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-   -   Airbrush Recommendations? (http://forums.sjgames.com/showthread.php?t=155953)

TheAmishStig 02-20-2018 10:01 AM

Airbrush Recommendations?
 
With over 500 minis [counting a 3-man infantry base as 1 mini] waiting, and another 1125 coming in a couple months, not to mention another massive mountain of minis if the rumblings of Set 3 materialize, I not only need to get painting I need to get painting a lot faster than I can do with brushes.

I'm starting to do the research on taking the plunge, but have no idea where to even begin [other than "get a bunch of extra needles, because you're going to lose them / clog them at the worst possible time"].

Can anyone recommend an airbrush that'll see me from 'absolute novice with an airbrush' up to 'He's no Ben, but he's at least competent', and/or offer up gotchas for making the transition from pots and brushes?

sparky00 02-20-2018 07:51 PM

Re: Airbrush Recommendations?
 
I just recently purchased a Badger Patriot 105. Its a great brush - versatile, simple, easy to use & maintain. And reasonably priced.

I'd recommend it.

TheAmishStig 02-20-2018 08:18 PM

Re: Airbrush Recommendations?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by sparky00 (Post 2160167)
I just recently purchased a Badger Patriot 105. Its a great brush - versatile, simple, easy to use & maintain. And reasonably priced.

I'd recommend it.

I don't have a full understanding of what I'm looking at there, but it reviews well and the price is pretty decent. Is it a safe assumption that I'd have to stock up on medium and learn to mix my existing pots (mostly Reaper Pro, but also have some Reaper MSP and some GW stuff) down to a more airbrush-friendly consistency?

CON_Troll 02-21-2018 03:28 AM

Re: Airbrush Recommendations?
 
Do you have a compressor already? If not, be sure to get a good one with a regulator and a good flex hose. Should have at least 1hp strength - 1.5 is better. Auto shut-off if you have the regulator set too high is also a good thing (to prevent burning up the motor.) Anything less than $100 (new) tends to be inferior. Shop at hobby stores that carry model trains. For some reason, they tend to have a larger selection of better models (including airbrushes.)

TheAmishStig 02-21-2018 09:46 AM

Re: Airbrush Recommendations?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by CON_Troll (Post 2160230)
Do you have a compressor already? If not, be sure to get a good one with a regulator and a good flex hose. Should have at least 1hp strength - 1.5 is better. Auto shut-off if you have the regulator set too high is also a good thing (to prevent burning up the motor.) Anything less than $100 (new) tends to be inferior. Shop at hobby stores that carry model trains. For some reason, they tend to have a larger selection of better models (including airbrushes.)

I don't have one that's appropriate for an airbrush, no...just one of those little emergency 'plug into the car's cigarette lighter' ones that's one-lung, tankless, and about worthless for anything larger or higher pressure than a small beach ball.

Been considering a big one for getting air tools for the car [I'm getting too old to be laying in a stone driveway with a mallet and a breaker bar], but that's just as wildly inappropriate on the other end of the spectrum....I really doubt I need a 175psi, 80dB, 30-gallon monster for painting minis. Plus I doubt the neighbors would appreciate the noise...

I'm not finding any compressors in that power range that aren't full-bore shop compressors, complete with sounding like a freight train...all the ones labeled "airbrush" I'm finding are 1/6 to 1/4hp. Any recommendations?

If my reading is right, it's looking like a $400-ish proposition to get started to 'do it right', with a compressor marketed 'for airbrushes'...or $600-ish for a shop compressor. The booth is 'nice' rather than 'necessary', but I may as well do it right from the onset.

- $100 for the brush (Badger 105 XPR, recommended by Sparky)
- $150 for a decent compressor with built-in regulator
- $100 for a lit, vented spray box
- leaving $50 for a cleaning kit, medium, needles, hose, etc.

sparky00 02-21-2018 02:31 PM

Re: Airbrush Recommendations?
 
The Badger website & manuals has some good exercises for learning to control the airbrush. There are also good intro videos on youtube.

For practice, I'd recommend getting some Createx airbrush paint & thinner. Its decent size and cheap.

