Last year when Pactra Paints announced the End of the Line, I had to find another way to paint RC bodies. After researching some options online, I decided to try using an airbrush. After getting some guidance and advice from the staff at my LHS, I purchased the Model Maker SA200 Single Action Airbrush Kit. This is a very simple, entry level airbrush kit that can be found in a variety of different names and places for under $20. The kit will have everything you need except an air compressor and the paint.
Setup & Practice:
The airbrush was easy to setup, even with the less than stellar instructions provided with the kit. It was at this point I was happy my LHS gave me a quick how-to before I made the purchase. I am using Faskolor water-based lexan paint, because this paint has no odor, it dries quickly and the store had all kinds of colors in stock. This is a little thicker paint and I was advised to set the PSI on my air compressor to around 50 psi. Now that I am ready to start, I use another piece of advice given to me, “Practice on an old pop bottle, that plastic and lexan plastic are very similar.” Practice was good and the airbrush preformed well. I did have a problem getting the jar adapter properly installed to the body of the airbrush (I simply didn’t have it pushed in far enough, which was not allowing the airbrush to pick up the paint.)
The first body I painted with the airbrush was a buggy body and second one you are seeing in this post. I really enjoy using the airbrush the only problem I continue to have with this model, is getting the jar adapter on the airbrush properly, it can be a bit of a pain. Like with other painting jobs, I was advised to have many thin coats, instead of a couple of thick ones. Honestly, what does that mean? 5 coats? 10 coats? I don’t know, but I will tell you I was around 7 coats in each of my projects. If it starts falling off in chunks, then I will need thinner coats in the future. The airbrush was inexpensive and it felt so when using it, but at the end of the day it did a great job for the price. I found that the hand motions I used to paint with the airbrush were not that different from using the spray cans, for that matter, the whole process was very similar.
Cleaning the airbrush is more involved than cleaning a spray can, which you just turn it upside down and press the nozzle to clear it. The airbrush requires you to clean everything, but because I used water based paints, clean up was very easy. I used soap, hot water and my air compressor to make sure everything was clean and free of paint, paying close attention to make sure the air tip would not get clogged with dried paint.
I will never use a spray can again, I should have made the jump to the airbrush years ago. Spray cans offer some convenience, but to me it is not enough to overcome the additional expense. The paint for the airbrush is less expensive then the spray can and it will do twice as much. I find the results with the airbrush noticeably better, plus you have the ability to mix paints which will give you countless different colors. After two paint jobs, I am getting very comfortable with the airbrush and the hesitant feeling I had when I first started is long gone.
I find the Model Maker SA200 Single Action Airbrush Kit a great kit for the price, it is so much better than using a spray can and it was an affordable option for myself because I already owned an air compressor. It does have a spray pattern that you can adjust from 3/4″ to 2″, which comes in very handy when painting the nooks and crannies on some of these RC bodies. The Jar adapter issue is going to soon bother me to the point that I am going to be looking at other Airbrush kits. But to be honest if a entry level airbrush kit cost $50 I probably never would have tried one. But for less than $20, the Model Maker SA200 is alright in my books.