SEARCH FINESCALE.COM

Enter keywords or a search phrase below:

Trouble with maintaining constant paint flow with Paasche H airbrush and a question about how to spray more crisp edges on camouflage

664 views
16 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    February 2021
Trouble with maintaining constant paint flow with Paasche H airbrush and a question about how to spray more crisp edges on camouflage
Posted by ScaleModeler_1973 on Sunday, September 18, 2022 4:29 PM

Hello folks. So I decided to try to airbrush camouflage over the dark yellow coat I laid down on my 1/48 Tamiya Nashorn yesterday. Today, I sprayed red brown 'striping'. My final product leaves some room for improvement (maybe it is just optimism, but I am nevertheless pretty excited to start to imagine what I might be able to do with laying down more than one color in the future:) I do tremor/shake with my hands, but (surprisingly to me) I am actually finding this is not that big of a problem. I am spraying Tamiya Red Brown thinned with X-20A thinner. I have read in hobby books and online forums (like this one) that when one 'free hands' camouflage, one should thin the paint more than usual. So I added more thinner so that when I touch the brush to the side of my mixing cup, the big drop runs down the side pretty quickly. I also dialed my regulator down to about 15 PSI (again advice, that I have also read). I think the idea of thinning and airbrushing is that it gives you a little more control over the color you are laying down? I also spray first on newspaper an instant before squeezing the trigger so that I can see how much paint is being discharged, and I turn the 'needle cone' on the Paasche H slightly until it is putting down just a thin narrow band of paint. It is relatively light on the first pass, but then as I spray over it again, it gets darker. Here is where I am puzzled and why I have not yet been able to crisply put down camouflage 'striping'. I am finding that between the time I adjust and have the airbrush spraying the right kind of line on newspaper and when I raise the airbrush tip to the model, the amount of paint flowing out has changed DRAMATICALLY. I am talking I either get a very wet, major splotch that really messes up that part of the vehicle's coat OR the paint flow stops altogether after just a few short passes of an inch or so. I just don't understand why my airbrush is so hypersensititve with paint flow (and why I have to constantly keep readjusting with a subtle flick of my finger (Counter clockwise or clockwise)). Please note that I am not touching the part of the airbrush that adjusts the amount of the paint flow. I am not even breathing hard. I move the tip to the model slowly. I just don't understand it..... I sprayed as best as I could and started with the outside lines of the stripes, keeping my needle tip very close to the model, and filled in the middle (I found this gave me a little more leeway when I had a bad starting splotch. Please let me explain this is not the drying tip spittle that one gets when one stops airbrushing for more than a few seconds, but rather it is a MASSIVE disgorge of paint. I really wish the Paasche H had a 'lock switch' so that the paint flow setting would be dialed in exactly and not change at all. I should note that this is my experience using the standard needle cone with three stripes going around its circumference. When I use the bigger needle cone with six concentric stripes, I have less problem with this (there is a little more resistance when turning counter clockwise or clockwise, and it just seems to stay better locked in at the uniform paint flow that I have tested on the newspaper a couple of seconds before).

What can I do to compensate for this hypersensitivity on the standard smaller needle (since the larger needle cone is not really suitable to painting a relativelty small camouflage design on a 1/48 model)? It's a bit puzzling (to me) how I can shoot on the paper and then the flow has changed again by the time I raise for the real spray job on the model....... If I could just get that thin stripe of paint shooting out consistently, I think I would do OK even with my hand shaking. I would just fill in the stripes gradually.

While the edges on the dried stripes I painted today don't look super 'frayed', my second question is how to make the edges of these stripes (more) crisp with little or none of the speckled ('soft') edges that I am getting (I've been told before to get in close when doing this kind of painting of camo, but I dont think I can get any closer or my needle would touch the model?). Maybe I still need to thin my paint even more so that there is less color (so that the dripping paint is almost translucent when doing the test with dripping down the side of my paint cup)? Or maybe I need to go even lower than 15 PSI? I was attracted to using a single action airbrush like the Paasche because I thought it would take away one of the variables that I have to contend with as a new user (allow the paint flow to be fixed). But ironically, it is that paint flow inconsistency which is confounding me most now....

  • Member since
    February 2021
Posted by MJY65 on Sunday, September 18, 2022 6:14 PM

IMO:  The H is a pretty crude airbrush for painting camo.  It does fine at painting larger areas.

  • Member since
    April 2020
Posted by Eaglecash867 on Sunday, September 18, 2022 6:50 PM

MJY65

IMO:  The H is a pretty crude airbrush for painting camo.  

