Best Airbrush on a Budget?

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quakers1

The Blue Man
#1
Hello everyone.

Recently, I have commenced an HO scale freelance project in which I must paint several undecorated locomotives to build a roster for my railroad (well, every fictional freelance has gotta get paint work!) Of course, I am going to be needing an airbrush.

Since I am spending the bulk of my money on acquiring the track I need for the layout at this time, I am looking to pick up an airbrush while I'm at it. I don't really need anything too fancy, so I have a question. What would be the best airbrush that is currently on the market that fits my airbrush budget?

My budget is $125 or less.

Thanks for all the help!!!

Cheers,

-Ace :)
 
#2
I have a Paasche VL-S dual action siphon airbrush, a Speedaire dual action grvity feed brush, and 4 Badger 250 single action external mix brushes.

I paint a lot of slot cars, R/C cars, model cars, and of course model trains. For 99% of everything I paint, I use the $20 Badger 250's. They are great little air brushes, easy to use, lay paint well, and easy to clean.

Why do I have 4 of them? When I'm painting slot cars, I do a lot of "production" work... I may paint 10 or 12 bodies in one evening. I'll load one brush with white, one with black, and the other two with colors. To change colors, I wipe the siphon tube off with a paper towel, blow the tube out on a paper towel, screw on a bottle of laquer thinner and spray until the tinner comes clean on a paper towel, and change colors. (It took longer to type that than it does to clean the brush!)

Badger 250 airbrush:





http://www.badgerairbrush.com/BADGER_250.asp

I also use this to supply dried, regulated air to all 4 brushes.



Rotor
 
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Espeefan

Active Member
#3
For $125.00 you have several excellent choices.

The Paasche Talon is a very good gun, and available in siphion or gravity feed.

http://www.tcpglobal.com/airbrushdepot/abpaakits.aspx

Tha Badger Anthem is also a very good gun for the money:

http://www.tcpglobal.com/airbrushdepot/b155sets.aspx

They also have the Patriot if you like gravity feed guns

My personal favorite is Iwata

Their Eclipse line is excellent, and though it's toward the uper end of your budget, IMHO it's worth the few extra bucks. There is the HP-BCS for a siphon feed gun, and the HP-CS if you want gravity feed. They use stainless steel in their nozzles and spring steel for their needles, so parts are a little more expensive, but you won't buy parts much. I have a 3 year old HP-CS that still has all the original parts.

http://www.tcpglobal.com/airbrushdepot/ieclipse.aspx#IWA4200

All are excellent guns and will last a lifetime with proper care and maintenance.

The Badger 250 is not so much an airbrush as a spray gun. It is for large areas with medium to heavy viscosity paints. It will not atomize paint as well as a true airbrush will. I started out with one to learn on, and quickly outgrew it. For finer detail work, you'll want something more capable.

If you search the archives here you'll find several good discussions in airbrushing.

Hope this helps.
 
#4
I have not gotten an air brush but have thought of doing so many times.

The price of just the air brush isn't what has stopped me. Its the total cost of everything needed. That includes a convenient compressed air supply, regulator, drier and a spray booth with a filtered exhaust to the outside.

I did borrow one of the Badger 250's once to see if I really wanted to buy an air brush. It worked well but it was the other items that keep me from buying my own.

Just bringing this up so the OP can think and ask about and budget for full setup.
 

Espeefan

Active Member
#5
I have not gotten an air brush but have thought of doing so many times.

The price of just the air brush isn't what has stopped me. Its the total cost of everything needed. That includes a convenient compressed air supply, regulator, drier and a spray booth with a filtered exhaust to the outside.

I did borrow one of the Badger 250's once to see if I really wanted to buy an air brush. It worked well but it was the other items that keep me from buying my own.

Just bringing this up so the OP can think and ask about and budget for full setup.
Waltr, no offense really, but I always have to chuckle when I see a post like yours. If you check out the links I provided, you'll see that you can get a complete kit with everything you need to start painting for around $250-260.00. Now that isn't cheap, but it's not expensive either. In fact, it's real darn close to the price of an MTH/Athearn Genesis/BLI/whatever brand locomotive with Sound & DCC. Most of us have at least one of those, so might you really be saying "there's other things I'd rather spend my money on" instead of "too expensive"? It all comes down to how important painting is to the individual modeler.
 
#6
True, very true and no offense taken.
I did think someone might get a chuckle.

