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2 hours ago, ColinK said:

 

Can anyone recommend a varnish I can use in my airbrush at low pressure?

 

 

I've had very good and consistent results from AMMO by MIG Lucky Varnish, although there are several people on YouTube who aren't as lucky. You do have to build it up in very thin coats, though.

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10 hours ago, Bedlington North said:

Because you've had good results using tamiya acrylics through your airbrush (i like them too) is there any reason why you didn't use tamiya acylic flat clear base over the paint?

 

I didn’t have any available.  I’ll look for some at the Skipton exhibition on Sunday.

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Tamiya acylic flat clear base X-21 is a flattening agent that you add to gloss paints to make them satin or matt (similar to adding talc, and both give a lovely frosty look if you're too heavy-handed). If you want a Tamiya matt varnish for airbrushing/hairybrushing you want XF-86.

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(Sorry, huge post incoming but hopefully useful if you haven't selected any paints by now)

 

These are my personal feelings on the paints I've tried, of course these are subjective, I know people who get excellent results with paints I really couldn't get on with so it's well worth trying a few out until you find one you like. In no particular order:

 

Mr Color - started using these laquer based paints a few years ago after hearing good stuff and I never went back. For me, these are the best of the best, thinned with their Levelling thinner they spray like silk, dry in seconds and give a really stunning finish. Highly, highly recommended.

 

Mr Hobby Aqueous - The alcohol based acrylic version of the above, still nice but I have had some issues in the past with them not covering particularly well. They do brush paint really nice though. Can be thinned with pretty much anything - water, Mr Color Levelling Thinners, Tamiya X-20A, IPA etc.

 

Tamiya Acrylics - Great all round paints. I used to use these before discovering Mr Color, you can pretty much do anything to them and they'll still spray beautifully. Can be thinned with almost literally anything, Mr Color Levelling thinner being my choice.

 

Vallejo Model Air - I've used these on and off and had OK results with them but I've never been as impressed as some people seem to be. I find them a bit finicky to spray and they tend to work best with their own thinner, I have found they do need to be thinned slightly too as they are still a tad thick out of the bottle for fine work. They can also be thinned with water but I wouldn't recommend it, Laquer thinners will turn them to glue. Ask me how I know.

 

Vallejo Model Color - The not-pre-thinned version of the above. Superb for brush painting, need a lot of thinning with their own thinner to airbrush and I found they tend to clog quite easily.

 

Humbrol Enamels - Most people's starting point, including mine, though in my pre-airbrush days mostly. I've sprayed these thinned with white spirit a few times when I've been absolutely desperate but found them pretty horrible to spray, and generally tend to clog the nozzle. The newer ones seem to go strangely translucent when thinned enough to spray too, maybe that was just me though. Of course, they're generally excellent for brush painting.

 

Humbrol Acrylics - Nope. Never again. No, don't make me, please. Horrible, clog easily, awful coverage, have to be thinned to within an inch of their life to spray half decent. Blergh. Stay away is my advice.

 

Revell Acrylics - see above.

 

Life Color - Excellent range of colours but I found them to be an absolute pain to spray even with their own thinners. They needed tens of coats to cover even a light grey primer. They brush paint OK. As with Vallejo though, I've seen people get great results from these so your mileage may vary.

 

Mission Models - A new one to me, I was asked to review a selection of these for Model Aircraft Monthly last year and was pleasantly surprised. They're not quite enough to pull me away from laquers but they're about as close an alternative as you'll get. These tend to spray best with their own thinners, though can be thinned with Vallejo thinner with dimished results. They brush paint superbly.

 

Mig Ammo - Really disliked these, I just could not get them to spray evenly, and the coverage was awful. Have seen similar experiences from other modellers too. Shame as they have some excellent paint sets for aircraft.

 

Hataka Orange Line (Laquer) - Only used these once for an Su-34 build but they were really nice. Haven't had cause to buy anymore but I wouldn't hesitate if they had a colour I needed. They also do Blue (I think) Line versions which are water based, though I haven't used them.

 

MRPaints - Top of the line laquers, an absolute joy to use, stunning finish, but pricey. If I need a larger amount of paint for a project I'll tend to go for these but as they come in larger, more expensive bottles they aren't really economical for small jobs.

 

Zero Paints - Automotive Laquers designed primarily for car modellers. Again, really nice but pricey and smelly, though I wouldn't recommend anything else for a car model.

 

Railmatch Acrylics - This is probably the most useful of all the paints above for railway modellers but stupidly I've only used the Bauxite and I can't remember what I thinned it with.... It did spray really well though, with nice coverage.

