Wednesday 2 October 2013

Aztek A470 - First trial run

After many weeks of not visiting the workbench, it is more than time to try out the new airbrush (Aztek A470) and compressor (Sparmax) I bought second-hand. I'll be honest, I was hesitant to try it out, given my experience with my first Revell airbrush, but I finally managed to force myself to give it a try (with a little nudge from my girlfriend).

The kit contains 6 nozzles, 2 of which (1 fine, 1 larger) are suitable for acrylics. I'll be experimenting with the other nozzles with acrylics anyway, but let's leave that for later. I really like the many paint cups provided, but I'll get to that later.

Connecting the brush to the compressor, firing it up and regulating the pressure was child's play. I had feared the brush wouldn't work right off the bat, because the trigger is rather loose. It can initially move 2 millimeter without moving any inner components. It has never been used, but after many unused years, some rubber component could have deteriorated. Anyway, a first spray of water revealed the brush working as intended. Dual-action takes some getting used to, but if the rest works fine, you won't hear me complaining about needing to learn a new skill.

I loaded one of the cups with Vallejo black (diluted 50/50) and tested on cardboard. Easy! I then started spraying the mud display base I'm attempting to make for the M60 and gradually built up a covering layer. After the third refill of the cup, it suddenly hit me that it hadn't stopped spraying, started sputtering or had to have the needle cleaned after at least 10 minutes of spraying. I was now spraying the paint straight from the bottle, as the Model Air is intended.

I decided to step it up a notch and switch to black primer. It's thicker and has troubled me in the past. Undiluted, it sprayed nice, but it would probably be smoother if I addded 10%-20% thinner. I filled the cup generously, closed the lid (which still has an opening, but it reduces the chance of spilling), and started priming the Bismarck. Without encountering any issues, I continued straight on with the U.S.S. Missouri (which is considerably larger) and completely primed that one as well.

In total, I spent 80 minutes actually spraying paint, without ANY issues. The big test, of course, will be the next time I try to use it, to see if it keeps working session after session, but those who remember reading about my first session with the Revell (almost a year ago) will notice the positive difference with the Aztek.

The thing I really like about the many paint cups is the following : when switching from the normal black to the black primer (or any colour switch, for that matter), I simply remove the dirty cup, replace it with a clean one, add water and spray until it sprays only clean water (to clean the nozzle). I then fill with the new colour and start painting again. The dirty cups, I clean with soapy water at the end of my airbrush session. This prevents dried flakes of paint accidentally entering the nozzle and other inner components. It also makes colour switches a lot faster.

In closing, I am cautiously excited about the new airbrush, anxious to see how the next session will go. Thanks for reading and wish me luck.

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