Scale Model Airbrush Techniques – Scale Modeling Tips
So you have mastered the basics of model painting and want to take your structures to the next level? Airbrushing is an excellent and effective way to give your scale models a professional look. Many modelers agree that an airbrush is a valuable investment and an important tool for larger-scale model projects. However, it’s not just a tool you can buy and use, so follow our model airbrush techniques below to transform your scale models!
1) What is Airbrush?
Simply put, an airbrush mixes paint and air internally – so when you press the button down, the air passes through the nozzle and distributes the paint to your model. This causes much finer atomization and allows you to create accurate, consistent patterns. By making minor adjustments to the air or paint supply, you can create a wide variety of effects. By replacing the paint needle, you can add even more variety to the paint spray patterns, which makes it an incredibly useful tool if you have some creative talent. Before discussing more models of airbrush technique, you need to choose the type of airbrush we consider below – single action or double action.
2) Single-acting airbrushes
This is the most popular type of airbrush. To operate, you just need to press a button to release the airflow and use a separate control, usually located under the paint needle or on the handle to adjust the desired paint pattern. A constant volume of paint makes it very easy to use and means that you can focus on controlling the air supply. If you have practiced enough or feel bold, you can adjust the paint supply with your free hand while spraying. If you have mastered your model airbrush techniques, you can achieve seriously fine surfaces with your single-acting airbrush.
3) Double-acting airbrushes
If you are looking for more painting precision and variety, a double-action airbrush is for you. Here, a trigger is used to control both air and paint. To operate the double action airbrush, press the trigger to introduce the air and slide it back to release the paint. Suitable brushes cost more and require more applications, but the additional cost is offset by the versatility that comes with the double-acting airbrush. If you want to take the time to master your model airbrush techniques, you will never look back!
4) How to hold Airbrush
Have you confirmed your airbrush type? Good. But how do you hold it? Fortunately, this is not very difficult, and if you held a pen or pencil, you made a good start. Put the airbrush in the hand of your choice, with your index finger slightly touching the trigger. Note – your finger position will vary depending on the type of brush you use. To prevent the brush from being pulled from your hand, we recommend wrapping the air hose around your wrist before starting.
How to hold a single-action airbrush: rest the second joint of your index finger on the trigger, rotate your fingertip to control the feed.
How to hold a double-acting airbrush: Hold the first joint of your index finger on the trigger, press and pull back at once to control the feed.
5) How to paint with an airbrush
First, choose your ammunition (acrylic, enamel, or polish) – your airbrush can handle them. Preparation is then important. Shake the paint of your choice and use a toothpick or the like to loosen any pigment and mix it with the solvent. Give another shake, then add thinner – this will allow your air to pass through your brush without any hiccups. Looking for a milky consistency – a finer paint ratio of 1: 3 good rule.
When practicing, focus on creating a smooth coat and maintain straight lines
If you are applying a base or just want a general coat, we recommend using 15-20 psi and holding 10-18 cm (4-7 inches) from your model surface. If you are too far away, the paint will dry out and may not adhere to the surface. If you are very close, the paint works. Obviously none of this is ideal, so practice on scrap pieces before going into your model. While practicing, also focus on creating a smooth coat and maintain straight lines. This is not something that will come to you immediately, but if you initially master these model airbrush techniques, you will be ready for your future projects.
6) Reservoirs for spray guns and airbrushes
It maintains the supply of paint for paint containers, paint guns, and airbrushes. Different types include glass jars that attach the brush from below or fixed or replaceable containers for a small amount of paint. Airbrushes can have any reservoir; Spray guns can normally only be used with jars. It is a great advantage to be able to change reservoirs: when you spray one color, you just need to install a thinner-containing reservoir to clean the brush and then replace it with another reservoir containing a new color. Colors can be stored in screw jar receptacles.
7) How to clean an airbrush
You can’t do a great job with dirty paintbrushes, and an airbrush is exactly the same. Even small amounts of dry paint can affect or hinder your airbrush performance, so you need to clean it immediately after use. Use a cloth or tissue paper to wipe the reservoir, then half fill it with thinner. Blow the thinner through the airbrush until there are no visible paint particles. To force the air back into the reservoir, hold a cloth over the paint needle and wait for it to swell to remove all passages.
Avoid keeping the needle in place, as this will cause it to bend
After using it for a while, peel off your airbrush and soak the needle, and head thinner overnight. Avoid keeping the needle in place, as this will cause it to bend.
Repairing a bent needle: Hold the needle on a flat surface at a point angle; While turning the needle, run your fingernail along with the point.
Are you looking for a new airbrush to paint your models? Check out our Badger Airbrush Fine Spray Set! Let us know if the tips above are useful and if there are other model airbrush techniques we can share with the HobbyZero community! As always, we love to see your ongoing projects, so please share your photos with us on our social media channels!