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It looks like I'm going to do some plastic kits with my daughters, and of course in looking at the logs on here and the various kits out on the market, I'm thinking of doing a kit or two myself.  So, I'm looking to get an airbrush set - any recommendations?  I don't mind spending a little more money on a good one that will last.  I've been watching videos and looking at airbrushes, but I figured I would see what folks here are using.  Something good quality, not as noisy, etc.

 

Thanks in advance!

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Posted (edited)

I'd suggest you find somebody who has a number of them and try them out. It's really a personal preference thing, like buying a fountain pen.  I wouldn't buy anything but the best in any event. It's not an item to try to save money on unless you are really short on cash. There are two types, single action and double action. I prefer the double action myself. It permits regulating both the air and the paint by the use of a single button. This permits more control over the flow, That said, many modelers are quite happy with a single action airbrush. I use a Paasch I've had for decades. Keep them meticulously clean and mix your paint properly and you should have no problems. Don't clean them and you'll soon have an airbrush you can't do anything with. I'd shop around. The MicroMark catalog has a selection, but you may find the same model for less in one of the big art supply online catalogs.

 

Noise isn't a function of the airbrush, but of the compressor. If you have a shop compressor and want to avoid the noise, get a separate five gallon air tank (Harbor Freight has them for about $25 and always has 20% off coupons on line and in their catalogs.) Put a pressure regulator and shut-off valve on the tank. You can then fill the tank in the shop in a few minutes, and then turn off the compressor and work off the air stored in the tank in complete silence. Alternately, you can buy one of the small compressors made specifically for airbrushing. Most are pretty quiet.  (Harbor Freight has those, too. HF will take anything back and exchange for another if you have the receipt, which is prudent if you buy anything from them that has any moving parts. Seriously.) Their quality is usually not the best, but if you know what you are buying and have a store nearby than makes returns less of a hassle, you can often get something decent from them, although it make take a couple of tries. :D 

 

Forget about the aerosol cans sold for use with airbrushes. You'll go broke buying them. A small airbrush compressor will pay for itself quickly, compared to the "canned air."

Edited by Bob Cleek

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I use the H&S Evolution AL Plus  (Gravity Feed) with a Hang Sen Compressor - the Airbrush cost more than the compressor! You are paying for top quality with the Airbrush but you get great after sales service. Irrespective I have seen people with $25 airbrushes produce top quality work.  Iwata is another popular airbrush. Badger are produced in the States - they have great videos on Youtube - you should spend the time and watch one of their airbrush guides.

 

The compressor was a little over $100 - if you are thinking of cutting corners and getting a cheap garage compressor - don't ......unless you are going to buy the whole family ear plugs. 

 

 

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I am partial to Badger Airbrushes myself and have several.  If the kids are going to paint I suggest you get them a Badger 350 it's inexpensive and very simple to use.  It is single action - push down on the button and air and paint come out.  It is adjusted for spray onto scrap by turning the fluid cap for more or less paint.  Hand it to the kid and they can concentrate on holding the brush at the proper distance and where they want the paint to go.  Check it out at USA Airbrush Supply - a MSW sponsor - and you will not beat their prices.  The link is to a 350 set with extra head assemblies for any type of paint.  Note when you go to the sponsor ad on the right side of the MSW home page that you get a discount if using the NRG Discount noted when you hoover over the banner ad.  https://usaairbrushsupply.com/products/350-4-deluxe-airbrush-set-fml

 

This is the same airbrush I used for many years and a modeler at the WI Maritime Museum competition painted a model with this airbrush and took home best of show.  It can do a great job and is the perfect learning tool for a kid or an adult w/o experience.  Once the trick of keeping the brush the correct distance from the model and how much paint to use is mastered then a more advanced brush can be looked at.

 

For a modeler with experience who wants a good double action brush good for details as well as general use the 360 is my go to brush.  It is called the 360 because the front end rotates.  With the color cup facing up paint is put into the color cup and the paint flows into the brush by gravity making it usable a very low pressures for details but if doing a broader area rotate the front end and a paint bottle can plug into the color cup from below providing enough paint for any job.  https://usaairbrushsupply.com/products/360-1-universal-basic-set

 

If you get a Badger be aware that they use a proprietary thread on the air hose connection - but if you get the 350 set it comes with a hose that fits all Badgers - the other end is a universal thread that fits compressors.  There are adapters available if you wind up with another brand compressor hose.

 

BTW, the 360 shown has a quick disconnect on the air inlet and a High Roller Trigger for better control.  I recommend the High Roller Trigger for any of the double action Badgers because the control is so much better - it will help the novice as well as the artist.  The quick disconnect is only needed if one changes from one brush to another often.

 

Kurt

350.jpg

360 STD.JPG

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Don's site has good reviews of a lot of brushes.  Covers the important things. 

