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Hi Mike. I've been looking at the lower end badger airbrushes for a few years now and they seem to be priced around CAD$100. May be something to look into.

 

I don't currently own one, or any airbrush for that matter, so not sure how they compare with other brands.

Edited by cwboland
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You might want to take a look at this site - Don's Airbrush Tips - I found it quite helpful. Earlier this year, I bought an Iwata Medea Neo TRN-1. It comes with a ,35mm tip and I found it to be too small for me. I really like the design but the coverage was just too narrow and it tended to clog easily. I wound up changing it to a .50 tip and now it works like a dream, but that was not a cheap thing to do. The TRN-2 comes with a .50 tip to begin with so it might be a consideration. With the .50 tip, I can spray Vallejo Model Air and Testor's Model Master acrylics right out of the bottle. I just find it easier to use this style gun as opposed to the style with a trigger on top.

 

Cheers -

John

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Mike:

 

I use Badger Airbrushes and have quite a collection of them - an even dozen at this point.  What I will say about airbrushes is based on my use of Badgers – but will apply to any name brand airbrush.  I found early on that the brush must fit the user.  I can not use the fat barreled airbrushes, like the Badger 175 (left below) or Pasche VL. They just don’t feel right – but some swear by them – though I use a fat barreled pen for writing.  To each his own.

 

The simplest airbrush I would recommend for the beginner who plans to airbrush occasionally would be a Badger 350 (middle below).  I learned to airbrush with the original model of this airbrush – the Bink’s Wren – when I got one for Christmas when I was in 8th grade.  It’s the only one I had until many years later.  I painted cars, planes, sweatshirts, T shirts, and boats with it – winning several gold medals.  It can produce very good paint jobs.  I was told by the judges at the WI Maritime Museum’s competition (long before I became the contest director there) that one of my tugboat models (it won a gold, modeler’s choice and best Great Lakes awards) missed winning best of show because “No tugboat ever had that good a paint job”.  I know that other modelers who have won gold medals at this contest have used this or a very similar airbrush.

 

The 350 is an external mix, single action airbrush.  The paint and air mix outside the airbrush on the way to the painted surface (much like an aerosol spray can) and the surface produced while not the absolute smoothest that an airbrush can deliver, I think it is perfectly adequate for wooden models.  The 350 will handle all the paints we usually use on models. 

 

For the best possible finish then an internal mix airbrush is needed.  The paint and air mix inside the airbrush and exit the nozzle very finely atomized.  There are single action and double action internal mix airbrushes with the single action being the easiest to use.

 

A good basic internal mix airbrush would be a Badger 200 series (right below) with a medium needle and spray regulator.  Medium needles are identified by two fine grooves at the blunt end of the needed and the medium regulators have a stamped IL or are blank (all other sizes have stamped id’s – only the medium would be blank).  The medium needle/regulator will handle all of the model stains and paints including acrylics we usually use.

 

There are numerous videos on the net to show how airbrushes are used. 

 

Price might be the determining factor for many modelers.  The following link shows many brands.  Some I am very familiar with some I am not, but this place doesn’t sell junk.  I am sure you can find a supplier on your side of the water who handles most of these brands.

 

http://www.chicagoairbrushsupply.com/airbrushes1.html

 

I Hope this helped a bit.

 

Kurt

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Mike:

One thing I didn't mention was the cleaning of the airbrush.  Regardless of brand or type they are not as hard to clean as many think.  There are great videos of how to clean them on YouTube.  Just don't delay the cleaning and you will not have issues.

Kurt

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I use a pistolgrip Chineese clone now for a few years and it fits my needs very well. It costed me second hand arround 15 dollar and there are three needles with it. 0,2 0,3 and 0,5mm. It's single action.

 

After a while I bought a better compressor with two motors, a big tank and a big airregulator.

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I agree with Kurt and company: surgical cleanliness is the key! 

 

A different style of airbrush that is less fussy than the traditional design with a long needle is the Aztec. It has short screw-on cartridge style heads that are easy to remove and clean. No more bent needle tips! 

