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first time with airbrush


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I got my first airbrush about a week a go but i am a bit lost on how to paint properly. I have seen a few youtube videos however i havent managed to do some work properly despite the fact i am following instructions. There are so many factors that determine the outcome of the paint which at the end confuses me even more. For example, how much the paint is thinned, pressure, needle, color release, distance e.t.c

So far there are times that i get a nice smooth surface and there are times where the paint is too watery and i can see the air pushing the color on the model. I have so many questions which i wasnt able to find answers yet from the net.

Can someone provide a setup that would do the work for 1/72 airplane models? What needle, pressure, thinning and distance will one use with Vallejo Model Air colors so you can have a descent result?


Can you paint wide surface (say wing of a 1/72 airplane) and also paint a thin line with a single setup (same pressure, thinning and distance)?

 

Another question is, do you mostly pull back the trigger just a bit or there are also cases where you pull the trigger all the way back to release more color?

Do parameters (pressure , thinning e.t.c) change when you want to paint close on the model compared to far away?

Why would you paint closer to the model or from a greater distance?

 

Some info of what i use:
 

Airbrush: Graphotech BD-183K

Type: Double Action

Needle: 0.3
Colors: Acrylic Vallejo Model Air

Thanks

 

p.s
Anyone knows any good video / article to learn how to setup and paint properly with airbrush?

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Hi Dimi,

 

Welcome to the site...you will learn TON of stuff if you spend enough time here.

 

While I'm sure this isn't want you want to hear, really the ONLY way to get to the very best airbrush experience is to practice!!  Practice with the paint that you plan to use on your model(s), and use sheet plastic or or a paint 'mule', (a model that you don't want to complete or that you don't care about if you mess up the paint).  I know you're going to say that you've seen, heard or read this before, but getting your paint to a consistency of skim milk is always a good start.  Vallejo Model Air may not be sufficiently thin to airbrush out of the container...you will have to verify yourself, and thin it if needed.  Personally, I think the best way to go is to use less paint on your model than you think you want to.  You can always go over the model with second, third or more coats to add density (color) to your model, but there is really no way good way to address blowing on too much paint in a single coat and setting puddles of paint, or drips and runs, or 'spider' runs.  

 

In my opinion, you probably can use similar setting for both larger areas and thin lines, but you'll need to adjust the amount you pull back on your needle (much less for the thin lines), and closer to the model, and perhaps a slight reduction in the airbrush pressure.

 

Nothing that I know of can substitute for practice with the paint and airbrush you plan to use on your model.  And again, the best advice I can give you is to apply much less paint that you think you should, and don't try to cover the model with a single pass.  Certainly that can be done, but again, in my opinion, it takes more practice to do that kind of application than multiple, thinner coats.  

 

Another idea is that you should consider priming your model.  I really never was a fan of priming, thinking that you're adding another layer of covering which potentially could reduce the surface detail of the model.  However, there are plenty of good primers out there, and I'm a fan of Badger Stynylrez, which is a water based self leveling primer, meaning that even if you put the primer on too heavily, it will typically settle down and not obscure any details on your model.  Having a primer on the plastic also tends to give your paint color something to 'grip' onto when you begin your color coats.  But again, and I cannot stress this enough, go slow, and put on less paint than you will tend to want to!!  You can always use a hand held hair drier on a low setting to dry a layer so you can quickly go over the model with additional color coats faster than you could if you just let the paint naturally 'air dry'.  If you ever decide to use lacquer paints, which I honestly believe are the best paints to use, despite their smell, because they put down great, thin layers of paint, and they dry naturally VERY quickly, usually within 10 minutes for surface drying, and I find I can usually start an additional coat after I've gone over the model with the current coat.  But you've already expressed interest in the Vallejo Model Air paint, thus a hair dryer to speed up drying would likely help a lot.

 

Hope this helps, though I know you didn't get good answers to the specific questions you asked.

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3 hours ago, dimi said:

Can you paint wide surface (say wing of a 1/72 airplane) and also paint a thin line with a single setup (same pressure, thinning and distance)?

 

Another question is, do you mostly pull back the trigger just a bit or there are also cases where you pull the trigger all the way back to release more color?

Do parameters (pressure , thinning e.t.c) change when you want to paint close on the model compared to far away?

Why would you paint closer to the model or from a greater distance?

 

Experiment my friend.  Spend some time just playing around with the airbrush.  Load plain water into your color cup, set your air compressor at 15 psi, and press the trigger all the way down and gradually pull the trigger back while watching the spray pattern from the side.  This will answer your second question above.  

