26-Aug-08 The weather in St. Louis continues to be unseasonably mild for August, so I continue to mix paint and shoot locomotive parts for the big Mikado engine before the temperature and humidity get too high.
Here's good news for Mom and Dad: I really used that model 'F' Paasche airbrush you bought me 25 years ago! A couple of weekends ago I painted many of the little tiny parts, spending more than 20 hours prepping, priming and then painting with the black acrylic automotive paint. Using my HPLV gun, I learned on the fly to set the paint flow rate and the spray pattern (somewhat). Still, a big spray gun in the hands of a beginner trying to shoot all the nooks and corners was challenging, particularly trying to get paint in between all the spokes of the wheels.
My first attempt had thin spots with the primer showing through. Talking with my friend Mark M., I was going to borrow his touch-up gun when he offered to loan me his airbrush for the detail work. What a great idea! I modified a quick-disconnect fitting in the lathe to attach to the airbrush hose and plugged it into the big compressor. Boy, that big tank sure beats those little tiny cans of 'Propel'.
Last night I mixed a small batch of black paint (8 oz.) and filled the 1 oz siphon cup (with an eyedropper siphon), cranked the compressor up and got into all the small spaces. Here's a difference between a traditional siphon gun and a HPLV gun: 25 psi of pressure. I was running the big HPLV gun at 5 psi, the little Paasche was 30 psi! I hit most of the parts again, covering the thin spots up and getting about 5 oz. of paint down before the 2 hour working life of the paint expired.
Feeling inspired by the success of the little spray brush, and worried that the humid mass of air from the gulf tropical storms pushing into St. Louis would close my painting window for another month or two, I decided to put a coat of paint on the locomotive frame, cylinders and trailing truck chassis using the big gun. I can't move these heavy pieces around like the little parts, so I moved the painting setup around for stationary parts, mixed a new batch of paint, practiced a little more with the big gun getting a smaller spray pattern and put several coats of paint on before my paint window closed. By the time I finished cleaning up it was midnight, the humidity had rising from 56% to 82% and I was very tired. I'll have to roll the frame over and paint the other side when I get a chance.