After spending more than a year in Iraq I have completely forgotten most of my modelling experience.
I'm looking for a good airbrush to paint even the smallest lines, even if I am only using it infrequently. I've got a Paasche H and VL for general stuff, and an AB that sometimes works ok, but still would like to find out if there is anything better or easier to use.
If you could please give me some of your advice I would greatly appreciate it.
I've been a user of a Badger Crescendo for the past couple years and really like it. That said, I used an Iwata in an airbrushing seminar at the Region 1 Convention in Buffalo a couple years back - it was sweet... With properly thinned and regulated paint and air, the Crescendo provides very satisfactory results for me....
You'll get myriad opinions on this so think them over well but I don't think you can go too wrong with any quality brand...
It has more to do with your own comfort level, than anything else. The Paasche H is excellent for general work; and the VL gives great "fine line" results for many people. The Paasche bodies are a bit "clunkier" than others, but I find that a positive, personally. So...if you are comfortable working with your Paasches, keep on using them. With a little practice, your skills should quickly return.
You have an AB! Wibble. As far as I know, that thing will produce the finest lines you could ever need. Anything else will be a disappointment in terms of precision.
You might find a gravity-fed brush like the Paasche VJR or Badger 100 easier to use, and still capable of fine lines. But, as with all airbrushing, and indeed brush-painting too, getting the paint to the right consistency is the most important factor.
I have a Badger SA brush and a Testors/Aztek DA brush. I have given up on the Aztek and back to the Badger SA while I shop for a Badger DA.
The Aztek has good performance while it is working. However, if you get a clogged nozzle there is no good way to disassemble it to clean it. The Badgers can be completely disassembled for cleaning, and have all metal parts. While the Aztek works well, I am tired of buying new nozzles.
Any double action airbrush (and most single action ones, btw) with a .2mm tip will let you paint down to a hairline. It's a matter of correct thinnig, right air pressure, spraying distance and some practice.
I have a never-been-used Badger 100-LGM package (ie dual-action, large cup, medium tip/needle in the black plastic box) and some extra parts (fine head assembly, fine needle, spare cup cap) that I've been meaning to put up on ebay.
If you're interested, I'd be willing to part with them for less than it cost to buy them from dixieart ...
I should mention that I've been meaning to put it up on ebay because I have a Badger Crescendo and a Badger 200G that I'm extremely happy with and I don't really need a 3rd airbrush.
Don, I beg to differ. The Aztek nozzle can be disassembled, it all just clips together. Aztek et al say it shouldn't be done, but as long as you don't mix up the paint caps (the inner cylinder) and needles, it's all good. And make sure that you're gentle with the needle and spring assembly - it needs to be pushed gently back in all the way when you reassemble the nozzle. And no, I didn't pull it to pieces until I'd had it for a while. Like you, I found that the nozzles were difficult to clean, so I had nothing to lose after one blocked up - the little jiggers are NOT cheap here.
Pull 'em to pieces, soak 'em in laquer or high grade thinners for as long as you think required, then get into cleaning. I use an old cut-down paint brush for most of it, a pipe cleaner (gently!) inside the paint cap and a toothpick (even more gently!! I can't stress this enough - remember it's all plastic and will deform) in the tip of the paint cap. And don't bend the needle tip - they're pretty rugged, but take care. As for the body, a Q-tip (I've got some with a hollow plastic shaft so it fits around the little pin inside) soaked in thinners will clean out the muck inside, and the pipe cleaner works for the paint cup holes. Just make sure you hold the body tip down to keep thinners out of the insides. I don't need to do this 'major service' very often - just when things stop working well.
I use laquer thinners as a final flush (remember to backflush it too) after spraying acrylics and enamels before putting it away after use - it gets rid of the paint very well, and as there's no O rings or seals in there to damage, it doesn't harm the paint path components. Just be careful about thinners inside the body and up the air path - that will stuff it up fairly quickly.
I haven't used my Aztek much recently - like you have said, when it works it's good, when it doesn't... BUT... I recently bought a semi-commercial sized compressor - 2hp motor, 122 l/min, 24l tank. The Aztek seems to work a lot better with a steady airflow then it ever did with the little diaphragm Paasche compressor I used to use. So does my Iwata, especially at low flow rates. Might be worth a look for all those who have Aztek troubles.
Iwata HP-C with a Teflon O ring is what I use, around $125. It does have a learning curve to it. I also own the Paasche H kit too. I used Coast Airbrush out of CA. Connected with Craig Frazier, he is a top graphics detailer with tons of Iwata experience.
Actually, the Aztec system has a huge advantage over "traditional" airbrushes: the nozzle is made of nylon and paint will not dry in the tip while spraying, particularly with some of the faster-drying acrylics.