Jump to content

Need help deciding on an airbrush


Recommended Posts

  • Moderator

As the title says. I'm looking for something small and cheap (under $70) to start with, just to use for priming, simple basecoating and non-detailed airbrush effects. Dual action is vastly preferred. Since I'm starting from scratch, I'll need a kit that includes a compressor.

 

I'm currently trying to decide between these three. Since I can't post amazon links, here's a screenshot of each listing instead (sorry they're kind of big):

 

20200910_211253.thumb.png.c43a7d9daaef1061b741ccc290d5ed75.png

~~~~~~~~

20200910_220631.thumb.png.bfedba1c3fdf387e3e910b26b2c1c21f.png

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

20200910_220703.thumb.png.f7c76f2ed46d79dffd7450d743d8f022.png

 

Any advice, reviews or tips would be appreciated!

 

Huzzah!

--OneBoot :D

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

If your just starting, I would recommend the Master Airbrush MAS KIT-VC16-B22 Portable Mini Airbrush Air Compressor. Perfect for small or hobby projects that need something quick and easy Excellent machinery, components and construction, especially for price Ideal for beginners, but still performs well for seasoned airbrush artists

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

So let me start by asking this, do you hope to get into airbrushing and get farther with it and use it as a great tool in your arsenal? Do you NOT want to get frustrated and quit in disgust because the tool you start with frustrates you? Then, please, do not get a cheap airbrush to start. And especially those small compressors they pack in. You will 1) get frustrated with the airbrush because it will not function flawlessly, will not clean up nicely and have spare parts that are not only small but hard to come by 2)the compressor will not supply CONTINUOUS constant air at the pressure you set (I don't even think you can set pressure, that's a problem) 3)these sets are all for nail and cake decorating, they are NOT hobby/mini painting setups.

 

I know you are probably on a budget, but I'd hate to see you quit because of the tool. I suggest looking at usa airbrush supply and (possibly) midwest airbrush. I'd go with a patriot 105, good solid starter airbrush. from usa they are about 89 bucks. The have decent aspires with and without tanks, but if midwest can deliver, the paasche D3000R is a good compressor at a good price (that's actually the one I have, and I am very happy). all you'd need at that point is a badger airhose. either of the places would have those. Another good compressor is a california airtools compressor 1p1060S (I have that one, it's for t-shirt airbrushes and is quiet but not as much as the paasche). I would check out midwest first before you order, they took over for chicago airbrush before they went south, but I haven't heard anything negative, but I'd check just in case. I was blessed, because I got my compressor before chicago went south. USA airbrush is the more reliable, as they work with Ken (I believe) and are very good supplier.

 

I recommend Badger because they are great airbrushes, but not extremely expensive , they are USA made and Ken stands behind his stuff. Honestly, if I didnt already have a 105 and a sotar, I'd get reapers VEX (I may still haha), it's the best of the 105 and sotar and will perform very well for you.

 

I hope this helps you out on your decision.

  • Like 8
Link to post
Share on other sites

This was my first airbrush.

 

498108030_s-l1600(1).thumb.jpg.efffe415d15d7dc77fcc654b412ac604.jpg

 

 

Mine is called Alphonse and he's an absolute workhorse. He was very forgiving and sturdy for clumsy beginner me and I still use him frequently  even though I've got a much fancier(and expensive) Iwata HP-CS as well. 

 

A word of advice about the air compressor - make sure you get one with a moisture trap, it'll make your life so much easier!

 

  • Like 6
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd also highly recommend the Badger 105.  It was my first airbrush and every one I've bought since has been a Badger. But I still use the 105 the most and it puts up with all my abuse (I just put it together yesterday and used it last night after forgetting and leaving it completely disassembled for 2 months after a deep cleaning....).

If noise is not an problem, a cheap tank compressor from a hardware store will do the job just as well. But they do tend to be loud.

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Moderator

Thank you so much for your advice, everyone! :wub:

 

Regarding purchasing a good airbrush from the start: the thing is, I don't know if I'll even like airbrushing. I have a habit of dropping a whole bunch of money on a new hobby getting good quality stuff from the start, only to discover a couple of weeks in that I don't actually like it so much. 

 

Money is not an issue; we can afford a really nice airbrush right now. The purpose of getting a cheap tiny airbrush to start with is purely to get my toe wet, so to speak. It's not to do serious painting with. I'll be painting spoons and bases (I've got a zillion) and Bones I don't care about. Maybe even my nails lol. I just want to get a very rough feel for using a machine to put paint on a thing rather than a brush, and it's not like I can casually go visit someone to try theirs out currently. 

 

