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Beginner's Model Building Construction BASICS


MechTech

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I got a tube of that GS-Hypo cement and it is a pain. It gets really stringy like the old testors tube glue. It wasn't worth the hassle for me. I just use plain old white "elmer's" glue usually. Sometimes I just brush on a coat of Future and stick the canopy in place while it's still wet. Then I'll come back a little later and brush a couple of more coats on to finish sealing the canopy to the fuselage. I'll admit, this works best on kits built with the canopy closed.

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I just need to ask a basic question about double action airbrushes. Is it possible to control the amount of air by how much you press down on the trigger button? Or is it controlled from the compressor itself--as in you adjust the PSI on the compressor and just press the trigger button all the way down, getting a constant amount of air?

I'm asking this because the airbrushes I've tried at an art shop seem to all have poor sensitivity when it comes to airflow control. It's hard to get a gradual increase in airflow, since the trigger is so stiff--when ever I press down on it, i usually end up using so much force that I press it all the way to the bottom.

The store owner tells me that you're supposed to control the airflow from the compressor itself instead of trying to do so on the fly via the airbrush, but sellers will tell you anything to get you to buy their stuff. So, I'd just like to get a confirmation on this.

Thanks in advance!

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I just need to ask a basic question about double action airbrushes. Is it possible to control the amount of air by how much you press down on the trigger button? Or is it controlled from the compressor itself--as in you adjust the PSI on the compressor and just press the trigger button all the way down, getting a constant amount of air?

I'm asking this because the airbrushes I've tried at an art shop seem to all have poor sensitivity when it comes to airflow control. It's hard to get a gradual increase in airflow, since the trigger is so stiff--when ever I press down on it, i usually end up using so much force that I press it all the way to the bottom.

The store owner tells me that you're supposed to control the airflow from the compressor itself instead of trying to do so on the fly via the airbrush, but sellers will tell you anything to get you to buy their stuff. So, I'd just like to get a confirmation on this.

Thanks in advance!

Yes, you can control the amount of airflow through how much you push down on the trigger. And paint flow is controlled by how much you pull back on the trigger.

However, I myself have only ever used the paint control function. I've always used around 15 PSI with no troubles.

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The primary pressure setting is on the compressor, the trigger is for fine control.

Pressure setting depends for medium, distance of brushing, spray-width, etc, etc.

For really fine details you can go as low as 8psi with the right brush.

Double action takes longer to master but is usually recommended, unless you are only doing wide area covering.

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Yes, you can control the amount of airflow through how much you push down on the trigger. And paint flow is controlled by how much you pull back on the trigger.

However, I myself have only ever used the paint control function. I've always used around 15 PSI with no troubles.

Sounds like that store owner wasn't exactly telling me the whole truth. The airbrushes he showed me had pretty stiff triggers, and he kept telling me you should just control the airflow through the compressor.

Could I still do "fancy" stuff like pre-shading and filter coats on 15 psi? I'd rather not mess with the pressure too much until I'm sure I know what I'm doing. I'm pretty used to 15 psi myself (my compressor only outputs at this psi anyway).

And out of curiosity, is Tamiya's Basic Airbrush safe to use on my Sparmax compressor? The airflow is constant, meaning you can't stop the airflow at all--it sprays air through the nozzle as long as the compressor is turned on. You can only control the amount of paint flow using the trigger. I'm just worried that it might be put a strain on the Sparmax compressor.

The primary pressure setting is on the compressor, the trigger is for fine control.

Pressure setting depends for medium, distance of brushing, spray-width, etc, etc.

For really fine details you can go as low as 8psi with the right brush.

Double action takes longer to master but is usually recommended, unless you are only doing wide area covering.

The setup I have been using (Tamiya Spraywork Basic Compressor and AB set) takes care of wide area paint jobs pretty well. Of course, nothing beats a spray can when it comes to large areas like car chasis's and tanks. I still prefer to use and airbrush, since I can paint indoors with the spray booth turned on.

I've always wanted to try using a double action airbrush for stuff like pre- and post-shading, and doing exhaust stains. The only reason I didn't get one until now was because I couldn't use them with my Spraywork Basic compressor--you have to remove the air valve to use a double-action AB with is, which practically turns it into a single action one.

