2016-07.2: Notch 8 - Airbrushing 102

05 Jul 2016

Average: 4.8 (18 votes)
31:34 - July 2016 Act II - Airbrushing 102 with Alan Houtz on Notch:8 (2016)

In the second segment in our Notch 8 series on airbrushing, professional painter Alan Houtz shares some tips on outfitting your spray booth set-up and does a complete strip-down and cleaning of Trevor Marshall’s own personal airbrush - and finds a surprise inside!

Also see:
- Airbrushing 101
- Airbrushing 103
- Airbrushing 104
- Proper airbrush cleaning

Own a copy of this video for just $3.49

Act III: Indy National Train Show report, part 1 ...

Go to Act III


Good segment but sound level of host & guest is not the same making it hard to balance volume as they talk to each other. Trevor speaks distinctly while Alan seems almost to be whispering sometimes. 

Thanks... very informative!


Haven't seen him paint anything.  His good at paint gun maintenance.

Read the latest blog post from Trevor Marshsll on the series. It has a photo of a steam loco panted by Alan.

The painting is coming, so patience young Palawan ... (wink)

This series is great!!!  I can't wait for more!!!

Alan has cleared up some questions I've had about airbrushes for years and have never found the answers to, such as, "does it make sense to try to control both the airflow as well as the paint flow with a double action airbrush", etc.  (That may have been in the "101" video).  There were a few others I'm forgetting at the moment - but I will watch / listen to these videos in the background many times in the future, no doubt...

Great job Alan and Trevor!

How many segments will there be?  Heck, this could be an ongoing segment and I'd be very happy!

tpmarshall's picture

Hi Zekeschwarz:

As has already been noted, we're going to be showing some painting techniques in a future segment. But we also have a number of guests who are accomplished painting and weathering experts, who can demonstrate airbrush techniques, and we didn't want to duplicate their efforts. One of the strengths that Alan brings to the subject is his extensive experience with the equipment itself, and we wanted to tap into that to show people how to select and maintain an airbrush and various accessories. Based on the many positive comments we've had on the segments so far, we chose wisely.

My own experience is typical of those who use an airbrush in the hobby. I learned a fair bit from magazines and other sources about how to spray paint, and I'm comfortable with that. But I realized I knew almost nothing about how to pick an airbrush, how to keep it clean while working with it, and how to rescue the airbrush if it gets seriously jammed with paint. Those issues, we felt, were worth exploring in detail so that when another guest demonstrates a technique for, say, masking and spraying a two-tone paint scheme or adding weathering to a car with an airbrush, our viewers can focus on the painting technique and know that they have the essential information about the tool to use it with confidence.


- Trevor

tpmarshall's picture

Hi James:

We've shot four segments with Alan, as an introduction to airbrushing for viewers who are not familiar with the tool. Having done these, we're keen to have guests on the show who can demostrate specific airbrushing techniques. And we'd be happy to have Alan back to discuss the tool and its uses in subsequent segments.

The airbrush is such a powerful tool - but also surrounded by myths. I know many experienced modelers who shudder when they have to use one, and avoid it at all costs. As Alan demonstrates in this series, their fears are unfounded. It's actually incredibly easy to use an airbrush once one knows what one should be doing. And while we think of them primarly as a tool for painting locomotives and rolling stock, they're handy for everything from details to scenery. I've even used one to airbrush static grass to add color variation to my scenery.

Thanks for the feedback.


- Trevor

bwtharp's picture

I like to comments about mixing different manufacturers thinners and cleaners. Having created a little cottage cheese by mixing one manufacturers thinner with another's paint I learned to test first. Heck of a cleanup job when you get paint curds in the nozzle.

I imagine this series could easily expand to over a dozen segments and I will be looking forward to them.  I've got a nice brass model I'm waiting to start, only after I see someone else paint on brass.

Excellent series.

Hi Zeke!  