 

Going back to your first question, the answer is unlikely.  To paint a thin line, you need thin paint sprayed at low pressure close to the model surface.  What happens if you move the airbrush a greater distance from the model?  The spray pattern experiment above will answer this.

 

Yes, parameters (pressure, thinning) change when you want to paint close on the model as stated above.

 

You would want to paint closer to the model if you are doing freehand camouflage to avoid getting overspray onto adjacent areas.  You also want to paint close to the model if you are doing detail work/weathering in small areas.  You want to paint the model from a greater distance if you want broad coverage, like priming or applying clear coat.

 

Again, load your airbrush with plain water and play around with it on a piece of cardboard or something.

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Inspite of all the videos on the internet the best way to learn how to use an airbrush is to just use an airbrush because everything you want to know about changes with the way you use it.

 

You mention Vallejo Model Air paint. I wont push you towards another paint because when you are starting they are all much of a muchness.

 

Buy a bottle of model air or two, a bottle of cleaner, thinner, flow improver and retarder and a sheet of two of plastic card or some cheap models to practice on and use them all.

 

Model air generally doesnt need to be thinned, change the air pressure instead of thinning and see what happens. Then try thinning the paint instead of changing the air pressure and see what happens to your paint.

Use it with some flow improver in it... maybe a little to start and add more and more and see what happens.

Retarder, add some and see what happens. add some more and see if it changes the result. 

Mix in some flow improver....

 

Those things up there and your own experience are all you need to learn to airbrush.

It will take a few hours and about £10 and you will end up knowing all you need to know.

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My first kick at the airbrush was this past September, on an Airfix 1/72 Hurricane. I used a Badger 150 IL with a .3 needle/tip.

 

Air pressure was about 15 psi. Paint used was Gunze-Sangyo Aqueous Hobby Color, thinned with Mr. Hobby Self Leveling Thinner, at a ratio of about 45% paint to 55% thinner. It came out not as good as I'd have liked it to, but not too bad for a first try.

 

The underside was done with Tamiya XF-16 Flat Aluminum, thinned with X20A, at about the same ratio above, with a few drops the Tamiya Paint Retarder added.

 

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Chris

Edited by dogsbody
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Just pick it up and use it...often.  Get the basics down, clean and maintain it but after that you have to find out what works by experience.  The videos will give you tips to try as you advance but in the beginning just take it slow and keep at it.  

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I need more practice too but one thing i learned about double-action airbrushes is that the the lighter you press down, the finer the line.  Pressing down fully gives the widest spray pattern. And the more you pull back the more paint you release.  So every time you press the button always start by pressing down lightly and pulling back lightly and you can adjust from there.  There are some airbrushes with a screw knob in the back to set how far back you can pull.  And there are paints that are pre-thinned and ready to spray but are mostly of the lacquer type.

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34 minutes ago, crackerjazz said:

I need more practice too but one thing i learned about double-action airbrushes is that the the lighter you press down, the finer the line.  Pressing down fully gives the widest spray pattern.

 

This is completely dependent on the brand of the airbrush.  For most, the air valve is just an on/off switch:  either fully on or fully off.

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 Glad for that last post Richard . You guys had me thinking I was totally missing out on something .

 

 Cheers , Christian 

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Not a problem.  Yep, for the majority of the airbrushes out on the market today, including Iwata, Badger, and Paasche, the air valve is just an on/off switch.  Therefore, air pressure is not linearly regulated by trigger pressure.  You can almost control the air pressure with a Harder & Steenbeck, but it still feels like either full on or full off.

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 To be quite honest , I doubt that I would have the manual dexterity  to do bot things at once .

 I find it good enough to set the air pressure to the happy place where that paint will spray properly  and proceed from there.

 

 Cheers, Christian 

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The mechanics of the valve being what it is the more you press the larger the hole and thus the more air will be allowed to pass.

 

At least on the Iwata airbrushes I use regularly anyway.

I use the ability to vary the amount of air every bit as much as the ability to vary the amount of paint.

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 I don't think so. In order to achieve that , something would have to be tapered .  That valve is just like the air valve on a tire .

 You would need to have incredible  finger sensitivity to detect any difference .

 All my air pressure adjustments are done through a good pressure regulator and a large face air pressure gauge .

 Cheers , Christian

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Thanks a lot all of you for your replies. I took your advise and starting trying different builds and spraying around any surface i could. I bought a tamiya pla-plate and keep practicing on that surface. When i am done i just use windex to clean all the mess and then try again.