Not really.  Just takes practice.  Cool  That being said, I still prefer to mask for camo patterns...just makes it less risky.

To the OP, have you tried thinning your Tamiya paint with 91% isopropyl alcohol?  I have found that to be the best thing to thin it with if you want consistent flow so you don't get the tip drying that is causing the sudden splotches of paint when you're trying to do more precise paint work.

 

"You can have my illegal fireworks when you pry them from my cold, dead fingers...which are...over there somewhere."

  • Member since
    April 2003
  • From: USA
Posted by keavdog on Sunday, September 18, 2022 7:32 PM

Ditto on the alcohol - I thin Tamiya 50-50.  I use the H but mask using the sausage technique

This is a 1/144 kit

Thanks,

John

  • Member since
    November 2018
Posted by oldermodelguy on Monday, September 19, 2022 5:02 AM

Also denatured alcohol as thinner will help keep the tip wet when the brush is off but it flows out more than IPA. So will retarder slow the tipdry ( I use Liquitex Slow Dry retarding medium personally). Start your lines off the model, then if it spits it doesn't spit on the airplane. When you do the outline fine lines that you will fill inward from tilt your airbrush towards that fill in area and the feathering will go to where you will fill anyway. You will get a little soft edged line but not anything like you are showing us. I think it's satisfactory. I can do this with an H and the #1 tip which is a .45 needle acceptable for this kind of work once you conquer that tip dry issue. And make no mistake, you're getting tip dry as based from what you describe. In art work we routinely use .3-.5 for this kind of line and fill in, though I actually like .2-.3 personally for finer lines for say T Shirt lettering for instance.

Arguably it can be done with the H yes but double action would be easier once you get control of it's function. Even an inexpensive Master G43 ( just polish the needle) would do this work easier. But it can be done with the H. My Badger 200 is good for this with the .25 tip and it's single action. So single action does work. Though the 200 produces much finer atomization that can be cut back to vertually an invisable mist in the air but slowly builds on the surface of the model ( has that potential if someone wants to cut it back that far been there done that).

  • Member since
    April 2020
Posted by Eaglecash867 on Monday, September 19, 2022 8:32 AM

oldermodelguy
Though the 200 produces much finer atomization that can be cut back to vertually an invisable mist in the air but slowly builds on the surface of the model ( has that potential if someone wants to cut it back that far been there done that).

I can do that with the H, it just takes practice with technique and thinning.  Never needed anything else.  I paint everything with it, including instrument panels (short of the knobs and switches of course).

I use a variation of "the sausage technique" that Keavdog uses for camo patterns.  Used frisket film for my area masks and Blu Tack for the sausages to feather the edges on these wings (F-111F and FB-111A).  The paint wasn't Tamiya though, it was decanted Model Master Enamel rattle cans.  I imagine it'll be even easier now that I have discovered Tamiya Masking Sticker Sheets.

 

"You can have my illegal fireworks when you pry them from my cold, dead fingers...which are...over there somewhere."

  • Member since
    March 2003
  • From: Western North Carolina
Posted by Tojo72 on Monday, September 19, 2022 9:01 AM

Are those sheets of the same material that Tamiya uses for their canopy masks,could be useful.

  • Member since
    April 2020
Posted by Eaglecash867 on Monday, September 19, 2022 9:20 AM

Tojo72

Are those sheets of the same material that Tamiya uses for their canopy masks,could be useful.

 

Yup, they appear to be the same stuff.  They have a couple of types, one with a 1mm grid printed on them, and another with no grid.  The 1mm grid paper is also kind of a cool way to take measurements on curved parts.  Superior alternative to masking tape as well, IMHO.

"You can have my illegal fireworks when you pry them from my cold, dead fingers...which are...over there somewhere."

  • Member since
    November 2018
Posted by oldermodelguy on Monday, September 19, 2022 10:59 AM

I don't know, how about silly putty masks ? I know it's old tech but it does work for a semi soft/sharp edge.

I'm only an occasional armor builder though, some of you guys are pros at it. Seriously. I just run two fine lines and fill it in same as I'd do in airbrush art work.

  • Member since
    September 2006
  • From: Bethlehem PA
Posted by the Baron on Monday, September 19, 2022 12:18 PM

For soft edges to camo patterns, you can also use masking tape and then lift the edge of the tape just a hair.  It does the same as using Silly Putty or poster tack-you get a little bit of a lift at the edge, with a little "underspray" and a soft edge.

The bigger the government, the smaller the citizen.

