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thewildscrotum

Beginner Airbrushing set-up

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Am slowly realising there is no way I can reach the standard of the builds on here unless I am airbrushing.

 

You don't get to employ any of the fun techniques and it looks like a solid block of colour at the end if you use a brush, and disheartening when my weathering and panel line washing just doesn't hold up. :bandhead2:

 

What's the cheapest set-up I could run to get reasonable results? Does anyone have any spare parts they're willing to send me that they no longer use?

I saw a Tamiya airbrushing set in a hobby shop that i've never seen before, it was around $140, is that all I would need? Or is the expensive compressor ($200), hoses, regulator and $150 airbrush really the only way to go? 

 

Thanks again, as always, for the help guys. Feeling a bit disheartened at this point!

 

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Getting set up for airbrushing is expensive, but it is the best investment you can make if you want to build better models.

 

Do you have the model number or a link to the set you saw in the hobby store?  When looking at a compressor, there are two things to look out for. First, you want to be sure any compressor you get has a pressure regulator. This allows you to change the air pressure, this gives you a lot of control over how the paint sprays. The other consideration is noise.  A very noisy compressor is at best unpleasant to use, and can annoy any one else in the house, or your neighbors, if you live in an apartment or town house.

 

I was trying to think of what to say about recommending an airbrush, then I remembered Paul Budzik says it much better than I can in this video:

 

 

I hope it helps.

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I'd recommend the Harder & Steenbeck Evolution Silverline in the link below, get the 0.2mm and 0.4mm nozzle needles, thin the paint to about the consistency of whole milk.  And you can go with those regular compressors (get a regulator so you can adjust the PSI as needed) but unfortunately thet can be very loud and annoying.  Or you can invest in a Silentaire compressor (they're pricey, but WELL worth it and much more pleasant to use)  Its about as loud as a refrigerator motor or air conditioner.  Speaking from experience, I would avoid the Testors Aztek line of airbrushes.  Aztk'd are hard to clean, and you frequently need to replace the nozzles and that can get expensive.  I found I would spend large amounts of time just trying to get the thing to work properly, often more time tinkering with it than actually airbrushing.  After quite a while I gave up and got the Harder & Steenbeck, it sprays beautifully and consistently, very easy to clean, durable and well-made German engineering.

 

Hope this helps

 

 https://www.ebay.com/i/172781372021?chn=ps&dispItem=1 (this is a link to the Harder & Steenbeck)

 

Any other questions send me a PM

 

Dan

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I'm just trying to figure out why you called yourself 'thewildscrotum'?  Bloody Queenslanders (don't mention State of Origin!):crying:

 

 

Seriously though, I got back into the hobby nearly 20yrs ago and quickly realised I needed an airbrush to get more realistic finishes.  Bought a decent compressor (Sparmax for about $250 back then) and an Aztek A470 airbrush kit (about $200 back then).  The compressor has been great, still going well.  The Aztek was fickle plastic rubbish, but I persisted with it until 2yrs ago when I finally ditched it and got an Iwata online for about $240 from the Airbrush Megastore in Adelaide....then spent the next 2 yrs wondering why I put up with the Aztek for so long.  A decent airbrush is really worth it.

 

Have a look here - http://www.airbrushmegastore.com/

 

Dual action Iwata entry level airbrush for under $100 (and I bet it will be better than my old Aztek), and compressors for under $250.

 

Don't get a plastic airbrush like an Aztek - they are too hard to maintain and will kill your enjoyment of airbrushing.  A metal one like the Iwata can easily be pulled apart and cleaned properly.

 

 

Edited by Thommo

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Thommo spake sage advice. I'd go for the best quality components you can comfortably afford lest you replace the airbrush or compressor too soon! Uh, that never happened to me... :bandhead2:

 

Don's Airbrush Tips has outstanding advice on choosing, tuning, and maintaining an airbrush.

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@Thommo don't hold living in the sunshine state against me, I grew up in NSW and feel your pain at Origin time! As for the name, let's hope you never have to find out :monkeydance:

Thanks for the link, I will check it out. I'm also perusing Gumtree but it's like finding your way through a minefield in the dark. 