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A somewhat dissenting voice: I have two airbrushed- a Badger 350 and a Badger "Paint Sprayer". The paint sprayer is a very simple inexpensive air aspirated sprayer. Both work fine. Virtually all of my airbrushing involves painting of relatively large surfaces. Where I need to paint small surfaces I mask off rather than trying to turn down the airbrush. For this type of work the point sprayer lays down a nice smooth coat. It is not particularly adjustable for width of spray but for the work that I do this does not matter.

 

For me, more important, is the air source. I started with an aerosol can, then a jury rigged ancient compressor. Recently, our large home improvement retailers have been selling small air compressors with air accumulator for less than $100 US and I recently bought one. This made a huge difference as I can accurately control air pressure. For my level of expertise, having a good air source with controllable pressure is more important than a higher end air brush.

 

Roger Pellett

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Roger is right that the air supply is as important as the airbrush.  Dry air at a constant pressure is the main thing.  An in-line water/moisture trap is needed with all compressors as well as a good pressure regulator.  Both are built into the compressors from the home improvement or auto parts stores.  For some reason the airbrush people look at these as an add-on.  A combo pressure regulator is about $25.

Kurt

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Another thing that I forgot to mention is that my compressor can provide air at the right pressure. To high a pressure and the metal fitting that is pressed into the airbrush body is blown out. Trust me, it has happened. The pressure tank for my compressor stores air at 125 psi, probably required for various mechanical applications but way too high for an airbrush. The regulator on my compressor lets me turn the air supply down to 25-30psi.

 

Roger Pellett

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Hi Mike,

Years ago I picked up a Paasche double action brush and compressor for around 100 CAD. I did a lot of research before I bought it. Over the years the brush has been flawless. Here are my experiences:

 

Pressure and pattern is crucial.

The right paint and thinner consistency is crucial.

Never mix paints with other brands of thinners.

Acrylics are a bit tricky and you must use the same brand of thinner no exceptions!

Some guys swear you can thin acrylics with windex window cleaner and a touch of dish soap. I tried the aforementioned and I am not thoroughly convinced.

 

Some guys say you need a water separator and pressure regulator however I have never had an issue using my brush straight out of the box. The only caveat I'll add here is if you live close to the coast and relative humidity is high then get a separator if you see water vapour flying out of the tip. Remember H2O is considered a solvent and will thin paint so using water based paints is not an issue without a water separator.

 

I find the right size of tip/nozzle combination is the key to success for what you are trying to paint. I can get away with not using a regulator here as matching the tip and cup restricts flow and what is going on at the tip is where the rubber meets the road. The tatto guys are big on pressure regulation as they don't want inks to wash out but on model ships IMHO spray pattern and control is all that is required and... if you purchase a double acting brush you will achieve the aforementioned without the cost of an additional regulator.

 

Practice, Practice, Practice some more.

 

Learning how your brush operates is key and like everyone has said keeping it clean and free of dried paint is not an option.

When it comes to paint do not cheap out here. Buy the best paint you can afford that is designed for use in a brush. I personally prefer Testors Model Master Paints whether acrylics or enamels. What ever you do always wear at the minimum an N-95 respirator for acrylics and an Organic Vapor Cartridge type of half mask respirator when spraying enamels. If you do enamels be cognizant they stink the man cave up and the rest of your house for that matter. If you want to use enamels you'll need either a spray booth with filters or do it outside on a warm sunny day in the shade preferably with little to no wind.

 

One final note.... Preparation is 9/10ths of the job. Using the right shade of primer to match your base coat is key. Grey primer is good for lighter Colors where as red oxide is good for the darker Colors. Using medium to fine sand paper between coats will really enhance your finish. If you want an outstanding paint job Google the plastic car modellers sites on the Web. These guys go all out and are painting like automotive technicians do. Remember if it's a ship model the weathering is what will make your model stand out from the rest. Please don't over do the aforementioned and weather appropriately.

