how to airbrush models with acrylic paint

All rights reserved. Hold the needle against a flat surface at the angle of the point; run your fingernail across the point while revolving the needle. Both Vallejo and LifeColor are great paints that perform nicely if tamed with a little Liquitex. Rest the airbrush in your chosen hand, with your index finger resting gently on the trigger. If you start with paint, the paint might get into the airbrush tube which could clog the brush or make it harder to clean. To avoid the brush being pulled from your hand, we recommend wrapping the air hose around your wrist before you begin. Airbrush acrylic medium can work great for thinning your airbrush paint. That said, Vallejo (meaning Vallejo Model Air and Vallejo Model Color) is both easier to shoot and easier to handle after its dry. A constant paint volume makes it fairly easy to use, and means you can focus on controlling the air supply. (Note: Fine-line airbrushing techniques will be the focus of a future Paint Booth article.) Use a rag or tissue paper to wipe out the reservoir, then half-fill it with thinner. Although the fine-line performance of most acrylics doesn’t match that of lacquers, with a little help from Liquitex, they can come pretty close. Oils from the molding process as well as your fingers can prevent the paint from adhering to a model. What follows are examples of multiple methods. Enamel Paints and Protective Gear. Rest the second joint of your index finger on the trigger, pivot your fingertip to control the supply. So you’ve mastered the basics of model painting, and you want to take your builds to the next level? Both make good thinners for acrylic paint… For general airbrush work however, Vallejo and LifeColor acrylics … Note – your finger position will change depending on the brush type you use. Let us know if the above tips come in handy, and if there are any additional model airbrush techniques we can share with the ModelSpace community! Airbrushing is an excellent, efficient way to give your scale models a professional finish. air hose around your wrist before you begin. However, acrylic paint is not as durable as spray paint or enamel. Scrape some of the pastel into a fine powder, and add it to water for use as a detail enhancer. Most importantly, a premade Thinner-Liquitex solution allows you to spray a little of the mix through your brush before shooting paint. Some of you may want to do more than one mist coat because that’s just how you’ve always done it, whatever works. When airbrushing with enamel paint, we recommend you work in a well-ventilated area. By swapping out the paint needle, you can add even more variety to the paint spray patterns, making this an incredibly useful tool if you have a bit of creative flair. First things first, choose your ammunition – acrylic, enamel, or lacquer – your airbrush can handle all of these. 5ml                                                         5                                                           0.25 How to hold a single-action airbrush: Rest the second joint of your index finger on the trigger, pivot your fingertip to control the supply. It is made by adding color pigment to an acrylic polymer then emulsified with water to create the final product. Alclad (29.5~30)                                       30                                                          1.5 The installation of a different size nozzle and needle takes 2-3 minutes allowing you to easily and quickly configure your brush for the job at hand. On my bench, I use a, 2ml                                                         2                                                           0.1, 5ml                                                         5                                                           0.25, 10ml                                                     10                                                           0.5, Tamiya or Gunze (10)                             10                                                          0.50, Model Master (14.7~15)                         15                                                          0.750, Vallejo Paint (17)                                     17                                                          0.85, LifeColor (22)                                           22                                                           1.1, Alclad (29.5~30)                                       30                                                          1.5, Vallejo Primer (200)                                200                                                         10, 6ml                                                          6                                                            0.30, 10ml                                                      10                                                            0.50, 20ml                                                      20                                                             1, 40m                                                       40                                                             2, MPS Paint Mixing, Measuring, and Storage Tools, Now that we’ve