So, normally, I 100% agree with getting quality equipment to start with. However, I want to try out a 'disposable' airbrush first to see if I want to justify even buying a whole bunch of airbrushing stuff (and setting up a whole dedicated area to it in my hobby room). 

 

Huzzah! 

--OneBoot :D 

Edited by OneBoot
  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the concern is mostly around you ending up deciding you don't like airbrushing because of the cheap airbrush, instead of because you wouldn't like airbrushing.

Know anyone you could borrow from to give it a try?

I'd be happy to lend you one of mine (I, as usual, have a number.... :poke:) although getting it across the border right now might be time consuming (my Reaper order has been stuck between the US and Canada for 4 days now) but you'd still need to wrangle up a compressor.....

 

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

Then go to harbor freight and get one of their airbrush setups for about $100. At the very least you will come out of it with a decent compressor. I would agree that those setups you are going to look at won’t even give a good first impression of using an airbrush.

  • Like 6
Link to post
Share on other sites

Before I start, I'm going to say I'm inclined to agree with the others about the frustration. That being said, I started with almost that exact same Master set.  If you've a high tolerance for annoyances it _might_ be worth considering, but expect to spend almost as much time figuring out what is wrong with it as you spend painting

 

first, the level of fit and finish just isn't there.  it feels cheaper, lest smooth corners, rougher feel to the trigger.  but this fit and finish also impacts it's performance.  Out of the box, the needle had a slight curve at the tip that prevented it from sitting squarely in the middle of the nozzle.  Instead of making a little bullseye when pulled back, it was touching once side of the opening.  This resulted in an oblong shaped spray pattern with a lot of splattering.  I was able to fix this by pulling the needle and gently rolling the tip at a shallow angle against a block of balsa wood.  This should be done VERY CAREFULLY so you don't make it worse or break it.
in addition, the polish on the needle wasn't great, it had fine grooves all over it that caused paint to cling and dry on the tip worse than it should, this results in frequent loss of spray and clogs.  I partially resolved this by gently spinning it against a set of micromesh pen sanding pads.  I suspect the nozzle has a similar problem but I have no way to fix that.  I don't get spattering and tip dry isn't as much of a problem (though still worse than on my better brushes). 

 

Speaking of the nozzle, it's actually threaded in to the body of the airbrush with a tiny o-ring on it.  and it comes with a little wrench to remove it.  Note that the wrench is ONLY to remove it if it is stuck, you should never use it to put it back in, finger tight only.  

 

the needle seal isn't super tight either on this, so as it moves back and forward in operation, paint will work it's way inside the seal.  I had to modify an interdental brush on the end of a long wire to get up inside this seal and scrub it during every cleaning or the needle becomes stuck and won't move.  it can also start to get sticky during long sessions, and having to pull the needle and clean the inside of the brush in the middle of a session is beyond annoying.

 

One other design element that I'm not fond of is that there's a large straight sided area at the bottom of the cup where the paint flows in around the needle.  It's much larger than on either of my badger brushes and because of the straight sides and sharp corners at the bottom can retain a lot of paint when doing a color change that can be annoying to get rinsed out.  it also means it's hard to put a single drop of paint in the cup and get good flow.  the badger brushes have a much tighter area around the needle that forces the paint into a smaller area.

 

The compressor .... well it blows air and paint come out of the airbrush, but that's all I can say for it. Because it's so small, it surges quite a bit, so instead of a even spray like ----------------, what I get surges a little, almost like a ~~~~~~~~~~~~.  this makes getting even straight lines and smooth blends almost impossible.  I also have no idea what the pressure is on it, since there's no regulator it is very inconsistent and behaves like it's somewhere between 15 and 30 psi.  In addition, running it for any longer than 10-15 minutes and it gets very hot, and after maybe 20 minutes actually trips a thermal breaker inside it and shuts down, and won't turn back on until it cools off, which can take about an hour.
 

