airbrush paint mix

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November 10, 2011 2:33 PM

I bought an airbrush recently and I am about to try it. I'm not sure what ratio to use to dilute the paint. I am planning to use water base colors that you get at WalMart. Their small containers seem reasonable but I think they may be too thick to use directly from the container. Can anyone suggest a starting ratio for me?
 
 
 
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November 10, 2011 4:16 PM

I had the same idea. When I emailed Delta Ceramcoat, whose paint I had a whole boatload of, they replied that they did not recommend their paint for airbrushing. For what its worth...
 

Marshall McCall

 
 
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November 10, 2011 5:08 PM

Hello Canalman.

Using some watercolor is somehow safe for the Airbrush (as long as you don't let the paint dry in the airbrush container)

I would say that the water ratio depend on what you are gonna paint, and what result do you expect. Is it to cover the object with an opaque layer, or is to do some weathering and add a light touch of dust.
 
 
 
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November 10, 2011 5:44 PM

quote:
Originally posted by canalman:
I bought an airbrush recently and I am about to try it. I'm not sure what ratio to use to dilute the paint. I am planning to use water base colors that you get at WalMart. Their small containers seem reasonable but I think they may be too thick to use directly from the container. Can anyone suggest a starting ratio for me?


Canalman,

I can't give you an exact ratio but here are some guidelines to point you in the right direction.

1. Check the label on the paint you plan to use. Some give guidlines for thinning for an airbrush.

2. A general guideline for acrylic paints is to thin them to the consistency of skim milk. I would try a few different mixtures (keeping track of the different amounts of paint and thinner) and do some tests on scrap material. Keep track accurately and see what gives you the best coverage and control.

3. Different brands of paint will take different ratios. If your airbrush is single or double action and the air pressure setting will also affect your results and mixing ratios.

4. Once you have the ratio and air pressure dialed in for a specific brand of paint record it for future use.

5. Some airbrushes have special nozzles or needles for acrylic paint. Check your airbursh instructions for additional information.

HTH

Jon
 
 
 
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November 10, 2011 5:49 PM

For the cheap craft paint to work you have to strain it through cheese cloth to remove particles then figure correct ratio, it tends to vary with color and how old paint on shelf is

Think its a better idea to spend $ on air brush paint.
 

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November 10, 2011 5:53 PM

70% Isopropyl Alcohol is a much better thinning agent for thinning your paint to run through an airbrush. As stated above, water based requires an higher air pressure and a heavier tip. I've been airbrushing for 25+ years and to this day, I hate spraying acrylics, won't do it unless i have no other choice. I usally find an alternative Wink

HUGE SUGGESTION: practice on some scrap before you screw up your "show piece".

A lot of people spary acrylics and it can be done, but it takes practice and a lot of experimenting with materials and tools.
 
 
 
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November 10, 2011 7:57 PM

Hi
I use alcohol as well, work perfect as thinner and dry fast!
Andre.
 
 
 
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November 10, 2011 10:17 PM

Thanks folks. My airbrush is a Badger 2000 and is double action. I have played with it with just plain water to get a feel for it. Tomorrow is "add paint" day!
What I am painting can't be hurt at this point. It's a big mountain on one corner of the platform and I brush painted it with a brown that looked good in the store. On the mountain it looks like a huge dog took a dump there. It can only improve at this point. As it looks now:
 
 
 
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November 11, 2011 9:43 AM

quote:
Originally posted by canalman:

On the mountain it looks like a huge dog took a dump there.



Don't you just love the unexpected scenic features that always seem to appear when we start slinging plaster! My wife is usually the first one to point out the oddities that creep into my rocks. Big Grin

Just remember that a little vegetation will disguise anything and make everything right.

I think your mountain looks great. Smile


As far as the airbrush mix, I usually start with 50/50 and adjust from there depending on results - or lack thereof! Smile

Jim
 
 
 
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November 11, 2011 9:53 AM

It might make more sense to paint that mountain with a acrylic paint spray can(s). If possible, open some windows/doors, wear a respirator and goggles.

...unless of course you enjoy straining and mixing paint, fiddling with paint/thinner ratios, pouring it into tiny bottles and cleaning a double-action airbrush...and remember, acrylic paint dries F-A-S-T! On a positive note, you'll learn how to disassemble and clean your airbrush a bazillion times! Eek

Or, better yet, just brush paint it with a couple coats of light gray acrylic paint and start over.

Matt
 
 
 
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November 11, 2011 11:18 AM

Well first are you going to do your mountain in Eastern U.S. scenery or since I see your from Colorado is it going to be more of a desert theme ?

First thing I'd do is take out all that track you have there man your gonna to have a mess to clean up and you have a good way to go before you need track.
The last step for scenery like yours is track and ballast

I'd also ditch the air brush idea and use a rattle can to put down a different color base.Valspar makes a paint Called Valspar Stone .It's a grey textured paint that simulates granite .The color I use is called Manhattan Mist and you can get it at Lowes .

Once it's dry you can hot glue your rock out croppings and brush them with some watered down grey acrylics .Like Jim said foliage is your friend and you'll probably cover alot of the mountain with it any way.

