Download Model Master Technical Guide - 06 Airbrushing PDF

TitleModel Master Technical Guide - 06 Airbrushing
File Size1.0 MB
Total Pages16
Document Text Contents
Page 1


The airbrush has added an element of
magic to model building. How else could
you reduce yourself to the size of a person
that was actually painting the pro t o t y p e
on the assembly line? The airbrush litera l l y
allows you to duplicate the effects of a spray
painting gun reduced to any scale you choose.
With the airbrush, you can control the paint
pattern to create those “soft”blended edges
between camouflage colors with relative ease.
Further, the airbrush allows you to apply
a color evenly without burying the details
under too much paint.

With pra c t i c e , the airbrush eliminates
the messy runs and spatters that are all too
common with spray cans. Both spray cans
and hand brushing have their useful place,
but airbrushing allows you to superc e d e
both techniques with practice.Don’t let
the perceived complexity of airbrushes stop
yo u .You can buy env i ronmentally safe cans of
p ropellant like Testor #8822 Ozone Safe
Airbrush Propellant and an inexpensive
airbrush for the price of a few kits. On wa r m
and calm days you can spray outdoors with

a large empty corrugated card b o a rd carton
to catch the ov e r s p ray.

The “ u l t i m a t e ” airbrush outfit, h o w ev e r,
m ay include a double-action airbrush (so
you can control both the flow of paint and
the flow of air with a single downwa rd and
b a c k wa rd stro k e ) , a silent compressor fitted
with a pre s s u re regulator and moisture tra p,
(one that runs quiet enough so you can con-
tinue painting until two in the morning if yo u
w i s h , without disturbing others), and a spray
booth (vented to the outside so you can spray
a nytime of the year without wo r rying about
airborne dust or spreading the odor of dry i n g
paint throughout the house).


There’s an archaeological theory that
suggests that some of the paintings on the
walls of caves were done by the cave people
blowing air across a hollow reed straw, w h i c h
in turn siphoned “ p a i n t ” up the reed and
deposited it onto the cave walls and ceilings.
This basic siphon technique describes the
actions of the most primitive, c o n t e m p o ra ry
low-end airbrushes. Now if we can just prov e

A i r b r u s h P a i n t i n gchapter


6-1 An Italeri Panther D superdetailed with new track and spare links from Kasten by Doug DeCounter.

Page 2

that the cave people used this technique
on some of their handcarved stone wo o l l y
mammoth miniatures we can push back the
date of the beginning of the modeling hobby.


A commercial artist may spend up to
hundreds of dollars on various airbrushes
and a silent and clean air supply. A modeler
also may spend this amount, although there
a re lower-cost airbrushes and air supplies.


Airbrushes are divided into two camps,
the E x t e r n a land I n t e r n a lM i x. External mix
airbrushes atomize the paint as the name
s u g g e s t s , outside the airbrush. Internal mix
airbrushes are designed to bring both air
and paint together inside the airbrush nozzle.
After this, you have va rying control mechanisms
for both air and paint.

External mix airbrushes generally hav e
a separate adjustment for paint and air. Air
is generally switched on and off by pre s s i n g
the trigger. Paint flow is adjusted by ro t a t i n g
the threaded paint nozzle, which allows the
paint volume to be adjusted on an external
mix airbrush.

Internal mixers, on the other hand, a re
available in up to 3 control mechanisms:

• Single Action
• Double Action
• Fixed Double Action

Single Action Ð Air supply is re g u l a t e d
via a simple on/off trigger. Paint supply is
adjusted generally by a separate ro l l e r, c o m-
monly located at the rear of the airbrush. T h i s
roller allows variable line widths to be selecte d .

Double Action Ð Air supply is re g u l a t e d
by pressing the trigger. The further down the
trigger is pressed,the more air is expelled.
By pulling back on the same trigger, paint is
i n t roduced into the airstre a m . The further
back one pulls, the more paint is injected.

Fixed Double Action Ð When pressing the trig-
ger both air and paint are expelled.The

m o re the trigger is depre s s e d , the larger the
quantity of both air and paint.


P ropellant cans are an economical sourc e
of air for airbrushing. P re s s u re inside the
p ropellant can is 60 pounds per square inch
(p s i ) , but this pre s s u re dro p s as it is used. I t
will re c ov e r, once left to stand (warm up). I f
you wish to keep the pre s s u re from dropping
so quickly, place the propellant can in a
shallow pan or coffee can of room t e m p e ra-
t u re — not hot — tap wa t e r. This prevents the
can from chilling too ra p i d l y. Change the
water if you are using propellant for an
extended period. For big jobs, t wo cans used
alternately will ensure continuous painting
without affecting the ov e rall paint job quality.

