My son has been complaining that his model plane directions tell him to use
an air brush for painting, but they appear to be beyond his financial means.
So I'm trying to figure out whether I should buy one (ostensibly for
painting my rockets) and let him rent it. So I have a couple of
1) Is an air brush of any value over regular spray paint (especially for
2) Any recommendations for brand?
3) Any recommendations for where to buy?
I used the Testors Airbrush set that uses the compressed gas cans. I think
I paid like $30 or so.
I really like the way that the paint comes out. Not to mention that it
allows you to mix your own paints.
It also seemed to me that the colors were much "richer"
The cans of compressed air are about $5 or so.
Here is a link to a newer one that Testor has that is about what I got in my
I finally purchased one last year. I love it! So far I have not used much
other than Testors paint. I have sprayed Krylon and Rustolium unto a cup
until it pools and use that in the airbrush a few times, but I am still
puzzled on paints.
If you have a Craftmart or Michaels in your area, look for their discount
coupons. I got mine a Craftmart with a 40% discount coupon I found in their
circular. I got the matching compressor the next time I found a 40%
discount coupon. If you do not get a compressor, have several cans of air
available. The cans tend to die at just the wrong times.
BSD High Power Rocketry
I have an Olympus (a favorite of the Hollywood FX and make-up guys) and a
Pasche VL. Both are excellent. A small compressor with a tank runs around
$99 from OSH, Home Depot and Harbor Freight. I'm going to give you a bit of
gold. If someone had given me this back in the 80s when I first got
interested in airbrushing.... Carter-Sextan 5208 Laurel Canyon Blvd., North
Hollywood CA 818-763-5050 is THE supplier of airbrushes and
paint/accessories to the studios. They can fix anything, have parts for
everything and know more about the subject than anyone. There's an old guy
there who is really something else. Give them a call and see what they say.
you won't be sorry.
IF you REALLY must use canned air, this tip will help some. Set the can in a
container (bowl or pot) with some room temperature water that is at least half
a can deep and several inches larger in diameter than the can. This will keep
the can from frosting/freezing and you can shoot longer.
Also, try "BearAir.com" and "Dixieart.com" for airbrushes, paint and
QUARK, Cincinnati, OH
Or you can use the starving artist methods - get a portable air tank and
regulator, which can be refilled at a friendly gas station, or the
really cheap method is to use an old tire - pump it up to just above
your desired delivery pressure and then use it as your air tank - no
need for a regulator even.
George W. Scheil
I've been taking the cheap route with good results (though I'm a fun
flyer, not particularly anal-retentive, freak-out-over-a-drip type).
pressurized air reservoir - a balded mounted truck tire that I bought
from a car wrecking yard for next to nothing.
air pump - an old-style low-pressure (high-volume) hand-operated air
pump (it's surprisingly quick compared to the cheap electric things
available at department stores), bought from a yard sale for cheap.
airbrush - the cheapest you can buy. There's a Badger-like
Badger-incompatible one that goes on sale regularly for under $10.00 CDN
that I've been using. It comes with an adapter that works with tire
valves. If a part breaks, no problem... the whole thing costs less than
most of just the individual pieces of an expensive airbrush.
Expectations - Coats as well as a spray can when the pressure is right,
degrading gradually as air pressure drops. Requires a bit of pumping
every now and then during use. Not good for detailing because the air
regulation and spray pattern are not finely adjustable. When using
acrylic paints there is almost no odour, which is great when you are
forced to work inside your family dwelling. Drying times are much
slower than with fast-drying spray enamels like Krylon... watch for drips.
Savings - Cheap to get going. Acrylic paints are incredibly cheap
compared to spray cans or tiny pots of enamel, and the available color
and texture selections are vast.
And no, it won't do the cool things that a Pasch will do. That's the
cost of flying El Cheapo Airlines.
bit eimer wrote:
Badger, Paasche and the most widely known names. I've got a Badger,
and it's served me very well. If you're going to do a LOT of airbrushing, get
a compressor - but if you're going to be painting 1/2 dozen or fewer models
per year, the propellant cans will serve you fine. If you get a compressor,
STAY AWAY from the cheap $100 compressors from Wal-Mart and Home
Depot, like Campbell-Hausfeld. They are complete, utter trash.