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There are also bleed valves built into some airbrush models, and others that can be added after-market. These let you essentially dial-in a lower max pressure (although you won't know the psi). This can be less hassle than adjusting your compressor, and it is easier to hold a constant pressure with the trigger full-open than partially depressed. Good if your are ham-handed like me, but you limit the versatility of the dual-action control.

I use an Iwata HP-CH copy, which has the valve built in under the paint cup, and a Harder-Steenbeck Infinity with a proprietary add-on valve that connects to the handle. Either approach works fine.

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There are also bleed valves built into some airbrush models, and others that can be added after-market. These let you essentially dial-in a lower max pressure (although you won't know the psi). This can be less hassle than adjusting your compressor, and it is easier to hold a constant pressure with the trigger full-open than partially depressed. Good if your are ham-handed like me, but you limit the versatility of the dual-action control.

I use an Iwata HP-CH copy, which has the valve built in under the paint cup, and a Harder-Steenbeck Infinity with a proprietary add-on valve that connects to the handle. Either approach works fine.

That's definitely something that'll come in handy for me! All this while, I've been using a trigger-type airbrush--a bleed valve on a traditional pen-type AB will help make the learning curve less steep.

Tamiya airbrushes don't seem to come with built-in bleed valves, but hlj sells them. Currently out of stock, though.

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I just need to ask a basic question about double action airbrushes. Is it possible to control the amount of air by how much you press down on the trigger button? Or is it controlled from the compressor itself--as in you adjust the PSI on the compressor and just press the trigger button all the way down, getting a constant amount of air?

I'm asking this because the airbrushes I've tried at an art shop seem to all have poor sensitivity when it comes to airflow control. It's hard to get a gradual increase in airflow, since the trigger is so stiff--when ever I press down on it, i usually end up using so much force that I press it all the way to the bottom.

The store owner tells me that you're supposed to control the airflow from the compressor itself instead of trying to do so on the fly via the airbrush, but sellers will tell you anything to get you to buy their stuff. So, I'd just like to get a confirmation on this.

Thanks in advance!

Yes and for real control switch to a double handed grip. Grip the airbrush as you normally would then bring your other hand up and cup the underside. This gives you finer pressure control by letting the control hand control w/o also having to hold the brush up.

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Yes and for real control switch to a double handed grip. Grip the airbrush as you normally would then bring your other hand up and cup the underside. This gives you finer pressure control by letting the control hand control w/o also having to hold the brush up.

Thanks, Kylwell! That's a great tip!

I do have one more question; how do you tell the difference between a 1/8" hose connector and a 1/4 one? Is the difference big enough to notice with the naked eye?

My Sparmax compressor doesn't specify whether the air outlet hose uses a 1/8" or 1/4" connector. I've heard that all Sparmax compressors use 1/8" connectors, but the strange thing is my Tamiya Basic airbrush actually sort-of fits into the hose--the basic airbrush's joint cap is supposedly a different size than the 1/8" hose connectors. Tamiya didn't specify what size the basic airbrush's hose connector is, but posts from other forums say it supposedly works with 1/4" hoses. Actually, I can only screw the hose in about 2-3 turns--it doesn't screw in low enough to reach the o-ring. Viewed with the naked eye, the hose connectors for the Saprmax and Basic Compressor look the same, though.

I checked online, and the manual on a slightly difference version of my compressor (TC-610H instead of TC-610 which is mine) specified that the hose is 1/8", but the one included with the TC-610H is braided, and mine isn't. Also, the H variant has a metal casing on it, while mine doesn't--I'm not sure if there are any differences also, as in the size of the air outlet connectors.

I just want to confirm this so I can just buy a hose or adapter at the same time I get that HG III airbrush, and get back home and start using the airbrush on the same day.

Thanks in advance!

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They look like 1/4 inch to me. The difference? About an .125 of an inch... :D

Most compressors are 1/4in but adapters are easy to find if needed. The hose may be 1/8 inside diameter but the connectors will be 1/4.

