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What is the best airbrush to purchase ??

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  • Member since
    March, 2008
  • From: West Palm Beach, Florida
What is the best airbrush to purchase ??
Posted by mic53mlb on Tuesday, April 27, 2010 8:50 AM

I'm just getting back into the hobby again and I've had airbrushes years ago and I'm in the market to purchse a new one. I like modeling WW I naval and aircraft from all eras plus some sci-fi subjects here and there. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

  • Member since
    May, 2009
Posted by Dr. Coffee on Tuesday, April 27, 2010 8:57 AM

The question is impossible to answer unless you say something about what kind of $$$ you can spend.

DoC

  • Member since
    March, 2008
  • From: West Palm Beach, Florida
Posted by mic53mlb on Tuesday, April 27, 2010 9:43 AM

I'm not so concerned about price as I want quality and a unit that can do general painting to fine camoflage and waethering, I want to spend the money once. Thanks

  • Member since
    May, 2009
Posted by Dr. Coffee on Tuesday, April 27, 2010 10:14 AM

If money is no concern, then you might want to have a look at something like this:

http://www.harder-airbrush.de/english/evolution_03.html

One can exchange nozzles / needles, and cups (my unit, bought a year ago, came with two needles/nozzle sets and two cups). Simple to use and clean, internal pressure adjustment. A cleaning tool (extra, a year ago) ensures quick and easy cleaning of clogged-up nozzles. Can disassemble nozzle guide and nozzle guard for cleaning. Very convenient. Very easy to use.

Downside: Expensive - both main unit and spare parts. User manual not intended for novices. I destroyed a couple of needles until I found those essential details that ensure that the needle is inserted without snags.

DoC  

  • Member since
    May, 2005
  • From: Left forever
Posted by Bgrigg on Tuesday, April 27, 2010 10:56 AM

IMHO a dual action internal mix gravity fed airbrush with a medium needle (~.5mm) is the best all round airbrush for modeling. Smaller needles are often thought to provide thinner lines, but this is less true than most people realize, and can cause issues with paint clogging. I find that gravity fed airbrushes tend to be a little faster on clean up, and leave less waste paint than siphon fed airbrushes. But we are talking a minutes worth of time and drops of paint. I have ended up with four different airbrushes: Badger 100LG dual action gravity feed; Badger 150 dual action siphon feed; Badger 200-20 single action siphon feed (all internal mix); Copycat Badger 350 single action siphon feed external mix. I use my Badger 100LG 90% of the time, the 200 10% and the other two never. I should probably sell the 150, and the copycat was only $10.

Price can be a good guide, but you don't necessarily get twice the airbrush for twice the money. Parts availability may be difficult given one's location, and it may be better to choose one brand over another solely on whether or not you can source parts locally. There are few things worse than waiting for a part!

Price vary dramatically depending on your merchant. Online retailers that specialize in airbrushes will be the least expensive and brick and mortar hobby stores will be the most expensive. Exceptions are Michael's or Hobby Lobby with a 40% off coupon. Stick with a "famous" brand name, as the "copycat" airbrushes can have quality issues, and parts can be impossible to find.

The big "Three" are Badger, Iwata and Paasche. Grex and Harder & Steenbeck are also popular. All sell models in the $75 to $125 range. Iwata, Grex and H&S also sell models for double, or even more, and I'll argue that most of the benefits of those higher priced airbrushes are more suited for illustration and not modeling.

Brand loyalty is strong, and can be compared to the brand loyalty of automobiles. For example I'm a Badger fan for the lower cost, decent quality, US built and excellent customer service. Call them the Chevrolet of the airbrush world. H&S can be compared to BMW or Mercedes. Both will get you to your destination, and in the pretty much the same amount of time, but at quite different costs. The choice is up to you and your wallet.

 

So long folks!

  • Member since
    April, 2004
  • From: Gateway city, US
Posted by keilau on Tuesday, April 27, 2010 12:20 PM

mic53mlb

I'm not so concerned about price as I want quality and a unit that can do general painting to fine camoflage and waethering, I want to spend the money once. Thanks

Wow, I wish I can say that. If I were in you situation, I will get the following.

