Took The Airbrush Plunge

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Well-Known Member
Dec 24, 2003
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So with today's 50% off coupon I popped int michaels and bought a lower end airbrush (made by Weasel or Aardvark or Platypus...oh yeah Badger)

So as I troll for Mr Micromister for advice (I pay attention and know you are the exalted high oompa-loomp of colored spray). I was wondering about some options for media.

1) Has anyone tried that special water based acrylic made for airbrushes? Kinda expensive a $2 an ounce, but some real neat colors. First time I've seen fluorescents that dont have a finish like sandpaper.

2) How do you properly mix for consistency? I know the paint needs to be thinned, but is there a rule of thumb for solvent to paint ration?

3) In non waterbased paints is there a preferred solvent (Xylol, mineral spirits, Tequila)?

4) Anybody ever consider thinning Future and airbrushing it as a clearcoat?

5) Frisket film - worth the investment?

6) Are thje little 1/2oz bottles of model paint a good choice if thinned?

7) How long between coats?

8) For blending or fading from one color to another any teqniques.

9) Will the moderators start a form called Al's inane questions on airbrushing?
Ya know, I still have a PDF file of an article I made for you....

Yeah, and I still have to scan the rest of them too! It's funny that at my age when one thought enters my head, another one must leave to make room for it! :rolleyes:

EDIT: What was I talking about ??:confused:
Congrats on going with an airbrush. Once I did, I never looked back to rattle cans.

My rule for media - if you can thin it you can shoot it. It can range from high-end artists colors to hobby paints to housepaint to ink. For the bulk of my rockets, I prime with housepaint primer and for color coats I shoot the craft acrylics sold for under a dollar per 2oz bottle (e.g. Apple Plaid, Delta Ceramcoat, etc...). Mixing these is a lot of fun to get all sorts of colors (but they come in hundreds of colors, anyway.) I thin with windshield wiper fluid to the consistency of milk / light cream. Sometimes this takes up to 60% (or more) thinner, so don't be afraid to use enough. One thing about many of the acrylics, they dry to a dead-flat finish. If you want any sort of sheen a clear coat will be required. I use *unthinned* Future and it gives good results (not automotive clear coat good, but pretty good for most model rockets.) With these types of paints, they dry very fast, I can get multiple coats down in a single evening. However, if I have masking to do, I wait a day or so to let the acrylic cure more fully.

For non-water based media, it just depends on the type of paint. Some use mineral spirits, many use lacquer thinner. These days, unless I'm doing something unusual, I almost exclusively use water-based media. It's just a whole lot more convenient, safer, and generally a lot less expensive too.

I don't use frisket - a good tape is all I usually need.

Skills and effects are a matter of practice. Start with getting smooth layers down for broad areas, then work you way into lines, fades, and other effects. What's great is you can practice at very little expense - thinned housepaint and craft acrylics are really cheap.