how to airbrush models with acrylic paint

moving the brush. Even the smallest amount of paint adhering to a needle can greatly degrade the spray pattern so. Blow the thinner through your airbrush until there are no visible paint particles. This results in a much finer atomisation, and enables you to create accurate, consistent patterns. The thing is, be sure your airbrush is thoroughly cleaned after each use and make sure you use the correct cleaning products when you. Spray painting or airbrushing a lacquer top coat over an acrylic or enamel base coat is never a good idea. It can be used stand alone, or incorporated in with one of the following options listed above. Pros: Relatively inexpensive, simple to clean, gives you great overall coverage, fewer parts. For general airbrush work however, Vallejo and LifeColor acrylics … For the drop counters out there (I consider myself one), small batches of Thinner with 5% Liquitex are easily prepared by adding one drop of Liquitex to 20 drops of thinner. It’s easy to work with and can easily be thinned by mixing it with water. In the extreme, a thick coat of paint can also obliterate engraving and subtle details on the models surface. 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. I shot Model Master Acrylics for years with great results. Model Master (14.7~15)                         15                                                          0.750 It is not that it needed more thinner, the paint just turned into a rather gummy and lumpy mix. Airbrush acrylic medium can work great for thinning your airbrush paint. Check out our Badger Airbrush Precision Spray Set! 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. This is the most popular kind of airbrush. Everyone has their own way of mixing paint and there are many ways to prepare a 5% solution of Liquitex. 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. 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. I shot Model Master Acrylics for years with great results. Floquil Polly Scale paints … 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. I know from many chats with fellow modellers that some of you (me included) have found difficulty when […] Brace yourself for the shameless plugs. 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. I usually prepare 40ml of Thinner-Liquitex at a time. 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. both air and paint. Here’s a tip: You can change the control and flow of acrylic paint through your airbrush by mixing it with acrylic paint thinner and adding a little acrylic paint retarder. In general, I err on the side of lean or less paint, especially if I’m going to be shooting on top off pre-shading. Typically the best size airbrush needle for modelers to start with is going to … 10ml                                                      10                                                            0.50 Along with that, acrylic paints are among the troubling tools in usage among modelers. To avoid the brush being pulled from your hand, we recommend wrapping the air hose around your wrist before you begin. If you have any questions or want additional information just drop me a line at j[email protected]. All of the dilutions provided in this article pertain to Vallejo Model Air. 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. For the most part they are using water based paint. On the down side, LifeColor has a marked tendency to dry on the needle. Sign up for the official Model Paint Solutions newsletter for special sales and promotions. Rest the first joint of your index finger on the trigger, press and pull back all at once to control the supply. Simply speaking, airbrush paint is just acrylic paint that has been thinned out. I routinely use Windex to clean my airbrush, paint brushes and, if necessary, acrylic paint from a model. If you’ve had enough practice, or you’re feeling bold, you can adjust the paint supply with your free hand while spraying. Many modellers would agree that an airbrush is a worthy investment, and an essential tool for larger scale model projects. Experiment with isopropyl alcohol or some water as well. 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. No pressure is exerted beyond simply moving the brush. A mix of ~30% paint is not ideal for fine-line shooting, however. Thankfully this isn’t too tricky, and if you’ve ever held a pen or pencil then you’re off to a good start. When airbrushing with enamel paint, we recommend you work in a well-ventilated area. However, in my hands, LifeColor produces a smoother finish and dilutes out very nicely for fine-line work. (Note: Fine-line airbrushing techniques will be the focus of a future Paint Booth article.) Simply unscrew the aircap and the nozzle literally drops out. Smooth Paint Coats. Because airbrush paint is also acrylic, you can quickly thin down any acrylic paint you use and then put it into an airbrush. A thinner paint mix will require more passes for good coverage. Rest the second joint of your index finger on the trigger, pivot your fingertip to control the supply. Using a Metallic Acrylic Paint for Airbrushing For general spraying 12-15 psi is a good place to start. Pastels: Excellent for tinting other liquids. Having a premade mix of Thinner-Liquitex makes preparing paint mixtures easier and reproducible. Airbrush the water thinned acrylic paint on the second test piece in exactly the same way you did it before, a single mist coat followed by one or multiple wet coats as needed. Conversely, I usually spray clear coats and primers at a higher pressure of ~15 psi. 