If you go back to the first segment, you'll see a slide show of models  some passenger cars, traction models, a steam locomotive or two. Those are all my work.  I've been a custom painter for over 20 years, though I'm trying to do more modeling for myself these days!  I will be doing some painting in upcoming segments  It was different painting on camera than it is at home in the paint booth though!  Took some getting used to.  


Alan Houtz

I have an older Badger siphon single action, and just recently acquired a Paasche dual action with a side cup (but still a siphon).  I haven't used it extensively, but I am finding out that all the siphon styles really hold a lot of paint and take longer to clean.  
Looking forward to seeing some painting techniques and hope you guys will cover masking and multi color sometime in this series.



tpmarshall's picture

Thanks for the feedback Toni. We didn't cover masking and multicolor schemes in the first four segments we shot, but there's good news: The feedback on this series has been very positive so far, so I think it's safe to say we'll be doing more segments about airbrushing and masking will definitely be part of that.

Happy sprayin'... ;-)

- Trevor

coyoteww's picture

Trevor...looking forward to the addition of masking / multiple color airbrushing. Even thou I have been airbrushing for many years....I can alway use tips and tricks on masking for multiple colors and / or stripes / designs. With the loss of Floquil and Scalecoat, I am having to pick up my skillset with these newer paints. Thanks for the video's !


As others have mentioned, I found Alan's voice to be soft and pleasing, but he tends to trail off toward the end of his conversation.  Trevor, on the other hand, is a consistent loud voice.  Setting my volume to hear Alan meant I got shouted at by Trevor.  Perhaps Trevors mike could be relocated a bit further away from his mouth to reduce his volume to better match Alan?  Other than that, I enjoyed the episode and learned a lot about cleaning my air brushes, be they Iwata (my newest), Badger or Paache.  Keep them coming.

Rod S.

I know that Alan was demonstrating mostly on Iwata brushes.  Is there much difference between manufacturer's brushed for stripping and cleaning them if they are the same types of brush such as dual action, gravity feed? I have mostly Badger products.  Would like to get an Iwata dual action gravity feed in the future.

When using acrylics, how long should you be able to paint before you should be cleaning the brush?  If I was painting several boxcars, should I be able to do them all if it was going to take me 20 minutes or so, or should I be running a little cleaner through the brush every several minutes so paint doesn't setup in the brush.  I remember reading something about this in the past for water based paints. 

Loving this series on TMTV.  Really looking forward to painting, masking and other helpful tips.  I have a fleet to get started on!! :-)

Best, Andy Keeney

Lansing, MI

Okay, we redid the audio mix on this episode to see if that helps at all. Honestly, it sounded good to us although it's true Alan would speak a bit under his breath at times (it's his speaking style). A lot depends on your sound system you have where you're watching the videos.

I must have watched the episode with the new mix because the sound levels were well matched. 

HI Andy!  Sorry I missed this question.  I tend to concentrate on the newer episodes when looking for fresh questions!  First, there are minor differences between the various manufacturers.  I find the Iwata among the easiest to strip down.  The Badger products are a little more demanding.  What they all the "back lever" (see your Badger parts giude) is a separate part and can be a little tricky to get to stay in place during re-assembly.  Also remember that it is seldom necessary to completely strip down the airbrush.  I typically clean by rinsing, pulling the needle, wiping it off, and re-rinsing. You might want to watch the cleaning video.  As to how long you can paint with with acrylics between cleaning, that really depends on the paint.  I like to use a little retarder with acrylics to slow drying time.  Tip dry is an issue with any paint, so I usually remove the nozzle cap so I can see the needle.  If you're a Badger guy, consider their "Paint Picker Tip".  You'll be able to see dried paint on the needle and wipe it off before it becomes a problem.  Paint won't set up in the brush as long as you keep painting, at least not with typical cup and bottle sizes.  I seldom use anything larger than a 2 ounce bottle with a siphon feed, and the 1/3 ounce cup on the gravity feed airbrushes doesn't hold near enough to make this a problem.