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Model Car Airbrushing Tips For Beginners

Jul 22, 2008
Do you love to paint your model cars? Have you been painting them by hand but now want to learn a new technique? Why not learn to airbrush? Airbrushing your model car is something that is actually very easy to learn. You can get the basics down quickly and with a little practice you will get the advanced techniques as well.

Before you begin there are several items that you will need. Most of these can be picked up at a local hobby shop. Some of the local retail stores even carry kits that come with several of these items as well. The first thing you will want is a basic airbrush kit. It should come with the nozzles, hose, jars, covers, etc. It may or may not include a small compressor but your best bet is to find one that does. Just tell the salesperson what you are looking for and they should be able to point you in the right direction.

The next thing you need is personal protective equipment. These items will protect you from accidental inhalation as well as protecting your skin from the paints and cleaners. The items you need are latex gloves, safety goggles, and respiratory protection (breath mask). Painting supplies that you will need include airbrush paints, wet and dry sandpaper, rubbing alcohol, airbrush cleaner, and drafting tape. It is a wise idea to also pick up a small cheap bathroom fan to use for ventilation. Once you get everything home you are ready to build your paint booth.

Take an old cardboard box that is big enough for you to work on your model comfortably and cut out the top and one side. On the side opposite of the one you removed cut a hole big enough for the small fan to fit in. Place the fan in backwards so that it will vent air out of the box. This will provide adequate ventilation while you are airbrushing your car. Once you begin airbrushing you might want to wear a smock or an old shirt in case over spray gets on your clothes. Also, you should do your painting outside. The over spray that vents through fan can be blown all over the place and can make quite the mess. Some of this can also be prevented by loosely wiring a piece of cardboard over the side of the fan that is outside the box. This will allow some air to blow out but most of the paint should collect on the cardboard. Once you have built your simple paint booth you should be ready to begin.

Make sure that you have properly assembled your airbrush and are using a paint that is compatible with the model's construction. It may be that your model requires a particular type of paint. Also, you should make sure whether or not you need to use primer for your model. If it is then you will start your project by priming each piece. One thing to watch for is that most adhesives have an issue with sticking to primers. You may want to carefully scrape away the primer from the area that will receive the glue. Before you actually begin to airbrush your model car you should practice your technique. Using a piece of scrap metal or plastic try painting with the brush a couple of times. One thing you will want to remember is that if you want to get a good even finish then you have to spray with an even stroke going from one side to the other. Make sure you do not release the trigger until you have gone a bit past.

Once you have airbrushed your first few models you will be ready to try some more advanced techniques. Before you do make sure you practice whatever stroke it is that you are going to attempt. With enough practice you will have little trouble picking up these advanced techniques.
About the Author
Victor Epand is an expert consultant for model cars, model trains, and model trucks. You will find excellent hobbying and trading resources here for model car painting techniques, model trains, and model trucks.
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