I am in the market for an air brush and have read about the Badger
line, but don't know what would be best for a beginner that wants to
be able to grow and not find my choice lacking later on.
Any suggestions or observations are most welcome.
I bought onr of the cheap models years ago, the non-adjustable types
that use a can of Propel. I'm still using it and it has worked fine.
But I wish I had bought a better one with a compressor. It seems I am
always waiting for a can of Propel when I need to use it, and the LHS is
an hour away. I would consider the #150 with a Whirlwind compressor to
be adequate for all my needs. [I already have a good 8-ounce automotive
touch-up sprayer and compressor for large jobs.]
You have two choices:
1.) Go ahead and spend the money to get a good brush and a compressor, with
will be happy for years.
2.) Get a cheap brush and cans of air that will frustrate and aggravate you and
will not yield an acceptable result.
You can get a Campbell-Hausfield compressor at the Home Depot
or try this:
Then you need a good brush. For about the same price that your local craft or
store will sell you a junker brush, you can get a Paasche H from Dixie Art Supply
Thirty dollars (US) plus a little change. It is the best value you are likely to
find anywhere. The Paasche H is an excellent tool for someone who has no
experience with airbrushing. It works equally well in the hands of an experienced
Come back here if you have more questions and/or want to talk about paints and
Be careful that you do not spend too much for a tool. But, if you do, all you
lost is a little money. Be more careful that you pay enough. If you buy cheap
not only will your money be spent, but the tool will not perform the task for
it was purchased.
The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is
There are two key parameters in classifying air brushes - single or double
action, and internal or external mix:
Action refers to what your finger can control - just air flow (single
action) or both air flow and paint flow (double action) - note that you can
still control paint flow in a single action brush, but you preset it before
applying the paint. IMO, you need double action if you are going to be
finely shading the blush on the Amazon warrior-maiden's cheek on the side of
a chopper's fuel tank, or maybe the fine wisp of boiler compound residue
from a leaking valve on the jacket of an Espee cab forward. If you are
going to be doing general overall painting of models, more broadly applied
weathering, and limited fine application of color, single action is
sufficient, and much easier to master.
Mix refers to where the air passes through the venturi producing the low
pressure area that drags the paint into the air stream - inside the air
brush (internal mix) or just outside the tip (external mix). External mix
air brushes usually have an angled conical structure hanging below the main
part of the brush; the paint passes through the conical part while the air
flows (and is controlled) through the main body of the brush. Internal mix
is better suited to fine work, but is more difficult to thoroughly clean.
I started with a Thayer and Chandler (no longer made) model E single action
internal mix brush, and liked it, but went through a lot of pipe cleaners
cleaning it. I also have a Badger double action internal mix (bought
through Sears), which works well, but does not get much use. I have two
Paasche model H single action external mix air brushes (both obtained as
very good bargains at local flea markets) which have become my primary
tools. They are easy to use and clean, give good results, and parts are
readily available (important to me after getting stuck with the unrepairable
T&C). I keep one set up with the coarse tip (overall painting), and one
with a medium (painting masked areas and weathering) - for any fine work I
use the Badger. By the way, I replaced the plastic handle of the Paasche
with the optional metal one - I like the balance of the all metal brush much
better. I also picked up a used inexpensive Binks Wren single action
external mix, but find it flimsy compared to the Paasche, and harder to
adjust just right. I should note most of my painting is still with solvent
based Floquil, followed by ScaleCoat, DuPont auto primer, and least,
I use a Sears two cylinder, 1/2 HP, 2.8 cfm @40 psi, 100psi cut-off, with 7
cuft tank compressor obtained years ago at a Craftsman Tool Week super sale.
I use a moisture separator and regulator to deliver adequately dry low
pressure air for air brush use, but find the larger capacity has more than
paid for itself in inflating car tires before trips, painting louvered
shutters on the house, sand blasting rusted antiques, cleaning sawdust out
of workshop tools, air drying Lionel parts after cleaning, exercising a
Leslie Trifon 5-chime Diesel horn, etc.
Hope these observations help. Gary Q
On Mon, 13 Dec 2004 21:47:32 UTC, email@example.com wrote: 2000
As others have told you the Paasche H is hard to beat. It is easy to
learn on and use and is still useful when you become an expert. Its
limitations may point you in a more suitable direction or you may end
up using it forever. Either way you cannot lose with it.
I have to concur the Paasche H is great for model trains. I use it for
solvent and water base paints. Just keep it clean and it will give years of
One thing to remember no matter what paint you are using make sure you have
adequate ventilation. Not doing that can have dire consequences.
Setting up a painting facility requires some thought to
avoid pitfalls and waste of money. There are many facets
which must be tailored to fit our needs and pocket book.
To achieve the optimum results, a thorough understanding of
the functions of each component is necessary.
