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Aztec or Badger 200

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  • Member since
    November, 2012
Aztec or Badger 200
Posted by tedtool on Sunday, December 02, 2012 12:32 PM

I'm getting back into modeling after 30 years away from it. I just joined FSM last week and I'm trying to learn all the new techniques being used today. In the past all I've used were rattle cans. I would like some suggestions on which airbrush would be better for a beginner such as myself.

 Thank you!

  • Member since
    February, 2015
Posted by Bick on Sunday, December 02, 2012 5:02 PM

Hi Tedtool,

Welcome back to the hobby. I, too, was absent for many years but I did use an airbrush on other airplane modeling projects (FF, rubber powered, stick'n'tissue), That said, recommending a specific AB can be difficult because I think the choice is so personal. You might want to look at DON WHEELER'S SITE. In addition to various AB reviews he has lots of tips. Between the two in your post title, I'd pick the Badger but I've not owned an Aztec. Dependent upon your budget you can spend anywhere from $15 to $300 or more. I'd recommend a dual action AB (harder to learn but much more versatile) with a needle/nozzle of 0.35 to 0.5 mm.

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Monday, December 03, 2012 8:45 AM

The only Aztek I have used is the plastic Testors/Aztek version.  It worked nicely but I got a lot of jams from it being hard to clean (although new nozzles were pretty cheap).  My main airbrush is a Badger 200, about forty years old. It is bulletproof!  I have abused it at times- still works fine. Very easy to clean.  Only replacement parts in it is the teflon washer. I keep a stock of them on hand- it does need a new one periodically.  I can dial the paint flow WAY down for overcoats and weathering.

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    April, 2004
  • From: Gateway city, US
Posted by keilau on Monday, December 03, 2012 11:01 AM

Bick

Dependent upon your budget you can spend anywhere from $15 to $300 or more. I'd recommend a dual action AB (harder to learn but much more versatile) with a needle/nozzle of 0.35 to 0.5 mm.

I second that. Starting out with the proper tool gives you the highest potential to develop proper skill to take full advantage of airbrushing.

I had a highend Aztek for a short time. The plastic part developed a leak within a month. I never go back. I prefer a good metallic airbrush. You get what you pay for. Stay with good name brand.

Badger 200 is ok if you get the old style one. It is single action.

  • Member since
    November, 2012
Posted by tedtool on Tuesday, December 04, 2012 7:28 AM

Thanks for responding . What is the difference in the old style Badger 200? Is it still available?

  • Member since
    January, 2006
  • From: Earth
Posted by DiscoStu on Tuesday, December 04, 2012 8:51 AM

For what it's worth I've used both.  The Aztek was okay, but I got tired of shelling out $10.00 for new tips every so often.  Now the Badger 200, I may be the exception to the rule, but that is on dang fine airbrush.  The 200 was the first airbrush I ever used, is reliable, easy to maintain and just an overall great airbrush.  I've since moved into double actions for most of my work, but when ever I do large area painting it's the 200 I reach for.  Recently Michaels liquidated their airbrushes and I snagged a new 200 and 150 for $20.00.  I didn't notice any real difference between the new 200 and the one I used 20+ years ago.

"Ahh the Luftwaffe. The Washington Generals of the History Channel" -Homer Simpson

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Tuesday, December 04, 2012 9:17 AM

tedtool

Thanks for responding . What is the difference in the old style Badger 200? Is it still available?

It looks to me as if the siphon feed tube joins the main body at a different angle, but have never used one of the new ones.

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    February, 2015
Posted by Bick on Tuesday, December 04, 2012 9:45 AM

Don Wheeler posts on his site that the new one is the 200NH. It has a different nozzle/head design than the original 200 and head/nozzle parts are not interchangeable between the two. Otherwise I think they're the same. Don't know if the original is still available.

  • Member since
    November, 2012
Posted by tedtool on Tuesday, December 04, 2012 6:21 PM

Thanks Bick for sending me to Don Wheelers site. Truly an amazing amount of info. I'm now thinking of a dual action AB as you suggested

  • Member since
    October, 2008
  • From: USA
Posted by Lacquer Head on Wednesday, December 05, 2012 3:14 PM

Buy Iwata. Everything else is JUNK!

