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Best airbrush and compressor set

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  • Member since
    June, 2006
Best airbrush and compressor set
Posted by Tankluver on Wednesday, January 23, 2019 9:37 AM

I have a Paasche airbrush butnits quite old. Was looking to buy a new compressor and air brush. What do yall recommend, i usually paint with Vallejo paints but am starting to dabble with Mig paints now. Is there a certain brush and brand that works better with acrylics? 

  • Member since
    November, 2018
Posted by oldermodelguy on Wednesday, January 23, 2019 10:56 AM

Tankluver

I have a Paasche airbrush butnits quite old. Was looking to buy a new compressor and air brush. What do yall recommend, i usually paint with Vallejo paints but am starting to dabble with Mig paints now. Is there a certain brush and brand that works better with acrylics? 

 

Which Paasche do you have ? Age shouldn't really be a big concern, my Badger 200 is about 45 years old and still my go to brush. Paasche makes good airbrushes, parts are inexpensive and usually available and their customer service is good. Same with Badger and I'm sure Iwata. I'd stay away from knock offs because there is no parts source. where you have a Paasche now a decent argument could be made for interchanging hoses if you got another Paasche.
 
As to acrylic paints, it's really more about technique, thinning, retarders, flow aids etc. than the brush. I can say I prefer a .5 needle/nozzle than much smaller ones, though on fine detail have gone down to .25. The Paasche H with the 3 needle ( .77 I believe) works pretty well too. Course if armor modeling is what you like and painting camo you might have other ideas.
 
Compressor really is about cfm and a tank. I wouldn't suggest a tankless compressor.. If you ever entertain the idea of large needles and nozzles then surely don't go tankless.
 
Are you leaning toward double or single action, gravity or siphon feed airbrushes ? What do you want it to do for you that your present brush won't do ?
  • Member since
    June, 2006
Posted by Tankluver on Wednesday, January 23, 2019 12:14 PM
I was looking at a gravity feed I’m not sure what all the other actions mean. I had an issue with a needle brush it was $30 dollars and didn’t work i wonder if it was because of me not thinning the paint well it was i believe a life color brush brand. The problem with my compressor is it’s tankless and it’s i believe a life color. It was cheap and affordable So i grabbed it.
  • Member since
    November, 2018
Posted by oldermodelguy on Wednesday, January 23, 2019 1:06 PM

I'm not familiar with LifeColor. But I can tell you that thinning properly is important. Seeing it has a needle then also, how much you open up that needle would also be important. No paint flow: think thinner paint and more open needle.

Gravity feed has the color cup on top.

Siphon feed has the cup or jar hanging off the bottom.

Single action is you push the air plunger down and you get paint and you adjust the needle manually.

Double action you push it down for air then pull back for paint flow. The more you pull back the more paint.

It sounds like you would benefit from some airbrush starter videos. There are plenty on youtube and plenty of reviews on each brand and model.

  • Member since
    June, 2006
Posted by Tankluver on Wednesday, January 23, 2019 1:14 PM
I like the sound of a double action, do they do double action gravity feed. I currently have the suction feed Paasche brush and i wonder if I’m not thinning properly, sometimes it takes hot minute for the paint to come up.
  • Member since
    November, 2018
Posted by oldermodelguy on Wednesday, January 23, 2019 1:24 PM

Tankluver
I like the sound of a double action, do they do double action gravity feed. I currently have the suction feed Paasche brush and i wonder if I’m not thinning properly, sometimes it takes hot minute for the paint to come up.
 

Yes they make double action gravity feed airbrushes. A Badger 105 is a very popular one for modeling for instance, with the medium tip and needle. That's just an example, there are others.

How does your Paasche spray plain old water ? Does it pick that up easy and atomize it well ? What air pressure are you spraying at ? Have you given it a complete cleaning lately ?

  • Member since
    June, 2006
Posted by Tankluver on Wednesday, January 23, 2019 2:17 PM
I usually give it a cleaning with every painting. I haven’t done a water test lately, also i use a mini compressor here’s the link for it https://mixwholesale.com/collections/airbrushing/products/dual-action-airbrush-kit-with-mini-compressor.
  • Member since
    March, 2003
  • From: Western North Carolina
Posted by Tojo72 on Wednesday, January 23, 2019 2:39 PM
I don't know,is there really a best airbrush or compressor ? I mean what works for you may not work for me,modeling skills make a diffrence,just like top of the line golf clubs may not help your golf game,expensive airbrushes don't guarantee top notch results.cheap ones could be real crap.Google Don Wheelers airbrush site and see what fits your skills and budget.

