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What cheap medium can I practice air brushing on?

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  • Member since
    February, 2017
What cheap medium can I practice air brushing on?
Posted by ugamodels on Sunday, February 26, 2017 9:00 AM

What is a cheap medium that best mimics plastic? I want to practice with my Paasche H airbrush but I want something that will have the same general properties as plastic, but is cheap. Will poster board work, or will the paint run too much? Will cheap kid's acrylics spray the same is modeler's acrylic? 

I type on a tablet. Please excuse the terseness and the autocorrect. Not to mention the erors. 

  • Member since
    July, 2004
  • From: Sunny So. Cal... The OC
Posted by stikpusher on Tuesday, February 28, 2017 9:56 PM

how about an old build? I had an old Monogram P-51B that I had built as a kid but had been damged beyond repair for display purposes that I used as a test mule for many years. I also used a simple sheet of cardboard to get the feel of new paints or trying to get a setting right before moving to the actual project.

 

F is for FIRE, That burns down the whole town!

U is for URANIUM... BOMBS!

N is for NO SURVIVORS...

       - Plankton

LSM

 

  • Member since
    March, 2003
  • From: Virginia
Posted by Wingman_kz on Tuesday, February 28, 2017 10:18 PM

It would be flat but a For Sale sign or the like would work. They're usually white on the back and if they aren't styrene they're the next best thing. I've read quite often about people using them for scratch building. If you're using acrylics it would be pretty easy to wipe off and reuse. Practice is practice but using your regular paints would be the true test.

That said, while it doesn't mimic plastic, I went to WalMart several years ago and bought a very small desktop easel and watercolor pad to practice airbrushing on. Color tests or seeing how fine a line I can pull. Nothing expensive and I thought anything that would keep me shooting paint was a good thing. :-)

            

  • Member since
    January, 2009
  • From: hamburg michigan
Posted by fermis on Tuesday, February 28, 2017 11:13 PM

If you don't have an old build to use as a "paint mule", you could use the inside/unseen areas of a new kit....like the inside of a wing or fuselage...tank hull..etc. You could buy a box of plastic spoons from a dollar store. I'd also recommend using the same paints that you'll be using on your models. Different paint act different ways!

  • Member since
    October, 2008
  • From: Fullerton, Calif.
Posted by Don Wheeler on Tuesday, February 28, 2017 11:16 PM

Empty plastic bottles are free.

Don

https://sites.google.com/site/donsairbrushtips/home

A collection of airbrush tips and reviews

Now also an Amazon E-book of tips.

  • Member since
    March, 2003
  • From: Virginia
Posted by Wingman_kz on Wednesday, March 01, 2017 1:04 AM

Don Wheeler

Empty plastic bottles are free.

Don

 

Very true Smile

            

  • Member since
    April, 2004
Posted by Jon_a_its on Wednesday, March 01, 2017 2:38 AM

Buy one of those cheap children's colouring-in books to practice on, will help with learning to spray between the lines.

Don't use cheap kids poster paints, except on groundwork, you wouldn't put gravel in your washing machine/tumble drier would you?

You certainly can spray it, but it's more like pebble-dashing & won't help you learn how to handle hobby paints.

You can use cheaper non-permanent Indian-inks or food colouring to practice with, much easier to clean up, less likely to need HazMat conditions & SwiMBO will be happier.

Airbrushes were originally used by illustrators to spray inks, guache, & acrylics, key points their thin-ness and Opacity/Transparancy...

You should consider the best airbrush and quiet compressor you can afford, as 'running out of canned-air' anxiety is real & canned air gets very expensive quickly.

Once you had practice on paper, then use a scrap/range target/donkey/yard sale/dollar store plane/car/tank to practice with paint on your intended target.

Good luck

  • Member since
    March, 2003
  • From: Northern New Jersey
Posted by Tojo72 on Wednesday, March 01, 2017 5:45 AM
Old kits

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Wednesday, March 01, 2017 8:39 AM

I get a lot of advertising flyers in the mail that are glossy, fine cardboard.  They seem to have a plastic-like coating on them, and take primer and paint very well.

Also, I have used, and have friends that have used, the plastic from blister-packs.  Once you have bought something that is packaged that way, and removed the item, through away the cardboard back but save the clear blister.  It paints very well.

 

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    April, 2008
Posted by Kizzy on Wednesday, March 01, 2017 1:48 PM

When I first started airbrushing, I bought a few large sheets of thin styrene to practice on.  They came in a pack of 2 or 3, and it cost about $5 or so.  The price might be a little more now, but probably not by much.  Since I was using Tamiya acrylics, when the sheet got used up I'd just wash off the practice paint with Windex, and it was like new again.  Even now, I still use them to test my paint before applying it to my model.  And if down the line, you need some styrene for a project, you have some.  Just cut from the sheet to the size you need and away you go.

-Kizzy

  • Member since
    February, 2017
Posted by ugamodels on Wednesday, March 01, 2017 10:12 PM

Thanks everyone! Where did you buy sheet styrene from? This is the thought I had also, but all I see is Evergreen which is rather pricey. I live the sign idea, if I can find one with a white back.