 

So far i was able to get some good results (if i even know what a good result is ... 😕 ) with:
7/3/1 (drops) - paint, thinner, airbrush flow improver

8-10 psi

 

with the above setup i was able to get smooth painting but i had to move close to the model. However i noticed that i wasnt having enough coverage until i push all the way back the trigger in order to release as much paint as possible (and moving away from the surface). 

With primer i still have big issues so far and cant get it right yet but one step at a time.

Next i wanna try another setup which i came across here in the forum by @FalconFan24 . His recommendation is exactly the opposite  from what i tried. He uses higher thinning with much higher psi (20)

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54 minutes ago, dimi said:

i wasnt having enough coverage until i push all the way back the trigger in order to release as much paint as possible (and moving away from the surface). 

 

You do not want full coverage on the first pass.  Just use thin paint and build it up using multiple light layers.  Do not be alarm if it takes 5-6 layers for full coverage.

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Wow.. now that you mentioned it I did a quick test on my airbrush (Procon Boy 267) by pressing down on the trigger -- you do have a point -- there's so little travel (a couple mm) for it to be controlling the amount of air linearly.  My HP-CS trigger is stuck but I do remember the travel being similar.

 

I'm embarrassed to admit it but I just opened up the Procon Boy manual after two years of owning the airbrush.  It does look like just a normal on-off valve in the drawing.  And it does say that the spray pattern (wide or fine) is controlled by how far you draw the button back and the nozzle's proximity to the surface.

 

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That said, I notice when you've just started pressing down on the trigger there's a point where the valve is just half open.   It's just a window of half a millimeter of movement or so.   If you somehow hold it there while pulling back you can actually control the spray pattern with half the amount of air/pressure.   I can't do it consistently and it's rather tiring on the finger.  The instructions also mentions to "spray the air hard" for wide area spraying and just "squeeze the air" for fine lines -- not sure if this what they're referring to but it's definitely hard to control so it's definitely not a design feature of my airbrush.

 

I can't recall where I read it, though, but I do remember coming across an article online mentioning about the amount of air being controlled by how much you press down on the trigger, in addition to controlling the paint flow by pulling back.  That would surely be a nice airbrush to have.   All this time I actually thought my airbrush worked the same way.

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 3/3/2021 at 3:38 PM, dimi said:

Thanks a lot all of you for your replies. I took your advise and starting trying different builds and spraying around any surface i could. I bought a tamiya pla-plate and keep practicing on that surface. When i am done i just use windex to clean all the mess and then try again.

 

So far i was able to get some good results (if i even know what a good result is ... 😕 ) with:
7/3/1 (drops) - paint, thinner, airbrush flow improver

8-10 psi

 

with the above setup i was able to get smooth painting but i had to move close to the model. However i noticed that i wasnt having enough coverage until i push all the way back the trigger in order to release as much paint as possible (and moving away from the surface). 

With primer i still have big issues so far and cant get it right yet but one step at a time.

Next i wanna try another setup which i came across here in the forum by @FalconFan24 . His recommendation is exactly the opposite  from what i tried. He uses higher thinning with much higher psi (20)

Hi Dimi

 

First off, welcome to the forums. As far as your situation: for 1/72 kits, I recommend using the mixture I shared and thinning the paint to about 60/40 or 50/50 (paint/thinner) at about 15 psi. Use the back flush technique to see get everything mixed and see how it flows. It should look like blowing bubbles in chocolate milk. Normally for airbrushing something like 1/72, you will need to get closer to the model than 1/48. To get really good precise control you might even need to remove the needle protector on your airbrush.

 

I am working on a video on how to airbrush vallejo paints, please stand by for that and hopefully it will help.

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I wish people would stop mixing paint in the AB cup.  It's a bad idea and a bad habit.  There was a thread about this topic here a while back.  For one thing, paint and thinner have different specific gravity, so they will not be properly mixed by air bubbles in the AB cup.  Please mix paint and thinner in an external mixing cup or the spoon shown below with a small stirring stick or a paint brush before pouring the mixture into the AB cup.

 

 

wax_seal_spoon.jpg

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 Hi Richard  . I mix in stainless cup cake  cups but this looks a lot easier to clean out .

 Where can I find one of these ?

 

 Regards, Christian 

 

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10 hours ago, Chris L said:

 

 Hi Richard  . I mix in stainless cup cake  cups but this looks a lot easier to clean out .

 Where can I find one of these ?

 

Yes, a wax melting spoon is a lot easier to clean out and to pour paint into the AB cup.  You can get it from Amazon:

Mine is stainless steel, but I no longer find it on Amazon.

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