Painting [Airbrush Help & Advice]

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Cire Mont'yr
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Painting [Airbrush Help & Advice]

Post#1 » May 25 2009 07:26

Hey guys,

I know many of you have used or own airbrushes. I was looking for a rather cheap alternative to brush painting, and looked towards buying a cheap and easy to use airbrush. I heard badger is good, but I cannot find any prices. I was looking for something with an adjustable nozzle and doesn't always require an air compressor. My price range is around 45 Canadian dollars. Could you guys please help me out and suggest some airbrushes, and/or Canadian retailers? I am not really looking towards the games workshop spraygun, as I have heard bad reviews and that its more meant to simply basecoat models, but with no other great applications.

Thanks in advance!

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LiquidWulfe
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Re: Airbrush help

Post#2 » May 26 2009 12:53

If you want to airbrush and have it not look like crap, you need a compressor. Also, make sure you get a decent dual action airbrush. One of the badger brushes around 80-120$ should set you up just fine.

If you go cheaper, it honestly just looks better to go with a tankbrush and a layer of dullcoat.
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Pater Familias
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Re: Airbrush help

Post#3 » May 26 2009 12:44

LiquidWulfe,
Having just gone through this process myself, allow me to offer some suggestions. Off the cuff, I'll point you here...
http://fichtenfoo.net/blog/cheap-good-airbrush/ with his thoughts and a review of a product available here...
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/d ... mber=95630
It's slightly more than you're looking to spend, but it's an airbrush/compressor combo for less than $100 US with all the features you're listed. You'll be hard pressed to find a better deal anywhere. When you take into consideration the amount of money you'll spend on canned air over time you're better off waiting until you have saved the extra money and buy this kit. You'll be much much happier in the end with the results, not to mention the frustration and expense you'll save yourself trying to master canned air.

I, myself, didn't buy the product I mentioned only because I didn't come upon it until after I purchased my first airbrush. Had I known of it I would have gone that direction and saved myself some cash too. In the end I bought an Iwata Revolution BCR duel action siphon-feed airbrush. http://www.iwata-medea.com/index.php/products/bcr It's a bit pricey, but the results of airbrushing versus hand painting are worth it in my opinion. If you look here http://www.iwata-medea.com/index.php/buy_now you'll find Canadian retailers of their products, which should lead you to ideas of prices.

If Harbor Freight isn't available in your area, or buying online isn't a viable option I'd keep these few tips in mind while you're looking.

When given the choice...
A duel action airbrush is much more versatile and offers more control than a single action airbrush, but they're also more expensive.

A gravity feed airbrush takes longer to swap between paint colors because you'll have to clean the hopper each time, but they use, and therefore waste, way less paint versus a siphon feed. (Something else to keep in mind if you're on a budget. GW's spraygun has to be a huge paint waster, which means you're forced to spend more money buying more paint. Good for GW, bad for you)!!

I recommend staying away from bargin hobby starter airbrush sets like Testors. While they are cheap you'll get unsatisfactory results, give up on airbrushing, and wish you'd spent the money on more models in the first place.

Remember, you get what you pay for, but you don't need top of the line for great results.

Bagder. Paashe, Iwata all make a number of good airbrushes and it's just a matter of digging around on the internet to find what your looking for in your price range.

I'm happy to answer any specific questions you might have before you pull the trigger on something.

Good hunting
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Diehard
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Re: Airbrush help

Post#4 » May 26 2009 01:58

I have the compressor you are recommending and I like it. Just a couple of things I recommend if you get it. First, order extra filters. On mine the filter wasn't the best and going to a better filter made a world of difference in the air quality. Second mount the unit to something heavy if you can. I put mine on a granite scrap from my sink install and it did a great job quieting the vibrations on the unit. Third, get an extra hose or 2. Don't let the hose dictate where you put the pump.

For pump maintenance, run the pump for 10-15 minutes the first time without the hose attached. All pumps have a small amount of oil from the build process. Running the pump without the hose attached will help blow out any oil that isn't caught by the filter. It also keeps it out of your hose. Avoid high humidity days, water is the bane of any compressor. For my air tool compressor I have an external dryer that dehumidifies the air in the tank. I wish the same thing smaller compressors but I haven't found one yet.