This H&S Infinity 2-in-1airbrush. It comes with a 0.4 mm nozzle for general purpose modeling and a 0.15 mm nozzle for fine work. The workmanship is among the best.

And this Silentaire Super Silent DR300 compressor which is as quiet as your refrigerator.

They are NOT the best money can buy, but should be good enough for most modelers. Let us know how you decide.

  • Member since
    May, 2005
  • From: Left forever
Posted by Bgrigg on Tuesday, April 27, 2010 12:41 PM

LOL, $883 dollars later, and you still aren't calling them the best? I guess the almost $500 Iwata Kustom KCM Micron is a bit better?

Boy, do I feel out of place with my $75 Badger!! Wink

If you want a silent compressor and aren't afraid of spending money, you can get a similar (if not the same!) compressor from Badger for a "mere" $490 at their Garage Sale.

So long folks!

  • Member since
    April, 2003
  • From: Hayward, CA
Posted by MikeV on Tuesday, April 27, 2010 3:18 PM

Bgrigg

LOL, $883 dollars later, and you still aren't calling them the best? I guess the almost $500 Iwata Kustom KCM Micron is a bit better?

Boy, do I feel out of place with my $75 Badger!! Wink

If you want a silent compressor and aren't afraid of spending money, you can get a similar (if not the same!) compressor from Badger for a "mere" $490 at their Garage Sale.

True Bill! That is probably the same compressor. Big Smile

It still amazes me how mislead many are in this subject. It's sad really.

Wisdom is the right use of knowledge. To know is not to be wise. Many men know a great deal, and are all the greater fools for it. There is no fool so great a fool as a knowing fool. But to know how to use knowledge is to have wisdom. " Charles Spurgeon
  • Member since
    April, 2004
  • From: Gateway city, US
Posted by keilau on Tuesday, April 27, 2010 4:42 PM

Bgrigg

LOL, $883 dollars later, and you still aren't calling them the best? I guess the almost $500 Iwata Kustom KCM Micron is a bit better?

Boy, do I feel out of place with my $75 Badger!! Wink

If you want a silent compressor and aren't afraid of spending money, you can get a similar (if not the same!) compressor from Badger for a "mere" $490 at their Garage Sale.

Or you can get the Silentaire Super Silent 20A for $462.55. It is the same compressor as the Badger MillionAir. Mike V has one of this. I see no reason to go to "garage sale" when the brand new merchandise is sold for less.

Badger also has these Billion-Air and Trillion-Air Compressor for a little more. They all come from the same factory as the Silentaire. All of them are way above my budget.

  • Member since
    May, 2005
  • From: Left forever
Posted by Bgrigg on Tuesday, April 27, 2010 4:49 PM

keilau
All of them are way above my budget.

Quoted for TRUTH! Yes

So long folks!

  • Member since
    October, 2007
  • From: Scotland
Posted by Milairjunkie on Tuesday, April 27, 2010 5:20 PM

H&S are up there I would say. If you are looking for something realy top-whack you could try SATA, I have never used one, but they are renowned as being somewhere at the top of the stack;

http://www.sata.com/index.php?id=airbrush&L=1

 

 

  • Member since
    April, 2004
  • From: Gateway city, US
Posted by keilau on Tuesday, April 27, 2010 7:28 PM

Milairjunkie

H&S are up there I would say. If you are looking for something realy top-whack you could try SATA, I have never used one, but they are renowned as being somewhere at the top of the stack;

http://www.sata.com/index.php?id=airbrush&L=1

Very interesting link. Apparently no relationship to the Badger SATA 2020 airbrush.

I have never heard of this brand in the US. Do you have any link to a third party review or a forum discussion?

  • Member since
    May, 2005
  • From: Left forever
Posted by Bgrigg on Tuesday, April 27, 2010 7:57 PM

keilau
Very interesting link. Apparently no relationship to the Badger SATA 2020 airbrush.

Keilau, that's SOTAR, not SATA!

So long folks!

