View Full Version : Airbrushing

2009.02.21, 03:42 PM
Hello there. I was really pleased with the way my gray Altezza came out and it got me interested in painting some more Mini-Z bodies. However, I wish to start learning how to use an airbrush. I got a Testors airbrush years ago with a really good air-compressor. However, I never used it and lost half the peices to make the airbrush work. I still have the compressor and it works just fine. So, that's the expensive part out of the way.
The question is, what is the best airbrush out there without braking the bank? As you know, my budget is limited, so looking for something around the 200 dollar region. I want something that is as adjustable as possible from hair-line painting, to over-all body painting.
I'm currently taking art classes to learn basic drawing and would like to find airbrushing classes.
Other questions regarding paint. What kind of paint's can I use with airbrushes? I've seen alot of nail-paint's that would make for some interseting car colors and was wondering if I can use theme in an airbrush? I beleive the nail-paint is enamel? Anybody know?
Also, are there templates available for creating different effects such as splatter for snow, dirt, or flames, true-flame's chequered, et'c?

I'd like to start collecting AutoScales again soon, but am very disapointed with what I'm hearing about the new "fine hand-polished" buisness and would like to just paint my own bodies. My recent Altezza that I'm sure many of you have seen was done in rattle-can and turned out pretty sweet, but I bet my next bodies would be even better if airbrushed? Also, wouldn't painting the body trim be easier with masking and airbrush than with stick-brush? Those window trims can be tricky!

2009.02.21, 07:10 PM
You can't go wrong with an Iwata. I have an Eclipse HP-CS. I really like it, I've had a Paashe but, didn't like it as much. It wasn't comfortable in my hand. The Iwata is well within your budget. They sell knock-offs but I have no experience with them. You can spray enamel if you wanted, I think it's just more clean-up and maybe thinning, I don't use it I've only spayed water based. I've only done one Z body and it was a Nascar, so not much painting, tons of decals, lol. I've painted quite a few lexan bodies and it beats a rattle can any day.

2009.02.21, 07:20 PM
Painting bodies is 90% masking 10% painting skill. Get an Iwaya, the eclipse series fits your needs, I prefer the gravity fed model. You won't really need a class to learn, you can just practice alot. Learning the right paint thinning ratios is the first hard battle, it can make a world of difference to your line quality getting the paint right at the right pressure. (this will make fades softer, with less "drops" in it). For a Z your going to want to cut your tape/mask first then apply it to the body, with lexan bodies you can cut the tape/mask on the car and you don't notice the score line, but you do on a Z. Start with some straight lines intersecting and paint some shadow's at first, then move up to more complicated masks.

2009.02.21, 07:36 PM
i have a badger, thats at least 15 years old. it still works pretty well for me.

2009.02.21, 08:39 PM
Here's my two Badger's. The #155 Anthem is my fine tuned airbrush, I like the basic #250 model for most stuff like metallic paints that clog up in the Anthem. I used these most for lexan bodies though. I bought my Anthem used and had to replace the tip and needle in it. I have a Testors Aztek model #400 that I use to run them with.

2009.02.21, 09:10 PM
Thank's guys! I don't want to mess with any Lexan bodies unless I build another Micro-T in the future. I just want to concentrate on Z bodies. Like I said, I was really happy with my Altezza and want to continue and improve. I've seen a couple of airbrush kit's on ebay for around 60-80 bucks. Are those worth the money or are they junk? In terms of you get what you pay for, I dont' want to pay cheap and get crap, but I dont' want to pay luxury prices for high-quality either if you know what I mean.
Other question was, what kind of paint do they use for finger-nail's? They have a lot of great Hot-Rod type colors and what not that might be interesting on some Z's.

I still wish to build regular plastic model kit's as well!
What's the best masking tape to use? I've tried regular masking tape, I've tried blue tape, and I've tried really thin masking stripes, but have had issues with theme folding up on the tight curves. What's the best way to prevent that?

2009.02.21, 09:28 PM
Hey Marc,

Although I have a couple of airbrushes, I'm currently using the Badger airbrush. It's a model 150 and it works equally well for large surface coverage as well as detail It's a syphon type (bottom feed) which I think is better suited for the type of airbrushing we're likely to do.

You can get some good deals on airbrushes without going to eBay. Here is a place where you can check out a variety of airbrushes from different companies. Their prices are decent too:


AS for the paints, I suggest you start using the acrylics like I used on my F430s. You'll find that they are easier to mix, easier to clean the tools between jobs and color changes, and ultimately they're fairly easy to remove if you're completely dissatisfied with your work.

Tamiya acrylics are water soluble, but the Tamiya thinner is actually a rubbing alcohol solution. The advantages to using that, is that it dries nearly instant, and leaves a beautiful shine behind. The other advantage is that it cleans your airbrush well, and if needed it can strip the paint off the model without damaging the plastic.

There will be times when you'll want/need to use lacquers or enamels and the Badger airbrush will do an equally good job with them too, but acrylics are much more forgiving for beginners. It prevents paint job blunders from becoming total disasters.

2009.02.21, 09:40 PM
Thank's Dude, I'll have a look at that web site later on. With an airbrush, would it be easier to paint smaller scale cars as well? Thinking Dnano's of coarse! :)

2009.02.21, 10:36 PM
Thank's Dude, I'll have a look at that web site later on. With an airbrush, would it be easier to paint smaller scale cars as well? Thinking Dnano's of coarse! :)
You can paint anything you want. You are only limited by your imagination and skill.

When you do get your brush, get and old model kit you don't care about and start learning to paint. There are a few things that will affect the way the paint goes on: paint/thinner mix, air pressure, distance between brush and object. Start experimenting with those, and when you feel ready, then start painting your body. There is no one "right" way of doing this, it's what is right for you, you'll end up developing your own technique.

