How do you paint trains without airbrush?

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#1
How can you paint freight cars without using an airbrush? I don't now why but I couldn't help myself, I saw these 2 cars and had to have them.

BM 77039 Bi-Cent.jpg

Prince Spaghetti.jpg

Thanks to tootnkumin I got the idea I could get a kit, paint it myself, and put the decals on from http://www.petescustomdecals.com/HOScaledecals.html. That's were I saw the Prince Spaghetti car. So now I have a couple of Accurail 5000 and a couple of Walthers Airslides coming in from ebay. Also placed an order for both decals though it might take a little time for them to be made and mailed.

What would be the best way to paint these cars? Can I use Krylon spray paint or would acrylic paints that they have in the hobby store work? I do worry about brush marks if I paint with a brush. White should be easy to come by but I'm not sure about the blue used for B&M. What would you all recommend? And what would you recommend for a gloss coat? Thanks.
 
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#2
How do you paint trains without an airbrush? The obvious answer is that you don't.

That said, seriously, there are options. Testors, Tamaya, and Scalecoat make spray cans. You can use a brush, though that does require some skill and a lot of practice. I would stay away from Krylon and similar sprays, not because of the actual paint, but because the the nozzle produces a coarser spray than model spray paints, though again, with a lot of practice, it can be done. As to acrylics at the "hobby store", it really depends on which acrylics you are referring to. Acrylics like Vallejo are fine, I'd stay away from Apple Barrel, Plaid, and similar "craft" paints, though again ......... Maybe you can see a trend here. As to the "gloss coat", most of the paints go on gloss. It's after you apply the decals and any weathering, you apply a dull coat.

Good luck with your project.
 
#3
Hi Kevin,

Thank you for your advice and information. I'm sure I will get an airbrush at some point but it will have to wait a bit. Looks like a decent set up can go for several hundred $$$ and other than these 2 cars I want to do, I don't have any other projects I can use it on. After watching several videos though, it makes me wonder what other projects I can use it on. I'll look at going with one of the 3 spray cans you recommended and stay away from the brush. I have several undecorated cars coming in so I can practice on a few of them.

Thanks. :)
 
#4
I know airbrushes can go up there but I bought a decent compressor and a badger airbrush from Hobby Lobby and they always have a 40% coupon on their website. Mine was under $100 for both and you'll be surprised how many projects come up.
 
#5
When you decide to take the plunge and go for an airbrush, just ask for advice here. As Edsland said, you actually can get a GOOD (not top of the line, but good) compressor and airbrush for about $100 total.
 
#7
I know airbrushes can go up there but I bought a decent compressor and a badger airbrush from Hobby Lobby and they always have a 40% coupon on their website. Mine was under $100 for both and you'll be surprised how many projects come up.
Hi Edsland,

Thank you for that. I'll have to go check out their website and start looking for coupons. I can do $100. Funny, I actually spent several hours last night looking at what other projects I could do with an airbrush. Lots of nice ideas out there.
 
#8
When you decide to take the plunge and go for an airbrush, just ask for advice here. As Edsland said, you actually can get a GOOD (not top of the line, but good) compressor and airbrush for about $100 total.
Hi Kevin,

Thanks again. :) While I was surfing the internet last night I saw a few folks say you can use any type of compressor to run an airbrush. I have a Bostich 6 gallon pancake compressor in the garage, could I use it instead of the small ones for airbrushing?
 
#10
Hi Kevin,

Thanks again. :) While I was surfing the internet last night I saw a few folks say you can use any type of compressor to run an airbrush. I have a Bostich 6 gallon pancake compressor in the garage, could I use it instead of the small ones for airbrushing?
You absolutely can, as long as it has a regulator and a moisture trap.
 
#11
I have a Bostich 6 gallon pancake compressor in the garage, could I use it instead of the small ones for airbrushing?
Absolutely! Think about getting a 40 psi max adjustable regulator. 99% of your airbrushing will use pressures of 15 to 30 psi. While you can use the 120 psi regulator that's on the compressor, it is much easier to get fine adjustments with a lower max regulator. Look for a double action airbrush (also called dual action), such as a Badger 150, Iwata Eclipse, or Paasche VL. The next decision is suction feed or gravity feed. With suction feed, you attach a jar to the bottom of the airbrush. Gravity feed brushes have a cup built onto the top of the brush. I find suction feeds are easier to learn on, but gravity feed has a number of advantages, including allowing finer detail.

A note on inexpensive eBay airbrushes: Some are perfectly fine brushes, however, some as pure junk. The problem for a beginner is that you don't have the knowledge or experience to tell the difference.

I currently have 10 airbrushes, including Badgers, Paasches, an Iwata, a Peak, and 1 each of the above eBay brushes. They all have their plusses and minuses. But I started on a Badger 150 over 40 years ago. It is still going strong, only needing new gaskets and o-rings.
 
#13
Absolutely! Think about getting a 40 psi max adjustable regulator. 99% of your airbrushing will use pressures of 15 to 30 psi. While you can use the 120 psi regulator that's on the compressor, it is much easier to get fine adjustments with a lower max regulator. Look for a double action airbrush (also called dual action), such as a Badger 150, Iwata Eclipse, or Paasche VL. The next decision is suction feed or gravity feed. With suction feed, you attach a jar to the bottom of the airbrush. Gravity feed brushes have a cup built onto the top of the brush. I find suction feeds are easier to learn on, but gravity feed has a number of advantages, including allowing finer detail.

A note on inexpensive eBay airbrushes: Some are perfectly fine brushes, however, some as pure junk. The problem for a beginner is that you don't have the knowledge or experience to tell the difference.

