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Help choosing a new airbrush

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  • Member since
    January, 2014
Help choosing a new airbrush
Posted by boatdetective on Sunday, December 30, 2018 10:37 PM

Hey folks-

I've just built a nifty spray booth and am itching to get back to airbrushing. I started off with a cheapo Badger copy from HF. Bought a Badger Renegade Krome and it never seemed to work. Picking it up now, I had to do a complete disassembly and must have done something wrong- it's just not putting out air. Reassembled many times- no luck. I'm not going to waste any more time trying to figure it out. I might send it back to Badger.

I want to start fresh with a new brush. I'd like a gravity feed and need decent detail (my subjects are usually small). Based on my disgust with the Krome- I want nothing to do with Badger. 

I see that many people like Iwata. The Eclipse CS gets mentioned- but it also mentions "high paint flow". I do NOT want something that forces me to rethink how I mix paints. I don't want to be forced to adapt to the tool- I want the tool to work for me. 

I'd prefer to get something reasonably popular- I don't want to chase some boutique brand that has limited availability. I can spen up to $150.

 

Thanks!

Jonathan

 

 

 

  • Member since
    July, 2013
Posted by modelmaker66 on Monday, December 31, 2018 1:34 AM

Badger Krome

  • Member since
    March, 2003
  • From: Western North Carolina
Posted by Tojo72 on Monday, December 31, 2018 6:07 AM
Iwata HP-CS is my brush of choice

  • Member since
    January, 2014
Posted by boatdetective on Monday, December 31, 2018 6:13 AM

Do you need to change the way you mix paint or spray using the Iwata HP-CS?

 

  • Member since
    November, 2018
Posted by oldermodelguy on Monday, December 31, 2018 7:00 AM

Mixing paint for airbrushing comes down to the needle set and air pressure you use, not the brand brush. Someplace between the consistency of regular milk and no fat milk should work in most any air brush. When you get out to .7 and larger needles sets you can go a little heavier but still not all that much. The average .35-.5 needle sets most of us use will be happy at about the paint consistency of 2% milk. And this is not about milk lol, it is about proper viscosity of paint to run through an airbrush evenly. So happens milk makes for a good viscosity gauge. Match the milk, put out good paint flow, simple equation.

 The HP CS comes standard with a .35 needle.it's cup size is decent so I think you will find the reference to high volume has more to do with paint capacity than how it shoots the paint.

 

People who own those brushes become loyalists. But a Badger 105 is no slouch either in the right hands. People do love their Iwata air brushes though. I still use a  44 year old Badger 200 personally (and sometimes a Paasche H). The key to success is keep it clean and wax the threads, and proper paint mix. If my air valve dies I can buy a new one at Amazon for $15 but so far no signs of that..

By the way, you can tune up that HF brush to spray well too.

  • Member since
    August, 2005
  • From: Sydney, Australia
Posted by Phil_H on Monday, December 31, 2018 7:25 AM

oldermodelguy
Mixing paint for airbrushing comes down to the needle set and air pressure you use, not the brand brush.

Not only that, it depends on what effect you're trying to achieve. A smooth high-gloss finish on a car body won't necessarily be the same paint mix as a base camo colour on a tank or a plane.

When doing freehand camo, a sharp demarcation line requires that you work very close to the subject. This means you need to use lower air pressure, which in turn means that the paint must be thinner to flow through your airbrush at lower air pressures. Blow that same paint mix through your brush using a higher pressure setting and you'll have streams of paint running off your model.

There's no universal thinning ratio. For example, I primarily use Tamiya acrylics. Depending on what I'm doing and the effect I want to achieve, I've gone anywhere between 2:1 (Paint:Thinner) all the way up to 1:4 (Paint:Thinner) Your mileage may vary with other brands of paint.

  • Member since
    January, 2014
Posted by boatdetective on Monday, December 31, 2018 7:34 AM

Man, I LOVE forums where you can get real time advice from veterans!  Thanks, guys!

 

  • Member since
    August, 2005
  • From: Sydney, Australia
Posted by Phil_H on Monday, December 31, 2018 7:44 AM

Whichever brush you end up buying, go to a shop and see how it feels in your hand. Is the action too tight? Is the throw of yhe trigger too long/short? If it's  not comfortable to use,  it's  going to be frustrating and that will affect your ability to get good, consistent results.