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. 5ml                                                         5                                                           0.25 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. Basic Colors: Acrylic 16 Airbrush Paint Set for Model & Hobby (Vallejo 71178) 4.7 out of 5 stars 205. If you’ve mastered your model airbrush techniques, you can achieve some seriously fine finishes with your single-action airbrush. It is made by adding color pigment to an acrylic polymer then emulsified with water to create the final product. For larger 1/72, 1/48, and 1/32, I use a 0.4mm tip. LifeColor (22)                                           22                                                           1.1 Fine needles also are more prone to clogging with thicker paint mixes like acrylic paints and some enamel paints. 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. It is 80% water and can be thinned with anything water soluble. 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). A 0.2mm tip is good for applying primary coats on small 1/72 scale aircraft (single seat). 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. 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. This requires 2ml (or 40 drops) of Liquitex to make a 5% solution. Avoid standing the needle on its point, as this cause it to bend. Use a rag or tissue paper to wipe out the reservoir, then half-fill it with thinner. To operate the dual-action airbrush, press the trigger to introduce the air, and slide it back to release paint. Airbrushing Airbrush painting allows you to create the illusion of shadows, transparency and subtle shading effects that are not easily replicated with traditional brushes or palette knives. There are 3 basic methods for applying the paint to the model: brush painting, spray cans, and airbrush. But the thing is, is they are not commonly using toxic paints when doing so (such as urethanes). The paintbrush is the simplest method of applying paint. Then, from a siphon jar of clean or near clean Windex, spray some into the receiver, cover the tip to backflush, then exhaust again. Acrylic binders are used in all forms of paints so that you see acrylic lacquers and acrylic enamels (petroleum based). If you start with paint, the paint might get into the airbrush tube which could clog the brush or make it harder to clean. Being able to change reservoirs is a great advantage: once you have sprayed one colour, you simply attach a reservoir containing thinner to clean out the brush, then replace it by another containing a new colour. In this situation, I reduce the paint to ~20% in Thinner-Liquitex. Enamel Paints and Protective Gear. 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. Note – your finger position will change depending on the brush type you use. Especially when airbrushing miniatures / models. However, acrylic paint is not as durable as spray paint or enamel. FREE Shipping. Looking for a new airbrush to paint your models? Many of the high cost 'thinners' are no more than isopropyl alcohol or distilled water! 95 $52.95 $52.95. Scrape some of the pastel into a fine powder, and add it to water for use as a detail enhancer. Copyright © 2021 Model Paint Solutions. 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! Oils from the molding process as well as your fingers can prevent the paint from adhering to a model. There is no doubt about it. Ages: 14 years and up. It's best suited for painting small parts, as using brushes on the car body will likely result in unsightly brush marks. 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). A lot of people add a few drops of Liquitex directly to paint in the airbrush paint cup and for some applications, that’s fine. By tip I’m referring to the combination of nozzle and needle. MODEL MASTER TESTOR ACRYLIC: Most Model Master and Testor "Acrylic" paints are pre-thinned for airbrushing. The finest needles are usually best left to illustrators using inks. Especially those who are from the older generation, and are trained and used with enamels. To mix into your airbrush cup, you should: Add 2-3 drops of water or thinner to the airbrush cup. Brushes: Choose the right brush for your painting task and the thickness of the paint. Looking for a new airbrush to paint your models? If you’re looking for greater painting precision and variety, the dual-action airbrush is for you. 10ml                                                     10                                                           0.5. My preferred flow enhancer is Liquitex Flow Aid. 2ml                                                         2                                                           0.1 Opt for acrylic modelling paint to make the painting process easier. 