 

 

  • Member since
    February 2021
Posted by MJY65 on Wednesday, September 21, 2022 9:21 AM

My biggest challenge in spraying camo is often scaling the fade.  What I mean by that is how much distance it would occupy in real life vs our models.  From what I've seen, the "fade" on most fighter jets is probably less than 6" in width.  Of course, that corresponds to less than 1/8" on a 1:48 scale model.   Basically, not a hard tape line, but pretty sharp on the contrast.  

  • Member since
    February 2021
Posted by ScaleModeler_1973 on Thursday, September 22, 2022 2:57 AM

Eaglecash867, thanks to you and others for the tip about using 91% isopropyl alcohol. I guess I incorrectly assumed that Tamiya (X-20A) thinner worked best (and was somehow specially designed) for use with Tamiya acrylic paints and purchased a decent stock of this thinner. Now I know better and will give the alcohol a shot....Having said that, are there some cases where X-20A is still useful?

  • Member since
    February 2021
Posted by ScaleModeler_1973 on Thursday, September 22, 2022 3:08 AM

Oldermodelguy, OK thanks for explaining that what I am experiencing is tip dry and for recommending how to prevent it. One follow-up question: in addition to using alcohol to thin my paint, would it be helpful to put a few drops of Tamiya retarder (mixed in with my paint), too? I have a few bottles of this retarder, but am not sure if it is only for hand brushing paint... Ironically, I already have a Master G43 (and plenty of spare parts for it)-it is the first airbrush that I have ever used, but it has sat idle for a long time since I started using the Paasche H instead. Interestingly, I have not had major problems using the Master G43 on big surfaces like my 1/16th scale motorized tanks: I don't think I really know how to 'consciously' control the paint flow that well, but I managed to do OK (reasonably even coat on my big tanks). Maybe it is time that I give it (a double action airbrush) a try on my 1/35 and 1/48 models, too, though. I think that I have maybe gotten 'tunnel vision' with only using the Paasche H. Follow-up question: what do you mean about polishing the needle (could you elaborate)? Oh yeah, and thanks for the tip about tilting inward my airbrush when I paint camo stripes so that it will feather over the area that I want to cover over in the middle.

  • Member since
    February 2021
Posted by ScaleModeler_1973 on Thursday, September 22, 2022 3:24 AM

I think I understand what you mean. Thus far, I have only painted my 1/16th scale tanks in monocolor, but I think using silly putty/masking with tape on them to paint camouflage patterns would be a lot easier (and more effective) than on a 1/35th or 1/48. As it is, in painting my 1/48th scale Nashorn, I made the mistake of leaving too little dark yellow between the red brown stripes that I put down. And LOL, I haven't even gotten to spraying the third color (dark green) yet....Thanks for sharing your experiences.

  • Member since
    April 2020
Posted by Eaglecash867 on Thursday, September 22, 2022 6:22 AM

ScaleModeler_1973

Eaglecash867, thanks to you and others for the tip about using 91% isopropyl alcohol. I guess I incorrectly assumed that Tamiya (X-20A) thinner worked best (and was somehow specially designed) for use with Tamiya acrylic paints and purchased a decent stock of this thinner. Now I know better and will give the alcohol a shot....Having said that, are there some cases where X-20A is still useful?

 

Not that I'm aware of.  X-20A was the reason I almost gave up on getting the results I wanted with Tamiya.  Then I took a shot on something I already had anyway, the isopropyl alcohol, and that worked amazingly well for the way I airbrush.  I definitely do it differently than a lot of the guys I see making videos about it on YouTube.  With the clouds of paint they lay down like its coming out of a firehose, it makes me wonder why they don't just go back to using rattle cans.  Makes me cringe...LOL.

Another tip on Tamiya stuff:  If you ever decide to decant and airbrush Tamiya's Grey Surface Primer, don't use isopropyl alcohol to thin that.  The chemical reaction between the two turns the primer into grey cottage cheese.  For thinning that, I use MEK.  MEK by itself is murder on plastic, but when properly used to thin primer you're going to airbrush, that plastic solvent quality is just enough to give it a really strong bite on the plastic (without damaging it).

Something that will also help with getting consistent paint flow is to mix your paint and thinner before it goes into your airbrush.  I use the little Dixie paper bathroom cups to mix paint and thinner in, and then pour that thorough mix into the airbrush.  That ensures that you're not going to suddenly hit pockets of thinner or thicker paint because you didn't get a good mix in the airbrush cup.