David
 
 
 
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November 11, 2011 2:03 PM

DPC - I am off to Lowes ASAP. Sounds like the airbrush might be a real pain to use since I have had that feedback from other people as well.
As for the theme - my original thought was western but my grandchildren are really into dinosaurs and the whole platform concept has changed to one that is just fun to play with. I plan to add trees, ground cover, etc so I hope Jim is right. It doesn't have to be perfect but I don't want it to be ridiculous either. But then again, did they have steam engines 65 Million years ago? This layout will because that is Dinosaur hill and there will be dino's all over it!
The underside of that mountain is a huge cave that the trains go through. It has black lights and dinosaurs, snakes and other glow in the dark creatures. They can see in from the back and that is actually turning out pretty cool.
Thanks to all for the help.
 
 
 
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November 11, 2011 2:25 PM

quote:
Originally posted by canalman:
DPC - I am off to Lowes ASAP. Sounds like the airbrush might be a real pain to use since I have had that feedback from other people as well.
As for the theme - my original thought was western but my grandchildren are really into dinosaurs and the whole platform concept has changed to one that is just fun to play with. I plan to add trees, ground cover, etc so I hope Jim is right. It doesn't have to be perfect but I don't want it to be ridiculous either. But then again, did they have steam engines 65 Million years ago? This layout will because that is Dinosaur hill and there will be dino's all over it!
The underside of that mountain is a huge cave that the trains go through. It has black lights and dinosaurs, snakes and other glow in the dark creatures. They can see in from the back and that is actually turning out pretty cool.
Thanks to all for the help.



Glad we could help.If you leave the track while your at lowes get some of the 2 inch wide painters tape to cover the track.Practice on a piece of scrap with the textured paint before letting it fly on the layout.That stuff comes out of the can like a fire hose so it take a little getting used to.

Have fun

David
 
 
 
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November 30, 2011 12:49 PM

I am making progress on the mountain. In my earlier post on this string I mentioned the mountain looked like a dog dump. Well, I gave up on the airbrush and bought a few cans of spray texture. My wife has been adding accent colors using the dry brush technique then doing an over spray with the texture. I have been working on the elevations around the track and adding ballast so it is starting to look much better. Here's a few update photos.


The inside of the mountain is a cave with black lights. The train starts in the far end and ducks behind the cave wall before getting to the view ports.


Here's a shot of the ballast. Someday I'll put more between the rails as well.
 
 
 
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November 30, 2011 2:53 PM

Looking good.I'm glad the textured paint worked for you.It's alot easier than the air brush and is an easy way to get a stone look without alot of work.

If you want rock out croppings Woodland Scenics sells rock molds.You use Hydrocal plaster for them and you can just hot glue them on in various places.

WS also sells rock dye kits.You just mix a little powder with water and put it on with a brush like white wash.They have lots of How To videos on their web site.

And the nice thing about scenery is it's very hard to mess up.
Something nice you and the Boss er.. Better Half er...Wife can do together LOL .

Best
David
 
 
 
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November 30, 2011 6:03 PM

quote:
We (LHS) recommend thinning ANY paint to the consistency of 'skim milk' for airbrushing. As a general rule-of-thumb, its worked quite well through the ages.



I was at an IPMS show in Virginia Beach a few years ago and that's exactly what the Iwata girl told me.

She insisted Wink Big Grin on giving me a demonstration and within minutes I was doing quite well. I couldn't even hear the compressor she had hooked up, she told me what model it was but I don't recall now.

At the time I was painting 1/6 tanks and halftracks with exterior latex paint I had mixed (to match some military hobby paint, a 1 ounce bottle doesn't go fra on a 1/6 Sherman) at a local hardware store, her recommendation worked well. I have since used the same ratio when painting with all the common paints we use for RRing.
 

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November 30, 2011 7:11 PM

Thanks for the help. My airbrush is a VEGA 2000 by Badger and I had two issues with it. The first was air bubbling back through the paint reservoir when I would depress the trigger. Not a lot but enough to make the spray pulse about every 1/2 second. That was using either plain water or paint. The second was clogs from the diluted paint. I was careful when diluting it but I didn't have cheesecloth handy to filter it as suggested so it wouldn't spray evenly. I was also using a #3 nozzle.
I tried to contact Badger about the first issue and after 2 weeks, still have no reply so they are history in this house. I did take it apart several times to be sure it wasn't dirty inside and there was no visible paint so I don't think that was a problem. I would like to learn to weather structures for the platform but I need to conquer the airbrush first.
 
 
 
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November 30, 2011 7:56 PM

Iwata makes fantastic paint equipment.It's also fantastically expensive too.

David
 
 
 
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January 3, 2012 1:54 PM

Canalman,

This fellow has a YouTube channel and he uses the Walmart acrylic paint to airbrush.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UAGWSK19C5M

He also uses paint pens to make some really authentic looking graffiti. Somewhere in his videos he talks about thinning and spraying the acrylic but I couldn't find it quickly. I suggest going to his channel and doing a few searches. It seems worthwhile to check out his work at any rate.

Phil
 
 
 
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