"Lacquer Head feeds his one desire, Lacquer Head sets his brain on fire."

  • Member since
    August, 2009
  • From: Lund, Sweden
Posted by denstore on Wednesday, December 05, 2012 3:25 PM

There are lots of other brands that are just as good as Iwata. Some even better.

Better an airbrush in the hand, than ten in the car....Stick out tongue

  • Member since
    October, 2008
  • From: USA
Posted by Lacquer Head on Wednesday, December 05, 2012 3:38 PM

More pros use Iwata than any other brand in the world.

"Lacquer Head feeds his one desire, Lacquer Head sets his brain on fire."

  • Member since
    November, 2009
Posted by artworks2 on Wednesday, December 05, 2012 4:42 PM

I use a DeWalt with all the bells and whistles on it to reduce preasure.I do have a Badger whirlwind but don't use it for much these days.....

  • Member since
    August, 2009
  • From: Lund, Sweden
Posted by denstore on Wednesday, December 05, 2012 4:47 PM

Pros use Iwata because they are paid by Iwata. Not that Iwata doesn't make nice airbrushes, they do, but they also spend more money on advertising than any other airbrush brand.

Better an airbrush in the hand, than ten in the car....Stick out tongue

  • Member since
    August, 2009
  • From: Lund, Sweden
Posted by denstore on Wednesday, December 05, 2012 4:52 PM

The best airbrush for the beginner, or returning airbrusher is the one that feels best in your hand. Brand doesn't matter that much. But I would recommend to try out a couple of gravity fed double action models, preferably with nozzle/needle setups at between 0.3 and 0.5mm.

Better an airbrush in the hand, than ten in the car....Stick out tongue

  • Member since
    October, 2008
  • From: USA
Posted by Lacquer Head on Thursday, December 06, 2012 2:55 PM

denstore

Pros use Iwata because they are paid by Iwata. Not that Iwata doesn't make nice airbrushes, they do, but they also spend more money on advertising than any other airbrush brand.

In the world of consumer products you can not buy your way to the top of the pyramid. Iwata is at the top because their products are well engineered. That engineering shows up across their whole line, from the cheapest to their most expensive brush. I do agree with your view that a person should use an airbrush that is comfortable to them.

"Lacquer Head feeds his one desire, Lacquer Head sets his brain on fire."

  • Member since
    August, 2009
  • From: Lund, Sweden
Posted by denstore on Thursday, December 06, 2012 4:24 PM

Funny you say that, since most of the Iwata line stems from Olympos....:D

Again, Iwata are great at marketing, but their engineering isn't that fancy. Almost all of their airbrushes are either copies (licensed) or developed from older designs. I would say that only the Eclipse line feels like something they have developed themselves. :)

Better an airbrush in the hand, than ten in the car....Stick out tongue

  • Member since
    October, 2008
  • From: USA
Posted by Lacquer Head on Thursday, December 06, 2012 9:49 PM

Exactly, we're on the same page.

"Lacquer Head feeds his one desire, Lacquer Head sets his brain on fire."

  • Member since
    April, 2004
  • From: Gateway city, US
Posted by keilau on Friday, December 07, 2012 8:21 AM

denstore

Funny you say that, since most of the Iwata line stems from Olympos....:D

Again, Iwata are great at marketing, but their engineering isn't that fancy. Almost all of their airbrushes are either copies (licensed) or developed from older designs. I would say that only the Eclipse line feels like something they have developed themselves. :)

Den, I respectfully disagree.

What sets Iwata airbrush aside from the competition is their ENGINEERING and the execution/manufacturing of their product. Iwata uses superalloy for their airbrush nozzles. The super hard material makes them more durable. Iwata found a better way to heat treat their needles. The needle has polished finish, but is of ordinary steel only. Somehow, the Iwata needle is more springy and therefore, more resistent to damage in normal uses. All these engineering turns into small cone angle (or linear flow angle as Badger calls it) of the nozzle and needle which do not get enlarged in use. That is the majic of good atomization and precise trigger control of the Iwata airbrush.