 

The more you paint with an airbrush the better you'll get. Practice and experience does make the difference here. Hope this helps ... Jeff

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Thank you all very much for your comments/opinions/advice. You sure know how to put a bloke off!! It is so complicated I had no idea and by the time you have all the bits and pieces together rather expensive as well.

I think I will be sticking to the good old paintbrush with the occasional interference from an aerosol spray paint.

One day maybe I will explore some more!

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Thank you all very much for your comments/opinions/advice. You sure know how to put a bloke off!! It is so complicated I had no idea and by the time you have all the bits and pieces together rather expensive as well.

I think I will be sticking to the good old paintbrush with the occasional interference from an aerosol spray paint.

One day maybe I will explore some more!

 

Airbrushing really isn't complicated, nor difficult. It's just a bit of practise to get the hang of it.

 

When you use acrylics (Vallejo Air is very easy to use)...no toxic fumes or thinner, easy to clean the airbrush and a great smooth result.

 

In Europe Harder & Steenbeck (a German brand) is very popular, but not cheap. Keep in mind a good airbrush will serve you for decades.

 

But....!!!!!! I've seen a neat Revell airbrush starter set for 99 euros....perhaps give that a go? 

revell_39199_zpsgdeaaohn.jpg

 

That won't break the bank and when you get addicted to using an airbrush (you will!) you can switch to something else in the future.

Think of it this way...10 Tamiya rattlecans is about the price of a good airbrush.

 

Don't give up! It really isn't that difficult and a neat starter set is worth trying.

 

Cheers!

 

Robin :)

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I bought a Master airbrush kit off Amazon a few years ago around $75, played around with the cheap airbrush until I knew what I was doing.  Buying an airbrush is like buying a guitar.  You don't know if you will enjoy it, so don't go an buy a $400 toy to sit in a closet.

 

Once I got the hang of airbrushing I moved to a more advanced "cheap" airbrush, a Master G233.  As long as I keep it clean I can do decent work, here is a picture of a 1/72 Bf109 that I finished last October with the Master starter kit.

 

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Not exactly museum quality, but proof that a starter kit can get you a decent paint job.  This winter I will buying a badger brush or two for more detailed work.

 

Don't worry about all the complexities, just buy a starter kit and go from there.

 

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Mike, many years ago I started out with a Paasche H.  It is a single action airbrush for a good price.  After a bit of practice I used it for all of my painting.  Simple and basic and still considered a workhorse.  I bought a Badger 360 which I had to relearn many things.  But it was worth it.  Kurt is correct in saying acrylics are the way to go.  I attended many club meetings hwere he gave talks on airbrushing and to me is still to go to man.  Once you get used to an airbrush you will not look back.  And remember practice,practice,practice and keep it clean.  

David B

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OK, OK I give in !! Thanks Robin for your suggestion. I found on today with a decent discount so it is on it's way to me. Watch this space !!

 

Awesome!

 

Whenever you need tips or help. Just ask.

 

I highly recommend Vallejo Air acrylic paint. Imho much easier than Tamiya (cheaper also).

Shake the paint bottles very well...and a bit more.

 

Enjoy!

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Daddyrabbit 1954:

 

The Harbor Freight knock off is an illegal copy of the Iwata.  The Chinese companies rip off the legitimate manufacturers here knowing that they can't be sued - due to Chinese government condoning the practice and making it impossible to stop them.  They have copied Iwata, Badger, Pasche with impunity.  Harbor freight only sells them so they can't be held responsible.  I don't know about the other manufacturer's but Badger will fix any of their brushes for the mailing costs back to you (except for bent needles).  The Chinese knock off breaks (and they will) - buy another - no service - ever.  And if you hold a rip off up next to a legitimate brush you will see that the Chinese quality is pure garbage in comparison.

 

This is the same thing as the Knock off kits that are banned on MSW.

 

Kurt

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The subject of Chinese – or other – rip off’s of manufactured products is something MSW and the NRG do not condone.  There will be a listing posted adding rip off copies of airbrushes to the list of banned items that are not allowed to be shown or discussed.