Using an airbrush since 1963 and selling them since 1969,
much experience and feedback has been used to develop the
articles on my site. Before jumping in, it might be wise to
examine this info and others. There are many opinions on
Over 90% of the brushes sold were Paasche, with the VL first
and the H second.
A little effort and planning can prevent a lot of grief.
For more details with methods and extensive discussion of
problems and solutions, see first site below in spray
Hope this helps.
MODELRAILROAD TECHNICAL INFORMATION
PROTOTYPE TECHNICAL INFO FOR MODELRAILROADERS
(Revised. New address)
Another option for you. I bought an Aztec system that included a compressor.
The compressor is very quiet and so far I can't complain about anything with
the system. The air brush is both single and double action so I can vary it
if I need. I have used it both with water based and solvent based paint and
both work very well. Personally like the water based better. Don't need to
wear a respirator and vent the entire basement like I do with the solvent
based. The compressor gives out a constant 20 psi which some will say is not
enough. It also has none of the gauges some like. Depends how much you are
really going to use it as to what you really need. Also brush painting isn't
all that bad for many uses.
If you want to spend more money (and who doesn't ? ;-}), I bought a "Silent
Aire" compressor from the Dick Blick catalog (online: DickBlick.com). I
bought the 20-A model. It has an internal tank along with a regulator and
moisture trap. It works by pumping up the tank to pressure (set with the
included gauge), and then running the pump periodically as the tank
requires. It is essentially SILENT. It is an oil compressor, but I've used
it now for three years and only had to top off the oil twice. The downside:
it costs $500 or so. SilentAire does have a less expensive "Scorpion" model
for $150, but I don't think it uses a tank and I don't know how quiet it is
or how well it eliminate the "pulsing" some compressors cause without the
buffer of a tank, never having used one.
But I think having a very quiet compressor with pressure gauge, moisture
trap, and good regulation is very important. A noise compressor is fatiguing
during long use. Whatever you get for a compressor, try it out in a quiet
environment to see how noisy it is.
I use two airbrushes: the Aztec double-action (very easy to clean) and a
Pasche VL (harder to clean, but a better quality brush, though more practice
is required to achieve the excellent results of which it is capable).
Even if you use water based paints, you need to provide positive
ventilation. Those little paint particles can't be good for your lungs even
if there are no noxious fumes to go with them. I use a paint booth with a
filtered, powered vent to the outside.
The least expensive option to start out is to get any of the above suggested
airbrushes (including the Badger to initially enquired about) and use canned
compressed air. You will know when you are painting enough to justify a good
in article cppsb1$pss$ firstname.lastname@example.org.Virginia.EDU, Charles Callaghan at
email@example.com wrote on 12/15/04 9:27 AM:
I agree completely. I have both a Paasche H and VL brush. The VL is more
capable ... and a LOT harder to clean and use. I use the H for about 95%
of my hobby painting ... and the VL when I *NEED* it (mostly for
delicate shading when painting anime figures, or for camouflage work on
military models). It'll be hard to ever outgrow the H, and even if you
get a better brush, you may still find yourself using the H by choice
for more mundane things.
I have been looking at airbrush sets also, but would like to know if I can use
my pancake compressor I have good control of psi and cfm's, but would like to
know if it will work well for air brushing.
Yes, but it will likely cost more than a compressor from Husky or
Even if you alredy have tanks, you will have to get regulators that can reduce
pressure to 50 PSIG and lower ( 0 - 50 PSIG is a good range), and that are NOT
on-demand, because an airbrush cannot demand air. You have to have pressure at
Yes, this can be done. Obviously, you need a regulator with an
appropriate high pressure range to match the tank. Output (spraying)
pressures will be in the 5 psi - 35 psi range, depending on the airbrush
and type of paint being sprayed.
One possible problem ... compressed air from ANY sources notorious for
containing moisture. All sorts of schemes to remove it are in common use
(traps, filters, dryers, etc.). Perhaps a better solution in the same
vein is to use a cylinder of Carbon Dioxide or Dry Nitrogen obtained
form a welding supply ... these will contain no moisture.
For short term use, a low pressure (say, 100 psi) compressed air tank
like those sold at garage supplies to carry in you car trunk can be used
... but they only last a few minutes of spraying. Some even use a large
truck tire for the purpose (cost effective, only IF you already have an
extra one, and the space for it).
For most hobby applications, the best solution is a small compressor.
It'll be the cheapest option in the long run. the only downsides are
initial cost and noise. The noise can be eliminated by spending more
money on the compressor.
Such a compressor should work fine if the regulator will work dependably
at the low pressure used by airbrushes (5-35 psi) ... some DON'T. These
compressors are intended of air tools like air-nailers, that normally
work at much higher pressures. The relatively small tank on these will
require the compressor to 'cycle' more frequently than with a larger
tank, but that's only a noise issue.