Airbrushing Upgrades


Leading off is a shot of my first practice session with my new airbrushing capability. This is just ink on newsprint as a cheap way of working on the basic skills. I got the idea and a list of practice drills off of Youtube. I clearly need to work on the basics before I cut loose on a model.

As I mentioned previously, reading the first of George Dent’s weathering books hardened my resolve to get my airbrushing act together. I had a spray booth (not exhausted outside), a venerable Paasche Model H single action airbrush and a little diaphragm compressor bought used over 30 years ago. All of this needed some upgrading.

The airbrush techniques George describes in his book require a double action airbrush (or a talent with a single action brush I could never achieve). Additionally, the model H is a siphon feed that has a long path from bottle/cup to nozzle that makes cleaning a challenge that discourages undertaking small jobs. I have seen demonstrations of gravity feed brushes that used a drop or two of paint and got plenty done with that. So, first on the list was a good quality, gravity feed double action airbrush. After much deliberation, I took the plunge on a Harder & Steenbeck Infinity CR. I liked that it comes with two sizes of nozzle (.2 and .4mm). (I am a bit of a Teutonophile when it comes to tools. And cars.)

I have been hankering after a better compressor for years. The old semi-reliable could manage 18 PSI on a good day, has no tank or auto-on/off, not even an on/off switch. Working on the theory that this would probably be the compressor I had for the rest of my life, I splurged on an Iwata Power Jet Pro which has both auto on/off and a tank. On a happy note, I was able to buy locally at Wheels and Wings Hobbies for the same price offered by Canadian suppliers online. Supporting the local store and instant gratification is hard to beat!

I purchase an under counter light a few years back with the intent of lighting the spray booth. With that light, the compressor and the booth fan, I was up to three cords and counting. There are not as yet any outlets handy to the airbrushing station location so I needed some way of distributing power. I also wander to avoid fishing about for switches behind (booth fan), in (light) and under (compressor) every time I started and stopped a session. I therefore made up a switchable outlet box with two outlets to plug things into. I used two switches, one for each outlet because sometimes you just want to spray bomb and don’t need to start the compressor. I attached the box to the side of the stand that holds up the spray booth.airbrushpower.jpg

With all that done, I am open for business albeit with some temporary measures.sprayboothasis.jpg

Still to do:

  • Exhaust the booth outside. I have a 3″ hole for a vent drilled but the booth is 4″. Am dithering on whether to enlarge hole or reduce vent. (Am leaning towards bigger hole to avoid back pressure.
  • Wire a permanent outlet nearby so I can stop running an extension cord from the next room.
  • Permanently attach that light so I can have my clamps back. 🙂
  • Install a couple of shelves underneath for paint and supply storage. The compressor is currently sitting on an unattached piece of plywood.
  • Holders for both airbrushes at booth level. The compressor has two holders but with it sitting far enough forward so that I can see the gauges, the brushes stick out far enough to possibly get knocked.


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