Since you will be painting on plastic, its good to see how the paint will behave on plastic. Plastic yard sale signs are good, flat surfaces to practice on. You can prime them and see how the paint behaves over primer.

Most paints you use will need some thinning. How much really depends on the individual paint. With practice, you will develop a "feel" for how paint flows through the brush, and how much thinning you need to get the flow you are looking for. The Patriot 105 seems pretty forgiving in this regard. Roughly 50/50 is good initial starting point.

I recommend using a thinner or airbrush medium from the same manufacturer as the paint. I do. Lots of these paints probably have tweaked chemistry, and may not play well with others.

I'd also stress the value of practice exercises. Double-action airbrushes are not the easiest thing to control initially, but can give excellent results with a little experience and skill. Painting the dots, curves, lines and dagger strokes in the exercises may not seem applicable to minis, but learning to control the brush well will result in much less frustration when you load it with paint and point it at your minis.

TheAmishStig 02-21-2018 03:41 PM

Re: Airbrush Recommendations?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by sparky00 (Post 2160415)
The Badger website & manuals has some good exercises for learning to control the airbrush. There are also good intro videos on youtube.

For practice, I'd recommend getting some Createx airbrush paint & thinner. Its decent size and cheap.

Since you will be painting on plastic, its good to see how the paint will behave on plastic. Plastic yard sale signs are good, flat surfaces to practice on. You can prime them and see how the paint behaves over primer.

Most paints you use will need some thinning. How much really depends on the individual paint. With practice, you will develop a "feel" for how paint flows through the brush, and how much thinning you need to get the flow you are looking for. The Patriot 105 seems pretty forgiving in this regard. Roughly 50/50 is good initial starting point.

I recommend using a thinner or airbrush medium from the same manufacturer as the paint. I do. Lots of these paints probably have tweaked chemistry, and may not play well with others.

I'd also stress the value of practice exercises. Double-action airbrushes are not the easiest thing to control initially, but can give excellent results with a little experience and skill. Painting the dots, curves, lines and dagger strokes in the exercises may not seem applicable to minis, but learning to control the brush well will result in much less frustration when you load it with paint and point it at your minis.

Having watched a couple introductory videos, and looked at a couple paint brands...I get the feeling this is one of those plunges like buying a racing wheel for your PC: the fundamentals carry over, but you have to completely re-learn the coordination and technique.

tbeard1999 02-21-2018 03:54 PM

Re: Airbrush Recommendations?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by TheAmishStig (Post 2160049)
With over 500 minis [counting a 3-man infantry base as 1 mini] waiting, and another 1125 coming in a couple months, not to mention another massive mountain of minis if the rumblings of Set 3 materialize, I not only need to get painting I need to get painting a lot faster than I can do with brushes.

I'm starting to do the research on taking the plunge, but have no idea where to even begin [other than "get a bunch of extra needles, because you're going to lose them / clog them at the worst possible time"].

Can anyone recommend an airbrush that'll see me from 'absolute novice with an airbrush' up to 'He's no Ben, but he's at least competent', and/or offer up gotchas for making the transition from pots and brushes?

I have several Badger airbrushes, and have used Badger's lifetime guarantee. They're good brushes. My favorite ones were the Sotar and the Renegade

But currently, my go-to airbrush is a Grex Tritium TG. It costs about $210 USD on Amazon. I like the trigger-type airbrush better than the traditional style. https://www.dickblick.com/products/g...oaAtqJEALw_wcB

My compressor is a Sparmax bought from Hobby Lobby (with the 40% off coupon, it costs about $180, USD.

Also, Don Wheeler's airbrush site has a kiloton of useful stuff. https://sites.google.com/site/donsairbrushtips/

Whichever airbrush you get, learn to tear it down and give it a thorough cleaning. Until you get that down, you will have issues. Search for videos on youtube. Important - you HAVE to give it a thorough cleaning before you out it away, if you use acrylics. Acrylics turn into something like plastic when they cure. You wanna clean that stuff up before it cures.

