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Baugi

Airbrush of choice?

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Hello all!  I've decided to jump into the world of airbrushing, particularly because I have some very large models to attack in the fairly near future (including a Ma'al Drakar) and I was wondering what you folks prefer.  I'm starting out with nothing here, so I'll need the actual airbrush, a compressor, and cleaning materials.    I've seen many articles and lists and so on, but those are pretty far from conclusive, and I don't want to throw this kind of money at the wrong thing.  I had a look through the pinned list in this forum, but much of the data and conversation was several years old, and there have  been several newer models released in the meantime so I figured I'd ask.

 

Essentially I need: 

- a solid airbrush that's versatile enough for basecoating and some detail work

- a relatively quiet, reliable compressor

- any other equipment or supply recommendations that experienced airbrushers might recommend!

 

Thanks!

Edited by Baugi

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3 hours ago, Baugi said:

Hello all!  I've decided to jump into the world of airbrushing, particularly because I have some very large models to attack in the fairly near future (including a Ma'al Drakar) and I was wondering what you folks prefer.  I'm starting out with nothing here, so I'll need the actual airbrush, a compressor, and cleaning materials.    I've seen many articles and lists and so on, but those are pretty far from conclusive, and I don't want to throw this kind of money at the wrong thing.  I had a look through the pinned list in this forum, but much of the data and conversation was several years old, and there have  been several newer models released in the meantime so I figured I'd ask.

 

Essentially I need: 

- a solid airbrush that's versatile enough for basecoating and some detail work

 

I use Harder and Steenbeck, but I heard - I just HEARD - that the simple Revell Airbrush, which is a total "Newbie"-Airbrush is good for doing basic airbrush work.

 

3 hours ago, Baugi said:

- a relatively quiet, reliable compressor

 

Can't help you with that, because "relatively quiet and reliable" is a big field. I would suggest first off checking what KIND of compressor suits you. There are different types with advantages and disadvantages and from there on you can and check the companies. I for example had always good experiences using SPARMAX.

 

3 hours ago, Baugi said:

- any other equipment or supply recommendations that experienced airbrushers might recommend!

 

Thanks!

 

I always would recommend having proper cleaning tools like a cleaning needle, cleaning brushes and some airbrush cleaner. Maybe a holder for your airbrush pistol.

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My first was (is) the Badger Patriot 105.  So far I've used it for base colors, zenethial highlighting, and large models. Good pairing with brush painting. :)

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I got a TC20-T compressor bundled with a cheap Master airbrush. The TC-20T a good basic compressor, with a tank and pressure regulator. It was quieter than I expected and the tank means it's silent most of the time. The brush is nothing special but perfect for my purposes - I can make all the newbie mistakes on this cheap brush without worrying too much about bending a needle or clogging it with paint. If I were to upgrade the brush I would go with a patriot 105 - it is almost universally recommended as a versatile beginner airbrush. Just be warned that different manufacturers use different size hoses, so you may need an adapter.

 

Don't forget lung protection! A dust mask and spray booth with a fan to pull those nasty little paint particles out of the air.

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1 hour ago, Girot said:

My first was (is) the Badger Patriot 105.  So far I've used it for base colors, zenethial highlighting, and large models. Good pairing with brush painting. :)

 

I picked up the Badger airbrush plus compressor deal and have been quite happy. The compressor is much quieter than my air-extraction hood and works pretty well and I haven't really run into the limitations of the Patriot 105 yet. I also have a Sotar for when I do (picked it up really cheap on Amazon when it showed up in a daily deal years ago.)

 

I'll also mention that I've heard very good things about the Iwata Eclipse as a first airbrush from quite a few people.

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Not an expert, but I have owned or used the following:

  • Cheap harbor freight airbrush.
  • Cheap Iwata Revolution knock-off.
  • Iwata Neo TRN-2
  • Iwata Neo CN (Friend's)
  • Badger Patriot 105
  • Badger SOTAR 20/20

I really liked my friend's Iwata Neo CN quite a bit and one of the benefits with the Iwata was the end-cap you are able to internally mix the paint. The trigger on it is also very smooth. The end-cap of the Badger brushes are a little easier to clean, but you lack the convenience of being able to internally mix (backflow technique) easily. I like supporting Badger because it is a small US business that still makes stuff in the USA, and their customer service has a good reputation. However, I really do wish they had a similar needle-protector like the Iwatas.

 

In terms of brands, there are a few major brands out there that all offer a quality brush in a variety of price-points. Harder & Steenbeck, Iwata, Grex, and Badger are probably the brands that come up the most. Airbrushes, like traditional brushes, are often a matter of taste, and folks will have their personal preferences. Kenny Boucher often uses an Iwata Eclipse, James Wappel uses a SOTAR 20/20 (even for priming) and I am sure there are many others who use H&S/Grex. For 28mm figures, such as a typical bones "human" I really like the SOTAR. It allows for a bit more precision in highlighting, sips paint, and the smaller paint cup gives it more of a "pencil" feel. For priming purposes or for painting larger things, such as vehicles or large monsters, I break out either the Patriot 105 or the TRN-2. The TRN-2 is nice because it has more of a pistol grip, thus really comfortable for longer spraying sessions. Down side is that the same grip doesn't allow it to rest in the airbrush holder.

 

I use a mix of Vallejo Flow Improver and water to mix non-airbrush paints inside of the cup, and I have been using an inexpensive Harbor Freight compressor w/ a moisture trap and so far haven't experienced any major issues. The compressor is neither quiet nor loud, but somewhere in between - I would say about the same noise level as a box fan on a medium setting. Won't wake the neighbors, but I wouldn't want to try and sleep in the same room with it. 