Can you paint an entire rocket with an airbrush and have it come out nice
with no dry spots? I guess I seen an airbrush as a tool to do flames or
other effects with as opposed to using it for a complete job.
NAR 82797 L1
No, think of it as a "mini" spray gun. I've painted gobs of rockets,
two bicycle frames, a bunch of iron lawn furniture, and my snowblower
with my Paasche VL. It all depends on how much time you have, as the
spray cone from an airbrush is usually pretty small when compared to a
standard spray gun. Actually, I can get some pretty decent coverage
with the VL. For larger jobs, or if I have a bunch of stuff that I
need to paint the same color (i.e. primer), I use a Binks detail gun
that I picked up at a garage sale awhile back. The detail gun, while
only holding about a pint of paint, will provide a spray pattern
almost as large as a standard automotive gun.
You're probably better in the long run with a compressor, which can be
had for udner $150 if you shop smart. However, this small airbrush
and a suitable compressor, while great for plastic models or modrocs,
will probably be too small for mid-power or high-power rockets.
It can be used for HPR, but you're right, an airbrush with more output
and bigger well would do better.
A Testor's air brush is a must until you learn that you really should
spend money on one of those air brush holders. The low volume of paint
is a blessing -- even if you use water-based paint.
Overall paint usage, and the drastic reduction of overspray are a
couple of the benefits that I love about using an airbrush. Having
control over air pressure, and paint delivery volume using a double
action airbrush is the Cat's Meow once you get used to it. Ever try
to paint, say a even mid-sized model like the Cosmo BB II with larger
spray equipment? You'll probably both blow the rocket off its stand
with the sheer pressure, and send 80-90% of your paint flying off into
the atmosphere. A good airbrush will give you a spray pattern that
will easily cover a 2.6" tube very quickly. I wouldn't hesitate to
try mine on even bigger stuff, say 4" or greater.
Due to the "controllability" of an airbrush, it's also _awsome_ when
you're trying to get a nice, even, smooth coat of paint in some funky
nook, or cranny like a fin-BT joint. I've found that even rattlecans
tend to provide too much volume in situations like these, and you
almost always end up with runs, or sags.
As I stated before, I used my Paasche to paint my snowblower which
involved some fairly large, flat areas to cover. It worked very, very
BTW, I painted it black, with little flame details on the side. Also,
I scripted "CUJO" on the front to remind me to keep my fingers out of
the discharge chute.
LOL! Somehow though, I'd imagine TT's approach would be involve a 55
gallon drum of Battleship Gray Enamel, a leaf blower, and an NOx
augmented Honda 16hp OHV twin...
Yeah, and make sure you swap out your $220 titanium designer glasses
for the chipped old pair held together with bailing wire.. been
Paasche. There are several other good brands including Binks,
Thayer&Chandler. Get a double action internal mix. I've got a pre WWII
Paasche that's equivalent to the VL. Forget about the el-cheapo units.
If you get an airbrush, you're gonna need a compressor too. Forget about the
cans of air. Waste of $$$. Unfortunately a good compressor will cost more
than the airbrush. What I got for $40 back in the 70s is in the $150-200
now. It's actually cheaper to buy a big $100 shop compressor than the small
airbrush units. Distance makes them all quiet!
Don't know if they are still around, but I got a bunch of stuff from
Artistic Airbrush years ago. Also ordered from Tower hobbies.
Michaels used to have some Paasche stuff, which when coupled with the 40%
off coupon would be a good deal.
Bob Kaplow NAR # 18L TRA # "Impeach the TRA BoD"
>>> To reply, remove the TRABoD!
Depends on the size of the rocket. AN artists airbrush is fine for just
about anything Estes sized. Bigger than say a Graduator, I'd look at
automotive paint sprayers instead. I picked up a small Krebs sprayer at
Farm&Fleet years ago, but haven't seen anything like that lately.
Bob Kaplow NAR # 18L TRA # "Impeach the TRA BoD"
>>> To reply, remove the TRABoD!