The "thinner" the better

Group,
Hopefully this is a basic airbrushing question. What is the common ratio of thinner to paint one uses? Here are the specifics. I am using
a Badger 200 single action airbrush, Model Master light aircraft gray and airbrush thinner. I tried 60:40 and 50:50 ratios on the plane's wings but it appears the paint is very thin. I "practiced" on cardboard and the gray paint is coming out. It just appears real light on the model. I have already applied two coats and am really surprised at how much paint I have already used. I don't recall going through this many spray cans prior to airbrushing. I'm a newbie so bear with me. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net wrote:

I use a Badger 200 and generally thin MM enamels to the top of the bottle with airbrush thinner. Doesn't always work...I had to decant MOST of a bottle of a certain OD-ish green color (for get which...) to get a decent, useful mix. The MM 2 colors are pretty thin to begin with and don't need much - but I still thin those a little.
It sounds like you're overdoing it a bit - aim for the consistancy of milk or water. Anything beyond that is going overboard, IMO. Unless you've got a stubborn, opaque color...like my what-ever-it-was-green.
And don't be afraid to open your needle up a tad to get the coverage you're looking for...
--
- Rufus

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Rufus,
Thanks for the advice. If I understand you correctly regarding <<generally thin MM enamels to the top of the bottle with airbrush thinner>> are you taking thinner and adding it to the MM paint bottle or the glass airbrush bottle? What I have done is to pipette ~ 2.5 mLs of thinner to 1.5 mLs of paint in the glass airbrush bottle. I also tried 50:50. Do you feel I am adding too much thinner? Is 30:70 more appropriate?
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snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net wrote:

I add thinner to the top of the MM bottle. I have an adapter for my 200 that allows me to use MM paints right out of the bottle.
Yes - 30:70 sounds more like it. I simply pipette the thinner into the MM bottle, stir a bit, then recap and shake like crazy for 30 seconds or so. Then I replace the MM cap with my adapter and start spraying.
Once I've thinned a jar of paint for airbrushing I don't try to use it to brush paint with...unless it's for very small touch-ups or with lighter shades of grey. I've noticed that greys can change shade slightly as they are thinned - so I try to paint greys from the same bottle/mix to insure that the shades match.
BTW - I use regular brush thinner to make washes. Airbrush thinner is a bit too hot for washes.
--
- Rufus

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snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net wrote:

I anywhere between the 3/7 and the 1:1 values. For one thing it depends on how old the paint is. Since every time you open a jar, some of the thinner evaporates, I find I thin older bottles with more thinner than I do fresh stuff.
It also depends on what effect I want. If it is a primary color and I want good coverage, I use less thinner. For washes, weathering and thin overcoats I use a lot more thinner. The thinner the mix, the finer the lines and the amount you can lay down.
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It's been interesting reading of the different mixes folks use, discussed here and elsewhere. There doesn't really seem to be a lot of agreement on a "best" thinning ratio. I suspect the answer depends a lot upon your particular habits with an airbrush.
I've been using the same old Paasche airbrush for over thirty years. In that time I've experimented quite a bit with thinning, and I've pretty much settled on making sure I almost always use the same type of paint (Testors Model Master enamels these days, or the occasional Alclad) and thinning to about 50% with cheap lacquer thinner. Works every time, and gives a great finish as long as I make sure to carefully adjust the flow against a test target before I start shooting at the model. This also makes brush cleanup a snap. The only thing to be careful of with the paint this thin is to stay close enough and paint slowly enough that the paint appears slightly wet as it hits the surface. It can dry immediately after the brush passes, and usually does, but the spot where the paint is striking _must_ appear at least slightly wet as you brush. This does take some practice. 50% lacquer thinner will give you either the pebbles or a nasty "dusty" look every time if you brush from too far away or move the brush too quickly. If you take the time to experiment it though, it works just fine.
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Have to agree with Norm. Lacquer thinner is the way to go.

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Norm Koger wrote: (snip)

    I, too used to use lacquer thinner but it beats up the sealing ring on my Badger 350, so much so you need to replace the ring after running lacquer thinner through it. When I was using it (for the now discontinued Floquil Military Colors, my personal favorite of all time) it worked as advertized and dries quickly.     But... I experimented with thinners and reducers and found the paint-brand thinners kept the pigments in suspension longer. I now use generic lacquer thinner and mineral spirits for cleanup, unless, of course, I'm shooting lacquers - it still gets used for that. The way I figured it, just how much paint-brand thinner do you use for a given batch anyway?
Frank Kranick
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Springfield OH
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Yup, I've gone as high as 80:20 and sprayed ay 15 psi no problem.
I now just try and maintain the *skim milk*" consistancy. Seems to work 99% of the time......
--
Only A Gentleman Can Insult Me And A True Gentleman Never Will



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snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net wrote:

    If you're using Model Master enamel paints AND Model Master Airbrush Thinner, follow the instructions on the thinner panel - I think it's 3 parts paint to thinner for flats, 4 to 1 for glosses. I'm at work now and if that wrong or backwards, don't hold me responsible!     I've invested into the MM enamel line and use their thinner exclusively to thin - according to their recommendations on the can/bottle - and have had no problems at all, consistent every time.... Now, sometimes you'd want to overthin your paint to allow pre-shading to show through or to add a different shade to the base color. Those results can be expected and wanted but generally, the ratios on the can work fine.     A little experimentation doesn't hurt, either. ;-)
Frank Kranick
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