NW-Modeling-List Digest, Vol 3, Issue 5

nw-modeling-list at nwhs.org nw-modeling-list at nwhs.org
Thu Aug 5 14:10:48 EDT 2004

>From someone who has used an airbrush for almost 40 years, you would really be better off getting a good double-action airbrush.  They really aren't hard to use, and the extra degree of control you get while spraying is really worth it.  Whatever you get, make sure it is easy to clean and that replacement parts are readily available.  Iwata airbrushes have been getting a lot of good press over the last few years, and are the recommended brand in the art department at my daughter's college.  I have used a Thayer and Chadler, and it was good but hard to clean.  I currently use (and have for about 20 years) a Paasche VL.  It is of modular construction, easy to clean, and replacement parts are readily available (at least in Dayton, Ohio).  I use the #3 needle and tip for 90+% of my work, with the #5 needle and tip for most of the remaining.  Very rarely do I use a #1 tip and needle - that setup is mostly for inks, which are very thin and have VERY small pigment particles.  It isn't hard
 to find Paasches new for around 20% off MSRP.
Also, I am one of the few people in the modelling world who prefers acrylics to lacquers and enamels, though I use all of them.  Acrylics are a little harder to learn to airbrush (they tend to dry on the tip, requiring frequent tip cleanoffs while spraying), but can be touched up by hand with little to no evidence of touchup.
Finally, while you didn't mention how you are going to "power" the airbrush, let me recommend a liquified Carbon Dioxide tank with a regulator.  You get steady, non-pulsating flow, and the regulator allows precise control of the spray pressure.  You also don't have to worry about moisture in your air line.  I use 20-30 PSI for general purpose work, 15-20 PSI for clearcoats or finer single-color finishes, and go as low as 6-8 PSI for feather edging (such as aircraft camouflage).  You can check at the local shop which fills CO2 fire extinguishers for a source of tanks and regulators.  Tanks are availble in several sizes, based on the weight of gas needed to fill them to a full charge.  I have used both 10 pound and 20 pound tanks.  The empty weight of a tank and regulator is around 30-35 pounds, so it is a tradeoff between capacity (which translates to time between refills) and weight you'll have to carry to and from that same carbonic gas facility when you get it recharged.  I don't
 know what a tank + regulator costs these days, but figure on $12-18 per 20# charge.  One charge will typically do 8-12 models, depending on size, number of colors, clearcoats, amount of weathering, etc.  Be sure your connections are tight, though, or you will lose some of your charge.
Hope this helps!  Feel free to post more questions if you have any!
Tom Black

nw-modeling-list-request at nwhs.org wrote:

Subject: Airbrush Paint for Plastics


While I'm not new to modeling or painting, I am new to air brushing.
Could you as a veteran recommend a brand of paints and thinner for a
How about a brand of air brush? I'm thinking about starting with a single
action brush. Comments?

Steam on,
Dave Willis.
Norfolk and Western, 1940->1950 

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