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They look like 1/4 inch to me. The difference? About an .125 of an inch... :D

Most compressors are 1/4in but adapters are easy to find if needed. The hose may be 1/8 inside diameter but the connectors will be 1/4.

That's certainly good news. It means the hose is definitely 1/8", given that it's too small for the basic airbrush.

But that aside....

The airbrushing gods must really hate me. I went to the Tamiya store today, only to be told that they don't carry the HG III airbrush.

Good news is, it's available at HLJ, but on back-order.

Something else caught my eye, though. HLJ has this "original" Beauti 4 airbrush that's basically a customized version of the Airtex Beauti 4+. The biggest difference is that it has Teflon O-rings, making it suitable for spraying lacquer paint, as well as a larger 15cc paint cup.

atxp-b4b_0.jpg

Is this any good? It's cheaper than Tamiya's HG III, and seems to have all the features that the HG III has, and it's in stock right now. The thicker body also means it'll be easier to hold. I'm really tempted to get this.

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I finally decided to pull the trigger (pun intended) on the back-ordered HG III. I contacted HLJ, and while they don't usually get parts for customers, they said they understand that airbrushes will eventually need replacement parts, and kindly agreed to help me order stuff like needles and nozzles if and when I need them.

I was kind of torn between the HG III and the Iwata Eclipse HP-CS, but the HG III seems easier to clean and maintain. I really like the HP-CS's self-centering needle feature, but it seems that self-centering AB's take more time to clean and maintain. My trusty Spraywork basic AB is a simple semi-double action trigger type airbrush, and even that takes about 10-15 minutes for a thorough cleaning every 2-3 paint sessions. I don't want to spend more time cleaning my tools than I spend using them.

Either way, both AB's have gotten good reviews and are made by Iwata anyway.

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  • 5 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

anyone heard of the new line from GSI called MR Hobby Acrysion? What is the difference between the other acrylic line called Aqueous?

The only information I got on the net is that you can't combine these two together.

i tried combining both acrysion clear blue and acqueos clear red. No adverse effect so far

anyway, anyone knows if there is Font that is close or similar to the one used in SMS marking in Macross frontier?

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi guys, do you know if someone/somewhere I can get a vector file of the most used or common Aircraft or valkyrie markings that is ready for printing?

edit:

8/23/2014

it seems that Samueldecal already has the vf-1A hasegawa done in 1/60 scale. At least it gets the job done. Hopefully, the end product is good

Edited by chyll2
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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm not super super good at modeling, but it's easy to gloss over the basics when you're giving tips. Here's some stuff I've found works for me:

The Good:

Every acrylic and enamel paint I've ever worked with comes right off with an application of isopropyl alcohol, with hardly any need for anything else, and without damaging the plastic. Lacquers are more stable, though, and may not react the same. I even got year-old Tamiya Spray off a kit by letting the pieces soak in a bowl of it for about 10 minutes.

On the other hand, oily enamel thinners (ie Testors) and lighter fluid (napthanol) will dissolve and clean up enamel, without affecting the finish of Tamiya acrylics. This is useful for applying washes, particularly panel line washes. I paint my kits with acrylics, then line with highly-thinned dark enamel, and clean up excess with a q-tip and lighter fluid. This is enough for most panel lines.

Use primer, especially on kits that come molded in color. It helps to cut the toy-like finish of the plastic, and it evens out the color you'll be painting on, not to mention it's generally cheaper (check Vallejo where available) and it bonds to the plastic better than most paints will, and is very porous so your paint will stick better. It's an extra step, but well worth it in my opinion. Just bear in mind it's thicker than normal paint, even when thinned appropriately, and can clog your brush more easily.

Master's line of compressors (available on TCP Global) are well-priced, quiet, and sturdy. I got a 2-piston 1/3 gallon 1/6hp compressor, with a brush, for $180. It's capable of holding a steady 60psi through a brush for an indefinite period. (Useful for blow-drying parts coming out of a soapy water wash, which is necessary when your workspace only has enough space for a bowl of soapy water and not tubs to wash whole runners. Also good for blowing off dust) At pressures more appropriate for painting, it fills up the tank quickly and maintains pressure without running constantly. It's quiet enough that I can listen to music or podcasts while I paint, no problem. They make single piston, tankless, dual, and quadruple piston compressors, and all of them come with a moisture trap and models equipped with tanks come with pressure regulators.