  • Member since
    March, 2008
  • From: Steilacoom, Washington
Posted by Killjoy on Tuesday, April 27, 2010 10:26 PM

I also really like Badger for many reasons already stated.  Price, made in USA, not to mention top notch customer service and support.  I plan to buy 1 more this year, on another thread, I am talking about either a Velocity or a Patriot.. 

Don't get me wrong, if money were no object, an Infinity 2 in 1 would be at my airbrush station.  I mean LOOK AT IT!  Only Germans could build that!  It's beautiful!  But I'd still probably shoot with my 100LG most of the time.  Great brush, user friendly, forgiving of mistakes (thankfully!)

Whatever you decide on, as long as you get a quality brush of some kind, and have a reliable air delivery system, your results will be as good as your skill, and the practice and patience you put into it!

Good luck!

Chris

A veteran is someone who, at one point in their life, wrote a blank check made payable to "The United States of America," for an amount of "up to and including my life."

  • Member since
    May, 2005
  • From: Left forever
Posted by Bgrigg on Tuesday, April 27, 2010 10:40 PM

Chris,

You've hit on a key point. I've long argued that patience, practice and a reliable air supply are more important than the airbrush. That's why compressors usually cost more money than the airbrush, and patience and practice are priceless.

And I completely agree, the H&S Infinity IS gorgeous!

So long folks!

  • Member since
    March, 2008
  • From: West Palm Beach, Florida
Posted by mic53mlb on Wednesday, April 28, 2010 8:07 AM

Guys I appreciate all the recoms and info. I'm looking at either Iwata or Badger, Badger I was told has a combination of gravity feed and siphon feed unit. I am a auto mechanic by trade and I have a very large shop compressor so I use an air tank that can easily be filled at convenience. As far as an AB, when I said cost is not an issue I'm thinking ballpark around $75-$450 tops and I think that's enough to get a quality unit no ?? I like the gravity feed for detail, weathering, and camo and the siphon for general painting for large surfaces and such.  Please any more ideas, pointers, or recommendations I'd really like to hear them.

  • Member since
    March, 2006
Posted by simpilot34 on Wednesday, April 28, 2010 9:03 AM

What's the best airbrush??? One that you can afford and get the most out of. I have gotten my ABs from ebay. I won a compressorwith a 3lt tank and water trap/regulator, and a set of 6 AB's in a plastic case with jars and air fittings wrenches for less than $220AUD and have not once let me down. My fave AB has a micro air control and a 7ml cup gravity feed and a .2 mm tip. I have shot fine enough lines that I could do Italian smoke ring camo in 1/72 and not afraid of doing it. When I paint, the left over paint gets used on practice. I have a piece of paper I have managed to put dots about 1/32 of an inch.  Braided airline about $10 if you look around. Bottom line is this, don't discount ebat even though what you buy is not a name brand and you will accomplish the mission at hand. I also look at it as if it does not live up to expectations, it was relatively cheap enough to get another and use old one for parts. Just use your best judgement and shop around. LOL sorry to ramble and hope I have helped some.Toast

Cheers, Lt. Cmdr. Richie "To be prepared for war, is one of the most effectual means of preserving the peace."-George Washington
  • Member since
    May, 2005
  • From: Left forever
Posted by Bgrigg on Wednesday, April 28, 2010 9:08 AM

I have four airbrushes: Badger 100LG (two actually, 1x medium & 1x fine) dual action gravity feed; Badger 150 medium needle dual action siphon feed; Badger 200-20 "Detail" medium needle single action siphon feed; and a Badger 350 Clone single action external mix siphon feed. 90% of the time I use the 100LG medium, and the rest the 200-20 detail. I build cars mostly in 1:24, aircraft in 1:48 and a bit of armor (1:48 & 1:32).

The 100, 150 and 200 all use the same nozzle and air valve, and the 100/150 differs only in the actual body of the airbrush. I could disassemble both, swap all the parts and not tell the difference. The 150/200 use the same color cups or bottles. This gives me parts redundancy. Split the tip on the 200 and I could swap in the one from the 150. In a pinch I could use the 200 needle in the 100, it's just longer in length.

