Question about Airbrushing

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by Chessie6459, Oct 26, 2004.

  1. Chessie6459

    Chessie6459 Gauge Oldtimer

    I have a question about airbrushing. I just bought my first airbrush on saturday. It is a Testors, just to start out with because i want to test it out and i need to know a couple of things.

    1. How far of a distance do i have to be from the rolling stock to airbrush it?

    2. How would i get the best effect on the car, dirt, and rust?

    3. How would i clean it up after i am done using the airbrush?

    I am a little :confused: confused at the moment and need some help.
  2. TomPM

    TomPM Another Fried Egg Fan

    The quick answer is practice, practice, practice.

    For me the distance that I use came about from practicing on some old car shells. Those practice sessions helped me determine the air pressure I needed, the paint mix, and how the move the airbrush. I don’t think that there is a definite answer because everyone and every airbrush, and how you use the airbrush is different. Be patient with yourself and don’t be too hard on yourself. If you mess up too bad you can always learn how to strip paint like I did several times over.

    As far as cleaning goes, I have a POS airbrush that dissembles into two pieces that I run under hot water. Someone who has a Testors brush can answer this part better than I can.
  3. Ray Marinaccio

    Ray Marinaccio Active Member

    Hi Matthew,
    The distance will depend on a lot of variables, Air pressure, paint viscosity and spray pattern setting. but usually 6-8 inches is normal. With practice you will learn how to adjust them all.
    The best thing to do is to practice. Paint a piece of cardboard to start with, just to get familiar with the gun. Then try an old car.
    I hold the shells by sliding them onto a toilet paper tube. I hold other parts with cloth pins or alligator clips.

    Here's a couple of web sites that might help. (Air brush cleaning)
  4. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

    the only thing i can add to Ray's comment is to make shure you have a moisture trap on your air sorce unless you are using canned air.
  5. Chessie6459

    Chessie6459 Gauge Oldtimer

    Thanks Guys for the tips and advice. :wave: :wave:
  6. Good Morning, Ray...

    Using an airbrush has its own list of variables. I find myself spraying in a minature technique of the way that I use a quart cup spray gun in my line of work. First, you really do need to have a good air makes all of the difference. If your air pressure is too low, you'll find yourself spraying too close to the model to get coverage and run the risk of sags and drips. For years I used one of those oil-less, table top, noisy jobs and it did the trick. I adapted my spraying technique to it, set my air brush up for its output, and used it on many models. Then, one day, Sears had a sale on a 1.5 HP little tank compressor with all of the fittings. SOLD! I made certain that I also bought the air/water seperator, too. I spray solvent based paints using an old Paasche model H airbrush. Using 20 lbs. of air pressure, I usually spray at about 4 inches from my surface. I have my airbrush set up for a certain pattern. Using the volume adjustment, I set the airbrush so that I get a 1/2" +/- spray pattern. I never try to get the most coverage all at once. That will lead to places where the paint is heavier or lighter. I also don't move quickly or look at the airbrush. Instead, I watch the paint as it goes on the surface moving further or closer, faster or slower as needed. I paint in overlapping passes, too. Just enough overlap to cover. Paint needs to be thinned for spraying, too. I cut my enamels with acetone by about 1/3 and ALWAYS test my mixture and airbrush setting on a piece of paper (plastic, a white file card, etc.) When cleaning, I spray solvent through the air brush and paint cup, wipe it out, spray solvent through it again until it sprays clear, and that's it! Ready for the next time. Ray, believe me, this is worth the investment in money and practice time. Practice on sheet styrene, practice on plastic balls in order to spray on curved surfaces, and get old model shells, too. Once you have the paint pressure, consistency, and technique down, you will never, NEVER regret the money or time, I promise you. You'll ooooh and aaaaah and have something to be proud of every time!

  7. pdt

    pdt Member

    Russ, you use acetone to thin enamels like Testors Model Master? I didn't know that could be done. I've been using their thinner for years and right now I'm wondering how much I'd have saved by using fingernail polish remover...
  8. It depends on the paint. I shoot Floquil with acetone without any problems. I also have sprayed Scalecoat this way, too. Acetone flashes off fast and allows the paint to dry faster, but this isn't always the way to go. Slower drying time gives the paint the opportunity to 'lay out' 'or 'flow out' giving a better paint job. I also use real acetone, too. You shouldn't use generic lacquer thinner with enamels. The chemistry is different and you may end up with an enamel that won't cure and will remain soft. The manufacturer's enamel reducer isn't anything mysterious or special. If you live around an auto paint shop, pick up a gallon of all-purpose enamel reducer and you'll be set for a good while. Water base paints are a completely different story. It pays to have TWO for solvent based paints and one for water based paints. Solvent-based and water-based paints are TOTALLY incompatable and will result in a clogged airbrush if one contaminates the other. However, if having two airbrushes is possible, here's what we do at work to prep a spray gun when crossing over from one to the other: Wash out you spray equipment with solvent to flush out any solvent-based paint residue and clean it out well. Follow the solvent cleaning with denatured alcohol washing and spraying in order to get out the solvent. Spray water through the spray equipment to get out the alcohol. Now you're ready to spray water based paint. After you're finished, reverse the process: clean out the gear with water, flush and clean with alcohol to blow out the water, then flush and clean with solvent (acetone or reducer) to blow out the alcohol. Do this religiously and you'll never have a clogged gun from going back and forth from one paint to the other. When your spray guns cost 400.00 each, it's a good idea to keep 'em cleaned out! :D :p

    Russ :) :wave:
  9. Chessie6459

    Chessie6459 Gauge Oldtimer

    Thanks everyone. All of you are very helpful. I thank you for all the information. :wave: :wave: :wave:
  10. Glen Haasdyk

    Glen Haasdyk Active Member

    About the thinner line, I went to an autobody supply shop and got automotive enamel thinner (1 gal. 30$ Can.) and saved a ton it is also more powerful than the testors thinner. I only need to use about half as much to get the right consitency. Also I use the 'milk' technic for thinning, meaning when the paint has the consistency of milk it is ready for airbrushing. That means if you splash it against the side of your jar it should run down and leave a film like milk would. Trust me it works.
  11. dsfraser

    dsfraser Member

    ! Acetone !! Why?? Acetone is quite toxic when inhaled.

    I have used automotive lacquer thinner and or lacquer reducer for years. It is also an "aromatic hydrocarbon", as is xylene (base thinner for old-formula Floquil), and is also toxic when inhaled, but not to the same degree as acetone. It is available commercially at any good paint store, and also works like a hot damn to clean brushes and the airbrush.

    Scott Fraser
  12. As a sidenote, I use a spraybooth when painting and cleaning out my airbrushes, so I'm not inhaling the acetone vapor. I really urge people who are going to paint a lot to build a good sized table top spraybooth. Mine has a vent hose that goes right outside with a good pulling fan. Does it work? One look at the filter answers the question! :)

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