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Air brushing questions.

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My question is this. How long / how many coats of paint does it take you guys to paint a body when you air brush. I can not help but think I need to do many very light coats or maybe even passes. How many of you do one color over another and do you have any tips for this. Such as a pearl coat and a transparent color over top? I am using about 35psi and an Iwata Eclipse HP-CS converted to a .5mm from the standard .35mm.

I ask because I have to strip down the paint on my 49 merc again. This is the 4th time stripping it.

First time I painted the body using only Daler Rowney FW Pearlescent Glatic Blue Liquid Acrylic Ink. A mistake, the paint did not adhere very well and I learned the hard way I need to prep the body first using soap and alcohol. I also learned I needed to prime the body first. 

My second attempt. I wanted to use acrylics so I got AK Interactive white primer. I mixed it with air brush thinner and some Golden GAC-200 which promotes adhesion to non-porous surfaces. I attempted to paint the Golden's HFA Pearl over it. I got a lot of pooling, rippling and unevenness in the pearl. The primer did not do much better. It got lumps and all sorts of high spots. I learned here, use a good primer, thin down the HFA with extender, add some GAC-200 and add a little flow-releaser. 

My Third attempt. I used the Tamiya Fine White Primer. This stuff works so much better than the AK ever did. I sprayed the pearl over multiple coats. I got some unevenness so I sanded those areas and resprayed the body. I packed it up and set it in a box and waited a week before I then decided to spray the Golden HFA Transparent Phthalo Blue over top of the pearl. (I am limited to being able to paint only on certain days. I bring all my airbrush equipment to work and set up in the studio where I am allowed to paint and paint there. I am not allowed to paint at home as the other people in my household are afraid of being poisoned.) At this time I noticed I started to get some fish eyeing on the body. I am not sure if it is because of not washing the body between colors, or cause I use 50% alcohol instead of something stronger or if I am trying to spray too much at once. 

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My advice? Quit using the art paints and stick to hobby or automotive paints. Tamiya lacquers or acrylics, or Testors lacquer or enamels, Duplicolor, stuff like that. Stuff that's made to stick to plastic or metal. Art paints aren't made for that. Not saying they're impossible, but get a feel for the other stuff first. Get a spray booth, vent it outside and paint at home. Best money I ever spent on the hobby. 

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I agree with Brett. Use the stuff made for the job. I've tried the art stuff and the finishes I get from model car paints is superior. Others will disagree but that's my experience. Fish eye is caused by contamination from a variety of sources. After sanding, wash the parts with Dawn dish soap. It's a great degreaser.

Love that avatar, Brett!

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My methods would make most airbrush users cringe.  I use organic solvent based (the smelly) paints. Either hobby or automotive, or even fingernail polishes.  My secret is to apply the paint rather heavily. When it goes on wet, it will level to a nice and glossy finish.  Mist coats partially dry before getting tot he model's surface creating a very rough surface finish or "orange peel". My method results in a paint job which I do not need to rub out or polish - it is contest-quality right out of the airbrush. :D  The only thing I have to worry about is paint runs. But I have learned to apply wet coats which which are not quite wet enough to run.

This 1:43 model was painted with Tamiya fine gray primer (decanted from a spray can), met. blue nail polish, and Testors Wet Look Clear (decanted from a spray can).  The body is not polished or even waxed.



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