The number one reason I use the 100LG gravity is because it is slightly easier to clean, and wastes slightly less paint. I use the 200 for fine details, as it is simpler to dial in the needle position and lock it in, than it is to modulate the trigger on the dual action brushes. So basically I choose tools which make my job easier.

Ship builders and larger scale benefit from siphon fed airbrushes, but only in that they don't have to add more paint to the color cup, like you sometimes must do with a gravity fed cup. Otherwise, siphon fed brushes don't paint larger surfaces any better. The time spent cleaning the bottle and siphon tube equals or surpasses the time spent adding paint to a color cup.

Badger offers the Universal 360 which combines a smallish color cup with the ability to rotate the cup to the bottom and attach a siphon bottle. It's likely a fine airbrush, but I tend to dislike tools that try to be different things, as I find they don't do either very well. I'm sure that's not the case with the 360, and is solely my personal preference. I wouldn't buy one because of a preconceived notion.

Since you're a mechanic you'll appreciate how your job is easier by using the right tool for the right job. You won't have just one 9/16" socket, you have both shallow and deep. You won't have just one size of "slot" screwdriver, you'll have various sizes and lengths. Painting and airbrushing is the same. It is better to use a tool designed for the job at hand.

If I were you, and money no object, I would be tempted to get the H&S Infinity 2n1. Consider it the Snap-on of the airbrush world. It will work great, be comfortable in your hand, looks fantastic, and with a big price tag.

But I wouldn't actually get it. I would get the same airbrushes I have (but not the 150, I just don't use it anymore), though I probably would update them to the Renegade Velocity and Sotar 20/20. Consider them the Craftsman equivalent. Works as great, almost as comfortable, and who cares about the looks? I'm more concerned with the money!

I just had a thought and looked at the online Snap-on catalog, they actually offer airbrushes! To my eye they look like Badger airbrushes with a custom handle, except for the single action which looks like the Paasche. They even offer the Universal 360! All with Snap-on prices! Which is why my toolbox is full of Craftsman tools!Wink

 

So long folks!

  • Member since
    April, 2003
  • From: Hayward, CA
Posted by MikeV on Wednesday, April 28, 2010 12:37 PM

Bgrigg

I have four airbrushes: Badger 100LG (two actually, 1x medium & 1x fine) dual action gravity feed; Badger 150 medium needle dual action siphon feed; Badger 200-20 "Detail" medium needle single action siphon feed; and a Badger 350 Clone single action external mix siphon feed. 90% of the time I use the 100LG medium, and the rest the 200-20 detail. I build cars mostly in 1:24, aircraft in 1:48 and a bit of armor (1:48 & 1:32).

The 100, 150 and 200 all use the same nozzle and air valve, and the 100/150 differs only in the actual body of the airbrush. I could disassemble both, swap all the parts and not tell the difference. The 150/200 use the same color cups or bottles. This gives me parts redundancy. Split the tip on the 200 and I could swap in the one from the 150. In a pinch I could use the 200 needle in the 100, it's just longer in length.

The number one reason I use the 100LG gravity is because it is slightly easier to clean, and wastes slightly less paint. I use the 200 for fine details, as it is simpler to dial in the needle position and lock it in, than it is to modulate the trigger on the dual action brushes. So basically I choose tools which make my job easier.

Ship builders and larger scale benefit from siphon fed airbrushes, but only in that they don't have to add more paint to the color cup, like you sometimes must do with a gravity fed cup. Otherwise, siphon fed brushes don't paint larger surfaces any better. The time spent cleaning the bottle and siphon tube equals or surpasses the time spent adding paint to a color cup.

Badger offers the Universal 360 which combines a smallish color cup with the ability to rotate the cup to the bottom and attach a siphon bottle. It's likely a fine airbrush, but I tend to dislike tools that try to be different things, as I find they don't do either very well. I'm sure that's not the case with the 360, and is solely my personal preference. I wouldn't buy one because of a preconceived notion.

Since you're a mechanic you'll appreciate how your job is easier by using the right tool for the right job. You won't have just one 9/16" socket, you have both shallow and deep. You won't have just one size of "slot" screwdriver, you'll have various sizes and lengths. Painting and airbrushing is the same. It is better to use a tool designed for the job at hand.

