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Old 02-20-2018, 10:01 AM   #1
TheAmishStig
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Lancaster, PA
Default 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?
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Old 02-20-2018, 07:51 PM   #2
sparky00
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: Parma, OH
Default 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.
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Old 02-20-2018, 08:18 PM   #3
TheAmishStig
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Lancaster, PA
Default Re: Airbrush Recommendations?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sparky00 View Post
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?
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Old 02-21-2018, 03:28 AM   #4
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Default 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.)
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Old 02-21-2018, 09:46 AM   #5
TheAmishStig
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Lancaster, PA
Default Re: Airbrush Recommendations?

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Originally Posted by CON_Troll View Post
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.
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Old 02-21-2018, 02:31 PM   #6
sparky00
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: Parma, OH
Default 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.

Last edited by sparky00; 02-21-2018 at 02:39 PM.
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Old 02-21-2018, 03:41 PM   #7
TheAmishStig
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Lancaster, PA
Default Re: Airbrush Recommendations?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sparky00 View Post
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.
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Old 02-21-2018, 03:54 PM   #8
tbeard1999
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Tyler, Texas
Default Re: Airbrush Recommendations?

Quote:
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. 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.

Last edited by tbeard1999; 02-21-2018 at 03:59 PM.
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Old 02-21-2018, 05:15 PM   #9
sparky00
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: Parma, OH
Default 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.
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Old 02-21-2018, 09:46 PM   #10
tbeard1999
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Tyler, Texas
Default Re: Airbrush Recommendations?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sparky00 View Post
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.
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