Tutorial>>Airbrush

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:

I think all types of air hose is fine, just make sure that both of the connector could fit to your airbrush and compressor😀

Airbrush Types

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:

the bottom-feed:

and the gravity-feed:

There’s not so much difference in terms of result, so it comes down to what you think handle the best😀

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😀. 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

1. This cap is where you put the paint. Only pour the paint inside it after you finished mixing the paint outside.

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.

4. 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.

Airbrush Result

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:

Spray the thinner while your finger is covering the nozzle. This way, the thinner will go backwards to the cap and creates bubble like 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😀

move back to compressor tutorial

25 thoughts on “Tutorial>>Airbrush

  1. heathorn says:

    again, thx for this detailed tuto brader!! Must have spent much time and effort to make this, really appreciate that!
    At least I know airbrush basic and function now, yay😀

    • h4mster says:

      Your welcome😀 glad to know that this is useful😀
      I gather this material during the completion of my Stug, so there are still some method that I don’t explain because the lack of picture. I guess there will be a second part for this tutorial😀

  2. chubbybots says:

    Ah this will definitely help those who want to delve deeper into the hobby!! this is a great detailed tutorial dude😀 Will you be covering shading or post shading for your future tutorial?

    • h4mster says:

      yeah, I’ll be writing about shading and other technique that I know😀 but that will have to wait until I enter the painting process in one of my project (and if I don’t forget to take pictures, LoL ). The point is, there will be more tutorial about airbrush, you can count on that😀

    • h4mster says:

      The cheap one worth a HG (about Rp 150.000), I think it’s already enough to start airbrushing because it’s not a bad airbrush at all.

      If you want to go with medium price, it’s about Rp 300.000-400.000. usually the brand is anzen or rujica

      Now the top of the list would need you to spent Rp 2jt-3jt to have one (the quality is unquestionable)

      so there’s a lot of airbrush types, with various prices, you don’t need to buy expensive one, because in the end, it’s the man behind the gun that counts😀

      • MaftyNavue says:

        hmm, besides airbrush.. what should I buy? a compressor?
        usually in what price range?

        and how to develop my skill? or practicing to use an airbrush?

        thanks for the advice.. gotta looking for the airbrush now..

    • h4mster says:

      they work on the same principle, a mix of compressed air and paint. But pylox cannot let you control the flow of air, thus making it harder to control. Airbrush didn’t have that kind of problem. It will give you great controls and let you do a detail painting. So airbrush is like the better version of pylox😀

  3. rockleelotus says:

    ah the airbrush, i can only dream😛 very cool tutorial! i never knew there was a needle inside and its such an important part. plus lots of steps to keep it clean and maintained, that part of it i wouldnt enjoy doing lol

    • h4mster says:

      yup, cleaning things is not a very fun activity…I once skip this cleaning part, and the needle got jammed inside the airbrush T.T That’s enough experience for me lol

  4. koga says:

    woww,very complete tutor to understand airbrush…
    i’m still using spray can because i’m not dive in too deep for this hobby (maybe not yet :P)…

    nice to meet this blog🙂

    • h4mster says:

      haha, it’s not complete yet bro, there are still lots of thing that need to be explored in using airbrush, I plan to make the next part of it😀
      using a spray can is nice too, and it safe you from the trouble of mixing the paint with thinner and stuffs😀 but in the long run, using airbrush is a ot cheaper, so maybe you could add that for your considerations😀

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