I'd also order some spare parts at the beginning - a needle, as that's the easiest component to damage for a newbie. If the airbrush has a teensy tiny airbrush tip (like the Renegade), order a spare as well. You'll lose it sooner or later when cleaning.

There are any number of cheap airbrush cleaning sets. I found this one the most useful https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00UFBJGRM...a-310939539349

The subject of cleaners may be the most popular thing for modeler's to cuss and discuss. For acrylics, here's my solution. To clean between colors and clear out clogs, I use Magic Cleaner - about 50% alcohol (91%); 50% Windex (I use the one with ammonia, but many airbrushers say to avoid ammonia, so you can use ammonia-free Windex); and a few drops of gycerine or flow aid. To clean the airbrush at the end, I use lacquer thinner.

Some commercial cleaners work marginally better than Magic Cleaner. But, an 85ml bottle of Vallejo cleaner is ~$10. I can make up about 2000ml - a quart - of Magic Cleaner for the same amount of money

To thin acrylic paints, I use Liquitex airbrush thinner (or make my own from distilled water, Liquitex matte medium and flow-aid).

Thinning paints for an airbrush is almost like witchcraft. I do like Vallejo Air Colors. They are pre-thinned and work pretty much from the bottle. I strongly recommend them for novices.

The "Techniques" section of my Texas Wargamer blog has numerous tutorials that include using an airbrush. And since I go for maximum benefit with minimum effort, you might like them. Www.texaswargamer.com

Hope this helps.

sparky00 02-21-2018 05:15 PM

Re: Airbrush Recommendations?
 
I'll second the Vallejo Air recommendation!

I just tried these a couple weeks ago.

So easy they feel like cheating. Almost.

tbeard1999 02-21-2018 09:46 PM

Re: Airbrush Recommendations?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by sparky00 (Post 2160461)
I'll second the Vallejo Air recommendation!

I just tried these a couple weeks ago.

So easy they feel like cheating. Almost.

I noticed that you mentioned Createx. Iíve used them and like the opaques. But newbies should be careful because many of those are transparent colors.

sparky00 02-22-2018 07:57 AM

Re: Airbrush Recommendations?
 
I only use the Createx paints for practice and painting paper, cloth, wood etc.

I have a couple bottles of opaque black i use for exercises when I haven't used the brushes for a while.

I've never used Createx on models, minis, etc. and don't plan to. I'm currently a fan of the Vallejo paint for models & minis.

tbeard1999 02-22-2018 09:04 AM

Re: Airbrush Recommendations?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by sparky00 (Post 2160592)
I only use the Createx paints for practice and painting paper, cloth, wood etc.

I have a couple bottles of opaque black i use for exercises when I haven't used the brushes for a while.

I've never used Createx on models, minis, etc. and don't plan to. I'm currently a fan of the Vallejo paint for models & minis.

I have used them in the past, but like you, Iíve gone pretty much exclusively to Vallejo. Createx has a nice sand color. But adhesion is a bit suspect, although thatís the case with all airbrushed acrylics. My magic wash puts an almost bulletproof seal over the paint job, which is a second reason I use it.

Embarrassing to say, but I never seem to have time for exercises. Don Wheeler uses food coloring and sprays on paper towels for his exercises, by the way.

TheAmishStig 02-22-2018 10:27 AM

Re: Airbrush Recommendations?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by tbeard1999 (Post 2160614)
Don Wheeler uses food coloring and sprays on paper towels for his exercises, by the way.

That's pretty genius. I wonder if it hits the right consistency...or for that matter, if the "If it looks like 2% milk, you're good" is reliable or specific to a fixed PSI/needle pairing.

tbeard1999 02-22-2018 03:26 PM

Re: Airbrush Recommendations?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by TheAmishStig (Post 2160644)
That's pretty genius. I wonder if it hits the right consistency...or for that matter, if the "If it looks like 2% milk, you're good" is reliable or specific to a fixed PSI/needle pairing.

His webpage is a fabulous resource for anyone who uses an airbrush. I think that the food coloring works fine for painting exercises, but of course, it doesn't necessarily indicate the perfect viscosity of airbrush paints.

