Friday, March 18, 2011

Airbrush Adventures

I've long admired some of the work done on model railroad equipment by modelers using airbrushes. A couple of years ago I bought a cheap Testor's single action airbrush, and it seemed to work OK if you wanted to apply a solid coat of a color, but for things like weathering it left much to be desired.

MN Chris suggested I try an internal mix model put out by Harbor Freight, and I finally worked up the courage to order one.

After receiving it a few days ago and finding some hose that would work to hook it up to my compressor, I filled the jar with water and tryed spraying. It worked great!

The next evening I decided to follow some advice I had read on the net and take it apart so I would know how to disassemble and assemble it for cleaning. After a few minutes spent with a pile of parts, I finally managed to get everything back together and working. Mixing up a special blend of Ceramcoat Ivory and blue windshield washer fluid (my mix is about 4 parts WW fluid to one part paint), I set to work to dull down a shiny new Railbox car. Here's the untouched side:

After a few passes with the airbrush, the "plasticy" shine is gone, and I've got a start toward weathering the car:

A little web snooping revealed a page that contains an in-depth review of the airbrush, along with some tips for using it. Actually, Don Wheeler's entire site is a treasure trove of info for the new airbrush devotee.

So far I'm very happy with the purchase. I see the airbrush is on sale for $14.99 currently, and I have no qualms about recomending it to anyone who thinks they may need one. My copy is not perfect, as the color cup won't seat properly in the holder so I'm limited to using the jar, but I plan on picking up a new cup when I get the chance. It seems to spray cheap acrylic craft paint very nicely when it's properly thinned.

There's a lot to learn about airbrushes, but I think this one is getting me started in the proper direction.

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