 

For varnish - Any of the Mr Color range. They all perform superbly, just as their opaque colours. Thinned with Levelling thinners their gloss sprays like glass at low pressure. I always use their Flat coat as a final top coat now too, after trying Tamiya, Vallejo, Xtracrylix, Testors, Humbrol, and Winsor & Newton.

 

For an example, this Tamiya Spitfire Mk.Vb was one of my favourite builds from earlier this year, sprayed entirely with Mr Color Laquers, even the markings, finished with Mr Color Flat Coat.

 

1430405304_DSC08724reduced.jpg.531fa0a85543786c04062dee37c8cf04.jpg

 

 

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The coaches are finally finished. The final coat was Tamiya X35 ‘Semi Gloss Clear’ which has given the satin finish the owner of the coaches wanted.  I had to thin the X35 with Tamiya acrylic thinners and increase the air pressure from 15 to 20 psi to get it to spray properly after which it went on well.

 

69116331-F04E-4704-A62B-1BE44DDE303D.jpeg.7361ab09b53023d319716c2be882d21b.jpeg

Edited by ColinK
Forgot to add photo.
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I too would recommend Mr Color paints.   They do smell a lot, but the coverage and smoothness of finish is exemplary.

 

I use them with a Harder and Steenbeck and Iwata airbrushes without issues.

 

Davey

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Lots of choice.

I’ve  had an airbrush for three years but never got it out. I think the issue is you have to get NASA to come and clean it after use puts me off in this day and age, things should just be......simpler.

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1 hour ago, rob D2 said:

Lots of choice.

I’ve  had an airbrush for three years but never got it out. I think the issue is you have to get NASA to come and clean it after use puts me off in this day and age, things should just be......simpler.

 

That's a common misconception. All you have to do is run some thinners through it. I only do a strip and clean every few months. In general I find my airbrush is no more difficult to clean than a brush.

Edited by Locksley
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2 hours ago, rob D2 said:

Lots of choice.

I’ve  had an airbrush for three years but never got it out. I think the issue is you have to get NASA to come and clean it after use puts me off in this day and age, things should just be......simpler.

I know what you mean. I use mine a little more than that, but still nowhere near enough which I feel is a waste.

Cleaning it tends to put me off too, but it really only takes 5-10 minutes, which I know is a fraction of the time it takes to do the actual spraying, but it seems to be a stupid hang-up I have.

You only need to part-fill the cup, turn the flow on to full & spray until you have no more paint, clean the pot out & part fill again with clean thinners, then take out the needle & front 'bits' to give them a short soaking in thinners while you clean the rest down with thinners & a rag. Describing it sounds much more tedious than doing it!

 

Airbrushing seems to be a much more satisfying experience for me than brush painting. Once you get the hang of not over-thinning, you can get a really good finish.

The other week I airbrushed a kit before assembly. I had never done this before but I am so happy with the result that I am keen to do it again.

 

I also think that our perception of how well a paint can be airbrushed is coloured by what we are used to; different brands requiring different amounts of thinning.

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On 23/08/2019 at 10:03, rob D2 said:

Lots of choice.

I’ve  had an airbrush for three years but never got it out. I think the issue is you have to get NASA to come and clean it after use puts me off in this day and age, things should just be......simpler.

 

Overcome the fear, it's really not that bad. I too left my airbrush sat untouched for months, too worried about cleaning, but it is as simple as the others have pointed out. Once you finished painting a few items with it, you'll never look back.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 31/07/2019 at 11:27, westerhamstation said:

Though saying that I may have narrowed it down to a choice of two, Vallejo Model Air or the LifeColor Rail Weathering set, so if any one can advise me as to which one of these would be the easiest for someone who has never used a airbrush before

I've just had this dilemma having just bought my first double action airbrush and compressor. 
I went for the Vallejo model air range and have found it a very easy product to use and get good results with. When you don't have to worry about thinning paint you can get straight on with learning the effects possible and adjusting pressure optimally. The small dropper bottles make it very easy to dispense into the airbrush reservoir without waste. One drop of flow improver per 1ml seems to improve coverage marginally too.
Be aware that some of the Vallejo weathering products aren't in the model air range, so will need thinning. A few drops of thinner from a dropper bottle and mixed with a paint brush* in the reservoir cup does the trick nicely for smaller volumes of paint.

 

*a No 1 liner brush does the job very well and also is good for cleaning afterwards.

 

As others say, you'll need to learn how to clean your airbrush, but there's loads of tutorials on You Tube that cover this well. Nothing to fret about, after a couple of cleans it becomes second nature and will only take a couple of minutes. 

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