When painting with an airbrush...

Discussion in 'Photos & Videos' started by TrainNut, Jan 16, 2007.


When painting with an airbrush, which type of paint do you prefer?

  1. Water based paint

    0 vote(s)
  2. Thinner based paint

    0 vote(s)
  1. TrainNut

    TrainNut Ditat Deus

    When painting with an airbrush, which type of paint do you prefer and why? I'm not talking about different brands or colors but simply, water based or thinner based. You see, today I tried out my new airbrush with some thinner based paint. While, I loved the results, it stunk (for quite a while... in fact it still stinks), it made a big mess that I had a heck of a time cleaning up, the thinner costs a lot more than water, and... did I mention the big mess? I much prefer the water based paints but I have not done that much painting with them and I wonder if it will stick as well as thinner based paint. My next painting project will be rusting my rails and I'm not sure which way to go.
  2. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

    Personally, I like solvent-based paint for painting things that need decals to be applied. It just seems much easier to lay down a much thinner coat, plus you can use enamels such as Scalecoat, which gives you a nice glossy surface that decals need in order to adhere to properly.

    For stuff like weathering track or painting structures and terrain features, I find the water-based acrylics to be quite satisfactory.
  3. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    thinner. In my dry climate, the water based starts drying before it leaves the airbrush. That means clogging and a rough finish. And once the water based dries, it cannot be cleaned with water. Once the water based paints dry inside the airbrush - it means equally nasty stinky stuff like acetone will be needed to clean it out. And since the drying time is almost instantaneous where I live - I choose thinner based paints.

  4. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Lacquer-based, definitely. Thinner coats, more control, less clogging, and easier clean-up.
    If you're spraying, no matter which kind of paint, use a spray booth vented to the outdoors, and by all means wear breathing protection. I use a two-stage respirator for spraying any type of paint. And for thinner, lacquer thinner, at about $10.00 a gallon, will work with Floquil, Scalecote, Testors, SMP Accupaint, and Humbrol. And what you don't need for thinning paint or cleaning the airbrush, you can use for cementing styrene. For weathering, you can thin Floquil down to 90% thinner to get subtle effects, and great control. By the way, for painting rails, I prefer Polly Scale (water based) applied with a brush. It's faster than spraying, and causes way less dust in the layout room.

  5. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    and painting the ties is also a good idea. Use about 3 shades of brown/gray and randomly paint individual ties with a brush. It makes the track look much more realistic.

  6. jbaakko

    jbaakko Active Member

    I bought a pile of those newer House Of Color sets at Wal*mart when they were clearing them out (bad packaging), so I have PLENTY of thinner both normal & airbrush. I prefer enamels over acrylics, due to some bad painting experiences with acrylics. However I still have plenty of Testors acrylics I use for brush painting detail parts.

    I'll continue airbushing enamels though.
  7. NSES44DC

    NSES44DC Member

    MRR of Decemeber had a great article on airbrushing with acrylic paints. If you get a chance, take a look at it.
  8. 65GASSER

    65GASSER Member

    I've always had great results airbrushing with acrylic paint. Never had a problem so far with them and I've painted & decaled alot of my locos. I think its experiance and personal preference really, but I've been painting with air for about 10 years now. The Navy put me through Aircraft painting and final finishing courses.
    Here is a link to my latest paint & decal job. I used Model Flex Jenks blue and Microscale decals.
  9. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

    Thinner. I've had mixed results with Accuflex and Modelflex paints, and although I haven't used a lot of Polly-S, I wasn't really pleased with the results I got from them, either.

    My favourite was Accupaint... long gone, unfortunately, but I found I got the most consistent results with that, and as long as I primed properly, I got beautiful colours with thin coats.

    I've never had a lot of luck with Floquil - I find that no matter what I do, it goes on "chunky", and gives a very rough finish. I found that while Scalecoat gave a good finish, it took forever to cure.
  10. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

    That's exactly how Floquil is supposed to be-- It's a matte-finish paint. It requires a separate gloss coat in order to get a smooth finish.

    Scalecoat is completely the opposite.. It's more like a glossy enamel and goes on with a glossy smooth finish. I love airbrushing with Scalecoat too because it doesn't require a separate gloss coat to prep a model for decals. :thumb: Problem is, Scalecoat is next-to-impossible to find in my area.

    Floquil covered with a clear coat looks pretty good though if you need a smooth finish.
  11. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    I think that Accupaint is still available, although the supply doesn't appear to be very dependable. I picked up some last Fall at a LHS: the dealer said that it had just come in. When I left, so did all of his supply of CNR Green #11!:D

  12. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    What's an airbrush?:)

  13. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

    wunna dem ne-fangled things dat us folk who cain't paint are burdened wit usin'

    Bee-yootiful paint job, Bob!!
  14. bigsteel

    bigsteel Call me Mr.Tinkertrain

    im soooo lucky!i rarely paint my locos myself,i have my brother who is a automotive airbrush "artist" and he does it for me.they only thing i do is weather it and voila a finished loco.the only thing i paint are structures and scenery;)
  15. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Not only a nice paint job, but also a nice looking scene that you've posed it in.:thumb:

  16. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

    It's whut them thar stuckup folks do theys 'air with... y'know, if there's too much to comb.... :p
  17. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    :D :D :D :D :D :D :D

    I'm gonna duck now...

    Thanks, Wayne, everything beyond the second track is real grass, the diorama is about 25 feet in front of and about 10 feet above that patch in my backyard because of a berm the stool is set on.

    I do have an airbrush, I'm jus' too lazy to clean the thang so it just sits there all sparklin' pretty, makin' me look all perfeshunal and such.
  18. Fluesheet

    Fluesheet Member

    Best post I've read this week. I've airbrushed a couple layers of Floquil Caboose Red on an AMB kit I'm building and have been frustrated with the inability to get a smooth finish.

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