However $250 is twice the OP's budget and is why I wrote what I did.

Cheers
 

Espeefan

Active Member
#7
True, but $250.00 includes a compressor, and he just asked about an airbrush. He may have an air source already. Lots of us have a compressor we use for other things as well. ;)
 
#8
Paasche H

I have several airbrushes, Badger, Iwata, Paasche. My preference for model railroading is the Paasche H. It is a single action, siphon feed airbrush, reasonably priced. I bought the kit. Extra needle and such.

I use it for backgrounds, modeling, and scenery.

Whatever you buy, be sure to maintain/clean after each use and you'll be fine.

My views:

Gravity Feed: I get into working on something and eventually tilt the airbrush spilling the paint or I run out of paint. Just me. My Iwata (gravity feed) is awesome for tight detailed work.

Dual Action: I'm not that coordinated. Controlling paint flow with the PH is easy for me.
 

quakers1

The Blue Man
#9
Thanks for all your responses!!!

I will take a good look at every suggestion, and see what I like best.

Btw, I have another question. Since my paint scheme is only one color (everything else is decals), I am not needing any fancy spraying rig. Is using spray paint or old school brush paint good options for painting locomotives?

Thanks for all your help!

-Ace :)
 
#10
Gravity Feed: I get into working on something and eventually tilt the airbrush spilling the paint or I run out of paint. Just me. My Iwata (gravity feed) is awesome for tight detailed work.
Dude, put the cap on the bowl! :D I can paint a 40 ft boxcar body with my HP-CS! :D


Dual Action: I'm not that coordinated. Controlling paint flow with the PH is easy for me.
I tell people it's like learning stick after driving an automatic. You'll have a few "oops" moments, but before long you'll be doing it without thinking about it. It all comes down to practice!
 
#11
Thanks for all your responses!!!

I will take a good look at every suggestion, and see what I like best.

Btw, I have another question. Since my paint scheme is only one color (everything else is decals), I am not needing any fancy spraying rig. Is using spray paint or old school brush paint good options for painting locomotives?

Thanks for all your help!

-Ace :)
You an use rattle cans, and some do, but I like the control I get with an airbrush. You also lay down less paint with an airbrush, and two thin coats are better than one heavy one.

I have seen some modelers, especially aircraft guys lay down a nice finish with a brush. You really have to know your paint well, and know just how much to thin it to eliminate brush strokes. While I'm good with an airbrush, this skill has eluded me. I suppose I could beat it in time, but I have an airbrush or two (or three, or five, or ten :D), so I don't need to.
 
#12
My Iwata HP-B doesn't have a cap option (bought 25 years ago for something other than model railroading).

No matter, I agree. Whatever airbrush, practice until you get the results you expect.
 
#13
Admittedly, the Badger 250 won't do super fine detail work like my Paasche VL-S, but for simply spraying things like model car bodies and model trains, I'm very pleased with the results. I usually thin the paint to 50/50 at least, and can lay light coats that flow smoothly. Way more control that a spray bomb, and no brush strokes.

Some stuff painted with the Badger 250:











I definitely need better lighting in the train room for pics! :rolleyes:







Rotor
 
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#15
I wondered how long it would take for someone to mention the Harbor Freight cheapie! :D A couple things regarding it. It looks like a Badger 155 on the outside. That's where the resemblance ends. I have fiddled with these a little, and my opinion FWIW is if you're a beginner, stay away from it. The quality can be spotty, and a beginner who doesn't know how to tweak an airbrush could get frustrated with one.

There is a pretty good site for airbrush tips, and though the guy does mostly Badger reviews, he knows his stuff. Here is a link to his review of the HF airbrush:

http://airbrushtips.110mb.com/Harbor Freight Airbrush.html

Chack out the rest of his site too. Lots of good stuff there.

I've read plenty of posts on this forum where guys have them and like them. I've read posts on other forums where there have been problems with them. You pays your money and you takes your chances. You also get what you pay for. For a beginning airbrusher, I'd recommend a name brand. You'll spend more time painting, and less time fiddling.
 

Cjcrescent

Master Mechanic
#16
I wondered how long it would take for someone to mention the Harbor Freight cheapie! ...

