Bear Air's & Iwata's Airbrushing Demo
at The 2003 East Coast Hobby Show

Sunday, April 06, 2003


This year's East Coast Hobby Show took place on Saturday, March 22nd through Monday, March 24th. This annual hobby event takes place at the Fort Washington Expo Center, just outside of Philadelphia, PA. The show highlights a variety of hobbies from RC to Diecast to Trains to Plastic Models with just about everything else thrown in between.


In recent years there unfortunately has been less and less participation from the plastic model kit manufacturers and distributors at the show, (and subsequently less emphasis on the plastic model building hobby). However, the IPMS Contest that's routinely conducted by Jack Smith (from the NEPA IPMS Chapter) has been flourishing in recent years, bringing in an ever-increasing number, variety and quality of model entries.


During this year's show, I and 7 other "airbrush enthusiasts" from the local Bux-Mont and Delaware Valley Scale Modelers' IPMS Chapters conducted informal airbrushing demonstrations for Iwata and Bear Air at the Bear Air booth. (Bear Air is a distributor and retailer for Iwata, for those of you who may be wondering).


Joe Baxter, Joe Volz, Dave Garbern and I were on hand during the show on Saturday. Then, on Sunday Joe B. and I returned for a repeat performance, joining Jim Rosado and a friend of his named Donna Sauer, (who's a professional artist).


Prior to the show, Iwata rep John Smith had mailed out to us some newly released acrylic paints, (called Smith's Paints), to play around with. These paints have recently hit the market, and have traditionally been used by taxidermists. However, they have been reformulated to work well on plastic, metal and wood.



They have a very low odor, cover very well and dry quickly. Although they are advertised as being pre-thinned for airbrushing, it is still best if they are thinned down a bit more, to help them flow smoother through the airbrush.


In addition to spraying these paints, I got the opportunity to once again play aroun…uhh, that is, professionally demonstrate the use of The Spectrum 2000. The Spectrum 2000 is a device that SilentAire Technology released 1 or 2 years ago. Iwata currently sells it. The Spectrum 2000 enables multiple colored paints to be airbrushed using one air compressor and one airbrush.


Different colored paints are poured into one of eight bottles, with paint thinner poured into the ninth bottle.



There is an air source that feeds the Spectrum 2000 from a compressor, and there are small, individual teflon tubes leading from each bottle up to a "dial." This dial is connected directly to the airbrush. By turning the dial to one of the nine settings one of the paints (or the thinner) can be selected. In addition, if the dial is positioned between two paint selections, a mixture of the two paints that reside next to each other can be airbrushed out together.


Because the system is pressurized, a special type of airbrush can only be used with the paint changer. (A specialized Paasche airbrush comes with the changer).


In addition, because this system is pressurized, paint can be left in the changer for up to 1 or 2 weeks without being cleaned them out, provided the system remains pressurized.


It generally takes 10 - 20 seconds after the dial is turned for the previously selected paint to work its way out of the system and the newly selected paint to start flowing.


Due to the price of this changer, (at around $300.00), this tool is best for the professional airbrush artist, (like those who airbrush tee-shirts or women's finger nails), or for those who are constantly airbrushing large amounts of different colored paint on a regular basis.


(Ok, so much for the sales-pitch that has ingrained itself into my brain, from numerous discussions in the course of the show).


During Saturday's Show Joe Baxter airbrushed a variety of different models that he had brought with him.


In addition, Joe Volz and Dave Garbern went to task airbrushing all sorts of paint patterns on some Corsairs that they were painting.



During Sunday's Show Jim Rosado worked on a number of Armor pieces that he brought with him, doing some very kool camouflage patterns on them. In addition, Donna set up an easel and cardstock and proceeded to airbrush different colors and patterns on.


Although working both days at the East Coast Hobby Show ultimately turns into a VERY LONG WEEKEND, I nevertheless had A BLAST! I distributed numerous Del Val Flyers and copies of an Airbrushing 101 article to the many folks who dropped by to chat. In addition, I gave out some left over MITI Spirit of St. Louis plane kits to the children who were accompanying their parents. I had fun talking about and demonstrating the multiple uses of an airbrush, and had an overall GREAT time at the show!


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Copyright © 2010 by Anthony I. Wootson. No material may be reproduced without permission. Unauthorized duplication is prohibited.