The Bad:

Master's line of airbrushes is, however, not so good. The G23 brush I got from them is cheap, in every sense of the word. I believe it had a $25 value, which isn't bad at all considering it's a full dual-action brush. But the seals are incredibly cheap and made of poor material, so they fall apart under the thinner in the paint, and even highly-thinned paint will clog the brush after the seals are worn in. As well, the needles are prone to bending under normal use, and the paintflow action inevitably develops so much slop that the sensitivity becomes similar to the sensitivity on the airflow action. On top of all this, the only place I've been able to find parts is TCP Global, which has relatively slow shipping times, and while the parts are cheap, you'll need to replace them often and shipping adds up. They're good starter brushes, in that they teach you how to use a dual action brush on the cheap, and you learn several methods to prevent clogging and tearing up your seals, but I don't even really recommend them as part of the brush-and-compressor sets that TCP Global sells. Spring for an Iwata or a Paasche or something.

Only paint with good ventilation. It's been said over and over and over in this thread, but it's worth repeating. Paint thinners and cements are comprised of volatile organic compounds, which can and will ruin your day. 3M manufacture cartridge respirators in the $35 range, which come equipped with NIOSH-approved OV/P95 filter cartridges. I use these when I work with fiberglass and the highly-toxic urethane resin which the glass is used to reinforce. They're all I'll use for that. For painting and gluing, they also work well, especially when combined with airflow. My paintbooth is made from a rubbermaid bin and a used range hood fan. The total cost was around $20, including the dryer tube I bought to carry the paint fumes out the window. It works quite well.

Model cement will ruin your paint. Where possible, glue, then paint. Where not possible, glue in places where running paint won't be visible. Bear in mind that joints with paint over them are usually less sound than bare plastic-to-plastic joints.

The (Seemingly) Obvious:

When a part has 2 or more different colors on it, paint the whole piece the lightest color, then mask off the spots that need to be that color, and move to the next lightest color, and so on. This is reversed when a flat metallic silver is the lightest color, in which case it should be last. Silver will cover black with less paint, than black will cover silver.

Use clear coats. I like to use several. After I have a model's base colors painted and decals applied, I'll usually give it a gloss clear coat, then move onto details like panel washes and weathering. After that, I apply a clear coat of the desired finish. High gloss for cars, medium gloss (gloss coat with a small amount of flat base added to cut the sheen) for flashy Gundam kits, satin in rare cases, and flat on military applications (including anything from 08th MS Team). Clear coat protects your paint and gives the uniform finish you're probably looking for. The first clear coat protects the paint from accidental corrosion by various chemicals you may be working with, and leaves a uniform, easy to clean finish upon which to apply the final coat.

Weathering is fun, but it's super easy to go overboard. Especially when dry-brushing silver. Remember that paint primarily wears off of edges, not faces. When weathering, come up with a scenario that has caused the weathering in question. A tank isn't likely to have scratches all over the top, and a mobile suit probably won't have lots of paint missing above a reasonable treeline. Aircraft weathering will almost never call for dry-brushing metal.

All of that seems obvious, but it's painful how often I see people not following such basic advice and coming out with a kit where they went overboard with something or ruined the finish through a simple mistake. I've done it all myself.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Question about painting resin --

I picked up a 1/20 scale MADOX-01 resin kit online. I've done a lot of warhammer and custom action figure painting, but I'm brand new to the whole resin game.

http://www.e2046.com/product/13770

Normally I use Testors Model Master Acryl paints for brush painting. Sometimes I mix in a few drops of future to smooth out the finish and remove streaking and brush strokes. I'm wondering if I'm I going to be able to brush paint this thing or is it going to look like garbage if I try?

Thanks!

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Question about painting resin --

I picked up a 1/20 scale MADOX-01 resin kit online. I've done a lot of warhammer and custom action figure painting, but I'm brand new to the whole resin game.

http://www.e2046.com/product/13770

Normally I use Testors Model Master Acryl paints for brush painting. Sometimes I mix in a few drops of future to smooth out the finish and remove streaking and brush strokes. I'm wondering if I'm I going to be able to brush paint this thing or is it going to look like garbage if I try?