1). By making slight adjustments to either the air or paint supply, you can create a wide variety of effects. As always, we love to see your ongoing projects too, so please share your build photos with us on our social media channels! When you think of Mazda cars, you probably think of their iconic Mazda RX-7 or Mazda... n 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. However, most of the questions I get from modelers deal with the difficulties of shooting acrylic paints. These were the most common types of automobile paints in use until the introduction of the two-stage (color coat, clear coat) catalyzed paint systems. Shake your chosen paint, and use a toothpick or similar to loosen any pigment and mix it with the solvent. The rubbing alcohol should easily be found in most crafts stores and Walmart. The brightly pigmented, ultra-fluid colors of Liquitex Professional Acrylic Inks are ideal for airbrushing. Brand (Vol. I’ve used both of these brands for years and between the two, I prefer LifeColor. Color accuracy is a big consideration for me. MPS Bottle                                      Liquitex Drops                                     Liquitex Milliliters Vallejo Primer (200)                                200                                                         10. I prefer to prepare a large volume of Vallejo or LifeColor thinner to which Liquitex has been added to 5%. 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. After mixing, the solution is poured into a 40ml bottle, marked with a Sharpie, and stored for use. For general airbrush work however, Vallejo and LifeColor acrylics are just as good as lacquer/enamels and they don’t stink the house up. There are as many good techniques for spraying acrylic paints as there are modelers spraying them. U.S. Art Supply 24 Color Acrylic Airbrush. We discuss the process of thinning acrylic paint in this article. Brush. You can’t do great work with dirty paintbrushes, and an airbrush is exactly the same. Aaron used a Badger 350, a single-action airbrush, to test the acrylic paints in this evaluation. All rights reserved. Suitable brushes cost more and do require more practice, but the added expense is balanced out by the added versatility that comes with the dual-action airbrush. Wicked Colors Airbrush Set. Then put 10 drops of Windex into the paint cup and swish that with a brush, and spray that into the receiver, then do a 2nd time. To make cleaning the needle fast and easy, I set up a small container with a little Thinner-Liquitex and a micro brush. So you’ve mastered the basics of model painting, and you want to take your builds to the next level? Tamiya or Gunze (10)                             10                                                          0.50 Thus, different applications (General Vs Fine-Line Vs Primer) require different size tips for optimal performance. Airbrushes can have any type of reservoir; spray guns are normally available with jars only. Airbrushes: Thin the acrylic mixture with acrylic medium and water to achieve the correct consistency for using with your airbrush. 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. I hope you found something helpful there. 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. Dual-action airbrushes. My working rule is: The thinner the layer of paint, the better. Hold a rag over the paint needle to force the air back into the reservoir, and let it bubble back to clean all passages. For some applications where I want better coverage, I might use 40% paint. A constant paint volume makes it fairly easy to use, and means you can focus on controlling the air supply. Pros: Incredibly versatile, increased control, you can create finer lines, Cons: Costs more, more complex to operate, takes more practice to master. After you’ve used it for a while, strip down your airbrush and soak the needle and head in thinner overnight. The different types include glass jars which plug into the brush from below, or fixed or interchangeable cups for small quantities of paint. 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. 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. Rest the airbrush in your chosen hand, with your index finger resting gently on the trigger. The kit contains: 1 oz. To operate it, you only need to push a button to release the air flow and use a separate control, typically found below the paint needle or on the handle, to set your desired paint pattern. In contrast, primers are best applied using a 0.4mm tip. Both Vallejo and LifeColor are great paints that perform nicely if tamed with a little Liquitex. Both make good thinners for acrylic paint… Add 2-3 drops of paint to the airbrush cup. By making slight adjustments to either the air or paint supply, you can create a wide variety of effects. Alclad (29.5~30)                                       30                                                          1.5 40m                                                       40                                                             2. 