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So, after doing some research I decided to bite the bullet and buy a cheap airbrush and compressor. I purchased a "Foxhunter AS 186 Complete Airbrush and Compressor" kit from a company on Ebay called "kmsdirectshops". My research included asking questions on here and reading reviews on Amazon and elsewhere of compressors and the cheap airbrushes that tend to be bundled with them. It appeared to be the collective wisdom that buying a compressor with an air reservoir was a "good thing", hence the AS 186 which comes with a small tank attached. My previous experience of airbrushing was limited to using air canisters which was expensive and limiting. I still have a Badger double action airbrush but I have no idea if it will still work (or where it is...)

 

I decided on buying a bundle as it seemed that you are getting the two airbrushes for next to nothing compared to buying the same compressor on it's own so even if the airbrushes turned out to be complete bobbins (or I wreck them) I haven't wasted much money and I can go out and by something like an Iwata Neo (which you will notice costs nearly as much as this bundle!)

 

The bundle arrived promptly and well packed

 

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Let's have a look inside...

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Airbrush One

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Airbrush Two

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The Compressor

 

Quite an impressive bundle for a little less than seventy quid. As you can (hopefully) see the compressor looks tidily built and it feels solid and weighty. A visual inspection shows it to nicely finished, tidy welds on the tank and an even paint coating. It has a pressure gauge and a moisture trap fitted. The pressure gauge had a protective film over it to prevent scratches.

 

At this point all I did was plug it in and let it run for a few moments as a simple test of functionality, it is quiet enough not to disturb a domestic environment and didn't feel at all warm after a minute or so.

 

In the next part I'll examine the airbrush (I'm drawn to  airbrush 2) and use it with the compressor to chuck some paint at a model or two.

 

Right now I'm pretty pleased with my purchase. Watch this space...

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Well done. While I've heard many people say don't buy a cheap airbrush, I went for one a bit like yours. I wasn't sure how I would get on with an airbrush, so I didn't want to spend a fortune. In practice I'm very happy with my purchase and I hope you are too.

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No point in spending a fortune, then finding an airbrush is not for you

.

However, there will no doubt be a contradictory post that will say "buy a cheap one,get nothing but grief and you'll never fulfill your potential"

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As an aside, I recently purchased a weathering 'bookazine' supplement to one of the monthlies, the author is obviously highly skilled in airbrush techniques............... but to me, the 'bookazine' gave the impression that (a) the only way is airbrush (brushes, washes, powders etc are for the minions, and ( B) the publication was very top heavy with 'product placement' - in fact, there appears to be but one airbrush manufacturer, and in one publication the author used about half a dozen of that company's airbrushes.

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Some RMwebbers may recall my soapbox routine yesterday on what I interpret as 'growing product placement' in the magazines......... just take a look at one particular DCC supplier.

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Rant mode off.

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Enjoy your new toy Rumblestripe.

.

Brian R

Edited by br2975
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Many of us have bought these, I have the one without the air tank, fine for what I want it for.

 

That is the key factor. Doesn't matter if it's a cheapie or an expensive bit of kit.

 

I have airbrushes from both ends of the cost spectrum and I use each one for different purposes.

 

As said earlier too......buy a cheapie to learn the best way of airbrushing which suits you....and then once competence has grown you can always upgrade if you think it is necessary.

 

Paul

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I quite agree with all of that!

 

As I don't use the airbrush that often I didn't want to spend a fortune so bought the Expo one.

 

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Bought it for £80 a few years ago, works perfectly fine for what I need.

 

Cheers

 

Ian

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OK, let's have a closer look at what you get for (less than) seventy of your English pounds.

 

The controls on the Compressor are simple but seem well enough made

 

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The rocker switch starts the compressor, it pressurises the tank to 4 bar and then shuts off. Once the tank pressure drops to 3 bar it will restart and keep going until 4 bar is reached this means that you have a pretty good steady pressure delivered to the airbrush.

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The Pressure Gauge, yesterday.

 

The air pressure delivered to the airbrush can be adjusted (in a rather crude fashion) by undoing the red knurled ring and the pulling the black knob upwards and twisting.

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Thus!

 

Unfortunately the gauge only shows the pressure in the tank, not what is delivered to the airbrush so you must sort of just tweak it until you are happy with the pressure being delivered then locking it in the setting you have arrived at by tightening the red ring again. I simply put some water in one of the brushes and adjusted it so that it could deliver a reasonable supply of water spray. Not scientific I know!