  • Member since
    November, 2018
Posted by oldermodelguy on Monday, December 31, 2018 8:07 AM

Phil_H

 

 

 

 

Not only that, it depends on what effect you're trying to achieve. A smooth high-gloss finish on a car body won't necessarily be the same paint mix as a base camo colour on a tank or a plane.

 

There's no universal thinning ratio. For example, I primarily use Tamiya acrylics. Depending on what I'm doing and the effect I want to achieve, I've gone anywhere between 2:1 (Paint:Thinner) all the way up to 1:4 (Paint:Thinner) Your mileage may vary with other brands of paint.

 

Yes and washes, I specifically go mostly thinner for washes or more than 50/50 anyway. This is a special application though, I may go as much as 65% thinner in some cases. Same on blackening grills on cars where you want the bars of the grill to show but the excess chrome behind the bars to be black. What I mentioned above about milk is the starting point, any brush will flow that consistency of paint, some folks try and thin too little and the brush won't flow, even at 40 psi it spatters the paint on. Opposite that , I paint my washes someplace between 8 and 18 psi. I spray my color coats ( flat/mat paints or satin acrylics even intended to be clear coated) for gloss around 28 psi, varnishes and clear coats at 30-32, even 35 psi. Lacquer around 15-18 psi. Gloss enamel 30 psi. and the viscosity of regular milk with some flow aid added.

Paint for spraying needs to be thought of in terms of visosity. If you really know a brand and know the differences in the range of colors ( reds may be thicker than greens for instance as an example) then you come to learn ratios for that brand of paints, but a visosity is repeatable between brands. 2% milk will always flow, it may take 1-1 or so called 50/50 ratio to get there or it may take 60/40 paint to thinner or vise versa. It depends on the paint line and actual color. Pigments size and quantity vary between colors. And then we have pre thinned paints, this may or may not be to your liking and might take tweaking.

By the way full size spray guns are treated the same way, when I was learniing to spray the real thing we intially used a Ford Viscosity cup to thin our paints to a certain consistency. Once you got that down you could dependably mix paint and do your own drip test off  a mixing stick and call it close enough. Some paints were tough, especially light green metallics were exceptionally thin and you wanted a certain amount of reducer in there for drying and flow control ( it dried too fast out of the can). We had various thinners and reducers to use, all with different drying properties and flow capability.

 

Meanwhile I think our OP either has a gunked up air valve or defective air valve or he messed up putting it in if he took it out. Badger air valves are pretty fool proof though and cheap to replace if one should get gunked up. But he said he has no air flow ( also op check that your air hose is not kinked up cutting off flow, the vinyl ones can do that more so than the hose type though).

  • Member since
    March, 2003
  • From: Western North Carolina
Posted by Tojo72 on Monday, December 31, 2018 11:27 AM

boatdetective

Man, I LOVE forums where you can get real time advice from veterans!  Thanks, guys!

 

 

Yes

Also check out Don Wheelers airbrush tips online.

  • Member since
    January, 2013
Posted by BlackSheepTwoOneFour on Monday, December 31, 2018 1:40 PM

It depends on your budget and how much you want to spend. As you've found out, you're going to get tons of sugsetions. Choose what works for you and your budget. As Tojo already mentioned, check out Don Wheeler's site:

https://sites.google.com/site/donsairbrushtips/home

  • Member since
    March, 2013
Posted by patrick206 on Tuesday, January 01, 2019 7:18 PM

boatdetective

Hey folks-

I've just built a nifty spray booth and am itching to get back to airbrushing. I started off with a cheapo Badger copy from HF. Bought a Badger Renegade Krome and it never seemed to work. Picking it up now, I had to do a complete disassembly and must have done something wrong- it's just not putting out air. Reassembled many times- no luck. I'm not going to waste any more time trying to figure it out. I might send it back to Badger.

I want to start fresh with a new brush. I'd like a gravity feed and need decent detail (my subjects are usually small). Based on my disgust with the Krome- I want nothing to do with Badger. 

I see that many people like Iwata. The Eclipse CS gets mentioned- but it also mentions "high paint flow". I do NOT want something that forces me to rethink how I mix paints. I don't want to be forced to adapt to the tool- I want the tool to work for me. 

I'd prefer to get something reasonably popular- I don't want to chase some boutique brand that has limited availability. I can spen up to $150.

 

Thanks!

Jonathan

 

 

 

 

Jonathon - I give another enthusiastic reference to visit Don Wheeler's website, your Krome is among those evaluated, with a complete photo breakdown of the parts. You'll learn a great deal about it, and maybe find the problem yourself for a fix. Just Google "Don's airbrush" and you'll be there. Since it's not putting out air, I'd check on the air valve first. Possibly some paint got into the valve assembly while cleaning the airbrush, that happened to me once.