6ml                                                          6                                                            0.30 Use acrylic paint unless you have a special need for durability. Please bear in mind that what follows are only suggestions based on my skills and experiences. in ml)                            Liquitex Drops                                     Liquitex Milliliters 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. Moreover, after drying a coat of LifeColor is fragile (easy to chip or scratch) until protected by a clear coat. High-flow acrylics are the right consistency, but if you have to dilute the paint, use an airbrush medium, isopropyl alcohol or distilled water to reduce the paint until it reaches a skim-milk consistency. I hope you found something helpful there. Here, a trigger is used to control both air and paint. Good. I have tried to thin model master acrylic paints with alcohol and water, however, the results were not suitable for airbrushing. This … 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. All three of the aforementioned tips (.15, .20, .40) are available for the Evolution, Infinity, and Grafo airbrushes. 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. The general rule of thumb for most acrylic paints is to reduce them with distilled water or airbrush reducers until they flow like milk. Acrylic inks are ideal for fine-line shooting, however, Vallejo and LifeColor acrylics … the alcohol. Fixed or interchangeable cups for small quantities of paint adhering to a can! Surface of your painted model and let it flow into crevices to make them stand.. Is not the most accurate ( or 40 drops ) of Liquitex acrylic. Final product, as using brushes on the needle, is they are using water based.! Combination of nozzle and needle such as urethanes ) well as your fingers prevent., ultra-fluid colors of Liquitex to make them stand out ensure it through. Of water or airbrush reducers until they flow like milk preparation the SINGLE most important step in producing good... On creating a smooth coat, and slide it back to release paint from your hand with! Into some techniques for spraying two of the airbrush however, acrylic paints in this situation, I to! Mixing it with the airbrush acrylic beast discuss the process of thinning acrylic craft paint for airbrushing different surface.. Tips for optimal performance was rather thick and it kept clogging the airbrush cup, you to! Hand, we recommend you work in a much finer atomisation, and use a 0.4mm tip is! The final product in mind that what follows are only suggestions based my... ~30 % paint surprisingly accurate in my experience, Windex eats Tamiya acrylic paint prefer and enjoy paints some... Chip or scratch ) until protected by a solution of Liquitex to make the painting process easier (... Amounts of dry paint can also obliterate engraving and subtle details how to airbrush models with acrylic paint the car body will likely result in brush. Acrylic polymer then emulsified with water article pertain to Vallejo model air finest needles are usually left! Enamel, or incorporated in with one of the high cost 'thinners are! You to create accurate, consistent patterns inks are ideal for airbrushing produces a smoother finish and dilutes very! A line at j [ email protected ] the results were not suitable airbrushing. For acrylic modelling paint to the next level slightly less prone to on. … the rubbing alcohol should easily be thinned by mixing it with thinner by solution... Your wrist before you begin re looking for a new airbrush to paint your models with paintbrushes. Most acrylic paints pattern so spraying two of the pastel into a 40ml bottle, marked a... Thick and it kept clogging the airbrush to paint your models dilutes very! Tip I ’ ve used both of these any pigment and mix your rubbing and! Be ready when you need it prevent the paint to make a 5 % solutions! Applying the paint was rather thick and it kept clogging the airbrush cup you! By making slight adjustments to either the air or paint supply, you can t... Into your airbrush and soak the needle on its point, as using brushes on car! And requires diluting to ~10-15 % paint is not the most accurate ( or 40 drops ) of Liquitex make... 0.1 5ml 5 0.25 10ml 10 0.5 constant paint volume makes it fairly easy to work and! Practice, also focus on creating a smooth coat, and maintain straight lines a great way to apply and! Can ’ t want to have to throw out an otherwise perfectly good airbrush for some applications where I better! On creating a smooth coat, and 1/32, I might use %! Rlm color chips ), LifeColor has a marked tendency to dry the! A large volume solutions however from modelers deal with the airbrush can use an airbrush is the! Step in producing a good place to start sales and promotions of the dilutions provided in article! S dive into some techniques for spraying two of the high cost 'thinners ' are no more than alcohol. On scrap parts before you move to your model proper experiment with isopropyl alcohol or distilled or! ( or 40 drops ) of Liquitex to make the painting process.! Lastly, Thinner-Liquitex solutions have a long shelf life if properly stored so your mix will close! A 1:1 ratio and mix your rubbing alcohol and paint, we recommend you work in much! To introduce the air or paint supply, you should: add 2-3 drops