Want To Start Airbrushing ?s

johnu

Over 1,000 Posts
DTT BOTM WINNER
So after painting my BSA gas tank recently I've decided that rattle cans really aren't the way to go. The exception to that for me is the Spraymax 2k clear, that stuff is awesome. I am now looking at spraying some helmets and down the line more tanks as well. So I want to purchase a small spray gun and an airbrush for the helmets. I have no idea what to look for so I would like to hear suggestions as to what I should start out buying. I don't want to break the bank to start off with as I really don't know how much I will be painting. Along with the spray guns I'd like to know what else I would need to buy, do I need an inline fine tunable regulator? Suggestions for anything I would need are appreciated. Also what kind of paint and where to purchase in small quantities. Links to tutorials that you have found useful would help also. Thanks.
 

doc_rot

Oh the usual... I bowl, I drive around...
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Spray max comes in many colors. Some shops can also premix paint for you in a spraymax can as well

Ive used both spraymax and spray guns and if you are after pro results there is no substitution for a spray gun. particularly if you start doing any volume it ends up being much cheaper. Like anything with a large industry dediated to it there are a million different opinions and ways to achieve good results. Some guns will have a built in regulator, but this more for ease than anything else, the regulator on your compressor will be fine. you need to run a water/oil trap at the bare minimum. a airbrush specific compressor is nice because they are quiet.

These are some things that i have found work well for me.

Astro LVLP guns (Not to be confused with HVLP) - 1.4 tips - 1.6 for epoxy primers really good for painting medium and small stuff. I know a lot of folks have had good success the the HF HVLP guns.

Iawata Eclipse dual action airbrush. - dual action is where its at for airbrushes. I prefer siphon fed over gravity on airbrishes because its easier to control the tool with the COG lower, aslo they typically have bottles you can switch out quickly without cleaning the tool.

Use separate gun for clear only
Use an inline desiccant filter right before the gun.
Get the good gun cleaner spray - its worth it.
buy low lint paper towels for prepping - i use Kimtech wipes
Good wax/grease remover is worth it.
Read the tech sheets and FOLLOW THEM.
I've never regretted spraying a test panel.
Its always worth it to make a fixture to hold gas tanks and get them off the table so debris don't blow up on the piece.
Buy the best paint you can afford. I have had good luck with PPG Deltron line but its not inexpensive.
DO NOT MIX PAINT LINES DESPITE WHAT THE GUY AT THE PAINT STORE TELLS YOU - looking at you Lakecity Wesco!
If you do, do a test panel first. - sometimes it will look OK but the clear is just sitting on top with no crosslink and will flake off when you flex the panel
a lazy susan makes it very easy to paint round objects.
when spraying clear, less is more. Just spray till its wet, going too thick can cause curing issues beyond the obvious runs and sags. Its better to do multiple thin coats rather than 1 thick one.
Isocynate clears are very toxic, spray guns have better atomization and will fill the air with fumes better, sensitivity increases with exposure - be aware, always use fresh filters and shave for a good seal before spraying clear
Use PVA gloves when cleaning up gun - you only got one liver.

This is a really important one - Use water based auto paints when painting helmets. The solvents in many paints will melt the foam or degrade the helmet shell. IIRC any modification to a helmet, including painting, voids its DOT rating which could raise liability issues in an accident scenario - be aware
 
Last edited:

johnu

Over 1,000 Posts
DTT BOTM WINNER
Thanks for the comprehensive reply, just what I was looking for. My friend owns a body shop and they use only PPG paint which also says is very expensive. Unfortunately his shop is 300 miles from me so I can't just run over there for help.

I will look at the astro guns.
 

Maritime

Over 10,000 Posts
Spray max comes in many colors. Some shops can also premix paint for you in a spraymax can as well

Ive used both spraymax and spray guns and if you are after pro results there is no substitution for a spray gun. particularly if you start doing any volume it ends up being much cheaper. Like anything with a large industry dediated to it there are a million different opinions and ways to achieve good results. Some guns will have a built in regulator, but this more for ease than anything else, the regulator on your compressor will be fine. you need to run a water/oil trap at the bare minimum. a airbrush specific compressor is nice because they are quiet.

These are some things that i have found work well for me.

Astro LVLP guns (Not to be confused with HVLP) - 1.4 tips - 1.6 for epoxy primers really good for painting medium and small stuff. I know a lot of folks have had good success the the HF HVLP guns.

Iawata Eclipse dual action airbrush. - dual action is where its at for airbrushes. I prefer siphon fed over gravity on airbrishes because its easier to control the tool with the COG lower, aslo they typically have bottles you can switch out quickly without cleaning the tool.

Use separate gun for clear only
Use an inline desiccant filter right before the gun.
Get the good gun cleaner spray - its worth it.
buy low lint paper towels for prepping - i use Kimtech wipes
Good wax/grease remover is worth it.
Read the tech sheets and FOLLOW THEM.
I've never regretted spraying a test panel.
Its always worth it to make a fixture to hold gas tanks and get them off the table so debris don't blow up on the piece.
Buy the best paint you can afford. I have had good luck with PPG Deltron line but its not inexpensive.
DO NOT MIX PAINT LINES DESPITE WHAT THE GUY AT THE PAINT STORE TELLS YOU - looking at you Lakecity Wesco!
If you do, do a test panel first. - sometimes it will look OK but the clear is just sitting on top with no crosslink and will flake off when you flex the panel
a lazy susan makes it very easy to paint round objects.
when spraying clear, less is more. Just spray till its wet, going too thick can cause curing issues beyond the obvious runs and sags. Its better to do multiple thin coats rather than 1 thick one.
Isocynate clears are very toxic, spray guns have better atomization and will fill the air with fumes better, sensitivity increases with exposure - be aware, always use fresh filters and shave for a good seal before spraying clear
Use PVA gloves when cleaning up gun - you only got one liver.

This is a really important one - Use water based auto paints when painting helmets. The solvents in many paints will melt the foam or degrade the helmet shell. IIRC any modification to a helmet, including painting, voids its DOT rating which could raise liability issues in an accident scenario - be aware
This should be a Sticky LOL.
 

Rider52

Coast to Coast
Nice. I was a big warhammer geek for 15 years still have some minis in a curio cabinet.
He started 20 years ago when we lived in Dallas, TX. He started painting the figures and won a couple of contests. Here in Atlanta he has sold figures at Dragon Con and done a couple of special orders. He has sold some for $1000 each, mostly to Japanese collectors. I honestly never thought it last this long.
 

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