 

I'm telling you this, because if you buy this kit you will find that the instructions are (let's be polite) less than comprehensive.

 

Coming next, chucking paint at a model, in this case it will be a military vehicle...

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The Pressure Gauge, yesterday.

 

The air pressure delivered to the airbrush can be adjusted (in a rather crude fashion) by undoing the red knurled ring and the pulling the black knob upwards and twisting.

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Thus!

 

Unfortunately the gauge only shows the pressure in the tank, not what is delivered to the airbrush so you must sort of just tweak it until you are happy with the pressure being delivered then locking it in the setting you have arrived at by tightening the red ring again. I simply put some water in one of the brushes and adjusted it so that it could deliver a reasonable supply of water spray. Not scientific I know!

 

I'm telling you this, because if you buy this kit you will find that the instructions are (let's be polite) less than comprehensive.

 

Coming next, chucking paint at a model, in this case it will be a military vehicle...

Ah! I never worked that out, I couldn't understand why mine wouldn't adjust!

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Unfortunately the gauge only shows the pressure in the tank, not what is delivered to the airbrush so you must sort of just tweak it until you are happy with the pressure being delivered then locking it in the setting you have arrived at by tightening the red ring again.

 

 

The way to adjust the pressure at the airbrush end is to connect and operate the airbrush with the black knob in the raised position. You can then turn this knob, while the airbrush is working, until your required pressure shows on the gauge. Then you lower the knob and tighten the red ring.
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.

Some RMwebbers may recall my soapbox routine yesterday on what I interpret as 'growing product placement' in the magazines.........

 

 

Is it what you call product placement, or is it somebody passing on information about what works for them and therefore might work for other people? When I find a product that does what I want and does it well, I certainly recommend it to others. Like AS186 compressors, for example, which I use with Iwata airbrushes.

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The way to adjust the pressure at the airbrush end is to connect and operate the airbrush with the black knob in the raised position. You can then turn this knob, while the airbrush is working, until your required pressure shows on the gauge. Then you lower the knob and tighten the red ring.

 

Thanks Mick for this, I hadn't worked that out!

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This is how you do it, hold the button on the airbrush down and with the red ring unlocked pull up and then twist the black knob until the gauge shows the output pressure you require. Here I have set it to 20psi.

 

Oh and here is a small example of the instructions included with the compressor

 

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"However, 100% airtight is only effective for auto stop function air compressor"

 

So that's that cleared up then...

 

And IS teflon tape available in all stores selling sanitary products? :stinker:

 

(they are even sparser for the aibrushes, consisting of an exploded diagram and a part list)

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Before I continue a quick disclaimer, I have no association with any of the products I have used other than as a customer. The purpose of this thread was hopefully to help people considering buying a cheap airbrush and to document my learning process with this tool. Nothing more, no agenda. I know I dithered thinking I might just be wasting my money and will I ultimately just have to buy a "good" one?

 

So, let's have a look at what we are going to use

 

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This is "Airbrush 2", model HS-23, it has a gravity feed cup which screws on to the side of the tool. The piece of paper it is resting on constitutes the accompanying documentation (all of it!)

 

We're going to need some paint. On the recommendation of several experienced "Airbrushers" I decided to use Vallejo "Model Air". I am a long time user of their range of excellent "Model Colour" range of brushing acrylics and these are ready mixed to an appropriate consistency so no messing about trying to get the right "runniness".

 

So, what shall we chuck paint at?

 

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This'll do.

 

I like to model in several forms and 1/48th Scale gives you a model of reasonable size and good detail, I can also practice some weathering techniques on it.

 

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The paints, yesterday.

 

The good thing about these paints is you just give the bottles a good shake, make sure there are no blobs on the dropper nozzle that might end up in the paint cup and dribble enough paint into the cup and away you go. I sprayed the model all over with 71.027 which was pretty easy BUT it was such a close match to the colour of the plastic Tamiya used for the kit, you couldn't tell! For that reason I didn't bother photographing that stage. I let the paint dry thoroughly for a couple of days and then masked up for the first colour in the "Caunter Scheme" (as this camouflage pattern is correctly called) and then sprayed the light blue splinters.

 

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I used Revel masking tape, recommended by a few as "just as good as 'Tammy Tape'" (that's Tamiya masking tape to me and you) and it worked pretty well. No problems with lifting paint when removing after spraying or coming away whilst spraying and it left a pretty good hard line. I poked it into the crevices on the model using some wooden tools fashioned from a hardwood barbeque skewer. A wedge, a point and a rounded end. I found the paint an absolute doddle to use, it covered the light brown pretty well and was easily cleaned up afterwards. (Oh and no nasty smells meant I got away with doing it indoors!)