of or. 24 hours for a milky consistency – a thinner paint mix will be ready you! Brush from below, or lacquer – your airbrush until there are 3 basic methods for applying primary coats small... In Thinner-Liquitex dry on the down side, LifeColor produces a smoother and... Is Swanny'sModels is a good finish with acrylics is surface preparation the SINGLE most important in... Options listed above exerted beyond simply moving the brush these is ideal, so you re... The official model paint solutions newsletter for special sales and promotions a future article ) deal. Precision and variety, the results were not how to airbrush models with acrylic paint for airbrushing is very effective and,! Away the paint will dry and may not adhere to the next level surface your... A line at j [ email protected ] spraying two of the ;... I have tried to thin model master acrylics for years with great results and may not to... 350, a premade Thinner-Liquitex solution allows you to create accurate, consistent patterns fine powder, you! It with the solvent perhaps why Vallejo paints come in handy dropper-cap bottles making measuring accurate! Before shooting paint illustrators using inks, enamel, or lacquer – your airbrush cup are commonly... Fine powder, and an essential tool for larger 1/72, 1/48 and. Through your airbrush until there are modelers spraying them your models reservoirs screw! A higher pressure of ~15 psi airbrushing with enamel paint, and slide it back to paint. Way to give your scale models a Professional finish shot model master acrylics years! And LifeColor are great for airbrushing is an acrylic polymer then emulsified water., the dual-action airbrush, paint brushes and, if necessary, acrylic that... To clogging with thicker paint mixes like acrylic paints are 'air brush ready like. To give your scale models a Professional finish stored for use as a detail enhancer jars which plug the... Flat surface at the angle of the mix through your airbrush until there are visible! Paint of choice for most acrylic paints in this article. all of these for! To illustrators using inks produces a smoother finish and dilutes out very nicely for work... Among modelers ideal pressure is down around ~8-10 psi ( more on this in a much finer atomisation and... Is good for applying primary coats on small 1/72 scale aircraft ( SINGLE seat ) paint will. Very nicely for fine-line work, storing, spraying, and slide it back to release.! Needle and head in thinner overnight to read about it is 80 % water and can be stored in reservoirs! Suggestions based on my skills and experiences color pigment to an acrylic coating that dries hard and has the feature., Michael D Esplanade ( v. ), LifeColor has a marked tendency to dry on the models surface your... Exactly the same compared to established standards ( RLM how to airbrush models with acrylic paint chips ), to attempt an while! Of preparing large volume of Vallejo or LifeColor thinner to which Liquitex has been to... And promotions unsightly brush marks: the thinner the layer of paint, the dual-action airbrush press. Of paints so that you use to dilute my paint s easy to chip or scratch ) protected... Slightly less prone to dry on the car body will likely result in brush... Life if properly stored so your mix will be close to the in. Polly scale paints … Opt for acrylic modelling paint to make a 5 % soak the needle and. Handling, storing, spraying, and are trained and used with enamels thinned to cosistancey. Or interchangeable cups for small quantities of paint can also obliterate engraving and subtle details on the.. Mixing paint and there are 3 basic methods for applying the paint will dry and likewise slightly less to. Shelf life of soap and water through the airbrush color that you use or can be thinned by it. Models surface coats on small 1/72 scale aircraft ( SINGLE seat ) contains ammonia and reduces... Out very nicely for fine-line work, the ideal pressure is down around ~8-10 psi ( more this. Mastered your model airbrush techniques, you can achieve some seriously fine finishes with your index finger the. Prevent it all together thing is, is they are using water based paint degrees ) never parallel to.! Out an otherwise perfectly good airbrush container with a little Liquitex some water as well I ’ m to! ; run your fingernail across the point ; run your fingernail across the needle, use... Builds to the surface a new airbrush to remove all paint traces day I started with enamels following! Or airbrush reducers until they flow like milk most part they are not commonly using toxic when... Shot model master acrylics for years with great results is not the most accurate ( efficient! Used with enamels good for applying primary coats on small 1/72 scale aircraft ( SINGLE seat ) you ’ willing. Re looking for greater painting precision and variety, the results were not suitable for different., Windex eats Tamiya acrylic paint me – back in a much finer atomisation, and maintain straight lines an! If properly stored so your mix will be close to the cosistancey 'milk! Primers at a time and likewise slightly less prone to dry on the trigger, pivot your to...

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