Now let’s talk about airbrush 😀
This tutorial is the follow up of the previous tutorial about compressor. Now if you asked me whether or not airbrush is important to build scale model. The answer goes back to you, just how far you want to dive in to this hobby and explore the possibilities. I’ve seen great models painted using a mere cheap spray can, and even some models turns out pretty awesome using a hand brush. So airbrush is not a must, but it certainly could achieve results that no other could achieve, such as apply shading, spraying mixed colors, writing, etc.
Okay, first, what you need for airbrushing is the air hose. Like this one:
For the airbrush, based on the trigger, there are two types. First is the single action airbrush:
The single action airbrush is pretty simple. When you pull the trigger, it spray both air and paint at the same time. It’s hard to control though, it works basically like an ordinary spray can so you might want to be careful not to overspray things. The air could still be adjustable using the air regulator in your compressor. But in my point of view, the single action are the perfect tools if you wanna cover a wide surface, priming, or coating. It gets the job done quickly 😀
Second, is the dual-action airbrush:
By pushing the trigger down (1) air will blow out of the airbrush. To mix the air with paint, you have to pull the trigger (2). This gives you better control since you could adjust how much air and how wide your spray is gonna be using the trigger. The dual action is perfect for detailing.
Another type of airbrush is based on where the paint is placed, there is the side-feed:
About the price, airbrush have a very broad variation of it. As far as I know, the good quality airbrush is provided by Iwata, Model Master, Anzen, Mr. Hobby, etc. (just look at the price, more expensive, more quality 😀 except if you find yourself with a tricky seller 😦 ). Some airbrush are sold in one package with the compressor :D. In my experience, my first airbrush is the cheap one. It is made in Taiwan, and only cost Rp 150.000,-. It looks like this:
at that time, I am still trying to see whether or not I really need airbrush. So the cheap one would not make me feel bad if I have to throw it away 😀 Even though it’s cheap, it’s not bad at all. I’m still using it until now (usually for top coating). Cheap airbrush usually don’t have any spare parts in the market, so if one part is broke, it’s a sayonara to the whole airbrush 😀 There’s also one trick if you wanna get yourself a good quality airbrush. This is what I have done. I have a friend who retired from this hobby, and decided to sell his Rp 2.000.000,00 iwata for only Rp. 500.000,00 😀 a 1,5 million discount LoL. If you are ready for the risk, buying a second hand airbrush is a good bargain 😀
Parts of Airbrush
2.Noozle,it is the part of the airbrush head assembly in which the needle rests.
3.air regulator, if the airbrush have this, it could control the amount of air that is being sprayed (never use it though :D). You could always control it manually by how hard you push the trigger.
5. I don’t now the name, but it is used to adjust how far you could pull the trigger. Making sure that you don’t pull it too much. Useful if you want to draw a straight line.
6. You can view the adjustment made by number (5) from this area
7. Air hose connector.
Inside an airbrush you will find the needle:
An airbrush works by mixing paint and air inside it. This needle is there to make sure the paint is going forward. If you pour paint inside the cap when there is no needle in the airbrush, your paint is gonna flood the airbrush.
As I have explained before, the dual action works by pushing the trigger first and then pulling it. It’s pretty simple, basically the more you push the trigger, the stronger spray it becomes. And the more you pull it, the spray would get wider. So you could combine those action to achieve the desired result, such as pushing it hard and pull it to the max to create a wide and full paint of the surface, or you could push it gently and pull it to the max to create a mist spray.
This is one of the result (it’s not mine, this is a test sample from the airbrush manufacturer) the thin line is done by a full push and pull the trigger just a little bit. It gets wider once the trigger is pulled more 😀 This is the fun part of airbrushing 😀
As for the paint, this is one challenge of using an airbrush. It is clear that you have the freedom to mix and customize the paint. But if you wanna spray it using an airbrush, you have to mix it with thinner.
The theory is that the mixture of thinner to paint are 2:1 but it’s not always that way. The point is that the thinner is gotta be more than the paint, but the ratio depends on how thick the paint is. Old paints are usually having more thickness than the new one, therefore a different ration should be applied. The usual standards that people are using is to mix thinner and paint until it is just as liquid as milk. Getting the right mixture is hard, and I’m still learning and getting the experience to have the right feeling. If the mixture is too thick, you’ll get a very rough & grainy result (and probably the paint particles would stuck in the nozzle), too thin will create an uneven or almost transparent result.
How to Clean It
Keeping your airbrush clean after work is so important. I have a bad experience because I don’t do this step. The paint dried inside my airbrush and making the trigger stuck because the needle is jammed by the dry paint T.T.
The first step after you’re done with your work is to wipe the paint that is still remaining inside the cap. Use a tissue and a lacquer thinner to do this (use a cheap lacquer thinner that usually used for wall paint). After that, pour more thinner inside the cap and spray it to clean the nozzle.
the picture above shows the condition after I wipe the cap with a tissue and ready to spray thinner to clean the nozzle. If you pour down the thinner and it gets colorized, then your work is not done.
Spraying the thinner over and over again, and if the thinner is not colorized as much as before anymore, you might wanna ensure that the nozzle is clean by doing this:
after this, just throw away the thinner in the cap (don’t spray it since you already clean the nozzle). If you don’t wanna use your finger, just loosen up the nozzle head and you’ll get the same effect 😀 Do this over and over again until your airbrush is clean.
After that, take the needle out of the airbrush, wipe the needle. Pour some thinner inside the cap again and spray it immediately without the needle inside. Do this a couple of times, and you are completely done 😀 I usually didn’t put the needle back in the airbrush because there is still a risk that it gets jammed by the uncleaned paint inside it (even if it looks clean on the outside, we never knew what happen inside) I put the needle back again when I want to start airbrushing again 😀
Huff…man this sure is a long post…I might forgot one or two things in this explanation, so just ask anything, and I’ll try my best to answer it 😀