I've used an airbrush for quite some time, and every time I have to thin a paint, it's a beating. That's why I'm such a fan of Vallejo Model Air - they're good paints AND they're usable out of the bottle.

tbeard1999 02-22-2018 09:48 PM

Re: Airbrush Recommendations?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by TheAmishStig (Post 2160289)
I don't have one that's appropriate for an airbrush, no...just one of those little emergency 'plug into the car's cigarette lighter' ones that's one-lung, tankless, and about worthless for anything larger or higher pressure than a small beach ball.

Been considering a big one for getting air tools for the car [I'm getting too old to be laying in a stone driveway with a mallet and a breaker bar], but that's just as wildly inappropriate on the other end of the spectrum....If my reading is right, it's looking like a $400-ish proposition to get started to 'do it right', with a compressor marketed 'for airbrushes'...or $600-ish for a shop compressor. The booth is 'nice' rather than 'necessary', but I may as well do it right from the onset.

- $100 for the brush (Badger 105 XPR, recommended by Sparky)
- $150 for a decent compressor with built-in regulator
- $100 for a lit, vented spray box
- leaving $50 for a cleaning kit, medium, needles, hose, etc.

Badger makes good stuff so I doubt you’ll be disappointed. The 105 is very popular. I find gravity feed brushes to be far more convenient than bottle feed ones. They also require a bit less air pressure, which means a bit more control.

You absolutely can use tool grade compressors (I did initially), but the noise is brutal, especially when trying to do detail work.

You may be able to shave $160-180 off the total price though.

Harbor Freight has 1/6 hp airbrush compressors for $70; 1/5 hp for $88 https://www.harborfreight.com/1-6-hp...sor-93657.html I had one about 8 years ago and it wasn’t acceptable (I don’t recall why). Apparently, they’re better now. If money is an issue, you might try one out, if you can return it. You won’t hurt your airbrush.

I wouldn’t get the spray box at first, if you’re using acrylics. I bought a nice big Paasche Spray booth ($300 at the time (!)) and used it a lot for enamels. But now, I never use it. I now use acrylics exclusively and find I just don’t need the booth, especially when painting small stuff. The miniatures are small and you’ll have pretty fine control, so overspray isn’t a big deal. And acrylics don’t create a nasty smell. I’d try it without the spray booth and see how it works.

I don’t think respirators are critical, but I think I’m gonna start wearing a dust mask.

A plug for Testors Model Master Acryl White primer - it’s my go-to primer and is good for spraying out of the bottle. Of course, there are any numbers of colored primers too. Acryl flat Clear is my go-to matte clear.

Get an airbrush holder and cleaning jar. These can set you back $30-40 each, but I use the harbor freight ones - https://www.harborfreight.com/airbru...der-69449.html https://www.harborfreight.com/airbru...tle-68154.html $18 for both.

And I can’t recommend it enough - watch videos on how to clean your airbrush. The disassembly videos are interesting, but I’ve never had a need to disassemble my brushes.

You won’t go back to spray cans.

Oh almost forgot - get NYLON cleaner brushes. The metal ones are overly harsh on the interior of your airbrush.

TheAmishStig 02-22-2018 10:28 PM

Re: Airbrush Recommendations?
 
I'll try to digest the rest when I'm a little less exhausted, but would like to note that I'm looking at a cheap spray box for the turntable and lighting much more so than the ventilation. A lesson I learned years and years ago is that lousy lighting makes lousy minis.

I could probably build one cheaper, but my 'fire up the shop' list is already way too long. I need to cut a new CW arena, may end up cutting 3D Ogre Hex terrain if the hexes from Picoarmor disappoint, finish the new back steps, finish the new side railings, service the Shopsmith, devise a better dust collection system, and a few other things.

tbeard1999 02-25-2018 02:01 PM

Re: Airbrush Recommendations?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by TheAmishStig (Post 2160827)
I'll try to digest the rest when I'm a little less exhausted, but would like to note that I'm looking at a cheap spray box for the turntable and lighting much more so than the ventilation. A lesson I learned years and years ago is that lousy lighting makes lousy minis.

Here are the two desktop lights I have. Iíve had them for some months now and like them a lot:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1


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