 

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There is another colour yet to apply, a dark olive green to complete the "livery".

 

I cleaned the airbrush by rinsing out the remaining paint in the cup with water until the water was just about clear. I simply tipped the waste water into a little pot. Then I blew some clean water through the airbrush until the spray was just water. I then dropped some of the Vallejo "Airbrush Cleaner" into the cup and blew that through.

 

Not all is perfect though

 

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That is the rear engine cover and as you can see it is very "hilly" which has produced two separate issues.

 

Firstly there has been some paint bleed under the masking tape, probably where I didn't quite get the tape right down into the valleys. I'm less fussy about this for a couple of reasons. 1. I doubt that on the real thing that the lines were perfectly straight and 2. once weathered will (I hope) be barely visible.

 

But the BIG problem is where in order to get paint into the deep crevices I have built up the paint too much on the tops of the ridges. Aaargh.

 

Anyone got any good ideas how to get rid of this? I'm pondering either a waft with a scalpel, a tickle with some wet and dry or perhaps even something like a track rubber?

 

Suggestions gratefully received.

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I bought a cheapy 8 quid job off Amazinzon and was frankly "amazed" just how good it is .I am fed up with using more expensive brushes that dont quite get the parameters I want .It does thin and indeed thick lines and is similar to the Neo but better .The Neo just didnt go fine enough and the  new Badger I bought didnt either ,i bought the wrong version thinking it was the same as my old old . I prefer single action .I use it for anything ,2K autopaint and Humbrol ,acrylics etc .I will buy another just for clear coat use .I might buy two in case North Korea kills off China ,trouble is it doesnt have a name .

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A BIG thank you Rumblestripe for an informative group of postings.

I have purchased the same pack so would appreciate if you can continue this thread with your experiences.

I have  not yet done any airbrushing myself.

 

Gordon A

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That is the rear engine cover and as you can see it is very "hilly" which has produced two separate issues.

 

Firstly there has been some paint bleed under the masking tape, probably where I didn't quite get the tape right down into the valleys. I'm less fussy about this for a couple of reasons. 1. I doubt that on the real thing that the lines were perfectly straight and 2. once weathered will (I hope) be barely visible.

 

But the BIG problem is where in order to get paint into the deep crevices I have built up the paint too much on the tops of the ridges. Aaargh.

 

Anyone got any good ideas how to get rid of this? I'm pondering either a waft with a scalpel, a tickle with some wet and dry or perhaps even something like a track rubber?

 

Suggestions gratefully received.

I reckon you've identified the main cause of the bleed - it's usually due to the masking not being packed down enough, especially over ridges/bolts/rivets etc. The other thing that can cause it can also produce your thick edges, & that's applying too much paint in one go (also not helped by the way the rear of your tank slopes backward).

 

Next time try spraying several light or even 'mist' coats &, if possible, spray **away** from the edge of the tape. Allow each coat to dry off before spraying the next; acrylics set up pretty quickly in my experience, so 10-15 minutes between each coat ought to be ample.

You might find that a lower pressure helps with misting - wind it down to 10psi & if that gives too coarse a spray tweak it up until all is good. When I'm signwriting the real thing, I usually go for about 15psi for spraying, but that's for enamels.

For the awkward bits (like those corrugations) use the preset adjuster on the end of the handle to limit the needle's travel - you should be able to get a spray pattern that'll just run up the furrows without straying too much over the ridges.

 

A waft over with a rounded scalpel sounds like it could be worth a spin.

 

Pete.

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I have a similar unit to you, it works well but does not like being run for longer than 10 minutes at a time. As for air brushes I have a few and some are beter than others. I also prefer ones with under slung bottles as having to keep refilling small cups is a pain in the.

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The way I use to get a sharp mask line is to mask the selected area and then over spray with the original colour over the tape edges ..so say your base colour is red .You mask off .Then spray lightly another shot of red to seal up the mask line .Then shoot your next colour .It works a treat but again not too wet .I have also used  water soluble white glue as a mask  .Just soak it off when done .

Martin

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Please keep the blog going, its a big help. I've got a similar airbrush and compressor and I'm learning too. Weathered seven locos with it today without any problems.

It goes to show how we are all different, I always use a brush to my weathering along with cotton buds tissue etc, I can't get it to look right with the airbrush.

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Thank you for the kind comments.