If I were you, and money no object, I would be tempted to get the H&S Infinity 2n1. Consider it the Snap-on of the airbrush world. It will work great, be comfortable in your hand, looks fantastic, and with a big price tag.

But I wouldn't actually get it. I would get the same airbrushes I have (but not the 150, I just don't use it anymore), though I probably would update them to the Renegade Velocity and Sotar 20/20. Consider them the Craftsman equivalent. Works as great, almost as comfortable, and who cares about the looks? I'm more concerned with the money!

I just had a thought and looked at the online Snap-on catalog, they actually offer airbrushes! To my eye they look like Badger airbrushes with a custom handle, except for the single action which looks like the Paasche. They even offer the Universal 360! All with Snap-on prices! Which is why my toolbox is full of Craftsman tools!Wink

 

Well said Bill! Snap-On while good tools are so overrated it's not even funny.

MAC, Proto and others make just as good, if not better tools but the general public wouldn't know that as advertising has clouded their ability to think for themselves! Confused

Wisdom is the right use of knowledge. To know is not to be wise. Many men know a great deal, and are all the greater fools for it. There is no fool so great a fool as a knowing fool. But to know how to use knowledge is to have wisdom. " Charles Spurgeon
  • Member since
    March, 2008
  • From: West Palm Beach, Florida
Posted by mic53mlb on Wednesday, April 28, 2010 9:12 PM

Well put Bgrigg, I'll look into that H&S Infinity but I might look into your recommendations as far as what you like to use.  When it comes to my tools not everything is Snap-On and yes there are items that they carry like those ABs that are basically $75 Abs with their name on it for the sum of $400 or whatever ridiculous price (Snap-On's mark up on some of their items is like 200%) but some tools there's nothing better than Snap-On especially if your paycheck depends on it.

  • Member since
    May, 2005
  • From: Left forever
Posted by Bgrigg on Wednesday, April 28, 2010 9:47 PM

I used to wrench back in my salad days before plumbers and electricians took over the engine bay. Had a slew of muscle cars from the 60s and early 70s that I would kill to have today! I had a mix of tools back then. When I was tight with money Westward or Craftsman got my money, when I was flush the Gray or Snap-on truck left with most of it. I'll admit they're beautiful tools.

But times changed and my paycheck doesn't depend on the tools anymore, so I go for value over beauty. Leaves me more money for kits!

Good luck airbrush hunting, and please make sure you come back and tell us what you bought and your impressions of it!

So long folks!

  • Member since
    March, 2008
  • From: West Palm Beach, Florida
Posted by mic53mlb on Wednesday, April 28, 2010 9:56 PM

Tell me about it, I had not one but several 1967-68 Mustang fastbacks both big block and small block and if I could only have one now !!! I checked out some prices and I think I might just get a set for different purposes and the prices are right the 100 is around $85 and the 200 is around $60. Tomorrow I'll check out the H&S that you had talked about.

  • Member since
    May, 2005
  • From: Left forever
Posted by Bgrigg on Wednesday, April 28, 2010 10:31 PM

Check out Dixie Art for the 100LG and 105 patriot. Both around $75 delivered in the US. I prefer the 200-20 to the 200NH, you can get a 200 detail at the Badger Garage Sale for $44 (set 220-19). It doesn't come with the P/N 50-0482 color cup, which I recommend getting over the bottle (easier to clean! Remember I'm lazy!), but the kit does come with a nice braided hose that will fit the 100 or 105 as well. Heck of a deal for $44! They make good paints, but I can't say much for the color choice that comes in the kits.

The H&S is available at Chicago Airbrush, but they also have a great deal on the Renegade Velocity. If you want to look at the Sotar the best deal is at Freakflex.

Ah, the muscle cars that were around in the early 70s were great! Cheap, plentiful and fast!

 

So long folks!

