This is a great thread, someone should sticky this. The Airbrush maintenance part is very well done. I do use a lot of the same stuff from your list but I also differ in quite a few area so I figure I’ll share my recent experience and goes a bit more into the equipments and accessories here. A little background first.
Until recently. The last time I built models of any kind was over 10 years ago. It’s somewhere between the introduction of the MG series and before the PG Wing Zero Custom. I had a small setup with compressor, moisture trap, and a pretty decent Paasche and I was using Tamiya Acrylic at the time. I built quite a few kits like the Original MG RX-78, the Dom, etc. Problems was that airbrushing was a pain if you do not have a painting booth. All the fumes (even if you wear a mask, they still get all over the house before it goes out the windows), paint particles ends up all over the place and were a pain to clean up. Since there was no reasonably priced hobby scale painting booth available back then and I wasn’t about to spend $500+ (pre-2001 dollar) for a table size painting booth. eventually, I just stopped building kits.
But I still have kits dating from before and I never stopped buying. I also kept up with subs on Hobby Japan and Dengeki Hobby. I recently took a look at my store room and I have over 200 kits sitting there. All the PGs and a good percentage of the MGs & RGs, kits from the Original Bandai Macross (and it’s many spin-off and sequels) and StarBlazer releases and I have the Yamato 2199 kits sitting in the HLJ private warehouse waiting to be shipped. So I figure that I better start getting around to them before my eyes gets too old (already started) and my hands get shaky (fortunately not yet).
I dug up my storage box and start checking for things I need to replace or replenish. All the tools seems to be in good shape. Surprisingly, most of the Tamiya paint seems to have survived too (I guess always cleaning the bottle lip before putting the cap back on and keeping them in a dry cool place helps). I also search around on the Web to see what new tools and techniques is being used and I found tons of information (youtube, blogs, forums, etc).
The first thing I found is that Hobby scale Spray booth are now available at a somewhat reasonable price (under $250 mostly). I looked around and I found this (it’s basically the same as the Paasche one at half the price):
As you will read in the reviews. The fan is a bit weak in this one but you can’t beat the price and size. It will handle airbrushing with no problem unless you went full blast for an extended period. If you are using canned sprays. You’ll need to use short burst and give it a few second in between. I open the window a bit and sandwich the exhaust outlet between the window and the frame and then I use a medium masking tape to seal off the remaining open area to the top. The unit uses a 120MM PC fan at 12V and is rated at about 90CFM (cubic feet/minute) and I have found a 120MM 12V fan that will do 120CFM so I may get one to try to improve the performance a bit.
The benefits for the spray booth is as follows and to me it’s well worth the $90 cost:
No need for a heavy mask on your face that gets hot and humid.
Trapping the paint particles and exhausting the fumes out a window is much better than using a mask and fan. All you’re doing then is just spreading the particles and fumes all over the house.
I also want a new compressor since my old one was noisy and weak. I wanted one with a tank so it won’t run all the time and I get a more stable air flow. I was going to keep my Paasche airbrush as it was still working well but then I saw some of the combo pack with Compressor and Airbrush so I decide to get one of those since it’s always handy to have a extra airbrush around. I ended up with one of this:
The compressor is fairly quiet (at least compared to my old one) and it only runs about 1/2 the time when I set the output pressure to between 15-20 PSI. The Master airbrush works just as well as my much more expensive Paasche and while I originally intended it as my backup. It is now my primary as I learned that I can use lower air pressure with a gravity feed vs Siphon (my Paasche) airbrush.
I also got me 4 packs of these alligator clips to hold the pieces while painting and drying. You’ll need at least this amount for large MG kits (MG 00 Raiser) and maybe more for PG:
I also got eye protection. This is just to keep paint particles and fumes from irritating your eyes. This one goes over my reading glasses, not air tight but does the job along with the spray booth.
I still use a mask while painting but having a spray booth that traps most of the paint particles and exhaust most of the fume out the windows allow me to use a much lighter mask like this:
I also got a bunch of this in varies grades:
If you sand your pieces before priming and painting. You know how messy it gets. I use these wet. It helps traps most of the particles as you are sanding and you just rinse them in the sink every once in a while. Try doing that with sandpapers.
This is basically how my setup differs from the OP’s. I’ll get into what paint I use and why on the next post.