I've read plenty of posts on this forum where guys have them and like them. I've read posts on other forums where there have been problems with them. You pays your money and you takes your chances. You also get what you pay for. For a beginning airbrusher, I'd recommend a name brand. You'll spend more time painting, and less time fiddling.
While I have to agree that this brush isn't for everyone, it still is an overall good brush. It's like an Iwata is a good brush, but again not for everyone, (like me). While it does help if you have some spraying experience, it is an alternative to spending a lot more money to see if you can learn the skills to use an airbrush. (Again not everyone can.)

As you know I have and use one of these, but I also use 3 other brushes as well that I use. A badger XF100 for superfine work, a Passche H-1 for general painting and a Air Pro PS800 gravity feed for in between work. Each brush has its place.

While I still recommend that a newbie to the world of airbrushing get a high quality single action to learn on, for someone determined to go double action at the start up, the HF brush really isn't a bad brush at all. Not everyone has the money for any of the name brand double actioners out there. Plus the badger parts do fit it.

Now IMHO the best brush on the market is the Passche AB. I've used one, but had to return it to the owner after a year or so. IIRC they're pushing $300 or more now.
 
#17
Hi Carey, I wondered if this would draw your attention, and you kind of confirm my point. :D For you and I, this gun would be OK, but remember how long you've been doing it. We can take these things apart & re-assemble them in our sleep. If a newb had an issue with one of these cheapie guns, he would either spend some time on a frustrating learning curve, or chuck the thing in the box and say the heck with airbrushing, too much trouble. Knowledgeable users can fix common problems almost without thinking, but I would not put one of these in a student's hand. True, it isn't bad for the money, and there are those who can't afford the high end stuff, but the original poster said he had $125.00 to spend, so I would still recommend buying as much gun as you can afford. I have been teaching airbrushing, and I break lots of folks in on double action. If you learn on a D/A I think it's actually easier than starting on a S/A and transitioning later. You don't have to unlearn anything! I know some Badger parts do fit the HF gun, but I would not use their needle with a Badger Nozzle, or vice versa. The needle profiles on the two guns are very different. I'm also not nuts about the quality of the machining.

See what a monster you created? :D:D:p;)

BTW, Which Paasche are you talking about? I have a Millenium (great) a VL (don't care for it) and an H (don't care much for external mix, just use it for teaching)
 

Cjcrescent

Master Mechanic
#18
I was hoping that you wouldn't ask.;)

The only picture that I can locate of it, is on the Passche site.

http://www.paascheairbrush.com/Double_Action-DA_Airbrush_Set.html

Its on the second row.

Its the same brush that the artist Vargas painted all those girls with in the older Playboy mags.:D

It has a spray pattern that is unreal!!!! But when using it, your paint has to be the consistency of ink. But it has made any air brush, and I mean any airbrush I've used, including the Iwata, seem like a toy!

I just can't justify the price of it for the amount of painting that I do nowadays.

While he did say that he had $125 as a budget, that doesn't mean he needed to spend the entire amount.

As to unlearning things after learning on a SA, I don't understand as I never unlearned anything going from one to another, as in going from an SA to a DA.
 
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#19
I found a couple decent pics of the Paasche AB. Neat aribrush! Way better airbrush brush than I am an airbrush operator! :D





Rotor
 
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#20
I was hoping that you wouldn't ask.;)

The only picture that I can locate of it, is on the Passche site.

http://www.paascheairbrush.com/Double_Action-DA_Airbrush_Set.html

Its on the second row.

Its the same brush that the artist Vargas painted all those girls with in the older Playboy mags.:D

It has a spray pattern that is unreal!!!! But when using it, your paint has to be the consistency of ink. But it has made any air brush, and I mean any airbrush I've used, including the Iwata, seem like a toy!

I just can't justify the price of it for the amount of painting that I do nowadays.

While he did say that he had $125 as a budget, that doesn't mean he needed to spend the entire amount.

As to unlearning things after learning on a SA, I don't understand as I never unlearned anything going from one to another, as in going from an SA to a DA.
Oh that one! I've never used one before. Looks very Rube Goldbergish.
I've also never used this one:

http://www.iwata-medea.com/index.php/products/cm_c_plus

which retails in the $6-700.00 range, though you can find it cheaper on the net. .18 mm needle/nozzle, and as you said, your paint must be thinned to ink consistency. I don't have the need to go that fine, and can get close enough with their Hi-Line series.

As to DA-SA, you have to learn the second reflex of pulling back for color, and unlearn that your spray output is fixed. Others' words, not mine, as I've sold quite a few guns to Paasche H users and unlearn was a term used by them.
 



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