View Full Version : Painting and Supplies

3rd Mar 2014, 10:51 PM
Okay so I have been pretty safe in this hobby buying and using items straight out of the boxes they came in. Over the years I have learned, although not a rivet counter yet, there is much much more involved than throwing a boxcar on rails and coupling it up and increasing throttle. I started my "own" railroad, got help with a paint scheme and even was given the inspiration and motivation to try my hand at doing some painting of my own. Although, I am not to the weathering stage but I do see that light approaching. ANyway, my question goes out to the painters out there. What would you recommend to be a good starter airbrush kit and/or tools I should have before I begin the act of painting? I have plenty of "scrap" cars to practice on, I have just never painted before and have no clue where to start. Thank you.

3rd Mar 2014, 11:15 PM
I started with a Testors Aztek with a pump from ChcagoAirbrushSupply. I've been using my Aztek for 10 yrs. so it works great for me. I'm no pro panther but works for weathering. That's what use it for the most

I chose Aztek for 3 reasons
1. Easy nozzle/needle swaps
2. Easy cleaning
3. See 1 & 2 lol

3rd Mar 2014, 11:17 PM
I can't speak to really what brands to use as I don't have enough experience with different brands. All I really can say is you really want a most/all metal one and one that is double action. That allows you to control paint flow and airflow separately from a single trigger (push down for air, pull back for paint, it makes sense when you have it in your hand). Yes, you can work with a single action, but double action really opens up more possibilities and efficiency. Before you run the first paint through it, make sure you already know how you're going to clean it.

Also, get a decent compressor with variable pressure and a small holding tank for consistency. I can't stress enough that you'll hate using the airbrush if you get a loud compressor. Any will do as long as it's got good airflow and is relatively quiet. Also get one with a moisture trap or buy one. I rarely actually have to drain mine, but on humid days, it's peace of mind. The prefilled cans run out quickly and thus get expensive quickly. The last on I used ~ 25 years ago (the one that came with my first kit) was very poor at keeping constant pressure unless you worked in very short bursts. Don't think for a minute you can use a contractor or garage compressor, unless you plan on wearing ear protection.

For what it's worth, I've got a paasche talon gravity feed (no particular reason for gravity vs suction) with a badger TC908 compressor that I found a deal on. Even though I got a good deal, you can get much cheaper than that though. Again, you want one that's quiet.

And for heaven's sake, weathering is no big deal. Just start out very, very light and don't over do it. You can always add more. And do RESEARCH. You can't do convincing weathering unless you've got a clear idea of why dirt or rust would be where it is. Google and Bing images are great for this.

4th Mar 2014, 03:01 AM
Don't spend the money until you find out if you like painting. Since you are painting your own scheme. Use off the shelf model spray cans. Other paints can be too thick and hide details. If you like painting, then buy the airbrush and an air tank.

4th Mar 2014, 05:48 AM
Air compressors are EXPENSIVE. Fortunately, you can look around your local Craigslist for one...in addition to modelers, artists, auto repair shops, gyms, and other users use and sell air compressors, and you can find one for a fraction of the price. I bought my Coleman air compressor for $20 via Craigslist!

4th Mar 2014, 08:35 AM
This might help in giving you some reccommendations. http://www.nscale.net/forums/showthread.php?27286-Gravity-feed-airbrush-reccomendations. You can get inexpensive air compressors. I got mine for about $100. It will be cheaper than cans if you end up painting a lot.


4th Mar 2014, 11:02 AM
The "which airbrush" debate can stir up almost as much passion as the Kato vs Atlas or c55 vs 80 arguments. See the above thread noted my CaseyJones. A lot has to do with what you like. If you buy a quality airbrush of just about any make, it will likely do the job. Just remember, some people are Nikon and some are Olympus. Put an Olympus in the hands of a Nikon person and they will produce substandard pics. At this point you don't know which one you are so you can only take a jab at one of the reccomendatations based on your gut. I would not reccomend buying a hugly expencive AB right away untill you know what you like.

4th Mar 2014, 05:07 PM
Check out Harbor Freight. The have several airbrush sets and economic compressors.


4th Mar 2014, 07:25 PM
yeah, I know about the size and moisture trap. I used to paint aircraft but that was with air off the wall and fighter jets are a lot bigger than an N-scale GP18. I went to Lowe's the other day looking and their smallest one is a 2 gallon, 300 PSI gas powered and that is a definite no-no. My LHS is about 45 minutes away so next weekend I think I am going to venture out that way.

4th Mar 2014, 07:29 PM
Thanks for the links and help everyone. I know I can paint and will enjoy it it is just a matter of finding the right tool and comfort level... Definitely like the camera analogy Sean, I myself am a Canon photographer so I completely understand

4th Mar 2014, 11:08 PM
Some shops and art store offer folks a chance to try b4 buy. That's how I upgraded. I saw a Grex with a pistol style grip and thought it would be handy. No pun lol. I have huge hands and made a big difference for my control

5th Mar 2014, 03:24 AM
I would not but a hobby compressor.

If you get a small household one you can use it for filling tires and use it with a full size spray gun and pneumatic tools as well. Although more expensive you'll get more use.

Before I got my compressor I bought a storage tank at Sears. I could foll it at the gas station or the emergency compressor I keep in the car. Unlike a compressor the tank can be used silently.

Fill both the compressor's tank and the external one and you have a long session without any noise.