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Air brushing

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  • Member since
    February 2004
  • From: Central Ohio
  • 534 posts
Posted by basementdweller on Monday, March 16, 2015 8:49 AM

Here is my set up.

  • Member since
    August 2003
  • From: Collinwood, Ohio, USA
  • 14,441 posts
Posted by gmpullman on Monday, March 16, 2015 8:39 AM


I have had several compressors used for my airbrush work from an old cast iron one lunger, belt drive with an old freon tank to my latest (2012) little Porter Cable shown here:

It is covered in primer dust in the photo! I like it because it is quieter than the typical "pancake" compressor. I can use it while my wife sleeps in the room right above.

I got it from Amazon for $99 back in 2012 but I see it is no longer readily available. You can get the same model painted yellow with a Dewalt sticker on it for $150.

Maybe there are other quiet compressors out there but for me this one works great and IF it is going to be your only compressor you can also use it for shop chores or tire inflating.

I found this Senco that claims to be very quiet and it is in the $110 range. Users give it a good rating:

As for the airbrush, I bought my first one 25 years ago. A Paasche model H. Still have it, still use it! It is easy to master, easy to clean and you can get a very fine line when you need it for weathering or small detail work.

I bought a VL dual action brush a few years ago but for most jobs I reach for the model H.

Some folks seem to have good results with the $3.99 Harbor Freight brush but I wouldn't trade my Paasche for any other.

This is what works well for me anyway, just a suggestion.

Welcome aboard... Ed


  • Member since
    July 2006
  • 286 posts
Posted by markie97 on Monday, March 16, 2015 5:41 AM

I purchased the internal mix air brush from Harbor Freight and a discontinued model oil-less compressor with tank and regulator from Loews on sale. I do not do a lot of airbrushing but for the amount I do they work very well.


  • Member since
    December 2008
  • From: Mount Vernon WA
  • 968 posts
Posted by skagitrailbird on Sunday, March 15, 2015 9:53 PM

Air brush features:

  • internal mix vs external mix--internal mix is arguably better for experienced painters but external mix is easier to clean. And thorough cleaning after each session is a MUST with any airbrush.
  • single action vs dual action--the on/off trigger on a single action brush starts and stops the air only. The amount of paint introduced to the air stream is via suction from a paint cup or bottle. The amount of paint is regulated by adjusting the tip. Air is regulated by the regulator on the air compressor (if you have one).

Air compressors: most modelers avoid the small modeling compressors and use a more general purpose compressor with a tank from a hardware store or similar vendor. These can be used for many things in addition to an air brush. Look for an oil-less compressor and one with regulators for adjusting the tank pressure and the output pressure.

Roger Johnson
  • Member since
    January 2010
  • 2,616 posts
Posted by peahrens on Sunday, March 15, 2015 8:21 PM

EDIT: Welcome to the forum, a very useful and helpful spot.  Do note some features on the right column (by your name) such as "Favorites" where you can find threads you so flag (the bubble Add to Favorites when reading) and Search the Community.  The latter is so-so.  Often you get more on target results by a Google search starting with "site"".

On airbrushes, here's a prior thread on the subject that may be helpful in addition to any current replies.

I was inexperience but after reading herein puchased a Paasche VL (dual action).  I have a pancake Porter Cable airgun compressor set and, while noisy, I use it in the garage and put up with the noise.  I purchased a combo regulator / water separator that I hook up between the compressor and airbrush.  

I had planned to use it to paint the layout track but decided on rattle can instead for that. After a couple years, I got around to trying it out, and of course had to get used to proper paint thinning, effective airbrush cleaning, etc.  My first project was re-doing some used Athearn HO heavyweight cars from Pullman green to UP 2-tone gray.  I think they came out well for a first try, and all the steps involved (primer to white stripes) gave me good experience at masking, painting and cleanup.  Biggest problem was the lighter gray was a bit too light, should have doctored it.  My 2nd project is incomplete, repainting 2 cabooses to UP yellow.  A first pass came out too light yellow.  That project is way down the list.  I'll post a photo of each.  Good luck.



Modeling HO with a transition era UP bent

  • Member since
    March 2015
  • 5 posts
Air brushing
Posted by rojthomp on Sunday, March 15, 2015 2:18 PM

Hello all,

First time posting here. 

I am curious I want to buy a airbrush and a compressor but have no idea what to get, whats good and what i should use to custom paint and weather my locamotives and rolling stock. I will be new at this and want to begin to practice on my cheap and inexpensive modles first. Any sugestions for this beginner?

Thanks in advance!

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