2016-08.1: Airbrushing 103 - painting technique

05 Aug 2016

Average: 5 (15 votes)
23:30 - August 2016 Act I - Airbrushing 103 with Alan Houtz on Notch 8 (2016)

In the third segment in our Notch 8 series on airbrushing, professional painter Alan Houtz demonstrates tool handling and spraying.  Beware of wet paint!

To access the MRH Post-Floquil Acrylic Painting Guide (free if you're a subscriber):
click here. You can also buy a paperback version on the MRH Store here.

Also see:
- Airbrushing 101
- Airbrushing 102
- Airbrushing 104
- Proper airbrush cleaning

Also in the August 2016 show:

- Wally Brady’s Canadian National in HO scale
- Unboxing NCE’s Power Cab on DCC Decoded
- Rapido Trains visits the TrainMasters TV studio

... And more bonus content!

Own a copy of this video for just $3.49

Act II: Wally Brady’s Canadian National ...

Go to Act II


bart's picture

More valuable information!  Please!  Keep it up!



This is turning into another great series! Between this and the Mike Confalone series on brush-applied techniques, we should end up with all the info we need to paint and weather our models successfully.

Andrew Thompson

Very interesting, this is what I was looking for, and the prior videos were also informative on cleaning and striping the brush.  Thanks again

Great series!  I would like to learn what air compressors Alan would suggest for model railroaders.  Thanks!

tpmarshall's picture

Hi Blayne:

I'm sure Alan will wade in with some suggestions. But for our series, he brouht along an Iwata Neo Air:



I must admit I was dubious when I saw the small size of this compressor. But that just meant I was all the more impressed when I saw it in action. It produced plenty of air for the work we did on the series, and yet it was compact and quiet. I think it would work well for rolling stock painting projects, and would be a handy item to take to a club or exhibition. It would be a good starter compressor for most people - and, if they decide they enjoy airbrushing, are doing a lot of it, and want to get something larger, they can probably sell it on to another modeler.


At home, I use an Iwata Power Jet. I've had it for a few years now and I think it's great:




Before I got this compressor, I had a Badger compressor. It was also nice, but didn't have a tank so it ran constantly when in use - and was fairly noisy compared to the Iwata Neo Air. Not a big deai: I simply put it on an old fabric boot mat on the floor under my work desk. But if I was starting out today, I'd start with the Neo Air...


Hope this helps!

- Trevor

A very interesting and educational episode. And, I want ot thank you for the modulation it has.  I found it much easier to listen to than the last episode.  Thank you for the change.

Lee Smith

Are there any special techniques needed for spraying clear coat over models (especially gloss coat) - prior to decalling?

I'm really enjoying the airbrushing series of videos - thanks for all of the great advice.

We will try to get Alan to answer your question about clear coating. But in the meantime, here's an informative YouTube video on clear coating models (aircraft models, but the principles also work for model trains) if you can look past the mis-pronounciation of decals (it's dee-kalz folks, NOT deck-elz).


We will also look at adding more painting how-tos on specific painting technqiues such as doing clear coats, primer coats, metalics, etc.

​Hi Guys!

Any compressor will do as long as it has a regulator and a moisture trap or dryer.  Hobby compressors are nice because they are lightweight and quiet, but the big box home stores are full of workable solutions too.  I have a large five horsepower piston type with a 30 gallon tank ini the home workshop, and if I need to be quiet I use an Iwata Tubular.  I have tried several hobby compressors and I like the Iwatas because pulsation is nonexistant, and they will run for long periods without heating problems.  If you choose another brand look for thermal motor protection and a fan cooled motor.  As with anything else, you get what you pay for!


For clear coating I like Floquil Crystal Cote.  Yes I know you can't get it any more!  The Testor's solvent based clear works well too, and I'll switch to that when I exhaust my stash of Floquil.  I thin it 50-50 and spray it like any other color.  Two thin coats give me the best results, but if you are starting with a dead flat color, more may be necessary.  The IPMS guys will bring their car models up to  "showroom shime" with multipel clear coats.  You'll know when you have enough.   

PS: Regarding the Neo-Air:  It's a fine little compressor, but it works best with thin mediums.  I like ot for travel.  It fits in the suitcase with a travel toolkit, and is great for touchups if you have a last munite repair before taking your model to the contest room!  I would not recomend it for thick mediums like straight unthinned Polyscale or Floquil, or similar paints.