Last thing look into buying or building a spray booth. It makes it easier to spray indoors and helps keep dust out of your paint.

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Re: Airbrush help

Post#5 » May 27 2009 08:50

Is that a dual action airbrush in the combo?

Also any idea how much the shipping would be?

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Pater Familias
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Re: Airbrush help

Post#6 » May 28 2009 09:29

The product description doesn't specify it's a double action airbrush, but based on the picture I would say it is.
Shipping is based on product price range, so this item's shipping cost would be $9.99 according to the website.
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Diehard
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Re: Airbrush help

Post#7 » May 28 2009 12:32

I just called them and the airbrush with the kit is variable so it depends on what they are shipping at the time. Pretty much expect a single action but that isn't so bad, they are great for base coating where coverage is important. Right now I have the same pump from the kit and it is really the main reason to buy the kit. The brush is secondary.

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Mas'ana
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Re: Airbrush help

Post#8 » May 29 2009 08:37

I don't know if this will help, since you are all the way over there in Canada, but if not, then it may help other people looking into purchasing a wallet-friendly airbrush.

I myself have recently been looking into acquiring an airbrush, but it will be another few months before my credit card will agree, so I am by no means an expert on the subject. But during my research into the subject, I did stumble onto a cheap, and possibly decent, airbrush provider; Airbrush pro. I am thinking of getting one of these myself, if nothing else, I can always use it for terrain.

They sell their own-brand airbrushes, provided by the Chinese manufacturer Fengda, I have run into these same airbrushes at varying price ranges, and they are even sold as decent beginner airbrushes here in Denmark (I won't bother with a link, as it is in Danish and if live in denmark you will still save about 50% by getting it from the UK). I have also found a very positive review of the airbrush by a fellow modeler.

I hope this helps one way or the other, maybe someone knows of a own brand supplier in Canada. It could also be that someone on this forum has tried them, and found them absolute horrible for modeling, in which case I hope you will give us all a good warning :)
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Cire Mont'yr
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Re: Airbrush help

Post#9 » May 30 2009 01:11

Okay I have decided that my decision has come down to two Iwata airbrushes.

Either the Iwata Revolution HP-BCR Airbrush for $99.95
https://www.currys.com/product.htm?Product=REV2001&Source=Category&Category=A013B000003

Or

Iwata Eclipse BCS Airbrush for $119.95
https://www.currys.com/product.htm?Product=ECL2001&Source=Category&Category=A013B000003

I am led to believe that these are both dual action airbrushes and the best in that price range, would this assumption be correct?

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Mas'ana
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Re: Airbrush help

Post#10 » May 31 2009 03:50

Iwata is a good brand and you can be sure that you will not end up with a piece of junk, that being said, it is hard to say that Iwata is the best, because some may like the feel of one brand more than another, so it is often a matter of personal preference and what type feels good in your hands.

However, there are certain things that you need to know before getting an airbrush. The most important thing is probably how you are going to use the airbrush, if you are mainly going for base coating and mass painting, the ones you mention should be okay, but if you are going for an alternative to the normal paintbrush with many color changes, then you should consider a gravity feed airbrush instead. Gravity feed are the airbrushes that have a cup on the top of the airbrush, typically somewhat smaller than the large cans that you find on the bottom feeds. But a few things that are good to know about the two types:

Gravity feed
As I stated, gravity feed are good for more detailed work, where you need to change colors relatively quickly. The downside is that gravity feeds hold less paint and since most don't have caps (or lids) you can spill the paint while painting, but this should not be a problem when you get used to the airbrush. And lastly, it is typically easier to clean than the bottom feed.

Bottom feed
Bottom feed need bottles and larger amounts of paint (remember, don't pour the paint away when done, instead pour the paint back into the paint pot), but this makes the bottom feed good for larger jobs, like terrain or basing several vehicles or large units. Bottom feed airbrushed need somewhat more air pressure than gravity feed, as you have to suck the paint up from the bottle. Bottom feeds are also harder to clean, as there are more components that need cleaning compared to a gravity feed. Also, the airbrushes you mention have somewhat large nozzles (0.5 mm) which allows for use of thicker paints.

