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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Airbrush Battle Royal round two - not quite there yet

I received some timely tips on airbrush malfunction in the comments section from both Joroen and Tim. (Thanks, gents). These involved helping to get a good seal on the forward parts of the airbrush with a blob of Vaseline in order to prevent air pressure loss. So I glopped a bit on the threads - you would be surprised how many questions your wife may come up with when you grab a jar of Vaseline and disappear into the basement - and tightened things up as best I could.

Soon the airbrush was running and I was spraying a matte topcoat onto the SM-82 that I recently completed (and which you'll be seeing on the blog shortly). The matte coat went on fairly well, so I thought the problem might be solved. Unfortunately, the next color up was a reshoot of the Alclad that sputtered out on me during the last session. Once again, the stream reduced and reduced until there was no paint emerging from the tip at all.

I don't thin Alclad (since it typically doesn't need it) so it wasn't a chemical reaction with thinner. There was some buildup around the outer portion of the airbrush tip, which is also unusual for Alclad. Was this another manifestation of the Alclad Curse, which only seems to be invoked whenever Alclad paint crosses the border into 72 Land? I'm not sure yet. The level of frustration was high and the evening was cold, so I decided to defer the experiment with another enamel paint until a later date.

So I'm not quite there yet, but I continue to experiment. Airbrushing is such an integral part of the modelling toolkit that I have to overcome this or start looking for a new hobby. Could I have slopped on too much Vaseline and contaminated the airstream, causing a chemical reaction with the lacquer thinner? Not sure - despite what you may have heard, I am not an expert in Vaseline usage - but I am not beaten yet. One other effect of the painting session was that I realized my surface prep for the Hasegawa B-26 was inadequate for a NMF, so I will need to do some additional buffing and put on a coat of primer.

On the other end of the production queue, I have decided to delay the start of work on two new kits - the Hasegawa Ta-154 and the DML He-219 - in favor of two Italeri models of Italian aircraft: the Fiat BR-20 and the Caproni Ca-314. With a great Sky Models decal sheet of Italian bombers to provide unique markings and the completion of two other Italian models in 2014, I figured I should strike while the proverbial iron is hot. 


  1. Airbrush-troubles can be really frustrating. I was never sure if it was me or the brush.
    I ended up tossing my (Revell) airbrush (I still use it for Alclad klear kotes, I don't like putting cellulose-based stuff in my "regular" airbrush) and bought a new one (second-hand Aztec). Haven't had a single issue since, except normal problems with paint consistency. At least, now I always know that I did something wrong (and what), instead of some unknown issue.
    I still think the troubles started after spraying the Vallejo varnishes. Never got that to spray right and everything went sideways after. I think it messed up something inside that I cannot clean myself.
    Best of luck!

  2. I suspect that the ultimate solution is a trip to Portland for a professional thorough cleaning (and part replacement) by Iwata Medea. But until my income situation rights itself there are more critical items to spend that money on. So I'm going back to attempting a deep cleaning myself. So send out the dogs if I disappear inside there! (And thanks for the comments!)