  • Member since
    November, 2018
Posted by oldermodelguy on Wednesday, January 23, 2019 3:01 PM

Tankluver
I usually give it a cleaning with every painting. I haven’t done a water test lately, also i use a mini compressor here’s the link for it https://mixwholesale.com/collections/airbrushing/products/dual-action-airbrush-kit-with-mini-compressor.
 

Based on the photo and if you have that little plastic box compressor that delivers .4 cfm of air, I can tell you outright that won't feed enough air to most any serious airbrush with a moderate size nozzle on it. The airbrush in the kit has a .3 needle so you need to thin the paint well. In this kit you have no means of controlling air pressure or flow. You really do need more compressor imo. Acrylics spray nice around 25-30 psi working pressure, that is to say that amount of pressure can be maintained continuously for as long as you hold the valve down without pulsing or air flow dropping off..
  • Member since
    September, 2006
  • From: Bethlehem PA
Posted by the Baron on Wednesday, January 23, 2019 3:45 PM

Tojo72

I don't know,is there really a best airbrush or compressor?...

I agree; that's the same thing that went through my mind when I saw this thread.

As far as Paasche brushes go, which model do you have?  I use a Paasche VL, and it works pretty well for me.  It's siphon-fed, double-action.  I have been thinking about changing to a gravity-fed brush, though, because the way the paint cup attaches makes it a little clumsy to hold the brush while painting.  But otherwise, it's a reliable, rugged brush.

Beyond that, I second what the others have said about the other things to consider-the type of paint you use, how it's thinned, and pressure settings.  You might just need to tweak those factors.  Experiment and practice.

About Lifecolor-I use some of their paints, too; they're water-based acrylics.  I didn't know they made a compressor or any airbrush accessories.  Or is that a separate manufacturer altogether?

The bigger the government, the smaller the citizen.

 

 

  • Member since
    June, 2006
Posted by Tankluver on Wednesday, January 23, 2019 3:45 PM

Yeah i wondered if the air flow was part of the issue, it’ll spray the model air paint pretty well but it’s still a fight at times. 

  • Member since
    November, 2018
Posted by oldermodelguy on Wednesday, January 23, 2019 4:23 PM

the Baron

 

 
Tojo72

 

As far as Paasche brushes go, which model do you have?  I use a Paasche VL, and it works pretty well for me.  It's siphon-fed, double-action.

About Lifecolor-I use some of their paints, too; they're water-based acrylics.  I didn't know they made a compressor or any airbrush accessories.  Or is that a separate manufacturer altogether?

 

I don't think his compressor could deal with a VL, I don't know much about his but it looks kind of like one of those diaphram pumps for a fish tank, assuming the link came up right that he indicated being to his kit. It's like the light duty tatoo kits for $30.

He needs an actual air compressor imo.

  • Member since
    November, 2018
Posted by oldermodelguy on Wednesday, January 23, 2019 4:33 PM

Tankluver

Yeah i wondered if the air flow was part of the issue, it’ll spray the model air paint pretty well but it’s still a fight at times. 

 

How are you thinning the MA paints ( with what and how much) ? You're going to need them fairly thin to run through the .3 needle. Think like milk or 2% milk to start with and see how that sprays. If it works, then try a little thicker. But generally thinner is better as long as you get coverage.

  • Member since
    January, 2013
Posted by BlackSheepTwoOneFour on Wednesday, January 23, 2019 6:33 PM

It can be a number of things. 

Air compressor hose leak.

You're not thinning your paint enough.

Your tip keep drying out.

Your airbrush needs a good thorough cleaning - meaning you need to take apart your airbrush completely and clean it.

What thinner are you using?

 

BTW... there's no such thing as the "best airbrush and air compressor" Choose what you can afford. Everybody has their own opinion of airbrush and compressor of their liking.

 

 

  • Member since
    December, 2010
  • From: Salem, Oregon
Posted by 1943Mike on Thursday, January 24, 2019 12:01 AM

The other modelers who've responded have given you some ideas.