 

I would also suggest some airbrush cleaner as well, since properly cleaning the airbrush will keep it from gumming up. The quick disconnects are quite convenient both for cleaning purposes as well as switching between multiple airbrushes later on down the road if you so choose. An airbrush holder + cleaning pot is also very handy to spray out residue and keep the overspray contained during cleaning cycles.

Edited by Al Capwn
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On 9/28/2019 at 9:44 PM, Highlander said:

Grex.

 

I used others ... Badger and Iwata ... and found the Grex was the easiest to use for my purposes

@Highlander what do you use it for?

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On 9/30/2019 at 8:51 AM, Al Capwn said:

I like supporting Badger because it is a small US business that still makes stuff in the USA, and their customer service has a good reputation. However, I really do wish they had a similar needle-protector like the Iwatas.

 

The down-side to completely shrouding the needle tip, and (I suspect) the reason Badger has moved away from it in several of their more recent models, is that if you're doing very fine, close-up airbrushing, the tip-shroud can capture a sort of bubble of air pressure, and you get involuntary back-flushing and spidering.

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I use a Badger Patriot, and yeah...   I'm a clutz, so who knows if that's the right one for me. So far I like it.

 

One thing I did learn when I switched from my 'store brand' airbrush to Badger, though, is that they have a different size connector.   

If you buy a Badger airbrush, and get the hose and compressor from somewhere else, you most probably want to pick up an adapter, also.    

 

Also, not all package deals comes with a quick-disconnect. and you want that. You really want it. 

Thread tape should be obvious... 

 

Versatility... Many airbrushes can be fitted with a different needle and nozzle combo for different types of work or for different paints. (a .3mm needle is good for a lot of stuff, but sometimes a .7mm or something is needed, maybe for a thicker 'filling' primer)   

Feel free to grab a set that you think will complement the one that is installed. And get a spare needle for the set that comes with the airbrush. Because you will most likely FUBAR it at some point in the future. And they don't usually sell it at the local convenience store. 

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On 9/29/2019 at 8:19 AM, Pragma said:

 

 

Don't forget lung protection! A dust mask and spray booth with a fan to pull those nasty little paint particles out of the air.

 

A simple dust mask actually isn't good for airbrush use. While mini paints (acrylic based) aren't as bad as lacquer & enamel ones (tester's, auto paints) it's still better to use the filter based ones. A dust mask actually traps the particles & vapor (right were you breathe.)

 

Other then that good info!

 

Oh yah, abs used: Paasche Millennium, Badger Sotar & Badger 360 (clear coats only)

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I use an off brand TC20 compressor too (to be fair, ALL TC20 Airbrush compressors are made by the same factory regardless of the branding) and it's actually pretty quiet.  quieter than the sound of the spray coming out of the airbrush t be honest.  My vent hood makes waaaay more noise than my compressor does.

As for which one, best bet is to pick the one that you have the easiest access to replacement parts.  you will split a nozzle at some point.  You will bang up a needle at some point.  

For entry level and priming/basecoat applications, Master or PointZero both make incredibly average beater airbrushes with a .3 or .5 nozzle. (be aware the .5s can be a firehose).  I have also used an old plastic bodied Badger 250 (Can be picked up new for about 20 USD, though you'll need an hose or adapter to attach it to a compressor, it comes set up for canned air) for priming larger models.

 

I used one of the master airbrush .3 s for a while.  If you get it tuned up and dialed in you can do some decent blending and highlight work with it, it works great with stencils too and will make a reasonably thin line (around 1/8 to 3/16 if you turn your air pressure waaaay down and get right on top of your subject). 

That said, when I moved to my Krome I was not disappointed in the slightest.  Though at times I wish I'd gone with the sotar, it's a little shorter and lighter than the krome.  

 

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Ultimately there is no right answer. I have owned and used the harbor freight one (truly a piece of junk), two Iwatas, a Harder-Steinbeck, and a Badger Velocity Renegade. The renegade is my favorite but its really a fine detail airbrush and I plan on getting a patriot for larger less intense work. In the end it depends on what you want to do with it and realize that a single airbrush can't do all things well. So one for fine work and one for something in the range of applying primer to multiple figures at once. It is what feels good in your hand and for me Grex is not a good fit, it might be a good fit for you. I would check your area and see who sells them locally and then literally go out and handle them. For compressors, if it has a tank and isn't to loud its probably good enough. 

 

In general I look for a dual action airbrush that feels comfortable in my hand which is why I love the Renegade. I prefer gravity feed over siphon jars, you can use smaller quantities of paint with a gravity feed and I struggle with anything requiring the siphon style jar. After that its truly personal choice.

 

Oh, and like brushes I stay away from the cheap airbrushes. They are much like trying to paint with a bad brush. This is a tool and better tools make the work easier.

Edited by Heisler
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20 hours ago, maxstyles said:

@Highlander what do you use it for?

 

Everything. 

 

After using Badger and Iwata airbrushes, I got a Grex Tritium TG Airbrush Combo Kit. The package that includes a compressor, airbrush, and lots of other stuff.   I find its smaller sized compressor and pretty good airbrush capabilities satisfy my needs --- and fit well into my limited space.  The compressor is a  relatively quiet and takes a bit of practice to keep the pressure constant, but it is no real hurdle. 

 

If I were to have to do really demanding airbrushing, I'd use my Iwata, but I haven't had to go back to it yet.

 

MERGED

 

 

3 hours ago, Heisler said:

...Ultimately there is no right answer. ...

...

...I prefer gravity feed...

...

...stay away from the cheap airbrushes....

 

Yes, yes, and yes.

Edited by Highlander
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