After more than fifty years of airbrushing, my ability to use and maintain them improved considerably, after visiting his site often. Time well spent indeed.

Don is really good at answering questions, and very helpful for getting folks squared away with their airbrush issues. Your Krome is a very good airbrush, very fixable and capable of giving many years of reliable use. I urge you to not give up on it, among my several Badgers it's one used with good results.

For my most often used Badgers, it would be the gravity feed double action 100G, 100LG and single action gravity feed 200G. Probably 80% of my work is accomplished by them. I also have Iwata, Paasche and other brands, all fine airbrushes, but the Badger line works all around best for me.

USA Airbrush has been a very good dealer for me, many Badger models can be bought for well under $100. Faultless service for my purchases, highly recommended.

If you do change brands then I agree with others, the Iwata is an excellent tool. Best of luck with getting it sorted.

Patrick

 


  • Member since
    November, 2018
Posted by oldermodelguy on Wednesday, January 02, 2019 9:14 AM

boatdetective actually was asking about the Iwata and if it was a good choice, would he have to change paint to thinner ratio if he went this route. The answer is maybe on the paint ratio ( the Iwata being good or not is not in question), not because it's a certain Iwata but because depenging on the Krome he has and that needle set, it may be requiring extra thinning now. Some Kromes come with an extra fine needle, which I believe is a .21. If he has that needle set the paint would need to be very thin. I use a .25 on fine details now and then and I thin the paint quite a lot even at that. .25 in the Badger lineup is considered fine. x fine is finer.

Most model paints work best with .35-.5 needles as I mentioned already, I also thin and spray craft paints a lot and use the .5 for those. These are available for the Krome. To my knowledge the Krome uses the same needles and nozzles as the rest of the Patriot line.

But again, if he wants an Iwata there is nothing wrong with them.

  • Member since
    January, 2014
Posted by boatdetective on Wednesday, January 02, 2019 9:24 AM

Patrick-  Thank you for the detailed response. I walked back from the edge of the cliff and looked at everything piece by piece. I figured out that the problem is with the spray regulatot with the little guards. When I remove thistip, I get air. The Krome comes with a tiny regulator without guards, and I can simply screw that on and all's well. It's a bit perplexing, though, as the regulator seems spotless. It appears that it is covering up the air hole in the hold down ring when you screw it down.

I had forgotten about Don's site. I revisited it and yes, this man deserves a letter of commendation from the Commandant. Fantastic resource. 

I realized that my cheap-O Harbor freight is a knock off of the Badger 150 Anthem. I liked being able to remove and clean the cup. I may just decide to stick with Badger and buy an Anthem (as it turns out, Don's go to brush).

Once again, thanks again to you kind souls for the input. 

 

Jonathan

 

 

  • Member since
    November, 2018
Posted by oldermodelguy on Wednesday, January 02, 2019 1:24 PM

FWIW a Badger 150 is not an Anthem and shares the needles, nozzles, aircaps and sealing washer of the original 100 and my original 200. The Anthem is a 155 and has the slip in nozzles, shares needles, aircaps etc from the 105, 200nh ( not to be confused with the original 200) and 360. Just sayin.

  • Member since
    March, 2013
Posted by patrick206 on Thursday, January 03, 2019 7:06 PM

oldermodelguy

boatdetective actually was asking about the Iwata and if it was a good choice, would he have to change paint to thinner ratio if he went this route. The answer is maybe on the paint ratio ( the Iwata being good or not is not in question), not because it's a certain Iwata but because depenging on the Krome he has and that needle set, it may be requiring extra thinning now. Some Kromes come with an extra fine needle, which I believe is a .21. If he has that needle set the paint would need to be very thin. I use a .25 on fine details now and then and I thin the paint quite a lot even at that. .25 in the Badger lineup is considered fine. x fine is finer.

Most model paints work best with .35-.5 needles as I mentioned already, I also thin and spray craft paints a lot and use the .5 for those. These are available for the Krome. To my knowledge the Krome uses the same needles and nozzles as the rest of the Patriot line.

But again, if he wants an Iwata there is nothing wrong with them.

 

Very good points, Oldermodelguy -

I do use very thinned paint these days, even more thinned with the smaller needle/tip sizes. Using either enamel or Tamiya acrylic I start at a 50/50 blend, and when doing camo borders I go as high as 70-80%, thinner to paint.