 

@Kurt H. Thanks for the reply, and for linking the video. I watched it and was able to learn a lot.

10020790.jpg

That's the one I saw in-store, obviously it's nowhere near top-calibre but perhaps it could still do a few jobs?

Edited by thewildscrotum

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@dsahling Thanks for your advice. I keep hearing "thin to the consistency of milk" but I have genuinely never noticed how thick milk is! I'll have to have a proper look. How do you guys mix ratios of thinner/paint, do you use an eyedropper or just free pour...?

I'm very much on board with the "buy it once, buy it right" mentality so thank you for linking the Harder & Steenbeck.

 

@dnl42 I'm going to need this up and running to have a crack at the upcoming GB's! Just before heading to work yesterday I ran a very thin brush coat of paint over my beautiful panel line weathering and shading... completely forgetting it wasn't sealed. The thinner in the acrylic ate it and it turned to mush. :bandhead2: I guess you only make that mistake once (I hope).

 

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45 minutes ago, thewildscrotum said:

@Thommo don't hold living in the sunshine state against me, I grew up in NSW and feel your pain at Origin time! As for the name, let's hope you never have to find out :monkeydance:

Thanks for the link, I will check it out. I'm also perusing Gumtree but it's like finding your way through a minefield in the dark. 


 

 

It's painful isn't it. Qld just want it more in my view.

 

36 minutes ago, thewildscrotum said:

@dsahling Thanks for your advice. I keep hearing "thin to the consistency of milk" but I have genuinely never noticed how thick milk is! I'll have to have a proper look. How do you guys mix ratios of thinner/paint, do you use an eyedropper or just free pour...?

I'm very much on board with the "buy it once, buy it right" mentality so thank you for linking the Harder & Steenbeck.

 

 

I've never really known the consistency of milk either.  I put a little thinner in the airbrush cup first with a dropper, then add paint to that progressively by dipping a piece of wooden kebab skewer in the paint (which I also use to stir the paint well first) then swishing it around in the cup with thinner.  After doing that 2-3 times, I drag some of the mix up the wall of the cup to make sure it is not too thin (I never seem to get it too thick, just too thin). After a while you learn to gauge it by eye to get the right consistency.

 

I spray almost everything at about 18psi.

 

I clean out the cup and airbrush using General Purpose Lacquer thinner from Bunnings (cheaper than special a/b cleaner, though I do also shoot a bit of that through sometimes).  I probably have to strip and clean my Iwata after every 20 or so spray sessions.  Not a full strip (i.e. not the trigger mechanism) but just take off the back, take out the needle, take apart the nozzle & tip, clean it all and use a little brush set I got online to clean out the front section.  That front section between the cup and where the nozzle screws in tends to get really gunked up esp if using Alclad or metallic paints.

 

I'd skip that Tamiya set and get a better quality metal airbrush.

Edited by Thommo

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Pour a little 1% milk in a mixing container and swirl it around. You'll see what it looks like. I use small wooden "sandwich picks" to stir the paint instead of kebab skewers, but swirl the milk with whatever you're going to use so you can learn what that looks like. You'll probably want to fine tune a little, but practice will get you comfortable with spraying. I sprayed all kinds of garbage plastic things until I got comfortable.

 

I use those soft plastic droppers from the LHS to dispense thinner. I have one for each solvent with a label identifying each. That is, hardware store lacquer thinner, Mr Leveling Thinner, Model Master Enamel, Tamiya, Humbrol, Denatured Alcohol, and water.  As noted above the general lacquer thinner is for cleaning the airbrush after use. I pour it from the gallon can into a small lidded glass jar for regular use.

 

I usually spray at 1 atm. That's with full air flow, not just static pressure.

Edited by dnl42

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As a beginner, it's gonna take a lot of practice to get good with an airbrush. A single action or double action, you're just gonna have to play with 'em. With this practice you'll learn the consistency of the paint that you'll need to go through the nozzle ... some paints need to be thinned a little more than others, but you'll figure that out, with practice.