I'm not a great modeler but, in my retirement, I took up the hobby again at age 68. I'll be 76 on the 30th of this month. I was probably into building Aurora, Revell, Monogram kits when I was 12 to around 15. The thing that grabbed my interest at 15 and got me away from modeling was probably ...... yep, girls.

When I revisited this hobby nearly 8 years ago I bought some cheap Chinese A/B's and a small "toy" compressor. The airbrushes were, for me, crap. The compressor noise and its seemingly constant charging were getting on my nerves. I then bought two Badger brushes (the 155 Anthem and the 105 Patriot) and relegated my cheap compressor to a spot under my work bench. I bought the Sparmax TC-620 compressor and have not looked back. I've since added an Iwata HP-C Plus A/B for finer work.

If you're going to stay in this hobby and enjoy it, my advise is to buy the highest quality equipment you can afford one time and enjoy it for many, many years.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fYOrrLLz3-o

 

 

Mike

"Le temps est un grand maître, mais malheureusement, il tue tous ses élèves."

Hector Berlioz

  • Member since
    August, 2005
  • From: Sydney, Australia
Posted by Phil_H on Thursday, January 24, 2019 2:09 AM

oldermodelguy
I don't think his compressor could deal with a VL, I don't know much about his but it looks kind of like one of those diaphram pumps for a fish tank, assuming the link came up right that he indicated being to his kit. It's like the light duty tatoo kits for $30.

I concur. The traditional Paasche models (ie. the H and VL) seem to need a bit more air than comparable brushes from other brands.

In fact, the description of the compressor says:

Not suitable for use with siphon-feed (suction) airbrushes

Yes, it appears it really is that gutless.

 

  • Member since
    November, 2018
Posted by oldermodelguy on Thursday, January 24, 2019 6:11 AM

Sometimes you can tune up the knock off brushes to work well with a little polishing of the needle, some bees wax or other soft wax on the head assembly threads to aid sealing air leaks and some lube. Some models need a little filing and rebending in the trigger area. But if the compressor won't put out you just plain need more air. It doesn't have to be a real expensive compressor though. Of course "expensive" or not is kind of dictated by ones budget.

 

  • Member since
    August, 2005
  • From: Sydney, Australia
Posted by Phil_H on Thursday, January 24, 2019 6:28 AM

oldermodelguy
It doesn't have to be a real expensive compressor though. Of course "expensive" or not is kind of dictated by ones budget.

Keep in mind that you can get a small (3 gal) workshop compressor for about the same or less than a dedicated airbrush compressor. It might be noisier, but it would be a bit more versatile as you can run other air tools off it. 

compare the following:

https://www.harborfreight.com/16-HP-58-PSI-Oil-Free-Airbrush-Compressor-60329.html

and

https://www.harborfreight.com/3-gal-13-HP-100-PSI-Oil-Free-Pancake-Air-Compressor-61615.html

there's not a lot of difference in price.

  • Member since
    June, 2006
Posted by Tankluver on Thursday, January 24, 2019 6:44 AM

Thank you all for the suggestions. I didn’t even realize that i was using a suction air brush and that the compressor wasn’t suited for such. I’m usually thinning the Vallejo paints with there retarder. But i don’t have any dedicated mixing tools. I just eyeball it. Are there mid ratios for certain paints? Usually i squirt it in and shake it up to get it To be less chunky.

  • Member since
    January, 2013
Posted by BlackSheepTwoOneFour on Thursday, January 24, 2019 6:49 AM

I think I know what is your problem. A retarder is NOT a thinner. It’s an additive for flow. You need to thin your paint with their thinner.

  • Member since
    June, 2006
Posted by Tankluver on Thursday, January 24, 2019 7:05 AM
Would regular paint thinner work or should i get Vallejo brand thinner. Also when it comes to airbrushes I’m currently looking at the Paasche talon. It has a needle would this be recommended or do certain needle sizes do certain things!
  • Member since
    November, 2018
Posted by oldermodelguy on Thursday, January 24, 2019 7:34 AM

Tankluver
Would regular paint thinner work or should i get Vallejo brand thinner. Also when it comes to airbrushes I’m currently looking at the Paasche talon. It has a needle would this be recommended or do certain needle sizes do certain things!
 