Don't think you'll be able to freehand a design on your car to start with. That kind of work is done by professionals that have been developing their skills over years and years of practice. And even they cannot do this freehand on a small scale car like a Mini-Z without some template aids.

However, with the proper masking work and lots of patience you'll get some very nice results.

Good luck, it's lots of fun, and the results can be very satisfying.:):):)

Oh yeah, one last thing. The compressor is just as important as your airbrush. Ideally you would want a compressor with a pressure tank, if that is not possible, you will want to get a piston type compressor rather than a diaphragm, as those produce an air pulse, which translates into an uneven thickness line.

2009.02.22, 09:38 AM
I've already got the air compressor, but not sure what type it is. How would I check?

2009.02.22, 11:47 AM
I've already got the air compressor, but not sure what type it is. How would I check?
If you have the manual check that first, otherwise look up the model on line.

Davey G
2009.02.22, 04:52 PM
I use the PARMA F1 airbrush with the side cup as well as the parma aircompressor. You can check it out at www.parmapse.com Its rather inexpensive and works great for what I do. I use 3M blue painters mask (low tack) and blue bladed exacto blades. THe blue blades are much stiff/harder then the std blades. Check out my thread on here under the members area "Ask 3c grafx"


2009.02.22, 05:57 PM
Ah, from the master himselfe! Thank you!

2009.02.23, 04:28 PM
I have a little side question to add. Paint types. I did this as an experiment, painted this Little Red Express Dodge kit with Parma Fasred, a lexan paint. I used Walmart clear spray (88 cent can) over the top of it. It looked to turn out well enough to me. Anyone else use that type of paint?

2009.02.24, 11:32 AM
Nobodies answered my question about the nail-paints? What type of paints are used for finger nails? As I said before, they have a lot of interesting colors! Well, interesting for a car anyway.

2009.02.24, 11:42 AM
Nobodies answered my question about the nail-paints? What type of paints are used for finger nails? As I said before, they have a lot of interesting colors! Well, interesting for a car anyway.

nail paints might be a bit too thick to use in an airbrush without thinning them out first.

2009.02.24, 11:48 AM
Yes of coarse they'll need to be thinned, but what type of paints are they is the question? Enamel, acrylic, what?

2009.02.24, 11:53 AM
Most nail polishes are made of nitrocellulose dissolved in a solvent (e.g. butyl acetate or ethyl acetate) and either left clear or colored with various pigments. Basic components included are: film forming agents, resins and plasticizers, solvents, and coloring agents. Adhesive polymers (e.g. tosylamide-formaldehyde resin) ensure the nitrocellulose adheres to the nail's surface. Plasticizers (e.g. camphor) are chemicals that link between polymer chains, spacing them to make the film sufficiently flexible after drying. Pigments and sparkling particles (e.g. mica) add desired color and reflecting characteristics. Thickening agents (e.g. stearalkonium hectorite) are added to maintain the sparkling particles in suspension while in the bottle. Ultraviolet stabilizers (e.g. benozophenone-1) resist color changes when the dry film is exposed to direct sunlight.


2009.02.24, 12:25 PM
Thank you, according to the link they are laqures. That was the other type I was thinking. Still, would make some very interesting colored Mini-Z bodies. Particularly the dark metallic/pearl red's, purples, and what not.

Davey G
2009.02.24, 12:34 PM
Nobodies answered my question about the nail-paints? What type of paints are used for finger nails? As I said before, they have a lot of interesting colors! Well, interesting for a car anyway.

The finger nail paints are basically the same type of stuff that I use, its all water based stuff with a clear coat on top. My mom used to airbrush fingernails this is how I know. Most of the water base paints are very similar, you can use createx, parma (faskolor) or the finger nail stuff if youd like through an airbrush but then you mist clear it. Hope this helps...

2009.02.24, 12:37 PM
Sure does, thank's Davey!

Davey G
2009.02.24, 02:05 PM
BTW: I was referring to finger nail airbrush paints, not nail polish. ;)

2009.02.24, 03:21 PM
make sure to get a good moisture trap/filter. condensation will build up in your compressor tank and the moisture can cause rust, which can harm your brush.
also, water, oil, and rust doesn't look good mixed in your fresh paint job.

2009.02.24, 03:59 PM
Unless your going for that old 30's style truck look! LOL!

2009.02.24, 10:15 PM
BTW: I was referring to finger nail airbrush paints, not nail polish. ;)

Ok, dumb question for guys. What is the difference. More importantly, where do you get finger nail paint. Where do you get the clear coat.

2009.02.25, 02:31 PM
i've seen fingernail airbrush paint at art supply stores that sell airbrushes and accessories.

2009.02.26, 11:15 AM
Hi guy's! My Dad just showed me a cataloug he picked up from his recent trip to the AMA show in California. Anybody heard of a brand called Genesis?
Their airbrushes allow any medium from food coloring to automotive urethane with no degradation to the airbrush.
Their machined stainless steel with heavy nickel chrome plating, look's pretty. Half of it is anodized light green.
Their spray pattern is hairline to 20mm. Operating pressure 14-80psi. All of their models seem to feature double action, various gravity feed's.
Question is, they all look the same to me, how do I know which is best for me? Only difference I see maybe shape of handle, where the feed comes from, and how big of a bottle it can take.
There is one model in particular that has a pistol-grip style to it. They also have a airbrush grip set which look's like it's made for making your grip onto the airbrush more comfortable, probably for long projects. Not sure what material the grip set is made of, look's like plastic, but hard to tell from photos.
Anyway, just wondering if anybody has heard/tried this brand before?

Sorry, name brand is actually Grex, and here's their web site.