fine scale modeler mag says that an amateur with a trumpter me 109g
could use a vega 1000 by Thayer and Chandler for $125. They also
mention the Aztec A430. How difficult are these to use and is there
anything cheaper? I want to paint my plane to look realistic. there is
no sense spending 250 hrs on something and then having it look like a
1/100 tamayia. the hobby shop that we have all come to know and love
in nj says that airbrushing is very difficult. I want to paint the
1/24 model with camoflage paint as shown in the directions. i might as
well use a paint brush if i can't airbrush it. any suggestions of a
helpful nature. thanks in advance.
Airbrushing isn't difficult- it just takes some practice. Use a bunch of
cardboard and paint to get the hang of painting evenly and doing stripes of
different widths. Thinning the paint correctly needs some practice, too.
Most authorities tell you to get the consistency of milk.
Re price- I just got a gravity feed (cup on top) Iwata Eclipse from Dixie
Art for Xmas- She-who-must-be-obeyed decided to let me pick out my own
present so that it was exactly right. The cost including a new hose was
about $106.00. I have a compressor already- it cost about $150 (Costco) but
it's really bigger than I need. Wal-Mart sells one for about a hundred that
works well. I also have a pressure regulator and a moisture trap (Moisture?
in 29 Stumps? Hah!) so my whole setup cost me about $300 total. Remember
that most of that cost is pretty long term- my old compressor died after
about 10 years of use.
The key is getting good stuff and taking the time to fool around A LOT
before putting paint to valuable plastic. Hope this helps, and remember to
If you plan to spend 250 hours on a model, you should not feel put out
by spending two or three hours practicing with a new airbrush before
trying to paint anything on the model. The shop is right, it is a tool
that takes some practice. However a couple of hours is enough practice
time to get you in shape for some decent painting.
Problem comes when someone buys a brush, having never used an airbrush
before, and tries to paint a model with the brush right out of the box.
Either use old scrap kits, scrap parts, or spare styrene stock, and go
ahead and spend a few hours getting to know an airbrush. You won't be
sorry. Try thinning to different viscosities, try varying pressure,
Alot of you guys mention price. I think if the rank amatuer went straight
for a Trumpeter 1/24 kit bought at retail then price should not come into
consideration. Personally I own several Paasche, Badger, and Thayer and
Chandler (now Badger). My favorite is and always will be my 25 year old
single action Paasche H-3 my dad bought me and I learned on in High School
drafting class. I just bought one for my daughter for the lowly sum of
40.00! Thats because I think it is alot of brush for the money, will last
forever, and will do damn near anything you ask of it providing you have
some talent and are not into Tamiya 1/100 models. :-0 Also we are so very
Personally however, I would go for a Paasche AB Turbo (always wanted to try
one) and one of those Badger Million-Air silent compressors. This set up
should give you and absolute stunning finish. The AB can get a hairs width
line and was used for photo retouching and fine art way before Photo-Shop.
The Silent Air compressor should be so quiet you can hear your splinter camo
drying as it hits the model.
Has anyone actually tried one of these turbo airbrushes using model
paint? I bought a used one several years ago just because it was priced
right ($50.00 Canadian). The air turbine actually drives a very small
needle back and forth in front of the air stream. The needle picks up
the liquid being sprayed, and it is blown off the tip. I only tried it
with some colored ink, and it seemed to work OK. I never did try it
with lacquer based paint that I normally use, nor with acrylic, feeling
the small needle and aperture would be too susceptible to clogging as
the paint dried. Acrylic is bad enough in a regular double action
This particular Paasche was a left handed model, and I am right handed.
It meant the turbo housing was in the front of the brush, and the needle
was on the other side, making it awkward to use. I sold it later on
eBay. It seems to me this airbrush would be more suited to the graphic
arts industry, using inks rather than hobby paints.
BB in Canada
I disagree with the suggestion of jumping up right off with a double action
First things come first, and that means mastering the basic concepts required:
mixtures, distances, spray patterns, on/off of the brush, and most of all
consistency. It's easier to do this with a single action than a double action.
FSM did a brilliant job of roundup up DA brushes and gave the most common (and
reasonably priced ones). But I don't recall -- did they do a similar piece on
For the very new user, a single-action brush is where all you control is the
airflow. You adjust the paint flow separately by either screwing a needle in or
out (in cuts flow, out increases it) or adjusting a sleeve the same way. The
Paasche H-3 (3 indicated medium tip) is a sleeve type, as the Badger 350. The
Badger 200 is a needle type.