 

I forgot to mention that in keeping with the NRG's and MSW's advocacy for not buying pirated goods be careful to buy only brand name airbrushes.  Many that are sold with non-airbrush brand names (store names, etc) are inferior copies of brand name airbrushes. 
Name brand airbrushes are all good and I defy anybody to tell the difference in a paint job done with an Iwata or a Badger or a Passche.  The skill of the artist/modeler plays the biggest role in a quality paint job when using name brand brushes. 

 

Name Brands:  Badger, Paasche, Iwata, Thayer & Chandler, Harder & Steenbeck, Grex.  If the name isn't listed here I wouldn't recommend it.  Stay away from cheap garbage.

 

Also, don't buy the most expensive model  or the newest model thinking it's going to make you an artist when you use an airbrush once a year.  Practice is so very important.  You worked a long time on the model, don't screw it up trying to airbrush it w/o some practice - your model  is not a practice piece. 

 

Kurt

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No I haven't David. 

 

I looked at them when they first came out and thought they looked promising but guys trying to shoot acrylics were turned off with being told they needed one nozzle for acrylics that was an extra and then being told they needed the next size when they were unable to shoot acrylics with the specified nozzle.  This was right when everybody else was redesigning their needles to almost be universal for normal fluids.  I thought one or two needles were easier to keep track of than so many plastic nozzles with the Aztek.  I know a lot of people swear by them but I've used a Badger since getting one for Christmas when I was in 8th grade.

 

I don't find the regular airbrushes difficult to clean and I normally use gravity feeds or the 360 when using a bottle - and it cleans just like a gravity feed brush.  When I give workshops I show how to clean a brush in about 3 minutes tops - at the end of the session - in between colors it's much quicker.  I use acrylics 90+% of the time and they are easier to clean up after than solvent based paints.

 

To each his own.  When I wanted to upgrade from my little Badger 350 I got a Paasche double action - couldn't work with it.  The Badger Sales Manager gave a demo at a local club meeting and I got to try several Badgers - including one that was almost a twin the the fat barreled Paasche I had - couldn't use it either.  But when I picked up a 155 or the 360 it felt natural in my hand and I was laying down paint right away.  Sold the Paasche to a fellow club member and my next brush was a 360.  Now have 14 Badgers in my workshop.  The one I don't have and never show when doing workshops here or on the road is that fat barrelled Crescendo 175 - I tell people about it but as I still can't get one to work well for me it would be crazy for me to demo one with poor results.  And I like a fat barrel on a pen - just not on an airbrush.

 

Take care,

Kurt

 

 

 

image.jpeg.3179c8db90d5ac6a3956cd988d8964b7.jpeg

Take care,

Kurt

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57 minutes ago, kurtvd19 said:

 

 

I don't find the regular airbrushes difficult to clean and I normally use gravity feeds or the 360 when using a bottle - and it cleans just like a gravity feed brush.  When I give workshops I show how to clean a brush in about 3 minutes tops - at the end of the session - in between colors it's much quicker.  I use acrylics 90+% of the time and they are easier to clean up after than solvent based paints.

 

 

 

Kurt sounds like something which could be adapted for the NRG Conference roundtable maybe?

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This is a great airbrush for a small amount of money. Lots of features, easy to use, precise, "made in Japan" quality.

And the seller, Spray Gunner, he's the best around in service and reliability. Fast shipping, very knowledgeable. 

 

https://spraygunner.com/gsi-creos-mr-airbrush-procon-boy-ps-289-0-3mm-platinum/

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1 hour ago, MEDDO said:

Kurt sounds like something which could be adapted for the NRG Conference roundtable maybe?

Mike:

I have done several presentations and round tables at conferences.  Maybe time for another - 2020 though - all is set for New Bedford.

Kurt

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For Landlubber Mike,

 

Paul Budzik, who is an occasional contributor on this forum, has his own website and has produced a number of very useful videos about airbrushes (and other aspects of modelling), how they work, how to use them, and which one is right for you. The videos are really well done and worth a look. Here’s a link to his site:

 

http://www.paulbudzik.com/tools-techniques/Airbrushing/airbrushing_for_modelers.html

 

 

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Guys, thanks very much for all the information.  Really appreciate it!  Like all tools, just want to make sure I go for quality, and these tips and resources are invaluable.  It's funny, I went to painting with wood on my wood models because I hate painting, but doing plastic it looks like painting is necessary.  So, maybe I'll go back to painting my wood models - it takes a lot to paint with wood, particularly when the color scheme is more complicated.

 

Thanks again!

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Kurt: Thanks for your comments. I've also used Paasche, Iwata and Badger (all double action) over the years. All, I agree, perform really well, but occasionally I've messed up a needle tip when cleaning them. By comparison, the interchangeable tips for the Aztec are so easy to clean, which is the only reason I prefer it. As you say, each to their own!

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Mike,  

 

I have a Badger 350 airbrush powered by an air compressor.  

