GUNPLA tools part 4: Airbrush

March 28, 2020 at 16:12 | Posted in How-to | Leave a comment
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I’ve been using spray cans for quite some time before I switched to airbrushing. My first setup was a cheap airbrush-compressor combo by Meteo. It was usable, but the compressor was loud and the air pressure wasn’t consistent. I sold it off and settled for these:

Airbrush handpiece:

Tamiya Spraywork Basic airbrush:

Trigger-type airbrush with 0.3mm nozzle and 17ml cup. I use it for spraying primer and clear topcoat.

 

Tamiya Spraywork HG Super Fine:

Dual action airbrush with 0.2mm nozzle and 3ml cup. Mostly used for painting small parts like HG kits or for finer painting, like preshading lines or camo patterns.

 

Tamiya SX 74801:

Dual action airbrush with 0.3mm nozzle and 7ml cup. Used for painting larger things like MG kits.

 

Air compressor:


Mr. Linear Compressor L5. What I like about it is that it’s quite small and relatively quiet.

 

In addition to the airbrush and compressor, some additional accessories are needed for airbrushing:
Spray booth:


For airbrushing (and spray cans), a spray booth is necessary. I’m using Mr Super Booth compact, with a single fan and a hose to direct airflow outside.

Mask:


Another essential item when airbrushing, and even with spray cans. A simple face mask won’t suffice, a proper one with filters is recommended. I’m using this 3M mask with organic vapor cartridge. With it, you won’t breathe in the thinner & paint aerosols.

Spatula:


For transferring and mixing paints in the bottle.

Pipette:


To transfer paint thinner.

Paint mixer:


Even though a spatula can do the same job, this battery-powered tool can do a faster and more thorough job.

Mixing tray:


To mix paints and thinner before transferring to the airbrush cup.

Spare bottles:


I keep a few empty glass bottles around in case I have too much leftover paint.

Alligator clips:


They’re metal clips attached to wooden skewers. The purpose is to hold Gunpla parts during painting.

You can stab them onto polystyrene blocks or use these Paint Stations:

Airbrush tool wash:


After painting is done, this solvent is used to clean the insides of the airbrush. Again there’s different brands available, but I find Gaianotes Mild Tool Wash slightly less smelly than Mr Tool Wash. I pour some into a squirt bottle for easier access.

Miscellaneous:
If you don’t want your hands to be covered in paint, a pair of disposable gloves are also recommended. For cleaning, a box of tissues or kitchen towels would suffice.

 

Conclusion:
So if you’re still contemplating on whether to use spray cans or airbrush, here’s some points to consider:

So if you have a lot of plamo/gunpla kits and you like painting custom colors, then getting an airbrush is a no-brainer. Although initially daunting, I never regretted the move. I would also recommend saving up money until you can afford a proper airbrush-compressor set; forget about those cheap airbrush-compressor combos.

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