a bottle, spray it out, clip a new one in and go. So cleanup is only at the end of a session, instead of between every color like I had to do back when I was using a Testors type airbrush.

    To each his own though. Everybody gets their own style when it comes to something like airbrushing, simply because, by nature, it's one of those things that takes such a long time to develop properly, and every person has a different hand, a different feel, and a different style when using them.

    I'm guessing figuring out which type works best for you goes hand-in-hand with practicing. And whether you start cheap and work your way up, or start with a good quality brush right off.
     
  14. SamiWCP

    SamiWCP Guest

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    I have an airbrush compressor around my parents house somewhere, if you really want to get into it. I may still even have the paints and paint guns for it.
     

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