 

A few more photographs of my adventure with Matilda. The "Caulter Scheme" consists of three colours so I have been masking up and spraying the final dark olive green patches/splinters.

 

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As you can hopefully see I have been much more careful with the masking using an improvised wooden tool to smooth the edges into place. I also took the good advice to spray in thinner misty coats rather than trying to bung the whole lot on in one go. I have to say that the Vallejo paints are very forgiving to use, the consistency straight out of the bottle is perfect. I haven't worried about overspray onto the tank tracks as they are to be touched in with a brush once all airbrush work is complete.

 

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This view from above gives a good impression of the camouflage scheme, the idea was to apply this pattern to make it difficult to identify the object at a distance in the desert. How effective it proved I'm not sure but it doesn't seem to have been particularly long lived?

 

I still have some problems on the rear engine cover

 

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I still have the pronounced ridges at the edge of the blue pattern, I want the paint properly hardened before I try to deal with that ridge. You can also see where my masking didn't match up and I have a little sand colour showing through, that should touch in easily with a brush. The next job is to paint in the details which have been sprayed that shouldn't have been, like the tow ropes above (steel hawsers I believe), there is also a canvas sheet on the side of the turret exhaust system and tools such as a spade and crowbar stowed on the tank. Then I will apply the transfer markings and it will be out with the airbrush again to seal them and then apply some weathering.

 

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Work still to do.

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Looking good, well done.

 

If you go onto Youtube, there is a Humbrol channel containing many videos on painting, weathering etc. They are well worth watching. There is even a demonstration of painting a tank in camaflage a bit like yours (the colour edges are wavy rather than straight) using maskol.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Rumblestripe

 

Great review and some really useful pointers and how-tos.  

 

I am seriously considering one of these kits, however I notice that there are quite a few variations of the kit and what model of airbrush you can get.  So can you offer any review/details as to how well the airbrushes you got with your kit have performed?  I am particularly interested in the how each unit feels in the hand, easy of use, trigger control, quality of spray and how easy you found to clean and dismantle them.

 

Any advice much appreciated.

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I am particularly interested in the how each unit feels in the hand, easy of use, trigger control, quality of spray and how easy you found to clean and dismantle them.

 

I recommend trying out these aspects yourself. Other people's views may well not be the same as yours, and their requirements may well differ. For example, some people prefer to use a trigger style because they simply can't get on with the lever style. You can try out the different styles at good model shops (if you can find one), exhibitions attended by the likes of Eileen's Emporium or courses run at Pendon Museum and Missenden Abbey.

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Thanks again for the kind comments.

In terms of the airbrushes, I have only used one of them so far, the brush I labelled as "Airbrush Two" in the first post. I chose this one as I was only painting one (relatively small model) in railway modelling terms probably about the size of a small 4mm coach, perhaps a six wheeler, in terms of surface area. I was drawn to the side cup as it would use less paint and looked easier to clean (perhaps!)

Picking the airbrush up for the first time I was impressed with the solid feel of the tool. The threaded components seem nicely machined and as far as I have stripped it down (not completely) it came apart easily and went back together nicely. All the threads were well cut and finished and the seal on the cup to body join is good. The double action lever moves smoothly with even resistance and no sticky spots and seems to give a good gradual control of air and paint with a little practice. I cannot compare it with a more expensive airbrush as I don't have one, but it is certainly good enough.

When I bought the kit I considered just buying the compressor on its own but when I compared the prices of the compressor as a single unit I realised that the airbrushes were so very cheap it didn't seem enough of a saving to be worth while and if the airbrushes were complete "pony" I wasn't going to worry for the price of a couple of magazines! I may in future "upgrade" to an Iwata or some such but at the moment this little no-brand model is working perfectly well enough - for me! What I need from an airbrush is the facility to apply a smooth even finish to a model. As a railway modeller I don't need to be able to draw fine lines freehand like you might do on an aircraft model for example. I don't need to apply large amounts of paint over large areas.

As Jagzzuk says there are quite a few variations in the kits for sale, I settled on this one as it was one of the cheapest and I wanted an airbrush with a side cup. The compressor is certainly decent enough for the casual/amateur modeller like me, to be fair it doesn't seem to run hot, because of the tank the compressor is not running constantly to maintain output/pressure.

I haven't posted any further progress on the Matilda as all I have done is the brush work to touch in the tracks and other details and apply the unit markings from the kit decals. This is a Railway Modelling Board after all, so I didn't want to deviate too much from its raison d'etre! When I take up the airbrush again to apply some weathering and finally seal it with a matt varnish I will share my final results with you.

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