 

The Chinese are so blatant in their copying of patented products that they have actually solicited Badger by sending samples of their copied Badger products asking for Badger to purchase from them due to price.  It does no good to try to take them to court – something that somebody the size of GM can do but not the smaller companies like Badger.

 

The quality of these rip offs is very poor at best.  It doesn’t even take a real close examination to spot the differences.  I have seen poor fits of soldered pieces that could not possible hold paint as well as regulator pieces without properly drilled vents.  Pure garbage.

 

The US courts take this kind of practice seriously.  Back in the mid 1990’s Chandler and Thayer Airbrush copied a Badger airbrush patent.  They failed to follow a cease and desist order and Badger finally took them to court.  Badger won a three or four year court battle in 1999 and the damages against Chandler and Thayer were in excess of the worth of the Chandler and Thayer Company.  Badger was given the keys to the business in the settlement.  You can still buy a Chandler and Thayer airbrush, but it’s now made by Badger.  This is serious stuff.  Don’t fall victim to purchasing this garbage – support legitimate companies, workers and jobs.

 

I have worked as a consultant with Badger Airbrush Co. since 1999.  I developed their Modelflex Acrylic Marine Paints for them and regularly demonstrate and instruct the use of Badger airbrushes and paints to model clubs and conferences.  I have first-hand knowledge of the Badger products and of the rip offs, and am not relying on rumors or a friend of a friend stories.

 

Kurt

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Robin and everyone, I got it today ! The Revell basic airbrush kit you showed the picture of.

 

So far I have managed to dismantle it, lubricate everything as shown on u tube and (!!!!) put it back together again !

 

Tomorrow I might see if it works !

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Mike:

Practice on something other than the Chaperon!  It's not too difficult to use an airbrush, but you really need to practice on some scrap stock.  Some old newspaper sprayed using just some water will teach you a bit about control and adjusting the brush for optimum spraying.  The adjustments will be different between water and paint, but still will teach you control..The use some paint on similar (scrap) product before tackling the actual model parts.  The wood that surrounded the kit/deck pieces is the same exact wood and can be used for testing.

Good luck.

Kurt

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Mike you might want to pick up a copy of this FineScale Modeler magazine how to book Airbrushing for Scale Modelers

 

It has some pretty good "how to" on airbrushing.  I subscribed to this magazine for years and found it had a lot of good information for modelers, even tho the magazine is skewed toward plastic model kits, a lot of the techniques apply to wood ships as well.

 

I agree with Kurt, practice on pieces of scrap wood from the kit itself.

Edited by Jack12477
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Daddyrabbit 1954:

 

The Harbor Freight knock off is an illegal copy of the Iwata.  The Chinese companies rip off the legitimate manufacturers here knowing that they can't be sued - due to Chinese government condoning the practice and making it impossible to stop them.  They have copied Iwata, Badger, Pasche with impunity.  Harbor freight only sells them so they can't be held responsible.  I don't know about the other manufacturer's but Badger will fix any of their brushes for the mailing costs back to you (except for bent needles).  The Chinese knock off breaks (and they will) - buy another - no service - ever.  And if you hold a rip off up next to a legitimate brush you will see that the Chinese quality is pure garbage in comparison.

 

This is the same thing as the Knock off kits that are banned on MSW.

 

Kurt

Dear Kurt

 

I agreed and will not again use terms to suggest something is an illegal copy, thus legitimizing the illegal sale of a copy. However, I used those terms very loosely in this context. In fact, I was careless in the use of those terms.

 

I am certain that if you hold side by side the parts of the Harbor Freight airbrush with the Iwata airbrush to compare the two, they are most definitely different. They are not the same, they are not a copy. The reason I am certain, I own both airbrushes. If you wish, I can make a pictorial comparison between the two, but I think what you are after is even the suggestion that an item for sale might be an illegal copy. Am I correct?

