Product Review: Bagder Air-Brush Company Model 105 Patriot Airbrush; retail price US$123
Advantages: solid machined components extremely durable; needle quickly removable; nearly all parts user serviceable; fine to wide line capability
Disadvantages: cup limits paint capacity (see text)
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for any modeler with some airbrush experience or experienced modelers wanting a good touch-up or weathering airbrush
Modelers tend to be men by their overall makeup, and as such there are generally three things they are very attached to and biased for: their cars, their beer, and their airbrush. A Ford man is hard to get into any of the Japanese cars, a Bud man would not get caught dead with a can of MGD, and a Badger man would never use a Paasche or Aztek. Or so it would seem.
Many of us grew up such that our first =93airbrush=94 was a Badger Model250. It wasn=92t really an =93airbrush=94 =96 mostly a plastic spray gun wi= th brass parts that used an attached air can to provide up to five minutes of painting before the can froze up and had to be heated to get air to flow again. But it was cheap (most places the =93Propel=94 air cans cost more than the 250 did!) and if the paint was thinned well did a good job. I bought mine in 1968 as a point of reference.
But the 250 was very limited in what it could do, with a spray roughly the size of the average aerosol can. In 1973 I stepped up and got a Binks Wren, which apparently at the time due to cost and simplicity was the next step up (the similar Badger 350 was not available at the time). I used that to do most of my airbrushing for the next nine years, and finally broke down and bought a similar Paasche H-3 in Texas in 1982. Both of these were single-action internal mix airbrushes which worked well with enamels or lacquer paints, but had obvious limits on control.
I did later purchase a Paasche VL double-action, but had some problems with it jamming and failing. A later purchase of a Badger 150 brought similar bad results, but I found out part of the problem with the 150 was due to high humidity and no moisture trap (e.g. my fault).
When I first began to get articles published in magazines in 1990, I noted that I was still using the Paasche H model. Soon a package arrived in the mail from Badger which contained a 350, a 200, and several jars of the first run of Modelflex acrylic paints. A letter politely requested that I try them, and I did with excellent results. The 350 was as good as the H but not as bulky, and with the use of a moisture trap the 200 proved better than the VL or the 150. I used both of them for the next 12 years.
At the IPMS USA National Show in 2002, I saw that Badger had a booth so visited it and saw they were introducing the new Model 155 Anthem series double-action brushes. These were bottom-feed types made of machined and plated solid brass components and very well engineered brushes. Since my wife had not picked up a birthday gift for me, she decided to splurge on the Anthem. This wound up being my =93A=94 airbrush to the present day. (The less said about a disturbed detour with an Aztek 470 the better here...)
Now move to 2011, and in the past year Badger has now released another new brush based on the Anthem, the Model 105 Patriot. The Patriot is an nearly identical brush to the Anthem with the exception of the fact it has a built-in paint cup just behind the tip. As a result, it can only hold a limited amount of paint and MUST be used with an air brush stand if you take breaks during painting sessions. (There is a vented plastic cover for the cup but as noted you cannot lay it down when filled.)
As they are nearly identical designs, the brush is a double action (paint and air controlled by a single finger pull lever, down for air, back for paint flow) with an open mount at the rear to access the needle holding knob. The needle is easily removed without disassembling the brush by turning the knob and pulling. There is no adjustment on this brush for maximum paint flow (usually a wheel or knob that limits rearward pull of the control lever). It has what appear to be delrin seals between the tip and body and body and tail sections, and a patented PTFE needle bearing which is guaranteed for the life of the brush.
Operation is very simple, and control of the paint flow (if mixed correctly, which is up to the user) is very precise. But as this is a fixed cup and not a bottom-feed brush, it can only hold a limited amount of paint. (The bottom-feed Anthem can couple with a lid adapter to any sort of bottle or jar, and for the most part mine is used with2 ounce Floquil bottles as a source.)
However, the world changes, and today there is a greater emphasis in weathering and detailing models over simply painting them one or two colors. This is where the Patriot shines, for it is very easy to load it with just a touch of paint or carrier (fixative) with weathering powder mixtures and use them to weather a model. Due to the small cup, it is easy to add just a touch of paint, use it, and using a squirt of thinner or cleaner quickly clean it for use with the next color. As the control with this brush is excellent, it can provide a very tight line and make weathering easy.
If you don=92t want to invest in two separate airbrushes, Badger also offers the Model 360 Universal, which is essentially an Anthem with a rotating bell that can serve as either a paint cup when rotated up or a bottom-feed junction when rotated down. But as I like different brushes for different purposes, this is ideal for me.
Over the past few years a number of other manufacturers have come on the modeling scene, all producing similar design airbrushes =96 Thayer & Chandler, Harder & Steenbergen, Grex, and Iwata being the biggest names at the moment. But as most of them are top-notch, like cars and beer it=92s what you prefer. While I have about seven different brushes now =96 the old H, the 350, the 200, the Anthem, a Grex Tritrium, and two knock-offs from Harbor Freight Tools (those being useful for experiments, as if I trash a $14.95 brush not the same misery of trashing a $123 Badger or $200 Grex) I personally still like the Badgers. And Honda. And Yuengling. So there.
Thanks to Ken Schlotfeldt of Badger-Thayer for the review sample.