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Beginner's Airbrush Question

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  • Member since
    March, 2017
  • From: Wiltshire, UK
Beginner's Airbrush Question
Posted by Wiltshiresaint on Thursday, March 09, 2017 1:54 PM


Like many members I'm returning to modelling after a few decades break and I'm taking the big (and relatively expensive) step of purchasing an airbrush, something I've never used before.

I have my eye on a Badger 155 Anthem, but I'm really flummoxed when it come to the air supply. I want to get a compressor but really don't know where to start when it comes to selecting one. I'm after an entry level compressor, but one that's going to last.

Does anyone have any recommendations? Many thanks,


  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Friday, March 10, 2017 8:55 AM

How important is quietness?  That becomes an overriding concern.  There are good, inexpensive compressors (general purpose) available, but they are noisy.  Quiet compressors tend to be expensive.


Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    February, 2003
  • From: Green Bay, WI USA
Posted by echolmberg on Friday, March 10, 2017 9:06 AM

Hi Simon!

I purchased a Craftsman air compresson with a 3 gallon pancake tank from Sears about four years ago and it's been soldiering on without a single hiccup.  I think I paid all of $99 for it.  

It's probably not the quietest thing out there but I run it in the basement where my workbench is.  I can hear it when I go upstairs but it is barely noticeable at that point. If at all possible, I'll fill up the tank during the day/late afternoon.  That way I avoid turning it on in the evening when the kids are going to bed.

The 3g tank is just the right size for me.  Naturally, it all depends on how much airbrushing you plan on doing before the compressor fires up to refill the tank.  Even if my tank is at about 3/4ths capacity, I can still paint an entire 1/48 scale B-17 and still have more than enough left over.

Hope that helps!


  • Member since
    March, 2003
  • From: Towson MD
Posted by gregbale on Friday, March 10, 2017 11:14 AM

Can't claim my experience is typical, but here it is for what it's worth.

Having lost virtually all my 'old' modling gear in one of life's little setbacks, I found myself looking for an inexpensive short-term AB/compressor option, and took the plunge for one of the cheapo packages on the well-known auction site: I think it was then (ca. 2008?) about $60 for the pair, including shipping. The AB, while eminently functional, just never really suited---and I replaced it with my favorite Anthem at the earliest opportunity.

The compressor---which can be found all over, and goes mostly by the model # TC-80---turned out to be th real prize. I bought it expecting to mabe get a year or two's use out of it, and having nearly zero expectations as to quietness and so on. It turned out to be what I would call 'room-quiet'---a not at all objectionable 'muffled' operational sound, WAY quieter than my old 1/3 hp Sears Craftsman model that lasted close to 30 years (but 'clattered' from day 1).

The TC-80 is still going strong 8+ years later. I use it probably once or twice a week average, total of 40 min. to 2 hours, depending on what I'm working on. Only minor annoyance is that it cycles on and off frequently, with no tank to speak of, but as quiet as it is that's rarely a bother. [BTW, I usually listen to my desk radio/cd-player or a nearby TV while I'm working, and the compressor is quiet enough that I don't have to adjust the volume.]


 George Lewis:

"Every time you correct me on my grammar I love you a little fewer."



  • Member since
    March, 2017
  • From: Wiltshire, UK
Posted by Wiltshiresaint on Friday, March 10, 2017 11:56 PM

Hi Don, Quietness isn't a particular issue as I'm fortunate enough to live in a large detached house, and can do my airbrushing when everyone is out. That said, from a comfort perspective I'd prefer a quieter model but it's not a big deal. Simon

  • Member since
    March, 2017
  • From: Wiltshire, UK
Posted by Wiltshiresaint on Saturday, March 11, 2017 12:00 AM
Thanks Eric, Greg, for your advice and posts. I'll look up both models - Craftsman and TC-80. It's always good to start from a recommendation! Simon


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