I currently have 10 airbrushes, including Badgers, Paasches, an Iwata, a Peak, and 1 each of the above eBay brushes. They all have their plusses and minuses. But I started on a Badger 150 over 40 years ago. It is still going strong, only needing new gaskets and o-rings.
Thanks Kevin,

I'll start looking for a 40 psi adjustable regulator. I know my compressor has a regulator but I figure it is not as fine tuned. Also start looking for filters as well. I'll start looking at the airbrush names you mentioned and stay away from the eBay brushes. I noticed that Hobby Lobby had 2 boxes with Iwata Eclipses, one was going for $207 and the other box was going for $175. Not sure what the difference was between them. Also looked for a 40% Hobby Lobby coupon but didn't see one for airbrush equipment. I'll keep checking back.
 
#14
Please....There are those of us who do not mix well with air brushes. I have had several and they only work in one out of three attempts. This is very frustrating as my favorite paint is PBL Star Brand. Also many of us live in sealed homes these days where you cannot set up an air brush safely. In my case the garage is either too hot or too damp to paint many days.

THERE ARE ALTERNATIVES. Do not be mislead by the airbrush mafia who assume everyone lives in a large house with basement. I have found Vallejo Model Color (not Model Air) to work very well for brush painting when the color I want is not available in a spray can. If properly done you have no brush strokes and the surface is smooth. A spray can gloss coat makes it ready for decaling followed by a spray can or even Vallejo Matte brushed on to protect and seal.

I have had to learn to mix Vallejo Model Color to get the right railroad colors that I want. It can be done. Mix in small batches car side by car side rather than large lots and record the number of drops of each color needed to make the equivalent of your target color (My PFE orange is 3 drops of Vallejo 70.911 Light Orange and one drop of 70.927 Dark Flesh).

To get the best results I use good quality brushes, not throwaways. I use quarter inch soft bristle artist brushes. The best stroke on a car side is vertical not a longer horizontal. Brush lightly not with a heavy hand.

I use spray cans judiciously. I have a portable spray booth from a cardboard box I can take onto my veranda/deck and a Tamiya turntable. The box has a wind shield as I live in a location with constand 5 mph winds and frequent 10-15 mph gusts. Many days I have to watch for a drop in the wind to quickly spray an object and take it back inside so no leaves or dirt blow on it.

You can see a recent result at my blog http://srandsp.blogspot.com/.

Ken Adams
 
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#15
Airbrush mafia. That's funny. I have airbrushed at my kitchen table. I like Vallejo myself but it gets shiny if you work it after painting, as with chalks, pastels, AI washes and so forth. I like Reaper miniatures. They are latex as opposed to the vinyl resin Vallejo uses. Model color sprays very well with very little if any overspray. The trick is low pressure and a good airbrush (NOT the $15 Harbor Freight wonder). You don't need a large house with a big basement. Take a look at what those Japanese modelers on YouTube do and they all live in tiny little apartments. You can certainly do a fine model finish with brushes. I heartily agree that good brushes are a must. What I spend on high quality paint brushes would give you lockjaw. Apartment living does not exclude you from airbrushing. All you need is a little education and the correct tool selection.
 
#16
You missed the point

Airbrush mafia. That's funny. I have airbrushed at my kitchen table. I like Vallejo myself but it gets shiny if you work it after painting, as with chalks, pastels, AI washes and so forth. I like Reaper miniatures. They are latex as opposed to the vinyl resin Vallejo uses. Model color sprays very well with very little if any overspray. The trick is low pressure and a good airbrush (NOT the $15 Harbor Freight wonder). You don't need a large house with a big basement. Take a look at what those Japanese modelers on YouTube do and they all live in tiny little apartments. You can certainly do a fine model finish with brushes. I heartily agree that good brushes are a must. What I spend on high quality paint brushes would give you lockjaw. Apartment living does not exclude you from airbrushing. All you need is a little education and the correct tool selection.

You missed the point of the OP: Ditch the airbrush altogether and get a better, more rewarding modeling life.
 
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#18
Hi Ken and Alan,

Thanks, Good view points. The one think I didn't think of was temperature and humidity. I live in the Charleston, SC area and it gets hot and muggy during the summer. I have a garage I can work in and there have been times when the temp gets too high to use the paint per the manufacturer's instructions.
 
#19
Well here's the thing: if the environment is hostile to how the paint cures it doesn't really matter if it goes on with bristles, from an airbrush, or a rattle can does it? If you're using acrylics, inside airbrushing is quite doable with the proper equipment and technique. As far as Kens problems, possible reasons are poor technique, faulty or poorly maintained equipment, improperly thinned media, or some combination of these. Not to bash Ken, these are just what is most likey wrong. There are things a paintbrush does better, there are things an airbrush does better. There is no one method that does it all as any artist will tell you.
 
#20
Alan

I have had excellent air brush results when all the conditions were right. I have had excellent rattle can results usually all the time when an appropriate color can be found.

I just have found an air brush an unnecessary complication in painting models and want to spread the good word/news to my fellow modelers that they are not obligated to buy and master air brushing in order to obtain an excellent smooth finish on a model. This thread was perverted from the OP's original question "How do you paint trains without and airbrush" by those who cannot contemplate alternatives existing.

Free yourselves from the unnecessary airbrush is the only way attitude of those who cannot contemplate that excellent alternatives exist.

YOU DON'T NEED AN AIRBRUSH!

See you at the SPH&TS annual convention in Santa Rosa this November
 
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