Thanks!

OK, if you've never done a resin kit before, you're going to have to do some changes.

1. Before building, wash every part well in warm, soapy water. Sometimes resin kits will still have the release agent stuck to the parts, and that'll wreak havoc on your build.

2. Regular old model glue isn't going to work. You're going to need some type of CA glue (super glue). Tamiya makes some good stuff, but honestly I've been using some stuff that I picked up at a ¥100 shop that's been working great (beware that your results may vary).

3. For painting, you will need to prime. Unprimed resin will not hold any type of paint. So, unless you've got a rattlecan of primer, I suggest looking into buying an airbrush.

Those are just some very, bare-bones tips that I can give you now.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I went to the local hobby shop to get Tamiya White primer since I plan to paint the VF-1 Super parts to a Medium Sea Gray (AS-11). It was disappointing since after a long commute, I found out that they dont have any stocks but they have this Tamiya Pink primer.

Anyone knows if I can easily cover the pink primer with medium gray?

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I've been trying (again) to get some decent results airbrushing Tamiya gloss acrylics, and I've been getting an orange peel effect on the finish. Now I did do the necessary research and lowered the air pressure to just 7-10 psi, went as close as 2-3 inches, thinned it to the consistency of milk (leaves a thin film when swirled around the container), and I did medium-heavy coats.

The colors I've been trying to paint are the dreaded yellow and orange, although they should spray nicely if everything is done correctly. I heard a rumor that mixing Tamiya acrylics will result in orange peel, and I was trying to mix orange with lemon yellow, hoping ot get a richer tone of yellow.

The humidity was about 40-50%, which I think should be okay for airbrushing.

So, what am I doing wrong?

Another thing: I'm hearing conflicting things about mixing Tamiya acrylics with lacquer thinner. Tamiya's official site, as well a a couple of other youtube videos, say that the lacquer thinner makes the paint dry much quicker than when thinned with acrylic thinner, something I don't want when trying to get a nice glossy finish.

Most other forum posts, however, claim that Tamiya lacquer thinner actually super-extends the drying time of the paint, making it ideal for gloss paints, as the slow drying time allows the paint to level out.

Which one is true?

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Use acrylic thinner with acrylic paint.

Orange peeling usually happens when you hit a thick coat of paint with a drying tacky surface with another coat of paint too soon. The particles of paint hits the surface and creates little craters. It's best to just leave it alone until it dries or dry it with a blow dryer on low setting so you can apply the next coat.

When spraying use 3 coats. The first should be just a light dust on the surface. This gives it some texture for the rest of the paint to hold on to. Second is a medium thin coat to cover the surface and the last is a wet coat, but not too thick so it drips. Just look at it and make sure it has a wet sheen. This tells you that it's going to dry with a nice even coat. I usually put the airbrush closer to the surface on the third coat.

I try to blow dry each coat so that if dust hits it, it won't stick to a wet surface. Another way to keep your piece clean and even.

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Thanks so much for the pointers, EXO!

Come to think if it, I'd gone way too heavy with the second coat, and didn't give it time to dry.

The paint was also probably too thick. When cleaning my airbrush, I was shocked to find that the inside of the nozzle cap was caked with a thick layer of paint...thick enough that I had to scrape chunks of it off with a toothpick. Strangely, it looked pretty thin in the mixing cup.

Thanks again!

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Airbrush paint thinning/mixing is THE hardest thing to do IMHO. It can drive you nuts, toooo thick --doesn't spray, toooo thin..runny, and there's several layers in between those two! However, once you get a PERFECT mix (I got one last Sunday on the Monster I'm building, you'll be smiling for days! :p It never gets easier to figure out though, (well it does---if you use enamels over horrid acrylics) :ph34r: , but that's a discussion for another day!

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GU-11, I use tamiya paints almost exclusively. They are cheap, and usually easy to find even in my region where hobby isn't that big. I thin mine with 90% Isopropyl alcohol, or ISP as it is sometimes labelled. I find this at my local department store: Walmart. I have used 70% and 99% in the past, the stronger solution usually leaves my models feeling a bit gritty as it dries extremely quickly.