To me, the skill isn't in the using of the airbrush, it's in the masking. The airbrush is just an expensive spray can.  :rolleyes:

 

I worked as a commercial artist many years ago and used an airbrush from time to time.   :whistle:  My first one was a Paasche which I bought in 1975 and ... I still use it. Over these 40+ years, I've just had to replace the tip, about 3 years ago. 

But, for you, try this ...

http://www.ebay.ca/itm/SP134K-Dual-Action-Airbrush-Kit-Precision-Paint-Needle-Spray-Gun-Easy-to-Handle-/122631300128?hash=item1c8d652420:g:6oIAAOSwSplZhEpH

 

I read about all these guys buying $200 and $300 airbrushes and bought one of these. I paid about $25.00 CDN off ebay. I've been using it for the past 5 years or so. And it works just bee-yoo-tee-fully! I would suggest you go cheap just to learn on it ... then when you know what you're doing and what effects you want to achieve, buy the expensive one.

 

Hope this helps!

Pete

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On 8/2/2017 at 9:49 PM, thewildscrotum said:

@dsahling Thanks for your advice. I keep hearing "thin to the consistency of milk" but I have genuinely never noticed how thick milk is! I'll have to have a proper look. How do you guys mix ratios of thinner/paint, do you use an eyedropper or just free pour...?

I'm very much on board with the "buy it once, buy it right" mentality so thank you for linking the Harder & Steenbeck.

 

@dnl42 I'm going to need this up and running to have a crack at the upcoming GB's! Just before heading to work yesterday I ran a very thin brush coat of paint over my beautiful panel line weathering and shading... completely forgetting it wasn't sealed. The thinner in the acrylic ate it and it turned to mush. :bandhead2: I guess you only make that mistake once (I hope).

 

You can use some type of measuring at first, but after a while with some practice you can just sort "eyeball" it, one little trick is to watch how paint on the sides of the color cup flows down.  Ultimately, its practice, practice, practice.

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On 8/2/2017 at 11:18 AM, thewildscrotum said:

Am slowly realising there is no way I can reach the standard of the builds on here unless I am airbrushing.

 

You don't get to employ any of the fun techniques and it looks like a solid block of colour at the end if you use a brush, and disheartening when my weathering and panel line washing just doesn't hold up. :bandhead2:

 

What's the cheapest set-up I could run to get reasonable results? Does anyone have any spare parts they're willing to send me that they no longer use?

I saw a Tamiya airbrushing set in a hobby shop that i've never seen before, it was around $140, is that all I would need? Or is the expensive compressor ($200), hoses, regulator and $150 airbrush really the only way to go? 

 

Thanks again, as always, for the help guys. Feeling a bit disheartened at this point!

 

One piece of advice, buy cheap buy twice. Unless some benevolent sole will provide/sell you a "used" quality airbrush in good working order then make the upfront investment for a quality product. It's OK to buy an airbrush that's "better than you". As you develop your skills you want a product that will be capable of the performance you seek. To get going with an entry level product will likely run you into a wall and now you're looking again for something better.

 

Many of us cut our teeth with low end airbrushes as we grew up in the hobby and might even learned through hard knocks how NOT to maintain an airbrush before making the investment in something of quality. However, as an adult you'll appreciate your investment and what it takes to properly maintain it. How to gain that knowledge is the key. Here are some videos on maintenance as well as technique to help get you started-

 

www.grexairbrush.com/ABM

 

www.grexairbrush.com/MAS

 

I could make specific recommendations as to what I suggest but others will likely bash me for self promotion. If you have questions you are welcome to contact me off line. I also have a "how to" PDF document on how to make an informed purchase of an airbrush. It's product specific but could be applied to just about any airbrush manufacturer. Unfortunately the file is too big (images) to post here. I can provide that to you off line if you are interested.