diluted the paint and we’re ready to shoot, let’s take a few moments and consider how the airbrush can be configured for general spraying. The paint was rather thick and it kept clogging the airbrush tip. Copyright © 2021 Model Paint Solutions. For the most part they are using water based paint. To put it simply, an airbrush mixes paint and air internally – so when you push the button down, air passes across the nozzle and disperses the paint onto your model. They do not need to be thinned, have little to no odor and are Spray painting or airbrushing a lacquer top coat over an acrylic or enamel base coat is never a good idea. Simply unscrew the aircap and the nozzle literally drops out. It can be used stand alone, or incorporated in with one of the following options listed above. Then, from a siphon jar of clean or near clean Windex, spray some into the receiver, cover the tip to backflush, then exhaust again. Even tiny amounts of dry paint can affect or impede your airbrush’s performance, so you need to clean it straight after use. A mix of ~30% paint is not ideal for fine-line shooting, however. But how do you hold it? U.S. Art Supply 24 Color Acrylic Airbrush. All three of the aforementioned tips (.15, .20, .40) are available for the Evolution, Infinity, and Grafo airbrushes. Brush. Airbrushing with acrylics with Shane Smyth A note from Geoff… I think that you’ll find what follows very helpful as Shane S joins us once again to offer practical advice and help when spraying Vallejo Model Color. Using a Metallic Acrylic Paint for Airbrushing I usually prepare 40ml of Thinner-Liquitex at a time. This results in a much finer atomisation, and enables you to create accurate, consistent patterns. I routinely use Windex to clean my airbrush, paint brushes and, if necessary, acrylic paint from a model. In this situation, I reduce the paint to ~20% in Thinner-Liquitex. There are as many good techniques for spraying acrylic paints as there are modelers spraying them. In case you’re re-cycling old paint bottles, here’s a chart of common brands, their volumes, and the amount of Liquitex that should be added to a full bottle to achieve a 5% solution. tiny amounts of dry paint can affect or impede your airbrush’s performance, so you need to clean it straight after use. The reason for this is that lacquer paint will literally melt into the layer below it, softening that paint and if it’s acrylic or enamel will also cause it to react chemically in a way that certainly won’t be conducive to achieving a professional paint finish. Avoid standing the needle on its point, as this cause it to bend. Many things matter when you find the right consistency of the airbrush color that you use to atomize properly. With regards to other additives, Vallejo produces two reagents Thinner Medium (#73.524) and Airbrush Flow Improver (#71.62) that are described as wetting agents. No pressure is exerted beyond simply moving the brush. Airbrush Paint Cup                        Liquitex Drops                                     Liquitex Milliliters Looking for a new airbrush to paint your models? Dual-action airbrushes. Especially when airbrushing miniatures / models. Counting drops is not the most accurate (or efficient) way of preparing large volume solutions however. For fine-line work, the ideal pressure is down around ~8-10 psi (more on this in a future article). Bottles of 12 Primary Opaque … If you remember to continuously clean the needle while spraying you’ll be rewarded with a better spray pattern, fewer blobs and splatters, and an overall smoother finish. Please bear in mind that what follows are only suggestions based on my skills and experiences. Use acrylic paint unless you have a special need for durability. I hope you found something helpful there. Looking for a new airbrush to paint your models? That may seem extreme but after a couple minutes of spraying, needle build up will be evident with both Vallejo and LifeColor no matter how much Liquitex is added. If you’re too far away the paint will dry and may not adhere to the surface. Here, a trigger is used to control both air and paint. You’re looking for a milky consistency – a thinner to paint ratio or 1:3 is a good rule of thumb. 2 Surface preparation THE SINGLE most important step in producing a good finish with acrylics is surface preparation. Repairing a bent needle: Hold the needle against a flat surface at the angle of the point; run your fingernail across the point while revolving the needle. All of the dilutions provided in this article pertain to Vallejo Model Air. Regards, Michael D Esplanade (v.), to attempt an explanation while drunk. Moreover, after drying a coat of LifeColor is fragile (easy to chip or scratch) until protected by a clear coat. With my brush fitted with a 0.4mm tip and filled with my 30% paint mix, I’m going to dial in ~12-15 psi on the ole’ air compressor dial. I usually prepare 40ml of Thinner-Liquitex at a time. Blow the thinner through your airbrush until there are no visible paint particles. On my bench, I use a pipette to deliver 2ml of Liquitex into a graduated beaker  that is then filled to 40ml with thinner (Vallejo or LifeColor). FREE Shipping. If you’ve mastered your model airbrush techniques, you can achieve some seriously fine finishes with your single-action airbrush. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages. If you have any questions or want additional information just drop me a line at j[email protected]. Everyone has their own way of mixing paint and there are many ways to prepare a 5% solution of Liquitex. 2ml                                                         2                                                           0.1 Aaron used a Badger 350, a single-action airbrush, to test the acrylic paints in this evaluation. Rest the first joint of your index finger on the trigger, press and pull back all at once to control the supply. However, this gives you better control over the density of the coverage and lessens the chance of applying too heavy a coat and loosing the subtle pre-shading underneath. Both Vallejo and LifeColor are great paints that perform nicely if tamed with a little Liquitex. I keep it very close at hand because after 1-2 minutes of spraying (depending on the % paint in the mix), I stop and clean the needle. moving the brush. Wicked colors are great for airbrushing different surface types. Use a rag or tissue paper to wipe out the reservoir, then half-fill it with thinner. I shot Model Master Acrylics for years with great results. By tip I’m referring to the combination of nozzle and needle. Although addition of Liquitex decreases paint build up on the needle, it does not prevent it all together. Moreover, when compared to established standards (RLM color chips), LifeColor is surprisingly accurate. Before starting construction, I Before we cover more model airbrush techniques, you’ll need to choose the type of airbrush – single-action or dual-action, which we’ve covered below. For more info on airbrush paint options, refer to my latest post on the topic, Paint Types Ideal For Airbrush … By swapping out the paint needle, you can add even more variety to the paint spray patterns, making this an incredibly useful tool if you have a bit of creative flair. Airbrushes can have any type of reservoir; spray guns are normally available with jars only. Ages: 14 years and up. By making slight adjustments to either the air or paint supply, you can create a wide variety of effects. Even the smallest amount of paint adhering to a needle can greatly degrade the spray pattern so keeping the needle as clean as possible while spraying is important. I agree with all who praise Tamiya Acrylics. To mix into your airbrush cup, you should: Add 2-3 drops of water or thinner to the airbrush cup. This isn’t something that will come to you right away, but if you master these model airbrush techniques in the beginning you’ll be all set for your future projects. Since Volume 1 of the Paint Booth Airbrushing series dealt with the basics of airbrush handling, it may seem odd to skip basic spraying techniques and jump right to strategies for diluting paint. Then spray again from a 2nd clean Windex siphon bottle. For fine-line work, I dilute both Vallejo and LifeColor to ~10% paint in Thinner-Liquitex. It’s easy to work with and can easily be thinned by mixing it with water. I prefer to prepare a large volume of Vallejo or LifeColor thinner to which Liquitex has been added to 5%. It's best suited for painting small parts, as using brushes on the car body will likely result in unsightly brush marks. Apply whatever method of measurement you prefer and enjoy. Good. Thin paint by adding thinner drop by drop, until your consistency has been achieved. If you’re applying a base or just want a general coat, we recommend you use 15-20 psi and hold it 10-18 cm (4-7 inches) from your model surface. For general airbrush work (defined above) I use an, Although addition of Liquitex decreases paint build up on the needle, it does not prevent it all together. MPS provides the tools and supplies for handling, storing, spraying, and finishing model paints. For those who prefer to think in ratios, a 5% solution of Liquitex equates to a ratio of Liquitex to Thinner of 1:20. Hold a rag over the paint needle to force the air back into the reservoir, and let it bubble back to clean all passages. With regards to other additives, Vallejo produces two reagents Thinner Medium (#73.524) and Airbrush Flow Impr, If you have any questions or want additional information just drop me a line at, on Canopy Masking Tips and Tricks Part 2: Rounded Corners, on Canopy Masking Tips and Tricks Part 1: Bubble Canopies, on The Italeri M4A2 Sherman, U.S. Marine Corps, Pelielu, 1944, on Aircraft of Post WWII: 1945-1947 by NorthWest Scale Modelers and Seattle’s Museum of Flight, Classic Airframes 1/48 Heinkel He-112 B-1, Canopy Masking Tips and Tricks Part 2: Rounded Corners, Canopy Masking Tips and Tricks Part 1: Bubble Canopies, The Italeri M4A2 Sherman, U.S. Marine Corps, Pelielu, 1944, Aircraft of Post WWII: 1945-1947 by NorthWest Scale Modelers and Seattle’s Museum of Flight, FREE SHIPPING ON DOMESTIC ORDERS OVER $70. There is no doubt about it. Reproducibility is essential if you intend to shoot the same brand of paint often and want to rely on a specific set of characteristics each time as opposed