When using an air compressor, selecting
one that has an airflow between about 10
and 30 psi of air pressure is desirable.More
pressure,up to 60 psi, can be useful in cer-
tain circ u m s t a n c e s .You also want a moisture
trap so the water that is compressed out of
the air won’t find its way into your paint job.
I t ’s also important to have a compre s s o r
with either a large enough pump or with 2
s t o rage tanks, s o that it can maintain at least
22 psi continuously to ensure effective atom-
ization while you continue to spray. F i n a l l y,
i t ’s really nice to have a compressor that is
virtually silent in o p e ra t i o n . Of course, t h e
m o re of these f e a t u re s you wa n t , the more
you will need to spend.

C O2 cylinders of compressed gas are
another option. Totally silent and moisture
f re e ,t h ey provide long service between re f i l l s
(accomplished at your local bev e rage supplier/
d i s t r i b u t o r ) . A regulator is still necessary –
in fact you can’t run without one.


One re a s o n , the simpler the design, the less
expensive it is to pro d u c e ,e rgo the less expens i v e
it is for you to buy. H aving said this, you will
be getting exactly what you pay for.

External Mix airbrushes such as our
n ew A220 are very good for spraying larg e

Page 8


Now that weÕve been running the compre s s o r
for a while, m o i s t u re has been collecting in
the air hose.S o ,ev e ry so often the airbrush
spits some water along with the paint.This is
w hy a moisture trap is mandatory to prev e n t
this from happening.

N I C E F I N E L I N E S ?

Come in close, and try to keep them
consistent and stra i g h t .

Work swiftly at high pre s s u res (25 psi),t h e n
slow down and reduce pre s s u re to 18 psi and
l ay down a few.

Page 9

Dots at the beginning of a stroke or line
a re caused by lingering too long at the
starting point and/or getting a little too
close to begin with.

Keeping your distance is
i m p o r t a n t ,t o o .N o t i c e
how the same amount of
paint creates a puddle if
you move too close.

Page 15

I t e m O r i f i c e P S I N e e d l e T i p
N u m b e r S i ze C o l o r R a n g e Ty p e S t y l e U s e s

9 3 0 4 C . 3 m m Ta n 10 – 3 0 S t a i n l e s s C a s t e l l a t e d All ultrafine applications
S t e e l 1/144th scale and up.

9 3 0 5 C . 4 m m G r ay 10 – 3 0 S t a i n l e s s C a s t e l l a t e d Fine line applications are
S t e e l possible with more skill.

An excellent general purpose
nozzle for medium cov e r a g e.

9 3 0 6 C . 5 m m Tu r q u o i s e 2 0 – 4 0 S t a i n l e s s C a s t e l l a t e d L a rge camouflage pattern s
S t e e l 1 / 3 5 t h , 1/48th aircraft

c a m o u f l a g e.

9 3 0 7 C . 5 m m P i n k 0 – 2 0 S t a i n l e s s C a s t e l l a t e d Spatter and stippling
S t e e l effects – diorama bases,

weathering for larg e
s c a l e s. R o c k work on
model railroad lay o u t s.

9 3 4 0 C . 3 m m B l a c k 10 – 3 0 S t a i n l e s s U n p r o t e c t e d Same as 9306C, but much
S t e e l Easy to easier to clean. No castellations,

C l e a n so it is easier to damage.

9 341C . 5 m m W h i t e 2 0 – 4 0 S t a i n l e s s U n p r o t e c t e d Same as 9304C, but much
S t e e l Easy to Easier to clean. No castellations,

c l e a n so it is easier to damage.

9 3 4 2 C . 5 3 m m R e d 2 0 – 4 0 A c e t a l * C o n e Best for viscous (thick)
P r o t e c t e d a c ry l i c s. Car bodies. L a rge scale

camouflage applications.

9 3 4 3 C .70 m m O r a n g e 2 0 – 4 0 A c e t a l * C o n e Best for viscous (thick)
P r o t e c t e d a c ry l i c s. Broader spray

p a t t e rn s. Medium range
of control.

9 3 4 4 C 1. 0 2 m m Ye l l ow 2 0 – 6 0 A c e t a l * C o n e The “ B l u n d e r b u s s.” For
P r o t e c t e d priming big things. V i rt u a l l y

no adjustment/control, but
excellent for R/C aircraft
l a rge-scale spray gun effects if
you require major cov e r a g e.


* Acetal resin copolymer. Acetal resin is used selectively by NASA in the space pro g ram because of its light, s t a b l e ,
and nearly unbreakable nature . Acetal re s i n , unlike metal, does not deteriorate t h rough contact with solvents; and
its manufacturing tolerances are much more precise and uniformally pro d u c e d .

Page 16

6-5 Hold the model with a coat hanger bent to plug into holes in the fuselage.

6-6 This Italeri MH-53J Pave Low III was painted using the A470 Double Action Airbrush.

6-7 This Italeri M24 has been superdetailed with On the Mark etched brass fender supports and about 50
other details by Doug DeCounter.

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