The DA brushes adjust paint flow by pulling back the trigger; depressing it
adjusts the air. The Atzeks and Badger 150 work that way, as does the Paasche
VL. They require a much finer touch to operate.
I do agree -- get a compressor. A Badger 180 is fine for a start and is less
than $200 new. Also note you will need a water trap in line with the hose to
prevent nasty spits and snarls that can ruin a finish.
I disagree. I used an SA for many years before getting a DA. I had to
unlearn some things that were reflex actions on the SA before I could
start getting the moves right on the DA.
I don't really believe it would be any harder to go directly first to
the DA. One can operate the DAs essentially as an SA by merely
depressing only in the same fore and aft spot.
A lot of airbrushing is acquired reflex action based on messages from
brain to finger that starts as thoughts and with practice become
I am trashing my existing DA brush and planning on getting a new one. I
suspect, since I am moving to a different make and model, to have to
spend an hour or two getting the feel of the new brush.
For now, I am back with my 20+ year old Badger SA brush. Sure is a
durable son-of-a-gun, that has stood a lot of abuse as a backup brush.
Obviously I disagree with your disagreement since I think I was the first
one on the thread to suggest going straight to a double action airbrush if
that's what suits your intended usage :-) Pulling a trigger back is hardly
the kind of thing to make a double action brush harder to use. And no
airbrush I've ever used lets you "control" the airflow. Yes technically all
airbrushes let you "control" the airflow as in turn it on and off at will
but "control" to me implies adjusting the pressure as well and saying the
brush lets you control the airflow to me sounds like you can adjust the
pressure on the fly much as you can the paint flow on a double action
airbrush, that would be a cool feature though--would that be a triple action
As Don Stauffer said much of 'learning' to use an airbrush is really
developing reflexes and switching from a single action airbrush to a double
action airbrush is mostly a matter of unlearning certain reflexes and
learning new ones to replace them. This is the reason I advocate going
directly to a double action airbrush in the beginning. The ONLY advantage a
single action airbrush has over a comparable double action airbrush is that
it costs less.
IPMS something or other
Actually the better made brushes do let you control the airflow. Note
airflow, not airpressure. What you can control is the volume of air
passing through the brush. Flow rate is measured in CFM, pressure in
PSI....they are not the same thing.
"Jeffery S. Harrison" wrote
As another rank amateur I'd like to offer my recent experience in hope that
you'll find it useful. I purchased a single action Paasche H airbrush from
DixieArt dot com. Look under airbrush inventory and you'll find the H
model, a parts illustration and best of all, a blister pack kit, w/
airbrush, hose, air-can adaptor and wrench for less than $30. There is
another blister pack that has a more extensive parts inventory, however, I
was advised to go with the less expensive of the two. I'm not sorry that I
saved roughly $20. Dixie also has a very informative tutorial on getting
started without a lot of hype and sales pitch. The Paasche H is made from
machined & chromed brass while the rear portion (the handle) is red plastic.
Next, I visited Wal-Mart and got a Campbell Hausfeld 2 gal compressor for
about $85, an inline filter/water trap, and a blister pack containing
adaptors, quick disconnect fittings, air-chuck, blow-gun, sports equipment
needle for another $40. I'm in for $155.00, **less than the cost of several
high end airbrush types. I find the Paasche H with a #3 tip works great, is
super easy to clean and parts readily available, not that I think I'm going
to need parts any time soon, but I would like to get a #1 (fine) tip to
continue experimenting. I started practicing on white Styrofoam plates, no
runs, drips, sags or "spitting stipples". It's also a good way to gauge
color and paint viscosity on the upward curved sidewall of the plate. I was
reliably informed to try using 25 pounds pressure (set on compressor
regulator) and to thin enamel paints between 15 and 20%.
So far, I've successfully painted a camo Curtis P40 "flying tiger" using
old, camo tan, and sky blue (underside) and yellow zinc chromate on interior
surfaces. I found that shooting "Future" (no dilution) was as easy as
I started a P51-D Mustang, also 1:48 tonight with a base coat of testors
silver enamel thinned 20% without incident. Cleanup took less than 10
minutes (including me). I shoot mineral spirits until there is no color
going onto the paper towel, and follow with a quick dis-assemble (you'll
need to obtain a small hex wrench) and brief soak in lacquer thinner (cone
and needle) brush one with a small stiff stencil brush, and a small length
of pipe-cleaner, reassemble, and one final spritz of mineral spirits to
leave a trace of ultra light oil in the brush.
