2016-06.3: Notch 8 - Airbrushing 101

17 Jun 2016

Average: 5 (21 votes)
19:06 - June 2016 Act III - Airbrushing 101 with Alan Houtz (2016)

On Notch 8 over the next few months, professional painter Alan Houtz will share his experience with the tools and materials he uses to airbrush contest-quality models. In “Airbrushing 101” we learn about getting comfortable with the different types of airbrushes and the simple process of keeping them clean.

Also see:
- Airbrushing 102
- Airbrushing 103
- Airbrushing 104
- Proper airbrush cleaning

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Georonn's picture

Nice job guys.  I've been wanting to buy an airbrush for some time now, but always chicken out because I feel like it will take too much to master it.  I also did not understand the difference and the reasons for using internal mix or external mix airbrush, or the reasons for get a 2 stage over a single stage airbrush. You've done a great job of explaining that in this episode.  I'm looking forward to more episodes on using the airbrush, and painting and weathering techniques.

This is a huge subject and I hope there are several more episodes.

This is a huge subject and I hope there are several more episodes.

You bet! We can say there's not only a 102, but a 201, 202, and even 301 and 302. Many episodes coming on this topic. When we bring an expert in the studio, we want to get the absolute most value we can while they're here!

Once this series is all done, this will make a great airbrushing how-to video for the MRH Store, for those who are not TMTV members. Or if you want a copy to own, you can get that too - but for TMTV members, make sure you always use the 15% MRH Store discount that's listed under the hub area.

An excellent video all the way around!  It has rekindled my interest in airbrushing, which got sort of buried in a lot of other things, (along with a too-long hiatus from the hobby in general), and I guess I'll have to institute a search through the rr storage boxes to locate and re-animate an old airbrush purchased a LOT of years ago, which then got archived under the heading "I'll get to it eventually" (translation: never did). Anyway, excellent  job as usual, Trevor, and kudos to your knowlegeable guest Mr. Houtz on being not only an expert, but one who is easy to listen to and learn from. Keep 'em coming!


                                              Fred B.

looks like being another great series, in keeping with the excellent "weathering with Mike Confalone". Your expert has a nice way of explaining things.

This is turning out to be a real "value for money" subscription!

Andrew Thompson

tpmarshall's picture

Thanks for the kind words, Andrew. Tell your friends! :-)

- Trevor

tpmarshall's picture

I have been using airbrushes for about 25 years now. Yet I have to admit that as the host of this series, I learned a lot from Alan - and it has definitely improved my airbrushing technique and minimized some past frustrations.

I'm really glad I was able to host Alan in the studio - and I'm sure others will learn a lot from this series, too.

- Trevor

This is not intended to be a criticism, but rather a set of comments and PERSONAL observations....

1, You need a better sound system. There is too much variation in the volume.

2. Better micropnones, closer to the source...

3. You are speaking to those of us in fly-over country...  SLOW DOWN!! We do not speed talk here...

4. Perhaps consider a public speaking course for the participants.

5. I know this is just a hobby ( I have been doing it since before KADEE couplers) but once you

move to instructing or demonstrating, you are now in a different arena... Your audience deserves

the best...

Thanks to TMTV for tackling this concept and presenting these "how-to" videos...



bart's picture

Oh Boy!  How timely!  Well, actually, I could have used this video a couple of months ago.  I just purchased an Iwata Eclipse HP-CS as recommended on a military web site.  I also changed out the needle with a 5 mil set.  Even my first attempt came out great!  What a difference a good tool makes!  That said, I will be waiting (impatiently) for the promised follow on episodes.

For what it's worth, This is a first time with a double action.  I practiced with no air/no paint for a couple of days to get the feel of the thing.  Yes, I had to unlearn the single action thingy!

Perhaps, if I really pay attention, I'll be able to paint as good as Trevor did to his Express car!


bwtharp's picture

Very timely and a great job.  I just purchased my first airbrush about a month ago.  Thanks for the validation; I purchased the most I could get for my budget.  I chose the Badger Matrix Omni for the double action and the ability to rotate the cup for a suction feed.

I am very much looking forward the coming articles. I hope you cover painting on different surfaces to include plastic, wood, and brass.  I keep several projects going at once.  I have painting of wood, plastic, and brass in the queue.  

Keep up the good work.  I am enjoying my subscription.  The only fault I have with it is a problem you have no control over; our here in rural America bandwidth is a big issue.   Even your alternate player needs buffered when the best you can get is 768K down; but as I said, that's not on you guys. 

Great job - actually 6 stars.  Looking forward to more so that I get up the confidence to try one.

Hi Dan!  I listened to the presentation to see how it came out.  I had no trouble hearing anything.  In my professional career I have been giving technical presentations for twenty five years, and never had any complaints.  I don't speak for the folks at TMTV but for myself, thanks for your input.  I'll check with audiences going forward at live shows.  For you now, since you are playing a video, do remember that you can back it up & hear a part again of you miss something.  Happy modeling!   Alan Houtz

Ken's picture

I completely understand. Airbrushing sounded like the best way to get both fine detail and broad coverage using the same tool, but learning how to use one was highly intimidating.

I was fortunate enough to run into a hands-on clinic at a local model RR show, where we spent a couple of hours learning how to use an airbrush, painting lines on blank paper. By the end of the clinic, I was signing my name legibly, with a double action brush.

I originally bought a single action airbrush online. Later I found a double action airbrush for less than $100 at a local pawn shop. It was in the originalk box, and came with paints. Not a bad deal if you aren't sure about investing in a new tool.

Not to criticize Dan's comments but just to let you know that I hear you fine and I have no problem with what either of you were saying.  I can't remember an in-studio video on TMTV that I have had a problem hearing.  I will say that I use a large 28" combination TV/monitor with my desktop which may make the difference. 

My wife wishes that I could hear her as well!! ;-) 

I'm really enjoying all the TMTV series and really look forward to new presentations.

Thank you for another great and enjoyable series on airbrushing.

Best, Andy Keeney

Lansing, MI

If I'm not mistaken, Alan is using an Iwata Custom Micro Series airbrush. Most of us hobbiest are not going to be using a $500 airbrush. Would it be possible for him to show us how to setup an Eclipse or Performance Plus airbrush?

Jeff Palmer


Hi Jeff!

Sorry but you are mistaken. The airbruses used in this series were the Eclipse CS and the Performance Plus HB-B+.  I do own a Custom Micron, but I seldom use it in model railroad work. I did not have it with me that day.  It's a beautiful tool, bit I find that the Eclipse and Performance Plus series do everything I need for my railroad models. Microns are best used with thin mediums like inks. They will shoot the Com Art weathering colors quite well, but the intent was to use affordable equipment.