Now that' that's all said, if you're willing to and, nay, even excited about being frustrated and annoyed at the tiny parts and having to dissassemeble and reassemble it multiple times mixed with some delicate straightening and polishing, you can make this into decent priming and basecoating brush.  however anything requiring fine control over where the paint goes I just don't think it's capable of. (Though I did airbrush an exciting tye-dye batman pattern on a pumpkin the first month I had it using some homemade stencils.)  It didn't take me a month to buy a better compressor (I got a TC20 with a tank and feel no need to upgrade there) and it didn't three months to upgrade to a Patriot (And shortly after a Krome.)

 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

I got a TC-20T, which is a pretty standard entry-level compressor with a tank, pressure regulator, and moisture trap. The tank is helpful because it means you aren't constantly running the compressor which makes it quieter and reduces wear. Mine came bundled with a cheap airbrush which gave me a chance to try it out. I made all possible mistakes: clogged up the brush, bent the needle, etc. Once I decided it was worth it (for zenithal priming alone!) I upgraded the brush to a badger patriot 105.

 

Although this option is more than you wanted to spend, it's a helpful intermediate option because if you decide you like it (I think chances are high) then you only half to upgrade the brush and not the compressor.

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, OneBoot said:

Regarding purchasing a good airbrush from the start: the thing is, I don't know if I'll even like airbrushing. I have a habit of dropping a whole bunch of money on a new hobby getting good quality stuff from the start, only to discover a couple of weeks in that I don't actually like it so much. 

 

Money is not an issue; we can afford a really nice airbrush right now. The purpose of getting a cheap tiny airbrush to start with is purely to get my toe wet, so to speak. It's not to do serious painting with. I'll be painting spoons and bases (I've got a zillion) and Bones I don't care about. Maybe even my nails lol. I just want to get a very rough feel for using a machine to put paint on a thing rather than a brush, and it's not like I can casually go visit someone to try theirs out currently. 

 

I don't have an airbrush (maybe one day), so take my advice with a grain of salt, but I'll come down on the other side of the argument and say go for one of those cheap ones if you're worried you might not like it.

 

I'm going to liken it to the advice that is routinely given (and endlessly debated) to new painters: the infamous "synthetic vs Kolinsky brush." A lot of people tell them to get the Kolinsky from the get go. But, where I come down on this is that if it's your first brush, you need to learn to take care of it properly. Wouldn't you rather learn and make mistakes on something cheap than something expensive? If you can take care of a cheaper synthetic, then maybe you are ready to advance. I feel the same applies here to the airbrush.

 

Something else to consider than just how the quality of the equipment: you might find that your hand doesn't take well to holding an airbrush, that it causes your hand to cramp if you use it too long, etc. (granted, some of that may also be caused by the comfort design of any airbrush, so again, grain of salt).

 

I watched a video on Youtube from Broadsword Wargaming, and he uses a style of airbrush like you originally are thinking. It's his first airbrush, he did a review of his here. Might give you some more info on if will work for what you want.

 

Better to spend a little bit now, find out if it's for you; you can always upgrade later if you enjoy it. Plus, you'll still have that small one to do your nails with... a very portable one. ::P:

Edited by ManvsMini
erroneous info scratched out
  • Like 1
  • Thanks 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Back in the 90s, I found an airbrush kit at a craft store for something like $20-30.  It was powered by a can of compressed air and had a little bottle that held the paint underneat.  I was thrilled to use it to lay down some base coats on some GW armies, but the brush itself crapped out before I was done. 

Based on that experience, I was done w/ airbrushes. I knew part of it was the quality, but I'd have to spend a bunch more money to get past that, but I just didn't seen any real advantage, especially when companies were starting to come out with far more matte colors in spray paint cans. 

 

Christmas 2018 my wife gave me a kit similar to this:

image.thumb.png.52ab4e1759141e50cc39afb8c132d514.png

 

It was some Amazon deal that had this, but also had two additional airbrushes for about this price. 

NIGHT and DAY difference between this, and what I remember about that canned air piece of broccoli.   Even though the Master kit is not the best available, it did give me an appreciation for what an airbrush is really capable of.  

I mostly use it for priming and base coats, but I've experimented with other things, such as making my Mossbeard have a light coating of "moss". 

At some point I will likely want to upgrade, but I think what I got was a good starter set. 

  • Like 5
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...