3 Basic Painting Methods for any project are as follows: These methods not only apply to models, but to all objects that need to be painted. The first method to be discussed is BRUSH PAINTING. Brush painting is self explanatory except the technique used when brush painting is where the difference lies. The technique to paint a house requires a large brush movement with a fairly large brush. Whereas, the technique to paint a tiny hobby figurine requires a very small specialized brush that has to keep a point while applying a very tiny amount of paint. Having a small high quality brush is a specialized tool a house painter doesn’t need, however, the hobbyist does. To summarize this method, brush painting small items to invoke “realism” is much different than brush painting full size objects to protect them from the elements. Preventing a Rail Road boxcar from rusting or painting a wooden bridge to prevent rot is much different than painting the face of a scale hobby figurine.
The second method is SPRAY PAINTING. Spray painting utilizes pressurized paint canisters that are internally pressurized by an aerosol gas. The paint is ejected as a highly atomized mist once the trigger on the top of the canister is depressed. Spray paint cans are portable and also disposable once empty. Spray painting creates allot of over-spray that is hard to regulate compared to airbrushing that creates very little or zero over-spray. Spray painting will deliver a superior overall finish than brush painting, but the skill necessary to achieve that finish is also greater. Spray painting is cheaper than airbrushing, but for close in detail work, spray painting is over kill due to the large “blast” that comes from the paint nozzle when it is depressed.
The last method is AIRBRUSHING/ SPRAY GUN PAINTING– Airbrushes and Spray guns are hand held painting devices that come in many different sizes and applications. Airbrushes and spray gun break down into two main components. The first: is a paint reservoir that contains the paint, and the second: is a compressed air or gas feed that atomizes the paint into a fine aerosol mist that is then softly sprayed onto the object to be painted. This is the painting method that real airplane, car, truck, ship, etc. factories utilize to paint full scale products. As a case in point, the massive Saturn V moon rockets that carried American Astronauts to the moon were painted by spray guns in a giant factory. This was absolutely critical because too much paint from a wet, sloppy paint job would add thousands of pounds of weight to the Saturn V robbing it of much needed payload capacity. A good rule of thumb to achieve a flawless finish on any project is that an airbrush delivers the best and most authentic finish. The second method, a spray paint canister delivers the next best finish, (although not as good as an airbrush). And lastly, the trusty paint brush is good enough, but not perfect. Sincerely, Dr. Hobby: And as I always say, “Happy Modeling!”