Among other benefits, I have better control of the spray pattern and next to zero tip dry, never any internal clogging as well. It took me some time to work out the ratios for the different needle sizes, and finding the best all around PSI.

For me, using gravity feed models, pressures of 15-22 PSI seems to be the ballpark value, then adjusting according to test sprays. I know some folks spray as high as 25-30PSI. Adequate testing on spare plastic will reveal what is the right combination, before commiting to the model finish.

Thanks for bringing it up, very relevant post.

Patrick

  • Member since
    August, 2005
  • From: Mansfield, TX
Posted by EdGrune on Friday, January 04, 2019 7:20 AM

Before you totally bin that Badger airbrush, remember their lifetime warranty.   Labor is free and parts are discounted 60% off retail.    See the Badger website re. service.

They charge $12 to cover return shipping for up to 3 brushes and invoice you for the parts in the returned package.   My IPMS club got a donation of a Badger 150 that was loose parts in a bag.  I attempted to reassemble it -- no joy.   Boxed it up and sent it to Badger and got a like-new brush in return.   Four dollars in parts.   The thing works good as new.   It will be for sale at our next kit auction.

My airbrush stable:

Badger 360 Omni  (my go to)

Badger 105 Patriot

Iwata Neo (2 of them)

Sparmax CS

Harbor Freight knock off for Future

  • Member since
    January, 2014
Posted by boatdetective on Friday, January 04, 2019 8:01 PM

Thanks Ed. I think I've narrowed the problem down. I didn't know about that warranty- pretty hard to beat. I'm going to try again tomorrow and may just sent it back to them.  

  • Member since
    February, 2006
  • From: Boston
Posted by Wilbur Wright on Wednesday, January 09, 2019 2:15 PM

I've been using the Badger 200 NH with fine needle.   It's a workhorse, and easy to maintain.  You can usually get these at Michael's Crafts with the 50% off coupon.

A really good deal.  The fine needle is extra, so go back the next week with another 50% off coupon.

 

Badgers customer service has always been first rate to me as well.

  • Member since
    November, 2017
  • From: Alabama
Posted by carsandplanes on Tuesday, January 22, 2019 2:54 PM

BlackSheepTwoOneFour

It depends on your budget and how much you want to spend. As you've found out, you're going to get tons of sugsetions. Choose what works for you and your budget. As Tojo already mentioned, check out Don Wheeler's site:

https://sites.google.com/site/donsairbrushtips/home

 

 

I have to echo what everyone else has offered up in checking out Don's site. It's invaulable and I hope it lives on. I usually refer friends to Don's site and this airbrush guide for a more aggregated source of info. 

Don's is where I'd start though. For whatever my opinion is worth I have an Iwata Eclipse HP CS and haven't looked back. It was my first airbrush based on advice from  the forum and haven't felt the need to upgrade or try anything else. The dual action is something to get used to though for anyone starting out.

  • Member since
    November, 2017
  • From: Alabama
Posted by carsandplanes on Tuesday, January 22, 2019 2:55 PM

EdGrune

Before you totally bin that Badger airbrush, remember their lifetime warranty.   Labor is free and parts are discounted 60% off retail.    See the Badger website re. service.

They charge $12 to cover return shipping for up to 3 brushes and invoice you for the parts in the returned package.   My IPMS club got a donation of a Badger 150 that was loose parts in a bag.  I attempted to reassemble it -- no joy.   Boxed it up and sent it to Badger and got a like-new brush in return.   Four dollars in parts.   The thing works good as new.   It will be for sale at our next kit auction.

My airbrush stable:

Badger 360 Omni  (my go to)

Badger 105 Patriot

Iwata Neo (2 of them)

Sparmax CS

Harbor Freight knock off for Future

 

 

Quite the collection...how are the budget models treating you compared to the Badger models? Also interested in the Neo Performance?

  • Member since
    September, 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Tuesday, January 22, 2019 3:05 PM

Badger has had a $ 55 sale on every brush they make running for the last week. I think it ends today.

  • Member since
    January, 2014
Posted by boatdetective on Tuesday, January 22, 2019 3:08 PM
Where did you see this?
  • Member since
    August, 2005
  • From: Sydney, Australia
Posted by Phil_H on Tuesday, January 22, 2019 3:43 PM

boatdetective
Where did you see this?
 

http://www.badgerairbrush.com/Special_Offers_Domestic.asp

 

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