Just an example of the precise, fine atomization that is possible with your H:  I'm in the final stages of my F-4B build, and although I'm not a rivet counter, getting it as historically-accurate as possible is a big thing for me.  I realized just the other day that there was an antenna they say to install on the belly that wasn't installed on F-4Bs in 1965.  The problem is that the whole thing is already painted, decaled, and weathered, and where the antenna is supposed to go?  There's a GIANT depression (well...its actually less than 1mm wide...LOL) in the skin that the antenna is supposed to go down into.  There were decals less than 1/4" away from where the depression was, and I was going to have to mount the antenna, slice it off at its base, use a chisel blade to level it with the skin, fill the remaining tiny gaps with super glue, sand, primer, and paint.  YIKES!  But, I was able to pull it off.  The only masking I did was to stuff a little chunk of Silly Putty into the nose gear well, since I had to primer and paint right to the edge of that.  I was able to put fine, pencil-thin primer and paint lines down to match the surrounding paint.  Just have to replace a couple of decals that got damaged during sanding and re-weather that spot...but you have a good airbrush that is capable of a lot of things.  Just keep practicing with it.  You'll get there.

"You can have my illegal fireworks when you pry them from my cold, dead fingers...which are...over there somewhere."

  • Member since
    November 2018
Posted by oldermodelguy on Thursday, September 22, 2022 7:56 AM

ScaleModeler_1973

Oldermodelguy, OK thanks for explaining that what I am experiencing is tip dry and for recommending how to prevent it. One follow-up question: in addition to using alcohol to thin my paint, would it be helpful to put a few drops of Tamiya retarder (mixed in with my paint), too? I have a few bottles of this retarder, but am not sure if it is only for hand brushing paint... Ironically, I already have a Master G43 (and plenty of spare parts for it)-it is the first airbrush that I have ever used, but it has sat idle for a long time since I started using the Paasche H instead. Interestingly, I have not had major problems using the Master G43 on big surfaces like my 1/16th scale motorized tanks: I don't think I really know how to 'consciously' control the paint flow that well, but I managed to do OK (reasonably even coat on my big tanks). Maybe it is time that I give it (a double action airbrush) a try on my 1/35 and 1/48 models, too, though. I think that I have maybe gotten 'tunnel vision' with only using the Paasche H. Follow-up question: what do you mean about polishing the needle (could you elaborate)? Oh yeah, and thanks for the tip about tilting inward my airbrush when I paint camo stripes so that it will feather over the area that I want to cover over in the middle.

 

Tamiya retarder should work just try it and see. I've just always stocked Liquitex because of art work, craft paints and artist acrylics but it's made to go in any acrylic paint and thus far has just by way of the thinner I use..

You can get in tight and make fine lines by removing the pedal cap on the front of that G43 ( you might have to play with air pressure a little bit). You will gain much control with that brush once you learn it's ways and gain some muscle memory but it's still difficult to make it around a curved surface without a mask of some sort. You can do fine lines yes, but you need to keep equal distance to the surface going around curves.. My Ganzton is basically the same brush, learn to use the fluid stop on the back. I like the .3 needle for art work etc. But have used the .2. You can easily make a pencil line sharp line with the .3 then move further from the work to fill in and the .3 can handle a little thicker paint mix aiding in not spider webbing or full blow outs. I would only use the pedal cap on the front on broad paint work, maybe painting a whole tank hull it's base color etc. For any finer work remove it. Course for the heavier work you probably use the H as I generally do.

IDK, my choices blow in the wind so to speak. Hope any of this helps more than hinders lol !

 

 

  • Member since
    March 2021
Posted by bapowellphys on Thursday, September 22, 2022 10:16 AM

For camo, I've found that paper masks/templates work well.  Just cut out the desired shape, place a loop of tape on the mask, and stick it to the model.  The edges of the mask sit just a bit above the surface so that you get a fairly (but not perfectly) crisp line.  If truly crisp lines are what you're after, just cut masking tape to the desired shape. Tamiya's white flex tape is great for masking out curved regions. 

Here is a pic of the process: https://meatchicken.files.wordpress.com/2022/03/camo2.jpg and 

https://meatchicken.files.wordpress.com/2022/07/img_3320-1.jpg.  

Here's what the second one looked like when finished: https://meatchicken.files.wordpress.com/2022/07/img_3357.jpg

 

Good luck!

On the Bench: Realspace Gemin-Titan

On Deck: Fujimi 1/72 F-4 Phantom

Check out my latest builds here!

JOIN OUR COMMUNITY!

Our community is FREE to join. To participate you must either login or register for an account.

SEARCH FORUMS
FREE NEWSLETTER
By signing up you may also receive reader surveys and occasional special offers. We do not sell, rent or trade our email lists. View our Privacy Policy.