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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A perfect storm of airbrushing disaster

Those of you who live in the Bahamas or the Gobi Desert can just sort of ignore this next bit. In the Great Northwest it has begun to get bloody cold. Highs in the low 40s, with some lows forecast for the first week of December in the low 20s (that's Fahrenheit of course, not Celsius). This does bear some relevance to last night's airbrushing session. It was somewhere in the low to mid 30s when I ventured out into the garage to get caught up on a couple of projects. At times like this I wish I had set up my paint area in some part of the house that actually gets heated. By the time I finally called the session off, my fingers were literally non-functional. I tend to be, shall we say, well insulated, so when I get that cold then it is time to find some hot chocolate and a fireplace.

In fact this airbrushing session started to show signs of becoming one of those perfect storms of disaster that make up the majority of my modelling efforts. First came a coat of Middle Stone camo on a Trumpeter Wellington. Being a great fan of Xtracolour paints, I have been hoarding my existing tins of the stuff, since it has become increasingly impossible to buy from the source (ie ,Hannants). Well, perhaps "buy" is the wrong word; they just can't ship it to you anymore.

So, whereas in earlier times I might have trashed a tin that had clearly exceeded its use-by date, I will now try to make an effort to salvage what remains in the crusty bottom of the container. So in went a little lacquer thinner and down it went into the airbrush cup.

But instead of liquefying (like it has done bazillions of times before) the paint turned into some unidentified substance with the external properties of grape jelly. And that certainly does not want to pass through the body of an airbrush. It literally gummed up the works. And of course I didn't realize that was the issue until it had literally worked its way into every internal crevice my Iwata has. I'm probably lucky it didn't back up into the compressor and muck that up as well.

Much frozen panic ensued. Try breaking down an airbrush when your fingers don't work. I still haven't gotten it entirely cleaned out, but after 20 minutes of work I was able to at least get some paint (a new load from an entirely different tin) moving through it again. I was able to complete the Middle Stone work, and even switched colors for some Ocean Grey camo on a recently constructed Hasegawa Hurricane. But that was enough drama for one evening.

Below is a shot of some recent work, including those two models (after the paint cured and the masking was stripped). Next up is getting the exhausts painted on the Wellington and sorting out the prop on the Hurricane. And I still need to get some replacement Satin for top coats of two mostly finished models. The other two models in the shot are a Revell P-47 and an Italeri SM-82.

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