No don't use paint thinner, get their thinner. At least till you understand thinners better, it's made to work in their paints. Slosh some milk around in your paint cup, dump it out and clean the cup. Then mix your paint, thinning till it acts like the milk did in your cup. Look at the film it leaves on the sides, how it runs back down the sides and how it drips off your mixing stick. That is about the consistency you want to start with. You probably will still benefit with a drop of retarder in that mix.

"Paint thinner" as in hardware store variety you would use or could use in solvent based enamel paints but not in acrylic. Acrylic thinners have different make up by brand. Some will cross to other brands and some won't.

 

  • Member since
    August, 2005
  • From: Sydney, Australia
Posted by Phil_H on Thursday, January 24, 2019 7:54 AM

Tankluver
I’m currently looking at the Paasche talon. It has a needle would this be recommended or do certain needle sizes do certain things!

I'm not quite sure what you're asking about the needle. All "internal mix" airbrushes have needles. Generally speaking, the finer the needle (and nozzle aperture) the finer the spray pattern (ie thinner lines) 

The Talon's "standard" needle is 0.38mm. I use a Sparmax brush with a 0.35mm nozzle and that works just fine for both general coverage and for detail work.

Remember that your spray pattern isn't just determined by the needle size. It also depends on your paint viscosity, air pressure and distance from the subject.

Check Don's review of the Talon here: https://sites.google.com/site/donsairbrushtips/paasche-talon

 

  • Member since
    November, 2018
Posted by oldermodelguy on Thursday, January 24, 2019 8:13 AM

Phil_H

 

 
oldermodelguy
It doesn't have to be a real expensive compressor though. Of course "expensive" or not is kind of dictated by ones budget.

 

Keep in mind that you can get a small (3 gal) workshop compressor for about the same or less than a dedicated airbrush compressor. It might be noisier, but it would be a bit more versatile as you can run other air tools off it. 

compare the following:

https://www.harborfreight.com/16-HP-58-PSI-Oil-Free-Airbrush-Compressor-60329.html

and

https://www.harborfreight.com/3-gal-13-HP-100-PSI-Oil-Free-Pancake-Air-Compressor-61615.html

there's not a lot of difference in price.

 

Depends where you live, if someone lives in an apartment situation the pancake might not be an option. But it will give out way more volume of air than the HF airbrush compressor. Those HF airbrush compressors are fairly popular, I wouldn't want to use one with a Paasche H and #5 tip though, I think it would drop pressure and not keep up. A Point Zero with a tank on it might though, for another $20 or so..

I use a home portable compressor myself, it's 8 gallons, runs an impact wrench in bursts, runs my lvlp spray guns, nail guns and air brushes. And it's not just noisy but ouright loud ! For airbrushing that doesn't matter, I air it up and can get through most of the various stages of painting a model before it needs air again, even if I shot the clear on at 35lb. So I use it basically like a portable air tank. But I'm in my own house and have acreage to not bother anyone but the cats when I do air it up and they're used to it, so is the wife..

  • Member since
    August, 2005
  • From: Mansfield, TX
Posted by EdGrune on Thursday, January 24, 2019 8:30 AM

How do you get to Carnegie Hall?   Practice, practice practice.

How do you learn to airbrush?  Practice, practice, practice.

Once you get paint consistency sorted out, then it is time to start looking at air pressure.   Higher pressures tend to blow the paint out with less control and often resulting in spiders -- those splats with legs that spread out in all directions.  While it may take a higher pressure to blow out thick paint, a lower pressure results in more control, finer lines, and the ability to add thin coats of paint in layers.

Lower pressure you can use thinner paint resulting in a more translucent coat.

Lower pressure & thin paint allow you to work closer to the subject, perhaps a half-inch or less.   More control.  

A gravity-fed airbrush can work at a lower pressure than a siphon-fed brush

Settle on your airbrush and preferred paint.   Get a scrap model, some cardboard, or sheet plastic and start practicing.    Draw thin lines.  Make squiggles.  Draw circles.  shade them in.   Practice, practice, practice.  Only then attempt to paint your current masterpiece.