DixieArt had my order in my hands in 7 days after I ordered it, all
dropshipped directly from Paasche.
I decided to start on 3, 1:48 prop jobs from Wal-Mart, $7.87 each to learn
on, as above and an A6M Zero. The kits are inexpensive, fit well and are
all skill level 2. Tomorrow will bring decals to the P40 and an overcoat of
Future and in 2 days afterward, a couple of light passes with dull coat and
finito, my first model airplane in 40 years.
Your performance and mileage may vary, but for my part, I couldn't be more
pleased with the outcome relative to the effort put in and dollars invested.
Good Luck and Good Hunting!!
When I was in your position way back in the day and having never used
an airbrush I started with the Badger 200 model featured in the recent
FSM airbrush round-up (part#1). The Badger 200 is single action,
meaning the controls are very simple; when connected to the air
source, the trigger button on top when pressed controls the air and
the knurled knob at the rear controls the paint volume...simple as
that and most single-action airbrushes are. Other single action
airbrushes like the ones featured in the FSM article are excellent
choices especially the Paasche-H, you just can't go wrong with it.
Having owned both I'd like to point out a interesteing difference in
that because the Badger 200 design is similar to traditional
double-action airbrushes, the 200 is able to spray finer lines than
say the Badger 350, or Paasche-H. It has over-all finer spraying
characteristics similar to its double-action brother the 150. So if I
had to recommend a good, top of the line single action it would be the
easy to use Badger 200 single action. Go to the following web sites
for prices and information:
The Badger website for complete info and specifications:
For the best prices on airbrushes on the net with free shipping:
Good luck and happy modelling!
IPMS/ Roscoe Turner Chapter
a vega 1000 by Thayer and Chandler for $125. They also mention the Aztec
A430...How difficult are these to use and is there anything cheaper?>>
Well, yes, you could use the aforementioned airbrushes, or a Paasche, or
Badger, or.... Will you get the results you want with any of them? As an
amateur with no airbrush experience, I find it incredibly unlikely. Is using an
airbrush difficult? Well, yea. Like anything else, it is if you've never done
it; that's where P&E come in handy (practice and experience). I think you
should set aside the expensive 109 until you get some practice and experience
on pieces you can tolerate throwing away. Some people suggest using cardboard
as a practice medium, but based on experience, I'd say use plastic of one type
or another, e.g. cheap kits, soda bottles, whatever. Simply because
cardboard/paper is absorbent, it won't yield the same results as plastic, which
is what models are made of. Talk to the people at the hobby shop, or a local
art supplier about lessons. We have local airbrush artists who give lessons
for a reasonable fee. You can obviously learn on your own, but nothing can
compare to having experience looking over your shoulder.
Yes, there are both "cheaper" and "less expensive" airbrushes (there is a
difference). I have never owned anything but a Paasche VL, and I love it. I
used a Badger 200 briefly, but not enough to form an opinion. From everything
I've read, a Badger 200 is an excellent airbrush, can be had for around $50
(someone please coorect if I'm wrong). I paid $60 for my Paasche VL at Dick
Blick eight years ago, and the price is about the same now. I bought my nephew
an Aztec set in the fancy wood case because he thought that one was the
greatest thing since sliced bread, based on little more than appearance. He
used it about three months, said he hated it, sold it and bought a Badger.
I don't use a compressor; I can't afford the super quiet models, they need
electricity to operate, are susceptible to moisture problems, are not totally
portable, and they all pulse to some degree. I use Nitrogen from a local
welding equipment supplier (ok, screw it, I'll give Praxair a free plug). A
"Q" bottle ran me $55 deposit, and $17 for a fill. Depending on how often you
paint, it could easily last a year. I bought an old oxygen regulator from a
gov't surplus store for $15, which needed a $3 fitting because oxygen and
Nitrogen regulators have different fittings to attach to the tank. A gauge
specifically for an airbrush was $25 from Hobby Lobby. Total investment $175,
including the airbrush, done deal. I can take it anywhere, doesn't need
electricity, Nitrogen is a bone dry gas so no need for a moisture trap, smooth
non-pulsing supply, and the only noise is the hiss of the airbrush. I've done
work in garages where they have a nice large compressor, but I tell them to
shut that noisy SOB off and use my Nitrogen. While I'm working I can have a
nice conversation, or listen to music, with no compressor noise.
When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your
eyes turned skyward. --Leonardo Da Vinci
It's better to teach a child what you know than what you think.