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Fresh-Faced New User

Hey everyone, I'm hoping for a little guidance with some specific questions regarding airbrushing. I've done a lot of reading and watched a lot of videos to try and make sure I don't get tripped up by any supremely obvious stuff along the way. Still, I'm finding it difficult to know with 100% certainty why I see some of the behavior I see.

First, I am starting off with a Neo CN as a beginner brush. It seemed like one of the better choices to get something decent while not investing too much too soon. I also bought this compressor:


I'm trying to find my sweet spot for paint thickness and PSI. Sometimes when I spray, I may get 2-3 seconds of flow before it dies out, where I'll then give it a sharp burst to buy another 2-3 seconds. Generally speaking, is it better to try and thin the paint more or try a higher PSI? Assume that I'm cleaning the needle, nozzle, everything very frequently and thoroughly.

In both cases I find if I go much more thin on the paint or higher on the PSI, the paint tends to "splash" onto the model and the air pushes it around, giving it an awful and uneven texture.

Do I need to pull the brush farther away from the model? It seems like videos I see, on low PSI, you should be able to get pretty dang close. I'm sure I've got user error on my part since I'm starting out, but could it also be that I don't have a tank on my AC and it's causing inconsistent airflow? If the airflow was inconsistent, how would I test for that other than looking at the regulator dial?

I can probably come up with more details if any would be helpful. Just let me know. Thanks in advance everyone.
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Terminator with Assault Cannon

So, I'm gonna give you the answer, and it's the answer no one likes to hear because it's the same answer when people ask, how do you loose weight?

You just gotta do it.

For what you are experiencing there is no answer anyone cane give you other then, keep playing with mixtures and PSI until you get it right, all paints are different. But generally you wanna be shooting at around 17 psi

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Fresh-Faced New User

Hah, honestly I'm fine with an answer like that. Knowing is half the battle, right? I just want to eliminate as many possibilities of what's going wrong as possible.

I've been aiming to stay in the 10-20 PSI range, honestly most of the time at 18 PSI. Knowing I'm in the ballpark helps.

So if I experience the "splashy" sort of effect in that ~18 PSI range, is the paint too thin?
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Speedy Swiftclaw Biker

Just curious, what paint are you using?

There's really a 'hands on' learning curve and about the only thing I found that made it any easier (aside from looking at some guides) was trying some dedicated airbrush paints to get through the "Ok that's how it's supposed to work. Now to thin out colors I want." stage.
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Thermo-Optical Tuareg

Nashville, TN

One thing I've been doing is practicing my airbrushing on terrain. It gets me used to the feel of it and I can afford to make the occasional mistake since it's just terrain. Plus I'm getting some terrain painted!

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Erratic Knight Errant


Try to keep your PSI around 20 on the average - no higher than 25 if a bit thick, no lower than 15 or you will get sputters. Going too high can damage the seals in your brush.

Your paint should be the consistency to consistently flow through your brush at this PSI. I find about the thickness of whole milk works good, but your brush type will dictate what it likes.

And you have it right - terrain is an excellent learning ground, as the paint areas are not usually so strict, so learning time is nice.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2018/06/14 18:01:35

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Terminator with Assault Cannon

If you are getting splatters it's because the paint is to thin,

So my mix that I was taught was to use a 1:9 of 90% alcohol to water mix, that will be your airbrush thinner. The I find that for reaper paints and vallajo a roughly 1:1 mix of your thinner and paint works pretty well, erroring or the side of more paint then mix, and you gotta play with it there

kill ALL the orks!

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Abhorrent Grotesque Aberration

Can you tell if that compressor is actually giving you a consistent PSI? Pretty much every tankless compressor is garbage for airbrushing.

Sounds like 2 possible problems. The first is that the paint is globbing up in the airbrush. Clean it thoroughly by taking it completely apart and making sure absolutely everything is clean. Along with this go buy a paint that is already thinned for airbrushing. That’ll eliminate proper paint thinning as a problem.

Another possibility is that the compressor isn’t able to keep a solid pressure level up. Tanks provide air pressure consistency that compressors alone can’t do. I’d highly recommend you return that tankless compressor and buy one with a tank. Beyond just pressure consistency, a tank means the compressor isn’t always running so it’ll last far longer.

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Terminator with Assault Cannon

You don't need to use pre thinned paints and 90% of the time you will need to thin them more any way.

The splatter/spider effect is because the paint is to thin.

As mentioned, get a compressor with a tank it helps a lot.

kill ALL the orks!

1500 pts Legion of the Damned (Salamanders)
1500 point Dewathwings  
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