FWIW, I don't have any old kits or models, and I intend to use the paint I plan to use on the models. But what I am reading about airbrushing Vallejo acrylics, I am starting to rethink my choice, at least for airbrushing. 

Will regular amonia work for cleaning off acrylic? We don't keep Windex around.

I type on a tablet. Please excuse the terseness and the autocorrect. Not to mention the erors. 

  • Member since
    February, 2017
Posted by ugamodels on Wednesday, March 01, 2017 10:17 PM

I actually still have my old Badger air compressor, and it still seems to work! And if it fails I have a tank compressor that I can fall back on. 

I type on a tablet. Please excuse the terseness and the autocorrect. Not to mention the erors. 

  • Member since
    April, 2008
Posted by Kizzy on Thursday, March 02, 2017 12:03 PM

I bought the sheet styrene from the LHS.  It was several years ago...can't recall the brand.  Evergreen can be a bit pricey, I agree.

Yes regular ammonia will work for most acrylics, if you can handle the smell!  You could also make a solution of 5% ammonia in distilled water.  I believe that is the approx. percentage in Windex.

  • Member since
    September, 2016
  • From: Albany, New York
Posted by ManCityFan on Thursday, March 02, 2017 2:35 PM

Don Wheeler

Empty plastic bottles are free.

Don

 

Ditto

I have two or three empy clear plastic soda bottles in my work area, and always test paint in the airbrush on them before I move to the model.  Gives me a chance to thin or adjust air pressure before I potentially screw up a model.  I also use the caps to hold small amounts of paint when using a brush and not an airbrush.  And yes, I leaned this from Don's website, which, by the way, is awesome.

The Mrs. suggested I attend a "plasticholics Anonymous" meeting.  I think she is getting a little tired of dinner conversation consisting of "model, model, model".

 

 

  • Member since
    February, 2017
Posted by ugamodels on Thursday, March 02, 2017 7:58 PM

The plastic bottles I am familiar with seem very slick for painting.  What type are you thinking of? 

Also is there a good reference Web site for identifying plastic; ie type, what paint will stick, what type of glue, etc?

I type on a tablet. Please excuse the terseness and the autocorrect. Not to mention the erors. 

  • Member since
    October, 2008
  • From: Fullerton, Calif.
Posted by Don Wheeler on Thursday, March 02, 2017 10:26 PM

The shiny plastic bottles take model paint just like kit styrene.  If you can paint on one, you can paint on the other.

Don

https://sites.google.com/site/donsairbrushtips/home

A collection of airbrush tips and reviews

Now also an Amazon E-book of tips.

  • Member since
    May, 2009
  • From: Poland
Posted by Pawel on Friday, March 03, 2017 2:58 AM

Hello!

You could probably also use plastic boxes that ice cream comes in. Some of them are made of styrene - you can see that by looking at the triangular marking with PS letters inside - that's styrene. By the way you can also practice washing and surface prepping, because they can be a little greasy... But after you eat the ice cream, they are free! Hope it helps, have a nice day

PaweĊ‚

All comments and critique welcomed. Thanks for your honest opinions!

www.vietnam.net.pl

  • Member since
    October, 2008
  • From: Fullerton, Calif.
Posted by Don Wheeler on Friday, March 03, 2017 11:12 AM

Here is a nice summary of the meaning of those recycle symbols on plastic.

Don

https://sites.google.com/site/donsairbrushtips/home

A collection of airbrush tips and reviews

Now also an Amazon E-book of tips.

  • Member since
    June, 2003
Posted by Jammer on Friday, March 03, 2017 4:52 PM

Comic book backing boards.  It's higher quality cardboard with a fairly non-porous surface so the paint doesn't soak in to it.  I keep one next to my airbrush to test colors and troubleshoot the airbrush.  Comes in packages of 100 for less than $10.  I stopped buying comics a few years ago, but the boards still have so many uses; backing for decal storage (I put aftermarket decals in comic bags with backing boards for sorting and storage), home made counters for wargames, wargame box repair, dividers in craft storage.  They're part of my model buidling and gaming tool kit.

 

Doug

  • Member since
    February, 2017
Posted by ugamodels on Monday, March 20, 2017 8:09 PM

Hey Don,

So I can use the #1 (PET) clamshells that we get lettuce in for tests? Because we get lots of those!

I type on a tablet. Please excuse the terseness and the autocorrect. Not to mention the erors. 

  • Member since
    October, 2008
  • From: Fullerton, Calif.
Posted by Don Wheeler on Monday, March 20, 2017 9:46 PM

ugamodels

Hey Don,

So I can use the #1 (PET) clamshells that we get lettuce in for tests? Because we get lots of those!

I don't see why not.  You've got nothing to lose by trying.

Don

https://sites.google.com/site/donsairbrushtips/home

A collection of airbrush tips and reviews

Now also an Amazon E-book of tips.

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