My home setup is a 2 gallon tank shop compressor with quick disconnects into a primary regulator set at 40 PSI,  then to a final regulator at my working pressure - 8 to 12 PSI. Do not rely on the regulator on the compressor.  I bought a 30 PSI gauge off of Amazon to get finer control of the final pressure.  Did you know that gauges at the big box stores can be off as much as 10% full travel (that means your 200 PSI gauge can be off +/- 20 PSI).    Out of the final regulator into the airbrush.   I tweek the final regulator as needed for the painting conditions seen (temperature, humidity, paint mix).  Currently using a Badger 360 Omni.  That brush allows either gravity or siphon feed.   I prefer gravity feed over siphon feed.  My current paint favorite is Vallejo Model Air (acrylic),  but I do ColorCoats (enamel) often.

With a tank compressor it makes noise while the tank fills, then shuts off and uses the stored air in the tank.  Only a brief discomfort.

With a shop compressor I can disconnect it from the brush system and take it to the garage and air the tires or blow up an air mattress, or power an air nailer.   The air flow is suffcient to use an air-powered die grinder handle.  It is not a uni-tasker like a dedicated airbrush compressor.

Stay away from the small diaphram type compressors, especially the emergency tire inflators.   Air pressure is catch-as-catch-can and the output pulses.  A longer hose may mitigate the pulsing but you will still notice it in your work

  • Member since
    August, 2005
  • From: Sydney, Australia
Posted by Phil_H on Thursday, January 24, 2019 8:37 AM

oldermodelguy
Those HF airbrush compressors are fairly popular, I wouldn't want to use one with a Paasche H and #5 tip though, I think it would drop pressure and not keep up.

Yep, according to the documentation, it has a throughput of 0.5CFM @ 20PSI

I have one much like it, probably identical really, cos I'm sure they're OEM'd for many resellers (mine came from Aldi). If paired with a gravity feed brush there shouldn't be any issues because it'll be typically 20PSI or less, but yeah, with a  Paasche H (or even a VL) it'd struggle.

  • Member since
    January, 2013
Posted by BlackSheepTwoOneFour on Thursday, January 24, 2019 8:54 AM

oldermodelguy

 

 
Tankluver
Would regular paint thinner work or should i get Vallejo brand thinner. Also when it comes to airbrushes I’m currently looking at the Paasche talon. It has a needle would this be recommended or do certain needle sizes do certain things!
 

 

 

No don't use paint thinner, get their thinner. At least till you understand thinners better, it's made to work in their paints. Slosh some milk around in your paint cup, dump it out and clean the cup. Then mix your paint thinning till it acts like the milk did in your cup. Look at the film it leaves on the sides, how it runs back down the sides and how it drips off your mixing stick. That is about the consistency you want to start with. You probably will still benefit with a drop of retarder in that mix.

"Paint thinner" as in hardware store variety you would use or could use in solvent based enamel paints but not in acrylic. Acrylic thinners have different make up by brand. Some will cross to other brands and some won't.

 

 

 

What he said. Nothing wrong g with trying different paint brands. Just thin with paint brand's thinner.

  • Member since
    November, 2008
  • From: Far Northern CA
Posted by mrmike on Thursday, January 24, 2019 11:25 AM

Lots of good suggestions here already, and here's my two cents. I've used a Paasche VL for decades, replacing needles and tips as required. It still works fine, but is less useful for modelling than it's newer cousin, the gravity feed Talon. I bought the Talon set with three needle/tip sizes plus a "spray head" for broad coverage, and have been very happy with it. As others have said, Don Wheeler's site is an excellent source of knowledge and reviews.

As far as compressors go, I have several shop uses for my 30 gal. heavy duty unit. For model painting, I run a secondary air regulator with a gauge that reads lower pressures and a moisture trap. This allows me to dial in the pressure much more accurately than the gauge on the compressor itself. I realize not everyone can or would want to use a shop grade air supply - if I had to choose a "hobby" compressor I would look at the ones offered by the airbush manufacturers and dealers.

Happy modelling!

Mike

 

  • Member since
    November, 2018
Posted by oldermodelguy on Sunday, January 27, 2019 8:37 AM

What came of this anyway Tankluver, have you rectified anything yet ?

  • Member since
    June, 2006
Posted by Tankluver on Sunday, January 27, 2019 8:50 AM

oldermodelguy

What came of this anyway Tankluver, have you rectified anything yet ?

 

did some research and bought myself a Paasche D500sr and a talon airbrush. It came yesterday and i used the ammo mig modulation set to paint the Otto carius Tiger I. It came out nicely but i was still figuring out the best setting for how to paint. I’m starting to get the hang of it now. 

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