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Old 02-21-2018, 03:54 PM   #8
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Tyler, Texas
Default Re: Airbrush Recommendations?

Originally Posted by TheAmishStig View Post
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.

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.

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

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.

Hope this helps.

Last edited by tbeard1999; 02-21-2018 at 03:59 PM.
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