 

Bryant Dunbar

Grex Airbrush

bryant.dunbar@grexusa.com

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16 hours ago, 86Sabreboy1 said:

One piece of advice, buy cheap buy twice. Unless some benevolent sole will provide/sell you a "used" quality airbrush in good working order then make the upfront investment for a quality product. It's OK to buy an airbrush that's "better than you". As you develop your skills you want a product that will be capable of the performance you seek. To get going with an entry level product will likely run you into a wall and now you're looking again for something better.

 

THIS! :thumbsup: So much!

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You can get a good A/B in the $100.00 range, I wouldn't go much higher.

My 1st choice would be a Badger Krome it comes with 2 tips and can be found in the $100-110 range.

Watch Amazon, I got a Sotar 2020 (Badger) for $69.00 around November.

Iwata HPcs is also a good choice.

 

Brushes I have or used.

Badger 100 side feed, 1st real A/B I bought 1982 and still going strong, I can do anything I want with this, it performs side by side with my Iwata HPCS. Note: parts are readily available if needed

Iwata HPCS, solid brush, real smooth. Note:parts are readily available if needed

Badger Renegade, nice brush, I did not care for the dark finish, especially in the cup,one of the advantages to the Krome (a change recommended by Cyrus Tan)

Badger Sotar 2020, my current brush because it's relatively new.

 

Air...I've used a Craftsman air compressor for years, if you have the space I recommend one, mine is the older belt driven type, so it's not hideously loud, you can bury a loud compressor in a closet and run a long hose to it, or put it outside.

Second is a A/B dedicated compressor, I have a Badger aspire the type with the tank (always get one with a tank) and enclosure, I like it, they are expensive, you can get 40-50% off coupons at Michael's or Hobby Lobby and get the price down a bit.

Or you can go with a co2 tank, I priced one out and can put a system together for under $150.00, check your local welding supply and see if they do a tank exchange, this usually runs about $35, find a used tank at a garage sale and make the exchange for a full tank, don't buy a new tank ($100) as you will not get it back with the exchange. Buy  a Harbor Freight co2 pressure regulator that's about it, allot of people here swear by them, refill frequency will depend on usage, but some here say they refill once a year (20lb tank, Scuba size)

Curt

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First things you should have on your list is the cleaning kit you will need once you have used what ever brush you end up getting.

I would honestly advise you to get the cleaning kit first... Just imagine your airbrush, compressor and paints all arriving but you cant use any of it because you cant clean it after.

 

You want a set something along the lines of this. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Agora-Tec-airbrush-Cleaning-accessory-consisting/dp/B00I3EE8X0

It has all the little bits you will need to clean your brush out. One piece of advice is to remove the nozzle that the needle pops through and push the needle through the front end dont pull it through the back end, a full strip down at the end of every session isnt fun.

Youtube will be your friend on cleaning.

 

I prefer Iwata for brushes, Ive used others, cant honesly say there is much of a muchness between any of them, its not unlike a car, a Porsche is nicer than a Ford but a Ford gets you to work on time too.

 

My best advise would be look up the lowest price you can get an Iwata HP-CS then look at a Iwata Neo CN. If the price difference is half then get the Neo. As a beginner you wont really notice half the difference between the two, you want have the fine motor control to control an HP-CS yet and you might not even like it.

As to a compressor look on the likes of ebay, for a first time buyer you should look for one with a tank underneath it, the tiny little ones for nail art and cake decorating are not worth looking at. 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Airbrush-Compressor-Craftwork-Tanning-Cosmetics/dp/B075MKPWVF/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1509601689&sr=8-7&keywords=airbrush+compressor

Good example of a cheap serviceable piece of kit that should get you into doing it at all for not much money but also isnt a waste of time. 

Sure there are the Iwata and Sparmax compressors out there but they are upgrades in a year or more.

The compressor should come with the hose you need and a reg with built in trap.

IO agree with Netz above, always get a compressor with a tank. the more tank the better... The compressor delivers in spurts, the tank smooths it to something nice. Ive seen 4 piston compressors deliver nice bursts but a single struggles even at low PSI.

 

Then once you have that the real fun starts... What paints to use ;)

Edited by ElectroSoldier

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