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Author Topic: Brush vs Spray Can vs Airbrush  (Read 16843 times)

bobk

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Brush vs Spray Can vs Airbrush
« on: December 01, 2011, 04:21:39 PM »

I am hoping fellow Mayhemers can help me decide which technique, or techniques, to use to paint a ship. 
I like the idea of an airbrush, and have read the excellent tutorial by ‘Oldiron’, but have never seen one used
The only demo videos online appear to be for stencil painting, car bodies or T shirts.

I am used to fine detailing with good quality brushes, and have used spray cans for car repairs.  The later gives a good finish over a large area but no good to do detail work.  Airbrushes appear more controllable, but still spray a broad swath a like on PhotoShop on computer (but without 'undo').  Infinite successive masking, airbrush cleaning, wait a couple of days, remask and repeat for next bit.

Anyone know of a good video clip on YouTube showing airbrushing models and model parts?  I am tempted to buy one, but uncertain if all it will really do is paint the basic hull and basecoat the upperworks.  If that is the case I might as well use spray cans and leave the rest to sable brushes.

The question is:  What can you actually do with airbrushes for a 1/96 ship?  Are they worth the hassle and expense?
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nemesis

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Re: Brush vs Spray Can vs Airbrush
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2011, 04:37:46 PM »

Hello, Air brush every time, more control. superior finish. Even the basic spray jar is better than the brush. Spray cans, ok, for large areas but far too dear. Of course it all depends on your prep, regardless of which method you decide to use,  Nemesis
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unbuiltnautilus

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Re: Brush vs Spray Can vs Airbrush
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2011, 04:50:40 PM »

 I spray paint and airbrush subs, excluding my Type VII, which I have been brush painting, but will airbrush on the final weathering. The last two classic sailing boats I built were brush painted with the intention of duplicating, in miniature, the tar brush effect of the originals. The CHANT tanker finished this summer was brush painted, then weathered with a combination of airbrushing and drybrushing and washes. Stingray was painted entirely with automotive sprays. R2D2 was painted with a full size spray gun and 2 1/2 litres of concrete primer paint followed by 2 pack metallics. It all depends on the prototype. For your 1/96 model I would mostly airbrush, but possibly hand paint below the waterline.
However,in the end it comes down to what you are most confident with yourself.
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pugwash

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Re: Brush vs Spray Can vs Airbrush
« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2011, 05:21:07 PM »

Bob personally after the last hull and superstructure I did it will be airbrush every time for me.
I bought an airbrush and carefully read the instructions then mixed up a load of paint intending to practise on an old sheet of melamine.
I got half way through the practise session and realised if you stick to to simple rules regarding correct pressure, starting to spray before you
get to the hull and not stopping spraying to after you passed the other end and keeping the airbrush a constant distant from the hull you
should not have to many problems. As the hull was masked up ready I went straight onto it on the assumption that if it was horrible I could
wet'n'dry it down and start again.  The results were far better than my expectations. As for the underside - as I can get a good match
colourwise I use a rattle can for the red and the black boot topping.
Definitely vote for the airbrush.

Geoff
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JB

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Re: Brush vs Spray Can vs Airbrush
« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2011, 05:57:59 PM »

Airbrush every time for me also, you will want to consider single or double action, I have a double action and its not difficult to control, the finish is far better than anything I've brush painted in the past, you will need some practice with getting the paint/thinner mix right for different paints but again not difficult, a compressor is a must in my opinion.
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bobk

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Re: Brush vs Spray Can vs Airbrush
« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2011, 06:08:44 PM »

Thanks guys.  It's just I've never seen one used, there being no demo videos I can find, and apparent limitations of painting in one inch wide swathes.  Not much above the deck line is that big.  To get a good airbrush with compressor is a big investment for just doing hulls and overall basecoats.  I am sure I am missing something obvious here. 
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knoby

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Re: Brush vs Spray Can vs Airbrush
« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2011, 06:22:10 PM »

The fan size on good airbrushes is variable. you can have it as thin as a pencil line if you want, or adjust it out to around 1 inch.
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unbuiltnautilus

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Re: Brush vs Spray Can vs Airbrush
« Reply #7 on: December 01, 2011, 06:42:15 PM »

Thanks guys.  It's just I've never seen one used, there being no demo videos I can find, and apparent limitations of painting in one inch wide swathes.  Not much above the deck line is that big.  To get a good airbrush with compressor is a big investment for just doing hulls and overall basecoats.  I am sure I am missing something obvious here. 