 

The Badger is a well made rugged inexpensive unit that is easy to keep clean. With it I have been able to produce acceptable paint jobs on wooden models.  My last model was painted exclusively with acrylic paints mixed from artists acrylics.

 

You will be frustrated without an easy to use dependable air source.  My first efforts many years ago were with canned air.  I then rigged up an air system by hooking various components to an ancient farm air compressor.  A couple of years ago I scrapped my system for a compact air compressor/ tank combination bought at a big box home improvement store.  This is equipped with a pressure switch that stores air in the tank at 125psi.  Downstream is an adjustable regulator to limit pressure to the air brush.  THIS IS IMPORTANT!  The Badger air brush body is cast resin.  The air inlet is a brass fitting pressed into the resin body.  If the air brush is over pressured, the fitting can be blown out of the body and it’s time to buy a new one.  Your air brush budget should definitely include purchase of one of these integrated compressor with built in adjustable regulator.

 

Roger

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If your not an artist then your choice of airbrush is really dependent on what you want to do.  If you just want to substitute spray cans for an airbrush then a big nozzle on the brush is required and whether its single or double action is pretty much irrelevant.

 

If you want to do detailed painting then the size/action of the airbrush is important.  Double action brushes do give the greatest control but they do require practice and experience of what paints will flow through them.  Single action brushes take far less practice but do require you to be quite competent in spraying in the first place.

 

My advice for what its worth is buy a medium priced airbrush and have a good play with it on many mediums.  It will teach you the benefits and also the limitations of the brush.  

 

I've used an Aztec airbrush for quite some time as I've liked the different nozzles that can be purchased for it.  Its also a single and double action brush in one.  I've now moved on but the Aztec is a great start for anyone.

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Another vote for the Aztec, I found it extremely easy to clean.

Almost all of the plastic models shown in the link in my sig were airbrushed with the Aztec.

As others have said practise, and then practise some more. Check out some Armor/Aircraft modelling websites and model railroad ones too.

The most important thing for me was getting a water trap fitted between the compressor and the airbrush, I had horrible spitting without it.

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I've quite fancied buying a Paasche Talon airbrush - the one that comes with 3 different size tips.  In theory you could airbrush the tiniest part to a complete hull using the fan tip.  But it has so many mixed reviews which really puts me off taking the plunge.  

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Thanks again for all the tips and resources, very helpful!  I'm leaning towards just going Iwata for both the airbrush and the compressor.  The Iwata compressor I'm looking at is not the most inexpensive, but it gets good reviews and seems to be a quality product.  Like most tools, I just prefer to spend more on quality and hopefully only have to buy once.  

 

Couple of follow on questions if people don't mind:

 

1.  Any dealers of Iwata products in the US that people will recommend?  Everyone seems to generally have the items for the same price that Amazon carries them, but I get a little nervous buying things like these on Amazon when there is a risk that the sellers might be selling counterfeit products.

 

2.  If I'm doing scale ship models, do I need to buy a spray booth?  I can see buying one when painting smaller parts of the model, but when it comes to painting a hull that's 20-30+ inches, what do people do aside from spray outside?

 

Thanks in advance!

 

Mike

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Hi Mike

 

Good decision Iwata make nice airbrushes but I like to buy from a dealer so that I get a proper guarantee.  I don't know the US so I can help you there.  As for the compressor I have no experience of Iwata compressors but this is the one I use

 

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Titan-Precision-22L-Silent-Quiet-Dental-Medical-Clinic-Oil-Free-Air-Compressor/302941915256?epid=26027212772&hash=item4688bec878:g:QOsAAOSw42dZMVbQ

 

Is very very quiet and has enough CFM to power a small professional airgun should you need it.  You would probably never need another compressor.

 

Your question about paint and vapour removal is very important.  There are many small spray booths available for small parts that work very well - but if your only spraying say water based acrylics its not so important.  As long as you are ok cleaning up any overspray a mask will suffice inside and a very understanding wife!  For large parts I use my mates garage or just go outside as long as the weather is ok.  If you want to spray solvent based paints then extraction is important.  The fumes are explosive and very toxic to us so the correct extraction is required.  I only use acrylics now as its so much easier and safer.

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I use acrylics 90+% of the time - I have a spray booth for the smaller stuff but have not felt the need for a big booth as the over spray is completely dry before it lands on anything beyond the model.  A bit of cleanup with a vacuum cleaner and no problem.  If spraying over a finished floor use a cheap plastic drop cloth (picnic type table covers are good) and when you are done take it outside and shake it clean.  It's good enough for when we demo in a hotel ballroom at trade shows.  But ONLY for acrylics - solvent based must use safe extraction.

Kurt

 

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2 minutes ago, lmagna said:

I really like the product you posted Jack. I need to look at getting one. My only fear is that my dog will want to take it over as his house! :unsure:

Yea I've never seen these before but I've just ordered one off of Amazon in the UK - Cheers mate for the heads up :)

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