 

I can not argue the quality of the Harbor Freight product is equal to an Iwata. It's not. But what I have found is that with some fairly simple modifications that I can do at home to improve it, my Harbor Freight airbrush is quite capable of doing an impressive paint job. On a par with Iwata, or other name brand airbrush products.

 

In any event, you have my most humble apology for using terms that are sensitive in nature on this forum. None of us should hold lightly or condone any type of illegal activity, in particular in this context, copyright infringement. I certainly do not.

 

Best Regards

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Daddyrabbit:

I am in complete agreement with what you posted today.  And you are correct that we would rather not have anybody suggesting purchasing illegally copied products.

 

Your points are legitimate and the facts that you explained today and I agree that a cheap brush can have its place. 

 

The brushes I was referring to as illegal copies have been copied in total, including the patented air regulators and/or other key (and patented) pieces. And except for the quality of how they are actually made and assembled, are identical looking - but they sure don't perform the same.  Some are so blatant in their copying they even put the company name and model of the legitimate brush on the copied brush.

 

The only thing I would point out to a beginner is that some of these things are pure garbage and what you purchased from Harbor Freight might not be what somebody can buy there next week.  What the guy buys next week might be an exact (illegal) copy and one that will never work right and an expert couldn't throw paint with it and the new guys gets discouraged and thinks he's the problem and gives up.  Or it could just be a poorly designed and manufactured brush that looks just like a name brand - and the new guy can't tell the difference in the quality.

 

For an inexperienced modeler I would recommend that a low end brush from a name brand will rarely be defective and will give the beginner a better chance at being successful. It's extremely rare for these to ever have a problem out of the box.  Every Badger unit is tested before it leaves the factory and I am pretty sure that so are the Iwata & Pasche brushes.  I will confirm about the Iwata tomorrow night when I see one of my counterparts from Iwata at our local IPMS chapter meeting.  

 

No need to introduce a problem other than the modeler's inexperience into the equation. 

 

I once went around and around with a modeler who attended one of my seminars who was having all sorts of problems.  He told me he got one of the units I suggested and explained the problem.  I walked him through the proper adjustment, he tried it again and called back with another issue.  This went on and on and took up a lot of his time trying to get it to work.  I asked him who he bought it from and as I was going to suggest that he might have the rare defective brush right out of the box and to return it to the store or to take it to Badger who would fix it while he waited (he was local and could drive there in 30 minutes).  He told me where he got it and I knew immediately that it wasn't actually a Badger unit - but it said Badger on the side, etc.  He took it back to the point of purchase and demanded his money back, got it and bought a name brand brush.  He was ready to call it quits with trying to airbrush. 

 

Our IPMS chapter meetings are interesting when somebody asks a question about airbrushing.  If it's about a Badger I answer the question.  If it's about an Iwata, Steve answers the question.  If it's about airbrushes in general or what's the best airbrush - both Steve and I answer in turn - if needed.  It can sometimes get rather humorous as we both have identical starts to our reply about the best airbrush - "There is no best airbrush.  The best airbrush for you isn't necessarily the best for the other guy and anybody's best airbrush is the one that feels right to them."  We then ask what they want to paint and make suggestions from there. 

 

Take care,

Kurt

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Kurt,

 

   I like and agree with everything you have said. Yes I also got one of those from Harbor Freight only because it came with the Air Compresses that I bought from them (still have it and it works fine, but you get what you pay for). I do own 2 legal badger air brush.  I have a 350.3 and just bought a new 155 yesterday. Haven't use the new one yet. The one I got with the compresses I think I try it once or twice and threw it in the garbage LOl and bought the 350,3 and use it for some time, but it has been pack away for well over a year and when I took it out I notice that my son never clean it, so not to go true all the BS and I wanted to use it I went out and bought a new gun, I will sit later and clean the old one and see if everything works again at a later date. But such is life, when you want to do something you are always better off doing it yourself and this way the only person you came blame is you when it doesn't work because of it not being clean right. It's the way the world turns as they say.

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