Airbrush clogging.....help!

fubar

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Joined
Nov 10, 2011
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502
Hi

I am currently working on painting a tank and im trying to use Vallejo game color through my airbrush but im having real problems with it clogging on the needle and bottom of the cup. I normally only use my AB for undercoating, and i use the Vallejo Air undercoats without any problems, so this is like only the second time ive ever used it for painting properly and my skills at mixing and thinning paint is basic.

I know that the game range isnt meant for airbrush work but ive been told by many on Facebook that as long as its thinned its ok, but it does seem very pigment heavy and i dont know if thats part of the problem. I'm currently making it about a 50/50 mix between the paint and the vallejo thinner with several drops of retarder added too, it looks about the consistency of milk, and the compressor is set at about 20psi.

Everything seems ok for a minute or too then the paint flow starts to reduce then stop. The paint in the cup looks fine but when i take it all apart the needle and bottom of the paint cup seem clogged. I'm unsure what to do, looked on YouTube and seems like i'm doing it right but obviously im not! lol

Any thoughts or help would be greatly appreciated.

Regards Matt
 

sunsanvil

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Jun 2, 2010
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490
Vallejo paint, all varieties, have in fact only ONE slightly tragic flaw: The bottle. While the eye dropper has revolutionized paint dispensing, the fact is the bottle simply doesn't have enough room in it for shaking alone to properly homogenize such a viscous paint. While ModelAir colors are usually thin enough to negate this, ModelColor and GameColor, being decidedly thick by definition, make it a real chore.

So while you may think you have it shaken up well, and thinned it till it looks good, there is more often than not little thick bits in there, hiding, waiting for to reach the constricted orifice of the airbrush...and what started off as a pleasant AB session turns into frustration. In desperation you dump it out, clean out the gun, start over only to run into the same thing sooner or later.

I speak from long experience here.

Possible solutions:

1 ) Use ModelAir. Yea, I know, I too had a zillion ModelColor shades when I figured this out but over time switched my buying to ModelAir as need be and now I rarely reach for ModelColor when airbrushing. Even then its worth noting you still need to shake those bottles like a mo fo, in alternating and random directions, before dispensing, and when doing particularly delicate work you may still want to add a bit of the clear thinner.

2) Mix/thin in a separate vessel BEFORE dispensing to the air brush. Use an old paint brush, not a stick, to mix it....and mix and mix to make sure you get it all homogenized. Then and only then load the gun.

3) For particularly thick colors, take the eyedropper off the bottle (just pulls off), get a tooth pick in there (or other suitable stick), stir and break it up GOOD, then put the dropper and cap on and shake till you arm is soar...then go to suggestion #2.
 

fubar

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Nov 10, 2011
Messages
502
Cheers for the help mate, its been driving me crazy.....with all this shaking bottles i just hope to god no one has seen me through the window, heaven knows what they must think im doing! lol

This is the first time i've really used Game Color, i've used Model Air mostly through the AB, so i just figured it was me doing something particularly daft. But it does look much thicker than even the Citadel paints i've used in the past. I did have a quick look at Model Air but they didnt have the shade of red i needed and i dont have time to try custom mixing a whole batch of red.

I had to revert to brush in the end as i'm against the clock to get this army painted for a tourney beginning of September but once this panic is over i will put in some real practice with the AB.

Cheers Matt
 
S

ScaleModelMadman

Guest
fubar said:
.....with all this shaking bottles i just hope to god no one has seen me through the window, heaven knows what they must think im doing! lol

Ahhh man, I just burst out laughing reading that!
 

Gundamhead

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Jun 18, 2010
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464
As has been stated mix it before you put it in the airbrush to be sure. It sorta sounds like your airbrushes paint cup's vent is plugged too.
 

WebbyNZ

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Dec 9, 2011
Messages
521
on Vallejo bottles the fact you can easily pop the dropper off means you can easily drop a bb or bearing into the bottle.
before you do this test it with a couple of colours and thinners to make sure it does not react with the bearing over time (i left mine 2 weeks before i felt confident to drop them in)
and make sure they are small enough to get around the bottle, while not being so small that they will clog up the tip when you invert the bottle.
 

THE NEW ONE

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Oct 4, 2011
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Also sound like that you need to put some drying delay in you paint, or you can just thin it out some more
 

fubar

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Nov 10, 2011
Messages
502
Thanks for the tips guys, i particularly like the ball bearing idea, just wondering if i can find some.

Err paint cups vent? Not sure if my brush has one, but i will look into it, thanks.

I did use drying retarder, should it be a gel? I know the bottle is new from a store but i suppose it could have been sat on their shelf for ages and started to dry out.

Do you know if vallejo thinners/retarders work ok with Citadel paints, im tempted to try thinning down my Khorne Red....it surely couldn't be worse than my experience with the other red.

TTFN Matt
 

WebbyNZ

Member
Joined
Dec 9, 2011
Messages
521
Some retarders/flow improvers are more gel like in constancy, they do work but I have found the best is from badgers minitaire range. It comes with a eye dropper which makes it super easy to add exactly what you need and it works really well with Model air as well.
 

LrdSatyr8

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Dec 21, 2012
Messages
765
Just as a suggestion... I tend to put BBs in my bottles. I drop 2 or 3 in the paint itself before closing the lid. Makes for mixing alot faster!
 

WebbyNZ

Member
Joined
Dec 9, 2011
Messages
521
Some good tips already but I'll add a couple more.

The most expensive options are grappling the game air range, it's fantastic and sprays beautifully.

I'd also make sure you are not running any lacquer/enamels through the airbrush as they can mess with acrylic paints, flush with acrylic thinner before spraying if you have to.

To save paint elbow and a uncomfortable discussion with the neighbours try investing in a paint shaker, either one of the robard units available on eBay or a budget option, lots of ideas on YouTube using things like electric carving knives or even Lego
 

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