Other things you need to consider when buying airbrushes, on a budget, is the price of spare needles and nozzles, as they are rather delicate components. It would be a shame to be put off airbrushing by high spare parts costs. If you have any other questions please feel free to PM me, but I will also keep an eye on this post.
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Cire Mont'yr
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Re: Airbrush help

Post#11 » May 31 2009 08:46

I decided to go with the Iwata Eclpse BCS airbrush. The main reason is i'd like to waste the least amount of paint possible because it isn't cheap. And to be honest, I wasn't going to use it for extreme highlighting, more preshading on panels or on main areas of power armor, not anything overly overly fine. Also, i think that the 0.5 mm that you stated earlier is more than enough for what I intend to be using it for. Also I do fear not being able to set down a gravity feed airbrush without it spilling. Furthermore, what level of "thickness" does the paint have to be at? I'd assume the paint wouldn't cake on because this airbrush has claimed to be suitable for model trains and cars, etc. As for air compressors, I am going to be obtaining one from Craftsman that is 1.5 Gallons, and can reach 135 psi.

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Mas'ana
Shas
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Re: Airbrush help

Post#12 » Jun 01 2009 02:46

It is usually said that paint thickness should be around the consistency of milk, however, this has been while using a 0.2 mm nozzle. If you want to get a feel for the consistency, without wasting too much paint experimenting, try getting one of Vallejo's model air paints. These are thinned so that you can use them directly in the airbrush.
Otherwise, the trick is to experiment until you find just the right consistency, because too thin a paint will puddle up on you and too thick a paint will cause spatter. Also, do not take your airbrush straight to your forgeworld Manta model, it is a good idea to experiment on some old models or some discarded sprues.

Another thing, since you are investing in a good piece of equipment, do not thin your paints with tap water, as it is full of calcium and other stuff which can mess up your equipment over time. Instead go for acrylic paint thinners or de-mineralized/distilled water (you should be able to buy this relatively cheap in drug stores and even supermarkets). The advantage of thinners is that they contain chemicals that do not impair your paints adhesive ability (which water thinning can do). You should also familiarize yourself with the cleaning process, there are several videos on youtube that can help you there.

Finally, I don't know if you are aware, but when basing models you should go for a primer paint, as it too contains certain chemicals that ensure a good bond between regular paint and the surface you are painting. GW no longer make a primer other than their spray primer, so I would get one from another maker (vallejo makes different colored primers and so do other model paint manufacturers).

But there are many variables when painting with airbrush, and you will only learn by experimenting. Toy around with the pressure (most manufacturers of airbrushes will give you a clue to optimal operating pressure, but try and see what happens when you vary the pressure. Also paint consistency, distance to your miniature and how much you pull back your trigger influences the final result. It is worth noting with dual action airbrushes that when you press down on the trigger you get air and when you pull back you get paint. Again, there are some great paint tutorials on youtube that might help.
"'Kill!' shouted Ford. He shouted it at his towel.

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Eiglepulper
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Re: Airbrush help

Post#13 » Jun 04 2009 08:17

Lots of good help here, folks. Thank you for your input.

This thread has now been stickied.

E.

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divideby0
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Re: Airbrush help

Post#14 » Jun 23 2009 07:03

I also bought an Iwata a few months ago as my first airbrush. It is definitely a good pick. The dual action gives you a lot of control. You'll definitely want to pick up some extra bottles to switch out paint as well as one for flushing the system.

I also got an Iwata Sprint Jet as a compressor. It does not have a compressor tank like many airbrush enthusists recommend. Once you add the airbrush and set the moisture valve you don't get any pulse at all. It is also very quiet. A plus for us apartment dwellers.

If you take The Path of Kauyon approach to supply shopping, quite a few art stores (Utrech, blick, Pearl, etc) regularly release coupons for as much as 40%. I was lucky to find one to use on my compressor.
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