Having spoken to Len at the Deeside Defenders club in Broughton a couple of times about affordable airbrushes, he pointed me towards the Expo airbrush and compressor kit from Wargamestore at Brimstage on the Wirral - see link and photo. Len has put Youtube videos up showing the kit in action and there are a series of guides on the Wargamestore Youtube site.
I've never used an airbrush before, so was a bit unsure how user friendly it would be, especially the clean-up after use. I found the kit easy to set up and very simple to use.
Once the paint is added to the pot and the compressor reaches pressure, there is a trigger to press to release air through the nozzle and the trigger slides back to control the amount of paint released (a dual action brush). The pressure of the air from the compressor can also be varied and the airhose is braided which prevents kinking and pinching. The compressor itself is very quiet, the fact sheet says around 40 dB, but I found it very quiet and it didn't disturb our 5 year old asleep in the bedroom above where I was working. The airbrush runs undiluted Vallejo Model Air paints and other Vallejo and Tamiya acrylic paints diluted about 3 or 4 to 1 with acrylic thinners. I also bought a bottle of Vallejo Grey Primer and Vallejo Airbrush Cleaner. The latter is particularly useful as it really breaks up the paint residue making it easy to clean out the pot with a paper towel and flush the residue out the nozzle with a jet of air. A pre-wash with water to remove most of the paint residues and flushing with surgical spirits also worked well, especially between paint colours, but the bespoke cleaner is also meant to lubricate the needle and helps to prevent corrosion when not in use, allegedly. I was worried about the amount of overspray and the potential for clouds of paint to drift within the room or to be inhaled, but was pleasantly surprised to find almost no paint reached surfaces I wasn't aiming at. There was also no odour to speak of, although I still plan to use paper masks, goggles and gloves when airbrushing, it's never worth taking a risk with eyes or lungs!
My first effort at airbrushing was to paint up an Airfix T34-85 which I'm planning to use at the Crisis Point 2014 game in April. I've still got to do a lot of detailing, but the base coat is on with a Vallejo grey primer, Model Air Russian Green base coat, Army Painted dark tone ink wash, and progressively lighter dustings of Model Air Russian Green neat, with a couple of drops of white and finally a couple of drops of yellow.
Obviously far from finished, but I'm pretty pleased with the result and very impressed at how quickly I was able to go through the entire process. So, I plan to make good use of my new airbrush/compressor kit in the future.
Thanks for looking.