  • Member since
    April, 2004
  • From: Gateway city, US
Posted by keilau on Thursday, April 29, 2010 11:10 PM

mic53mlb

Well put Bgrigg, I'll look into that H&S Infinity but I might look into your recommendations as far as what you like to use.  When it comes to my tools not everything is Snap-On and yes there are items that they carry like those ABs that are basically $75 Abs with their name on it for the sum of $400 or whatever ridiculous price (Snap-On's mark up on some of their items is like 200%) but some tools there's nothing better than Snap-On especially if your paycheck depends on it.

Snap-on in tools, Amoils.com in lubricant, Amway in household product share the same ideas. When selling through small franchise store or individual, the overhead is high and so the product price. The product is good, but not better enough to justify the cost. Worst, the dealer (sometimes a individual person) will post such outrageous claims on their web site that will make a good product sounds like a scam.

Harder & Steenbeck airbrush is the opposite. You will find it in almost any airbrush outlet. The price is no higher than other brand and the quality is superb. If you want a 0.2 mm nozzle, 5° needle airbrush for very fine work, the H&S Evolution Solo at under $120 should be near the top on anyone shopping list. Other brand just does not have the same construction and finish at this price. If money is no objection, then, the H&S Infinity 2-in-1 which has more features, extra nozzle and shares parts with the Evolution. Grex, Olympos, Richpen, Mr. Airbrush, Procom Boy are all high quality airbrushes too, but only Grex has the same wide distribution and low price of H&S. For airbrush, a good finish is much more than just the look. It is a sign of high quality control and makes cleaning easy.

Be sure to check a H&S and a Grex before you decide. Let us know how you make you choice.

  • Member since
    May, 2009
Posted by Dr. Coffee on Friday, April 30, 2010 3:32 AM

keilau

a good finish is much more than just the look. It is a sign of high quality control and makes cleaning easy.

As engineers like to say, if it looks right it is because it is right.

Works for just about anything, not only airbrushes.

DoC

  • Member since
    March, 2008
  • From: Steilacoom, Washington
Posted by Killjoy on Friday, April 30, 2010 11:23 AM

Dr. Coffee

As engineers like to say, if it looks right it is because it is right.

Does NOT apply to human beings.  My ex was very right to look at, but crazy as an outhouse rat on the inside!  Propeller

A veteran is someone who, at one point in their life, wrote a blank check made payable to "The United States of America," for an amount of "up to and including my life."

  • Member since
    December, 2009
Posted by brickshooter on Friday, April 30, 2010 11:40 AM

I think that this thread name should be changed to "what is the best airbrush to purchase in my price range (state what it is) and for the scale I work on??"

  • Member since
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  • From: Left forever
Posted by Bgrigg on Friday, April 30, 2010 11:43 AM

And let's add "depending on my location", as well!

So long folks!

  • Member since
    April, 2003
  • From: Hayward, CA
Posted by MikeV on Saturday, May 01, 2010 5:08 PM

keilau

 

 

 

Amoils.com in lubricant,

What does this mean Keilau? Are you saying Amsoil is not as good as other oils? If you are you need to do some homework.

Wisdom is the right use of knowledge. To know is not to be wise. Many men know a great deal, and are all the greater fools for it. There is no fool so great a fool as a knowing fool. But to know how to use knowledge is to have wisdom. " Charles Spurgeon
  • Member since
    April, 2003
  • From: Hayward, CA
Posted by MikeV on Saturday, May 01, 2010 5:10 PM

mic53mlb

Snap-On's mark up on some of their items is like 200%) but some tools there's nothing better than Snap-On especially if your paycheck depends on it.

Yes but there are others every bit as good for less money. I know this coming from a family of heavy equipment mechanics who put tools through more abuse than any other mechanics. My dad was a die hard MAC tools man and a master heavy equipment mechanic for many years.

My younger brother Rich has been a journeyman Master Heavy Equipment mechanic for 22 years and he has been to and excelled at Cummins and Cat school as well as being one of the top scraper mechanics in the Bay Area. He has little Snap-On tools that I know of. Maybe a few but not many.

Wisdom is the right use of knowledge. To know is not to be wise. Many men know a great deal, and are all the greater fools for it. There is no fool so great a fool as a knowing fool. But to know how to use knowledge is to have wisdom. " Charles Spurgeon

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