Painting is one of my least favorite things on the planet. Well, to be a little more specific - this kind of painting . . .
Painting about anything in the house is a pain, start to finish. My OCD goes into overdrive and I never feel like I do a great job. Yeah, all those blue lines? Painter's tape, to mask off all the trim. Painful.
For the longest time, the pain of painting extended to my hobby - to the extent that I let my first airbrush languish in its box for over 25 years, way too fearful of messing up to actually use it (click here for that story). Forget about ever actually enjoying it.
In fact, the only painting I've come to actually enjoy has been on the layout. Blue sky for the backdrop and dark green for the fascia is super easy with a roller and a huge boost of progress for the time spent. And no taping!
So early this morning, now that I'm finally done with filling in the screw holes and seams, I decided to get out the roller and prime the fascia in Essex. But later this afternoon, the fun really began . . .
I actually used my new(ish) airbrush! It's a lot more sophisticated than "The Choice of the 80s" and I figured using it to seal my foam-built Dickinson coal dump with a clear coat would be a good way to practice.
Fortunately, I also had some "training wheels" along for the ride in the form of some airbrushing notes derived from a number email conversations - not to mention virtual visits - with my friend Ralph Renzetti. In one handy place, I have crib sheets for thinning ratios, air pressures and cleanup tips for all different kinds of paint.
But after today's airbrushing session, I don't think I'm going to need that much info because after seeing how easy - and actually fun - Tamiya paint is to use, I may just decide to use it exclusively.
After sealing the coal dump, I figured I'd see if any of the Tamiya paint I had on-hand would match my go-to track paint - Rustoleum Earth Brown. I've been looking for a non (or at least less) toxic way to paint the track indoors during the winter and Ralph suggested I try some Tamiya colors. I'd used them to paint the coal dump track a few weeks back and it came out well, so painting a sample color swatch was a great way to practice double-action triggering.
And my new airbrush of choice? The Badger Patriot 105, another Ralph suggestion. I actually got it during a great sale last February and had fallen into my old rut of being afraid to actually use it.
But I have to say, much to my pleasant surprise, shooting Tamiya paint through it is just about as easy as using a rattle can. Sure, there's a little more involved than just taking off a cap and firing away, but you more than make up for that in additional control. Coupled with an in-line moisture trap (shown here - and another Ralph suggestion and sale acquisition), I daresay airbrushing is becoming almost easy.
It's certainly become a lot more fun. And if you have fun doing something, you'll tend to do it more often. And while practice may not result in perfection, you can't help but get better over time.
That's what I'm counting on - and I'm already looking forward to the next time I can fire up the 'brush and paint something!
In case you're interested, here's my nascent go-to airbrushing combo:
- Airbrush: Badger Patriot 105 dual-action, top feed, internal mix
- Paint: Tamiya, thinned 1:1 with 91% isopropyl alcohol (IPA)
- Air Pressure: 15-20 psi
- Cleanup: IPA & Windex