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First Airbrush/Compressor Recommendations?

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  • Member since
    February 2022
First Airbrush/Compressor Recommendations?
Posted by VMB413 on Monday, February 7, 2022 5:42 PM

Hi all. I'm brand new to the hobby. I built several kits as a kid but am diving back in with renewed excitement! I'm primarily interested in WWII aircraft.

I'm hoping for some input on what you'd recommend for a decent, good value airbrush/compressor combo for someone just starting out. My budget is around the $200 mark.

I went to my local hobby shop last weekend to ask for a recommendation. I was told my best bet was to go to Hobby Lobby but didn't get any specific model names to consider...

I headed over and ended up buying an Iwata Neo set with a small, portable compressor for $180.

I haven't opened it yet because, frankly, I'm not sure if it was worth it! Especially considering I'm seeing several sets available on Amazon with a bigger compressor and more accessories at the +\- $100 price point. To be fair, I'm not sure if these are any good either!

With all that said: what would you recommend? Keep the Iwata to get my feet wet? Exchange it for something else?

I'm sure you can spend a fortune on professional airbrushes/compressors. Perhaps if I improve my skills, I'll consider a "real" airbrush. For now, I'm primarily concerned with getting the best units possible for my budget.

Thanks for reading. I've found the scale modeling community to be very welcoming thus far. I've definitely caught "the bug" and am stoked to dive back in to this hobby! Any input/ words of wisdom would be appreciated. Thanks and happy building!

 

- J. Armand

  • Member since
    August 2021
Posted by goldhammer88 on Monday, February 7, 2022 6:08 PM

I have a NEO, and no problems with it, easy to use, and clean.  Was my first AB, though I painted 1:1 vehicles for many years.  Didn't take long to get a feel for it.  Have plumbed into a 2 gallon compressor at home that I can use for other things.  Can also use shop air (135psi) because I have a water trap and regulator to get it down to 15-20 psi.

The .35 nozzle will cover most anything in 1/72, 1/48, and even 1/32, except for very fine (squiggle) camo schemes on some German and Japanese A/C.  If you go down on pressure, get in tight, and thin paint way down, it will probably even do that, but haven't tried it yet.

As always, you'll have to play with thinning ratios and pressure to get results.  Lot's of practice.

Quality and longevity tend to go out the window at mach speed, with that kind of price point.  Not looked at any of them, so can't comment on them.

  • Member since
    April 2020
Posted by Eaglecash867 on Tuesday, February 8, 2022 6:31 AM

BAH!!  I think "real" airbrushes are over-rated.  2 cents  Just get a Paasche H and you'll never need another airbrush.  I have had the same one for 35 years and have only replaced the air cap, needle, and color cup occasionally when all the chrome plating finally wears off them.  Even doing that is cheap and simple.  Paasche is an old-school company that provides old-school service for all of their products.  

After having used it as long as I have been, I can accomplish all the same things with it that much more expensive "real" airbrushes can accomplish.  Its all about distance from the piece, pressure, and thinning the paint.  But, even as a beginner all those years ago, it was still an awesome, simple to operate airbrush right out of the gate.

"You can have my illegal fireworks when you pry them from my cold, dead fingers...which are...over there somewhere."

  • Member since
    July 2015
Posted by MR TOM SCHRY on Tuesday, February 8, 2022 6:54 AM

I started airbrushing with a Testors Aztek airbrush that had the screw on nozzles for ease of cleaning, which was attractive to a "newbie".  That lasted several years but the results were hit and miss.  When that one died I switched over to an Iwata Neo from Hobby Lobby.  I like the gravity feed brush and I've gotten good results with it.  That first one lasted me at least five-seven years and now I'm on my second Neo.

TJS

TJS

  • Member since
    November 2018
Posted by oldermodelguy on Tuesday, February 8, 2022 7:41 AM

Neo is made for Iwata and backed by Iwata. Polish the needle ( something I recommend doing with any airbrush, it helps greatly with fine atomization and control of stray droplets which screw up your finer lines) and use it, it will be fine for armor models if that's your main interest..

Where the kit could struggle is something like covering an entire canvas in prep for art work or say a big or large scale ship hull ( some of those can get out to 3 and 4 ft. It should be fine for most else models.

 

  • Member since
    February 2022
Posted by VMB413 on Tuesday, February 8, 2022 10:42 AM

Thank you! This is very helpful information. 

- J. Armand

  • Member since
    November 2018
Posted by oldermodelguy on Tuesday, February 8, 2022 4:47 PM

Just a disclaimer here. If this compressor is the little mini plastic one, it's not what I had in mind when I wrote earlier, then a couple of things. It gets reasonable reviews for what it is. But for serious modeling most of us do use something more substantial. But it will spray properly mixed paints pretty decently from what I've seen..

Let us know what you do and how you make out.

  • Member since
    April 2003
  • From: USA
Posted by keavdog on Tuesday, February 8, 2022 5:51 PM

I'm a big CO2 fan.  I have a small compressor for backup.

Thanks,

John

  • Member since
    February 2021
Posted by MJY65 on Tuesday, February 8, 2022 6:12 PM

Eaglecash867
BAH!!  I think "real" airbrushes are over-rated.    Just get a Paasche H and you'll never need another airbrush. 

 

I have half a dozen Iwatas, but the positive posts about the Paasche H make my arsenal seem incomplete.  Might need to get one, just because.Smile

  • Member since
    April 2020
Posted by Eaglecash867 on Tuesday, February 8, 2022 6:21 PM

keavdog

I'm a big CO2 fan.  I have a small compressor for backup.

 

I'm tempted to try using nitrogen some time.  I have pretty easy access to it.

"You can have my illegal fireworks when you pry them from my cold, dead fingers...which are...over there somewhere."

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