to starting fresh with each mix. The addition of Liquitex to Vallejo and LifeColor drastically reduces needle build-up, decreases rough pebbly over-spray, and produces a more smooth, even finish. Before we cover more model airbrush techniques, you’ll need to choose the type of airbrush – single-action or dual-action, which we’ve covered below. Specialty stores sell airbrush acrylic paint that is ready to use, but if your specific color isn't available, you can mix your own homemade acrylic paint from commercial acrylics. Mazda Cosmo - History of the Rotary Engined Pioneer Wicked Colors Airbrush Set. The rubbing alcohol should easily be found in most crafts stores and Walmart. As always, we love to see your ongoing projects too, so please share your build photos with us on our social media channels! In my experience, Windex eats Tamiya acrylic paint. both air and paint. On the chance that you have some Model Paint Solutions storage bottles, here’s a chart showing the amount Liquitex that should be added to a full bottle to make a 5% solution. You can’t do great work with dirty paintbrushes, and an airbrush is exactly the same. Colours can be stored in jar reservoirs with screw tops. The general rule of thumb for most acrylic paints is to reduce them with distilled water or airbrush reducers until they flow like milk. If you remember to continuously clean the needle while spraying you’ll be rewarded with a better spray pattern, fewer blobs and splatters, and an overall smoother finish. You’ve confirmed your airbrush type? Lastly, Thinner-Liquitex solutions have a long shelf life if properly stored so your mix will be ready when you need it. Opt for acrylic modelling paint to make the painting process easier. This requires 2ml (or 40 drops) of Liquitex to make a 5% solution. The paintbrush is the simplest method of applying paint. However, a mix of ~30% paint is what I would use to shoot the blue of a Hellcat, the olive drab of a P-39, or the RLM-65 of a Bf-109 (apologies to the non-airplane people for all the aircraft references). Avoid standing the needle on its point, as this cause it to bend. Pastels: Excellent for tinting other liquids. Thus, different applications (General Vs Fine-Line Vs Primer) require different size tips for optimal performance. Vallejo Model Color is much thicker than is Vallejo Model Air and requires diluting to ~10-15% paint. A small tip (0.15mm) is best suited for fine-line work. 20ml                                                      20                                                             1 If you’re looking for greater painting precision and variety, the dual-action airbrush is for you. Floquil Polly Scale paints … Pros: Incredibly versatile, increased control, you can create finer lines, Cons: Costs more, more complex to operate, takes more practice to master. With that in I mind, please take whatever you find useful from the following suggestions, combine it with your own experience, and develop a technique that best suites you. Give it another shake, then add thinner – this will ensure it runs through your airbrush without any hiccups. Pros: Relatively inexpensive, simple to clean, gives you great overall coverage, fewer parts. If you’re willing to put in the time and master your model airbrush techniques, you’ll never look back! I’ve used both of these brands for years and between the two, I prefer LifeColor. A good place to read about it is Swanny'sModels. Along with that, acrylic paints are among the troubling tools in usage among modelers. LifeColor (22)                                           22                                                           1.1 For air brushing, you want the paint thinned to the cosistancey of 'milk'. Acrylic modelling paint is the standard paint of choice for most model enthusiasts. In contrast, Vallejo is less fragile when dry and likewise slightly less prone to dry on the needle—slightly. Similar to priming, airbrushing paint provides you with a great way to apply thin and smooth coats of acrylic paint on your models. You can use an airbrush thinner to reach the best results. Check out our, Scale Modeller Spotlight - World of Wayne, Volkswagen Beetle History - The Little VW That Could, How to Build Model Ships – Part One | ModelSpace, Our Selection of Models to Build at Home | ModelSpace, Mazda Cosmo – History of the Rotary Engined Pioneer, Best Christmas Gift Ideas for Craft Lovers. Air pressure should be approximately 18-20 PSI. To make cleaning the needle fast and easy, I set up a small container with a little Thinner-Liquitex and a micro brush. Hopefully one will be close to the method you use or can be modified for your application. Because airbrush paint is also acrylic, you can quickly thin down any acrylic paint you use and then put it into an airbrush. In an effort to make it easier, the following chart provides the volumes of common airbrush paint cups and the amount of Liquitex (in drops or milliliters) that would have to be added to make a 5% solution. Acrylic medium is commonly much thinner than acrylic paint by itself. MODEL MASTER TESTOR ACRYLIC: Most Model Master and Testor "Acrylic" paints are pre-thinned for airbrushing. To operate the dual-action airbrush, press the trigger to introduce the air, and slide it back to release paint. This … Vallejo Primer (200)                                200                                                         10. 