You can overcome the 1" swathes problem by using a simple external mix airbrush like the Badger 350 or one of the many cheap chinese knock offs floating about, dont but too cheap though. I found this type of brush overcame a problem I encountered with dry edges developing, almost a sandpaper finish. The External mix brush blatts the paint on in a less controlled manner to internal mix brushes, but is far better in my opinion, for large areas.
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bobk

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Re: Brush vs Spray Can vs Airbrush
« Reply #8 on: December 01, 2011, 08:13:03 PM »

You can hit me over the head with a bonsai tree, but I am trying to visualise how you would paint a model ship with an airbrush.  eg:  Fit as much of the deck and superstructure that is the same colour as the hull, spray it all, then spray other component parts or sub assemblies of different colours individually before fitting them, then finish off smaller areas and detail with brushes where you need accurate edges?  Otherwise the amount of successive masking seems daunting.
Sorry, I know the methodology must be blindingly obvious to those who know.
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oldiron

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Re: Brush vs Spray Can vs Airbrush
« Reply #9 on: December 01, 2011, 08:28:56 PM »

You can hit me over the head with a bonsai tree, but I am trying to visualise how you would paint a model ship with an airbrush.  eg:  Fit as much of the deck and superstructure that is the same colour as the hull, spray it all, then spray other component parts or sub assemblies of different colours individually before fitting them, then finish off smaller areas and detail with brushes where you need accurate edges?  Otherwise the amount of successive masking seems daunting.
Sorry, I know the methodology must be blindingly obvious to those who know.

  You're correct to break the model into sub assemblies. Especially those that are the same colour. They are much easier to prep and paint and reduce the amount of masking required. You seem to have a fear of huge amounts of masking. That's not the case if you plan your painting with your build. Plan out where you colours are going to be and paint dissimilar colours as you build. You may need minor touch ups with a brush when done, to look after any chipping or scratches in the build, but you will come up with a cleaner crisper looking model.
  An air brush is heads and shoulders better than any other form of applying paint. You worry about spraying over large areas with an air brush, its true, you can, however, you can also spray fine mists (for weathering) and fine lines. An airbrush gives phenomenal control over where you put the paint, how much and in what pattern. Don't forget, you can get different tip and needle sizes for your brush.
 As was pointed out, the 2 stage brush gives you the biggest range of control.
 Here are some videos, on Youtube about airbrushing models. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iyVshLI9_9U
 Don't forget your fear of trying it is the biggest thing you have to overcome. Go for it.

John
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bobk

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Re: Brush vs Spray Can vs Airbrush
« Reply #10 on: December 01, 2011, 09:15:18 PM »

John:  Thank you so much for your advice. That video clip was far more useful than the flat artwork ones I found.  I am halfway into a build, thinking about painting before I add much more above decks.  Even for a warship there are a lot of colours, even across the decks, but as you say planning the build with painting in mind is the key.  Figuring out drying time to be able mask up for the next step will be trial and error.
I think I need to invest in a good airbrush and give it a go.  Appreciation for your excellent tutorial series, I am sure much more of it will become clearer re-reading after actually using an airbrush.  
I am used to painting up to edges accurately and fine detail work with a brush, this is what made the concept of broader spray airbrushes daunting.  Stanchions and railings, bollards on planked decking etc.
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bobk

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Re: Brush vs Spray Can vs Airbrush
« Reply #11 on: December 02, 2011, 12:48:10 AM »

Just a thought.  Looking again at that video, although the paint jet can be directed to a relatively limited area, the surrounding cloud of spray mist beyond the target area looks quite extensive.  I guess if I am painting a small area on the ship I should mask out the rest of boat, maybe with tape and baking foil rather than newspaper which is absorbant.    The warnings about wearing a mask indicate the spray droplets spread out a long way.  If I splatter the nice new indoors workshop with paint particles SWMBO will condemn the airbrush to the garden.
How messy is this stuff?
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oldiron