I also add a small amount of Future (floor polish, now called Pledge with future, also available at department stores) to my airbrush and mix that with a brush. If I am trying to do soft camo patterns on aircraft (1/72) then I usually drop the pressure right off to 7-10 like you have done, and the paint consistency goes way thin, with the use of alcohol. You can't even see the first pass. I usually have to build up 10 or more passes, but what you get is this:

planes013_zps2cc11f66.jpg

I use a 50/50 mix of alcohol and future (pledge) to seal the paint in, and then decal. Then another sealer coat of the same before either matte or gloss coating. I would use future to gloss coat my models if that was an option.

Future has several qualities that will make your life as a hobbyist awesome. I won't go into all of them, but try focusing on colour fidelity with your paint rather than trying to achieve that perfect finish. You can use a clear layer to achieve that, and even use car polishes to go further.

Hope that helps!

Edited by modelglue
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I would like to say that not all pledge product is the same.

I recently did tint a vf-1 canopy. Since I have no AB, dipping is the only solution for me. I did my google and found different forum and articale and most of them swears that tamiya and future combination works really well. This is until I tried to mix Tamiya smoke and Pledge here in Philippines. I would see that both really does not mix well and the clear color just clots.

Good thing is I have a vallejo clear, I tried it and both mixes well. I have to thin it a bit more than usual though.

EXO's point is spot on. Acrylic when not fully dried tends to react towards another layer of acrylic.

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When spraying use 3 coats. The first should be just a light dust on the surface. This gives it some texture for the rest of the paint to hold on to. Second is a medium thin coat to cover the surface and the last is a wet coat, but not too thick so it drips. Just look at it and make sure it has a wet sheen. This tells you that it's going to dry with a nice even coat. I usually put the airbrush closer to the surface on the third coat.

I try to blow dry each coat so that if dust hits it, it won't stick to a wet surface. Another way to keep your piece clean and even.

So about how much of a flash time do you guys use between coats? 10 minutes or so? Is there a maximum beyond which you would need to scuff the surface lightly and start over?

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@derex: Ain't that the truth! I just thought I'd give acrylics another try, since I need to practice and get used to my new pen-type airbrushes anyway--cleanup with acrylics is definitely easier. TBH, I'm about ready to just decant lacquer paint from a spray can and save myself the grief, although all those jars of gloss paints will go so waste.

I think I bit off more than I could chew by mixing 2 colors. I'll go for a 100% lemon yellow thinned 1:1 and try to get a smooth coat of paint first.

Many thanks for the link!

@modelglue: That's a gorgeous paint job! Frankly, I have far less problems airbrushing matte paints than gloss. I just can't seem to get a smooth, glossy coat--spray too light a coat and it goes flat, too thick and it gets orange peel. Sometimes I wonder if it's just easier to airbrush matte paint and seal with Future.

As EXO pointed out, I should have thinned the paint more and did it like how others spray model cars using rattle cans--mist coat, medium coat, wet coat.

Having the fan turned on while airbrushing was probably a bad idea too.

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I have a cap for mine, but the paint doesn't usually take too long to dry between coats using alcohol in your mix. I tend to use the airbrush to dry the paint, by simply spraying air over the colour I just put down, then I can make another pass. Would building up light coats of your glossy paint eventually "glossify" the model? I'll try this sometime myself.

With vallejo, I have had problems with it curdling on me when I add my standard thinners (alcohol and windex sometimes). I use just the paint and future now, nothing else. It gives me a glossier and obviously darker colour which is better for panel lining and decal application.

As for Chyll2's comment on Future/Pledge products, that is the first time I have heard anyone have a negative experience. Sorry to hear that bud!

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Good point. I'll try blow-drying the paint between coat, as you suggested. I've tried putting on light mist coats only, but it always leaves a matte finish.

I've heard that Vallejo always curdles if thinned with anything other than it's own brand of thinner and water. There are a couple of horror stories in certain modeling forums saying that if Vallejo curdles inside an AB, it might actually "kill" it by permanently gumming up the inner workings.

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