40 % paint is not the most part they are not commonly toxic... Most of the pastel into a 40ml bottle, marked with a Liquitex... Paint on your models use as a detail how to airbrush models with acrylic paint general airbrush work however, most of airbrush... Steenbeck brushes it flow into crevices to make a 5 % stock are! It to bend 2ml 2 0.1 5ml 5 0.25 10ml 10 0.50 20ml 20 1 40m 40.. To work with dirty paintbrushes, and Grafo airbrushes shooting paint and variety, the results were suitable! Jar reservoirs with screw tops priming, airbrushing paint provides you with a Thinner-Liquitex... Floquil Polly scale paints … Opt for acrylic modelling paint is not the most accurate ( or 40 ). Great overall coverage, fewer parts airbrush cup is made by adding color pigment to an acrylic polymer then with. To your model airbrush techniques, experiment with different pressure settings until you find works! Needle fast and easy, I usually prepare 40ml of Thinner-Liquitex at a time and! Fragile ( easy to chip or scratch ) until protected by a solution of ammonia …:. The better and slide it back to release paint thinner, the ideal pressure is exerted beyond moving! Thumb for most acrylic paints in this evaluation your ammunition – acrylic, enamel, or lacquer – your position... You want to have to throw out an otherwise perfectly good airbrush dries hard has... Spraying 12-15 psi is a good place to read about it is Swanny'sModels painted and! Colors of Liquitex diluting to ~10-15 % paint in Thinner-Liquitex to ~20 in. Applied using a 0.4mm tip need it or efficient ) way of paint! Point ; run your fingernail across the needle, I prefer to prepare a large volume Vallejo. Unsightly brush marks neither of these is ideal, so practice on scrap parts before you.. Water as well the model: brush painting, spray cans, and Grafo airbrushes variety of effects are! Has their own way of preparing large volume of Vallejo or LifeColor thinner to which Liquitex has been.... Type you use or can be thinned by mixing it with the difficulties of shooting acrylic paints in this,... And slide it back to release paint pattern so up on the needle, it does not prevent it together.,.20,.40 ) are available for the official model paint solutions newsletter for special sales promotions! Here, a single-action airbrush difficulties of shooting acrylic paints as there are more. Correct consistency for using with your single-action airbrush, paint brushes and, if,. Of water or airbrush reducers until they flow like milk to clean, gives you overall! The better used both of these what works best for you of soap water! Fingernail across the point while revolving the needle and head in thinner overnight surface types their own way of large! Psi is a good finish with acrylics is surface preparation the SINGLE most important step in a. Most crafts stores and Walmart of applying paint premade mix of ~30 % in... Better-Known acrylics, Vallejo and LifeColor in my hands, LifeColor has a marked tendency to dry on brush! Needle, it does not prevent it all together airbrush color that you see acrylic lacquers and acrylic (... There are no visible paint particles it kept clogging the airbrush paint the! For small quantities of paint to ~20 % in Thinner-Liquitex far away the paint will run or be. Agree that an airbrush is exactly the same ; run your fingernail across the needle on its point, it. And water to create accurate, consistent patterns to apply thin and smooth coats of acrylic is... Another shake, then half-fill it with thinner angle of the better-known acrylics, Vallejo and LifeColor with and... Paints come in handy dropper-cap bottles making measuring more accurate and easy reducers until they flow like.... Makes it fairly easy to chip or scratch ) until protected how to airbrush models with acrylic paint a clear coat the primary reasons use... Your finger position will change depending on the trigger, pivot your fingertip to control the supply to. Soak the needle quality bottle is perhaps why Vallejo paints come in handy bottles. If necessary, acrylic paint on your models brush across the needle, reduce... Use, run a mixture of soap and water through the airbrush tip 'milk ' what best. Ratio and mix it with thinner an airbrush is exactly the same model painting, 1/32... You work in a much finer atomisation, and enables you to accurate. Engraving and subtle details on the brush from below, or fixed or interchangeable cups small! Mixing, the paint from a 2nd clean Windex siphon bottle coats and primers at a.... The car body will likely result in unsightly brush marks as spray paint or enamel what best... ) until protected by a solution of Liquitex to make them stand out difficulties of shooting acrylic paints some. For spraying two of the pastel into a fine powder, and some use Windex which contains and! Small container with a little Liquitex angle of the mix through your brush before shooting....

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