Am I Ready to Paint?

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by 2-8-2, Nov 11, 2006.

  1. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

    Here's the airbrush setup I purchased this week:

    Paasche "H" Model
    - Single action/external mix
    - Kit came w/ hoses and many accessories

    Snap-On brand compressor
    - 1/2 HP oil-less diaphragm type
    - Internal bleed
    - Max running pressure of 33 PSI
    - Supposed to be one of the quietest on the market

    I've been using a Testors airbrush I bought from Wal-Mart, hooked up to a can of compressed air. The results haven't been too shabby, but I figured if I get some better equipment, I won't have an excuse not to get those structures finished!

    What do you airbrush gurus think?
  2. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

    Try a scrap shell or a piece of scrap styrene first... If you can lay down a nice, even, thin coat of paint that covers well, you are indeed ready to go yep!

    You also want to try your masking techniques on that piece of scrap first to make sure the procedure works (i.e. no bleeding under the tape).

    Good luck and let us know how it goes!
  3. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    On the subject of masking tape, use the specialty types, 3M blue color or the type used by auto trim painters. the cheap brown stuff is Ok for painting houses and holding up newspapers when you mask off windows, but not for fine work
  4. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    On the subject of masking tape, use the specialty types, 3M blue color or the type used by auto trim painters. The cheap brown stuff is Ok for painting houses and holding up newspapers when you mask off windows, but not for fine work
  5. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

    I used a product back in my RC car days that was a liquid mask product. You brushed it on and waited 15 minutes, then drew your design right on the mask. With some gentle cutting with a hobby knife, you could peel back the area to be painted.

    I'm not sure how well that would work on an N scale structure/loco, but I'm going to give it a shot at least.
  6. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    When I bought my Paasche VL, I got a booklet with it that included a couple of practice exercises. One of them was to spray, on a sheet of cardboard, a series of "dots" in a grid pattern, making the "dots" as small and as clean (no spatters or runs) as possible. Then, connect the "dots" to one another, spraying as thin and straight of a line as possible. While you'll probably not paint any trains in such a pattern, it does teach you a lot about the capabilities of the airbrush, and the capabilites of the operator.
    For masking, I use regular masking tape, as the coloured ones don't have enough tack for my tastes, but whatever tape you use, always use a new blade in your X-Acto to cut a fresh edge on the tape. I usually stick a few lengths onto a sheet of glass for this operation. This gives a nice straight edge with no nicks or fuzz. I've not used frisket, but if you've had success in the past, use it.

  7. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

    Wayne -

    I noticed that the VL model airbrush is double action. I've never used one, but from what I've read, they seem like they would give more control and versatility than a single action. Is this true?
  8. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

    Double actions are supposed to be better for doing things like fine lines or touch-up spots, which means it should be better for doing stuff like weathering effects.

    But for laying down a solid, even coat (i.e. painting a locomotive), a single-action is fine.
  9. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Tom is correct: your single-action brush should be fine for general painting, and I imagine that, as your skill level increases, it should also work fine for weathering. The VL is the only airbrush that I've ever owned, so I can't really compare, but the control can be pretty good. I used to do quite a bit of custom-painting, and I'm sure that my abilities have dropped off considerably since that time, so it's a good idea to practice often. Too many people rush to attempt complicated tasks before they really master the tool. As I noted, a piece of cardboard is useful for learning control of your airbrush: use the same brand(s) of paint that you would use on your models. Try varying the amount of thinner, and the pressure. Different brands of paint spray best at a specified pressure, but some situations also call for a modification to the pressure. Even simply painting a boxcar will be more enjoyable if you're comfortable using the airbrush: practise that back-and-forth motion, and practise keeping a constant distance from the object that your painting.

  10. Dan McDonald

    Dan McDonald New Member

    The major advantage of a double action airbrush, is that you can hit the air then slowly pull back the trigger to add paint, and slowly ease on the trigger to get less paint, this can help with weathering, fades, it also lets you do better lines(you don't end up with barbell shaped lines(big dots on either end). I personally could never use a single action myself again (I'm spoiled) but if you are looking for something to save you time brushing on simple base colors, a single action will work fine.

    When using a single action airbrush, remember to sweep past the object you are painting, before reversing your direction. Never stop painting over your object or it'll get heavy paint there.. It's kinda like a custom spraycan you can use any paint you like in...
  11. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

    Some notes on the compressor I bought:

    Badger 180-10 (Cyclone 10)
    - HP: 1/10th
    - Max pressure: 48 psi

    I have a question for airbrush users...

    Will I need to buy a regulator for this, or will adjusting the flow at the airbrush itself be enough? I figure most of my painting will be done in the 20 psi range.
  12. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    You'll need some kind of regulator: since the output of the compressor is 48 psi, that's what will be available at the airbrush unless you regulate it at the compressor. The airbrush can regulate the volume of air, but not the pressure. Most model paints spray at between 15 and 25 psi, although there are occasions when only 5 psi is sufficient. The key accessories for your compressor, in my opinion, would be a regulator with a gauge, and a moisture trap. Paasche makes a reasonably-priced in-line trap that will do the job, and there are probably others.

  13. Dan McDonald

    Dan McDonald New Member

    YEah a regulator is a must. You may be lucky enough to have one on your compressor.
    As for the water trap, they are great to have. Be sure if your comprssor has a tank, that you drain it when not in use. It will avoid water build up in the tank.
    Like Wayne said you could find a nice in line trap that'll do what you need for small airbrush jobs.
  14. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member


    I can get something similar to this from work. I'll have to check out what we use, and I should be able to pick one up fairly cheap.
  15. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    Here's something that my grandson was using with his airbrush when he was into painting Tee shirts. Don't know how it would work on models but I'll throw it out here for comments. Compressed CO2. He used to go to street fairs where there was no power to run a compressor. I bought the tank and airbrush equipment from him but have only used the airbrush with my compressor.
  16. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

    I'll elaborate on this a little bit...

    Canned air, first and foremost, is cold. Cold and paint do not mix well. It's also very inconsistent, and there were a lot of times when the airbrush sputtered and spurted, causing major problems.
  17. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

    Regulator w/ air gauge and moisture trap...check.

    NOW am I ready to paint? :D

  18. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

    I should also note that after I hooked up the regulator, I did some dry run testing. While just idle running, psi was around 40-45. Once I pressed the button on the airbrush, pressure dropped to around 20 psi. I assume this is normal.

    When regulating pressure, I take it that means at the I should press the button, THEN set the pressure I need?
  19. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

    I'm not sure if it's particular to the regulator you got, but yes basically you need a certain sustained PSI to be able to push the paint past the atomizing tip and create the right misting action.

    You will have to do some fine-tuning... You need to do some experimentation and combine various paint/thinner ratios and PSI settings and see which mix comes out best. That's why test shoots are important! :thumb:
  20. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    2-8-2, it makes sense that the pressure should drop when you are using the compressor.

    Bernouli's is the equation in fluid mechanics from this sort of problem, and it states that the pressure in the tank drops equivalent to the air flowing out your airbrush. If the static pressure is 40 and it drops to 20 in the line while spraying, you're spraying with 20psi....40-20=20

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