See the engineering analysis of the Iwata airbrush here by an indpendent source.

I have the Badger Krome and one Harder & Steenbeck too. They are both wonderful airbrush for modeling. But I do not see the same level of engineering in them.

 

  • Member since
    August, 2009
  • From: Lund, Sweden
Posted by denstore on Saturday, December 08, 2012 6:25 AM

The thing is that the engineering was already made on those airbrushes when Iwata started to license manufacture them. It is an Olympos design. And truthfully, the Olympos needles and nozzles are even better performing than the Iwata components.

What is that "independent" source saying, really? That he finds out that Iwata uses better materials in their $200 HP-B or their $400 CM-B than Paasche uses in their $100 VLJ? On a side note, I believe that article has been discussed quite intensely on some of the airbrush forums, and not only in mild tones....

Try to put things in perspective. I'm not saying that Iwata make lousy airbrushes. I say that they make very good airbrushes, but to shout out "everything else is JUNK" is not only infantile, it is also wrong. There are lots of good airbrushes out there. Many of them have positive sides and negative sides compared to Iwata. In my opinion the Olymposes are better made than the Iwatas, especially the microns, where it is almost disappointing to use the Iwatas after using the Olympus's for a while. I have several of both brands, and must say that the Iwatas lack the precise feel and smoothness of the Olympos made Microns. I would put even the Olympos SP-series above the Iwata made Microns. Even some of their HP-series airbrushes feels smoother. Would I recommend Olympos to anyone? No, since they have closed shop, they are for enthusiasts only. Second hand prices are getting ridiculous and spares are harder to find by the day. You can use Iwata spares for most of the models, but they take a hit in performance.

So, what the alternatives? In my honest opinion there are lots of great airbrushes out there. Almost all the japanese made airbrushes are made to the same standards as Iwata (and no, they are not all made in the same factory). The airbrushes from BB Rich, both their own and the rebranded ones like Tamiya and Mr Hobby are very nice, usually comparable with Iwatas HP-series. But if you live outside of Japan, spares are hard to find. But they are not less well engineered. Most of them are based on the same HP-standard airbrush as Iwata. Nothing fancy, but works well.

For people living in the US, Badger is undeniable a good alternative. Not based on performance, but pricing and availability. The newer models like the Patriots and Velocity and Krome seems like good airbrushes. I've never been especially fond of Badger, but that might be because in my part of the world they are about twice as expensive as they are in the US. How many of you think that the Patriot would be worth $180 or the Krome $270? And parts are probably harder to find for Badger than Iwata or H&S. And just as expensive. I would also say that the Badger Sotar is better than the HP-B, though, which it is priced against today. 

Paasche seem to have marketed themselves towards the beginner and not so enthusiastic users lately. I have noticed that they seem to have dropped their quality control. Lots of complaints about parts that have shaky tolerances and sometimes raw feel. And at least here, the Talon is competing in the same price-bracket as some of the H&Ss and Iwatas.

Few airbrushes compare well to the microns, but of the non microns, the Paasche AB is definitly a contender when it comes to detailing capability. Another pair of top of the line airbrushes, the Efbe A and B are probably there as well. And both the Paasche AB's and Efbe's I've tried where very high quality. Junk? Definitely not.

And the ever so popular Harder & Steenbeck airbrushes might not be my favorites either, but they do have their positive sides. The Infinity Solo is priced at the same price as the Krome. The Evolution Silverline about the same as the Patriot. Are any of them a lesser airbrush than the Eclipse in engineering? Some of their fans, including a couple of Pro's, judge them to be as good as the Iwata Microns....

Add to this the Iwata Kustom line of airbrushes, that I find to be almost a joke. Engineering? It is marketing all the way. Larger cups, taller triggers, shiny boxes, nothing more. At about an increase cost of 50%, on already high priced airbrushes. And yes, I have tried a couple of them as well. And I seriously doubt that many custom paint artists are using them in anything but promotion. I find them extremely clumsy.