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Re: Brush vs Spray Can vs Airbrush
« Reply #12 on: December 02, 2011, 03:20:22 AM »

Just a thought.  Looking again at that video, although the paint jet can be directed to a relatively limited area, the surrounding cloud of spray mist beyond the target area looks quite extensive.  I guess if I am painting a small area on the ship I should mask out the rest of boat, maybe with tape and baking foil rather than newspaper which is absorbant.    The warnings about wearing a mask indicate the spray droplets spread out a long way.  If I splatter the nice new indoors workshop with paint particles SWMBO will condemn the airbrush to the garden.
How messy is this stuff?

  if you're spraying small parts, areas or tight corners you'll have your brush adjusted for a minimum paint output. They are very controllable if you get a good one. As in any air spraying equipment there will be a certain amount of over spray that should be contained. I use plain brown paper for masking rather than foil. Cheaper and easier to work with. I've even used paper towels on occasion. Many times its not necessary to do a major masking job just to account for paint descending from the air. Simple lay paper over the major portion of the area to protect it against airborne particulate.
 As far as a mask is concerned, you should make a practice of wearing one at any time, also ensure you have good ventilation. Water base paints are not too bad, but if you use cellulose based paints or enamels the fumes aren't good to breath in.
 With regards to "splatter"'. If the paint is coming out of the airbrush at that rate you've got too much paint coming out. Can't say as I've ever "splattered" paint around the house.




This picture should give you some idea of the variety of control you have over the spray from a brush. The blue stripe shows runs, an indication of too much paint, or too slow a pass over th work.








The locomotives (HO scale) in this picture were all painted by air brushing. They took some judicious masking, but the same finish couldn't have been attained with a brush.

John
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bobk

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Re: Brush vs Spray Can vs Airbrush
« Reply #13 on: December 02, 2011, 10:39:50 AM »

Thank you John, I appreciate your taking the time to answer my questions.  I think I'll make up a thin ply folding booth for the workbench to allay concerns of the good lady here, wear a mask and keep the windows open when spraying.  I will also re-read your series now having a better understanding of the basic methodology.   :-))
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oldiron

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Re: Brush vs Spray Can vs Airbrush
« Reply #14 on: December 02, 2011, 03:11:14 PM »

Thank you John, I appreciate your taking the time to answer my questions.  I think I'll make up a thin ply folding booth for the workbench to allay concerns of the good lady here, wear a mask and keep the windows open when spraying.  I will also re-read your series now having a better understanding of the basic methodology.   :-))

Let us know how you make out. I'd like to see some of your work.

John
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bobk

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Re: Brush vs Spray Can vs Airbrush
« Reply #15 on: December 03, 2011, 10:45:53 AM »

OK.  I am trying the airbrush route. Browsing around, and talking to a local model shop, it appears that to do a reasonable job with capacity to do the art justice I will need a top cup double action airbrush plus a compressor, preferably with a reservoir chamber to keep air pressure constant.  Well, that's going to set me back £120 to £180 with airline and other bits.
Possibly I could go for a cheapo with gas can to try it, but feedback on these is not too good.  I could end up wasting money.

So, with good surface preparation I can expect to get a good finish in the basic overall warship grey. Masking to do the lower hull 'oxide brown/red' no problem, or even masking and spraying the black waterline stripe.  That would take me a long way.  But detailing?

Does this sound a reasonable build plan: ?
Fit individual planking in sub assemblies afterwards. Spray bollards plus resin & cast deck fittings individually, Bluetacked to wooden strip, then fit to deck.  After this it seems like I am back to small brushes for detail as I can't figure out how you could mask-seperate finer detail, especially where it has to be built up in situ as sub assemblies.

I guess the ultimate challenge would be to figure out how to airbrush stanchions (black) with soldered wire rails (white) without building them as sub assemblies, spraying white, then micro-masking all the rails in 2 mm spiral wrapped tape. Using adhesive after painting will require manual touch up with brushes anyway.  At 1/96 the 3 rail railings are only 10 mm high.

