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Fairly new and in need of some gracious help

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#1 hckycoz


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Posted 01 September 2011 - 10:19 AM

First of all I have built 3 models so far. As I am progressing i am realizing most of the models on this forum are 100x better than mine. the first of many questions is how do you do the very fine detailing (the lettering and numbering on the valve covers, grills, chrome trims, and such)? Do most of you airbrush? I bought a cheap one at harbor freight with an aerosal can to propel.

#2 Romell R

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Posted 01 September 2011 - 11:05 AM

First, "welcome!"

I'll multi-part your answer here:

1) I would guestimate that the majority here have/use an airbrush. If you are in this hobby long enough usually one follows you home eventually. I have one of those cheap airbrushes from Harbor Freight as well as a "real" airbrush. The Harbor Freight one only does "so/so" work, and I use it only for painting flat paints on chassis/interiors. I have a better airbrush for bodies.The Harbor Freight is an extermal-mix style, and I find it easier to clean when I use acrylic paints which I often do.

However, you can get excellent results from spray cans, too. I use spray cans about 80% of the time. Painting with either is a skill, and you will see people here getting fantastic results either way. Practice makes closer-to-perfect

2) For painting fine details, people use a variety of methods, Toothpicks, small fine-tipped brushes, etc. Some people even create decals for emblems and things. Also, for chrome emblems people use adhesive (Bare Metal) foil sometimes. All depends on exactly the kind of trim/details you're working on.

If you were to have a question as to the best method to do something here, lots of people would love to help you, I'm sure.

I coulnt have said it any better than this. from all of us Welcome aboard

#3 Harry P.

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Posted 01 September 2011 - 11:16 AM

In regards to your airbrush question, if you intend to stay with the hobby I suggest you ditch the cans of air and buy a compressor. Over time the cost of all those cans of air will add up. You're probably better off in the long run buying a compressor. Do a google search, you'll find dozens and dozens of choices out there in all different price ranges.

I can't tell you which one would be the "best" one, that's sort of like trying to tell you which color is the "best" one. But I can tell you that there are two basic types: the kind with a tank (they run until the tank is filled with compressed air, then they kick in automatically whenever the pressure in the tank drops below a certain level) and the tankless kind (often called "silent" compressors) that do not store compressed air in a tank, but run continuously while you use them. I have a tankless "silent" compressor (it's not literally silent, but it's pretty quiet). Generally the tank-type compressors are pretty loud, a "silent" tankless model might be a better choice if you live in an apartment building or for some reason don't want the noise that a tank-type compressor makes.

#4 hckycoz


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Posted 01 September 2011 - 04:45 PM

thanks guys for all the tips as far as the airbrush it is the more expensive harbor freight. Onto the compressor, I am a college student that is basiclly living of my girlfriend's salary since I go to school 6.5 hours a day 6 days a week. I am going to school at WyoTech and next month I will be starting a Sunday (Yes 7 days a week and 8 hours on Sunday) class that is for airbrushing, custom paint, and pinstripping. The flyer I have says that the tuition cost will include an "airbrush, paint kits, and lots of supplies." I have not gotten in contact with the instructor yet to find out what all that entails. I will post pics of my current '71 hemi cuda as soon as I can find time.

#5 Dr. Cranky

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Posted 02 September 2011 - 01:43 AM

I agree with Harry, get your hands on a better (compressor) mode of air . . . you can get good deals around Fathers' Day and the Holidays.

The only thing I can say about airbrushes is once you try IWATA, you won't go back to anything else.

IWATA Eclipse is my workhorse at the bench.

#6 Gregg


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Posted 02 September 2011 - 10:18 PM

e komo mai, Michael.
I am still a fan of paint cans, and I love the DupliColor line of automotive paints, because they last forever, have a lot of colors to choose from, and lay down really nice with good body preparation. Tamiya paints are even better, since they are made for our plastic models (DuplicColor is for cars, and they need really good primers to make sure it doesn't craze the plastic).
Yes, as da Big Kahuna, I have probably all the available air brushes and compressors available, but I still love my spray cans, Tamiya and DupliColor.
For the air brush, I am partial to the German one, Harder & Steenbeck, and of course our friends over at GREX.
You can't beat the silent airbrush compressors, and your better half will love the quietness of them, but her wallet won't.
I would always buy the best you can, but start with sprays first to really polish up on your body prep skills.
And don't be afraid to ask questions. That's what we are here for!



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Posted 02 September 2011 - 11:04 PM

A word of warning on those silent compressors. Since they lack the tonal quality of a gas-powered weed whacker that can and will assault your ears at any moment you'll miss out on several modeling experiences such as:

-Dropping your airbrush as you're startled from an intense concentration.
-Watching the cat do a backflip and then accelerate at speeds approaching the speed of sound.
-Hearing your better half pounding on the floor at 3am because you needed to lay down one more coat before calling it a night.

You buy what you wish, I'm just sayin' it's something to think about.

#8 charlie8575


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Posted 02 September 2011 - 11:36 PM

Hi, Michael.

Detail painting, from my experience, is best achieved with small paint-brushes and toothpicks, for things like lettering on dashboards.

A good starter airbrush set is made by Testors. It includes their Mighty-Mini compressor and a basic internal mix airbrush; they seem to go for between $75-100. I'd upgrade the airbrush is short order, personally. The Testors compressor will work with Testors/Aztek and Paasche airbrushes, and Badgers with an adapter hose. For the airbrush, I use an Aztek A320 (about $45-50,) and it's not a bad airbrush; its only real drawback I've seen is that being all-plastic, it's a bit fragile, and where I tend to be a bit ham-handed, I'll probably be moving to a decent, inexpensive metal airbrush, like a Paasche VL or H, which are basic, simple airbrushes that work well. I also have a Badger 250, which is a simple, inexpensive external-mix airbrush that works well and is easy to use. Those run about $20.

Another good possible source for an air compressor might be Craigslist. It's worth checking. Just make sure it either has a pressure regulator or buy one to put on it.

I agree completely with Harry- get a compressor as soon as you can. If you need to use cans or a tire for a short time, do so, but the compressor will lead to greater satisfaction in the long run.

Like Gregg and Mark, I also use spray-bombs a lot. Be sure to warm your can a little, especially if it's cool or cold in ambient temperature. To do this, place the can in a small amount of water (about 1-1/2 to 2 cups) in a small saucepan and turn the heat on the stove to medium. When the can is warm to the touch, take it out and shake thoroughly. Wrap it in a paper tower to keep it comfortable to hold and to absorb the water. DO NOT overheat the can. I managed to do that once, and the bottom of the can pushed out from over-pressurization. Use some caution when doing it.

Generally, I warm the can all the time, even in warm weather. The warmed-up paint generally flows better and has better gloss.

Charlie Larkin