 

Better an airbrush in the hand, than ten in the car....Stick out tongue

  • Member since
    October, 2008
  • From: USA
Posted by Lacquer Head on Saturday, December 08, 2012 2:39 PM

Alot of smoke and very little fire. So, I'll bring the FIRE.

Iwata is the best selling airbrush line in the world, the WORLD!!!

When you stand on top of the mountain, everything below you is inferior. Everything else is JUNK.

It pays to be a winner. Second place is first LOSER.

"Lacquer Head feeds his one desire, Lacquer Head sets his brain on fire."

  • Member since
    April, 2004
  • From: Gateway city, US
Posted by keilau on Saturday, December 08, 2012 2:44 PM

denstore

The thing is that the engineering was already made on those airbrushes when Iwata started to license manufacture them. It is an Olympos design. And truthfully, the Olympos needles and nozzles are even better performing than the Iwata components.

What is that "independent" source saying, really? That he finds out that Iwata uses better materials in their $200 HP-B or their $400 CM-B than Paasche uses in their $100 VLJ? On a side note, I believe that article has been discussed quite intensely on some of the airbrush forums, and not only in mild tones....

Try to put things in perspective. I'm not saying that Iwata make lousy airbrushes. I say that they make very good airbrushes, but to shout out "everything else is JUNK" is not only infantile, it is also wrong.

Den,

After reading your long post, you are leading people to the original conclusion that Iwata airbrush is the best choice for most modelers. It is well engineered. It is reasonably priced and parts are easy to get. That's precise the reasons leading me to a Iwata Eclipse HP-CS.

There are many other good airbrushes, but they are of limited distribution (B.B. Rich) or out of business (Olympos). Badger is unreasonably expensive in Europe.

H&S has a price advantage in Europe and the design is excellent. But they do not use the hard metals that the Japanese brands use. (In US, their parts are expensive compared to Iwata or Badger too.)

Paasche actually use more expensive steel than Iwata according to the report by Prof. Zsolt Kovacs Vajna that I linked earlier. But the Iwata needle is still harder. BTW, the Zsolt report is nothing more than a metallurgical study of the Iwata materials. He said nothing to compare Iwata airbrush to other design.

You are one of the most knowledgeable airbrush expert who participates here. Thank you for sharing your thought.

  • Member since
    August, 2009
  • From: Lund, Sweden
Posted by denstore on Saturday, December 08, 2012 4:39 PM

Thing is that I don't mind if people buy Iwata. I have several myself, so why should I? But I think you should base your purchases on feel and need instead of brand. Fan boys are annoying, independent of what brand the choose to burn for. And raving on about how this or that brand is better than others is in my opinion not needed when someone asks for advice.

I can advice people to buy Iwata without much hesitation. I can advice them to buy Grex or H&S as well. No problem. It's as I usually say, best to let your hand decide. What feels comfortable is probably the best one to buy.

Also, to advice someone to buy the Eclipse based on that it is a very good general purpose airbrush, and spares is easy accessible is totally in line with what I feel myself. To do it because it says Iwata on the side is just sad.

I really don't give much for the article of Prof. Zsolt. Too many possible inconsistencies. Comparing one needle to another after use, outside chrome surfaces, again after a couple of years of use, illustrations in different scales and so on doesn't exactly scream good science. To me it feels like some college professor have done studies of his own hobby, which might be completely out of his field.

Better an airbrush in the hand, than ten in the car....Stick out tongue

  • Member since
    October, 2008
  • From: USA
Posted by Lacquer Head on Sunday, December 09, 2012 3:55 AM

WOW!!! Your flip flopping all over the page.

Who do you represent? Who do you ride with? Pick one position and defend it.

For years I rode with Badger, now I ride with Iwata. Why? They have a superior product.

Also, using words like infantile, fan boy, raving, feels or feel implies that your thought process is based on emotions. You have named just about every airbrush company on the planet, so I have to ask: Who do YOU ride with?

To the OP, in the end all roads lead to Iwata. Save yourself some time and money. Buy the HP-CR, it's a great brush that covers all areas of our craft well. Care for it well and it will serve you for many years.

"Lacquer Head feeds his one desire, Lacquer Head sets his brain on fire."

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