Just trying to figure out what can be airbrushed and what should be left to fine brushwork
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oldiron

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Re: Brush vs Spray Can vs Airbrush
« Reply #16 on: December 03, 2011, 11:09:20 AM »

OK.  I am trying the airbrush route. Browsing around, and talking to a local model shop, it appears that to do a reasonable job with capacity to do the art justice I will need a top cup double action airbrush plus a compressor, preferably with a reservoir chamber to keep air pressure constant.  Well, that's going to set me back £120 to £180 with airline and other bits.
Possibly I could go for a cheapo with gas can to try it, but feedback on these is not too good.  I could end up wasting money.

So, with good surface preparation I can expect to get a good finish in the basic overall warship grey. Masking to do the lower hull 'oxide brown/red' no problem, or even masking and spraying the black waterline stripe.  That would take me a long way.  But detailing?

Does this sound a reasonable build plan: ?
Fit individual planking in sub assemblies afterwards. Spray bollards plus resin & cast deck fittings individually, Bluetacked to wooden strip, then fit to deck.  After this it seems like I am back to small brushes for detail as I can't figure out how you could mask-seperate finer detail, especially where it has to be built up in situ as sub assemblies.

I guess the ultimate challenge would be to figure out how to airbrush stanchions (black) with soldered wire rails (white) without building them as sub assemblies, spraying white, then micro-masking all the rails in 2 mm spiral wrapped tape. Using adhesive after painting will require manual touch up with brushes anyway.  At 1/96 the 3 rail railings are only 10 mm high.

Just trying to figure out what can be airbrushed and what should be left to fine brushwork

  The question about the air brush - in my write up I suggested the gravity feed cup was designed for applications where a smaller quantity of paint would be used and the brush would always be used in an upright position (tip the brush and the paint runs out). In the case of painting a boat hull and superstructure, I think you'll find the gravity cup to be low on paint volume and tending to spill as you go around the job. This is where the suction bottle of the bottom of the brush works best. It gives you the volume , for larger areas, and reduces your chances of spilling paint.
  The gravity cup can be good for lite applications such as weathering, painting a number of small parts (e.g. bollards, fair leads, winches etc) placed together on a board and sprayed on mass. here the paint quantity is minimal and the direction of spray will, mostly keep the cup upright. The small parts can then be removed from the "spray board" and applied to the model. If the parts need a small touch of paint for, say, hand wheels and the like, a brush would be best to handle these small bits.
  I generally make my handrails in panels that can be removed. That way I can wash and prep them properly after soldering, or gluing, together. At this point I prime and paint them, then reinstall the railings gluing the railing posts into the deck. If small bits such as the balls on the posts or some other small bit needs a different color, I touch that up with a brush then do the reassembly.
  if you look at the photo of the steam engine, above, for example, I painted the handrails with a brush after every thing else was complete. I also picked out the whistle and bell with a brush too.
 AS to when you air brush and when you paint brush is a decision you have to make based on the amount and difficulty of masking you have to do to get a job done. There is no hard and fast rule, its what you feel comfortable with.
  I can't speak to the cost of equipment in Britain.  During the writing of the article there were individuals who found some good prices on the type of equipment you're looking for. Perhaps a review of their sources would be helpful
good luck.

John
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Subculture

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Re: Brush vs Spray Can vs Airbrush
« Reply #17 on: December 03, 2011, 12:22:55 PM »

My Dad bought several inexpensive airbrushes available on ebay.

These were being sold for use by nail artists, and the average cost was about £15-20 per airbrush. They look nicely finished although spares availability may be problem (will this be an issue for the average modeller though?)

A modeller who is very experienced with airbrushing gave them a trial and was impressed with the results.

I recommend Ian Peacocks book on model airbrushing.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/offer-listing/0852428022/ref=dp_olp_new/279-0369543-6516048?ie=UTF8&condition=new

It's an older publication but still as relevant as when it was first published, and it is aimed at modelmakers rather than artists.
One of the chapters deals with compressed air source, and details how a converted fridge compressor makes an inexpensive source of air. Nice and quiet too. If converting one of those seems like a lot of hassle, there are plenty of cheap compressors available on ebay. You don't need a lot of pressure between 10-30psi is enough, but a model with some sort of reservoir is worthwhile to ensure a smooth supply of air.



dougal99

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Re: Brush vs Spray Can vs Airbrush
« Reply #18 on: December 03, 2011, 12:25:18 PM »

Bob

Take a look at http://www.everythingairbrush.com/index.html

You might get a better idea of what's available

HTH

Doug

No connection - my aiirbrush came from my neighbours daughter in law's now defunct tanning salon business  8)
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bobk

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Re: Brush vs Spray Can vs Airbrush
« Reply #19 on: December 03, 2011, 04:32:10 PM »

Many thanks everyone.  Bear in mind I not only have never used an airbrush, but never seen one used, so advice is appreciated from experienced modellers.  Knowing what is the right ‘dockyard’ tool for the model ships . . .

I did wonder about the top cup versions, looking as if they had to be kept fairly upright and could only hold a small amount of paint.  OK, a suction fed ‘bottom jar’ type sounds the way to go. 
I have over 200 stanchions to fit, so breaking them down into panels sounds manageable. 
John:  I did wonder how you did the black handrails on that lovely loco !

The book quoted looks useful, and is cheap, so that is on order. I did like the idea of converting a fridge pump as the compressor can be a large proportion of the cost, providing the pressure is suitable.  I will check out ‘everythingairbrush.com’, although will search E-Bay now I have a better idea of what I need.  Understanding what features are best for what I am painting really helps.

Thank you  O0   :-))
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Re: Brush vs Spray Can vs Airbrush
« Reply #20 on: December 03, 2011, 05:41:31 PM »

I do wonder sometimes just how many airbrushes are purchased, but end up getting tucked away in dark, workshop drawers.

JB

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Re: Brush vs Spray Can vs Airbrush
« Reply #21 on: December 03, 2011, 07:16:39 PM »

bobk

Here's a pic of my brush and compressor and first attempt at a warship, I've used basic spray guns like Badger's in the past..I remember coating the kitchen at home with fine red dust when I were a lad...I hadn't noticed as I sprayed the 1/8th scale Monogram E Type Jaguar...mum did though when they came back from holiday >>:-(   {-)

I don't know why I waited so long to finally get an airbrush with compressor, bought mine a month ago and its just great to use, once you find your feet its easy...total cost for my gear was £148 and I got 10% discount at the local model shop, the same compressor is on the website link above ...I've paid about the same...

JB.

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bobk

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Re: Brush vs Spray Can vs Airbrush
« Reply #22 on: December 03, 2011, 08:40:11 PM »

I do wonder sometimes just how many airbrushes are purchased, but end up getting tucked away in dark, workshop drawers.
As I am going to invest in one it will get used.  However, I have wondered out of the many ship kits that are bought how many progress beyond the first few days of building, let alone survive long enough to get their hulls wet.
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JB

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Re: Brush vs Spray Can vs Airbrush
« Reply #23 on: December 03, 2011, 09:36:14 PM »

Bob, Its the same with all 'modellers'...many kits and even ready built models never sail or fly..I'm an R/C aircraft addict too ok2 have been for almost 45 years  %%

If you are a serious modeller the airbrush will be used and you find other jobs for it too...almost as essential as your paint brushes ok2

JB.

 
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bobk

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Re: Brush vs Spray Can vs Airbrush
« Reply #24 on: December 05, 2011, 10:55:48 AM »

Based on the appreciated advice given I have purchased this airbrush kit:

Compressor, top gravity cup and bottom suction cup double action airbrushes, plus air hose and six spare bottles.  £68 on E-Bay.  Hopefully this should cover both hull spraying and finer work, and was half the price I was quoted before.
Thinking more about containing residual paint mist spread, I may try rigging an old sheet from a curtain rail formed into a 'D' shape with the bottom of the sheet covering the work bench.  Based on the video clip I will make up a piece of A4 ply with a dowel handle underneath for spraying small parts.

Well, I have bitten the bullet and am about to give it a go  O0
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