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I'm in the US, and was wanting to invest in an airbrush to aid in undercoating and tank painting, I do not want to spend an arm and a leg, I'd prefer to get one that i can use a independent tank with, 5-8 gallon tank... I've heard that badger makes good guns but I am reaching out looking for LO's input on the subject.

Side note, Budget is $100 for the gun and tank...
 

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I'm actually wondering the same thing and have several questions after researching the topic-

1) It seems like having a dual action airbrush would be a must-have for painting miniatures. Is this the case or can I get away with a single action of decent quality?

2) As ReedTheChamp says, I don't want to spend a ton of dough on this thing only to use it a few times, not be happy with the results, and go back to traditional painting methods. TL;DR version- I don't want to spend $300. That being said, I realize that spending $20 on some lame-o setup isn't going to give the same experience as a $300 setup, so what's the break point for these things? At what price point do I go from a questionable experience to what would be considered entry level with concern to gun and/ or compressor?

3) This- Amazon.com: Airbrush Depot Brand High Performance Multi-Purpose Gravity Feed Dual-Action Airbrush with Hose and a Powerful 1/6hp Single Piston Quiet Air Compressor: Arts, Crafts & Sewing is surprisingly cheap and has an almost alarming amount of positive reviews. Anybody have any experience with this guy?

4) I've read about some of the more prominent brands like Iwata and Badger. What are the advantages of using those types of guns over say a Aztek or similar "hobby" level gun? If at all possible, give me some tangibles like craftsmanship or ease of cleaning. Stuff like, "It's better", or "It's higher quality", is somewhat nebulous...

5) If I'm having to choose between buying a better gun or a better compressor, which do I pick? I have a little experience with pneumatics from my time working in industrial plants- seems like if I've got a decent regulator, the compressor shouldn't matter all that much, but I don't really have any experience with something as fine as airbrush compressors (usually just 120psi shop air, and it either is working fine or dead in the water).

6) I'm having trouble getting info about the fittings. I wouldn't mind piecing out this purchase over several paychecks to get a better system, but one of the attractive things about buying a complete "system" is I don't have to scramble around trying to figure out what size fittings are needed to connect everything. Is there a standard size for airbrush stuff or do different manufacturers use different sized fittings?

Thanks in advance!
 

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I have some, but not alot, of experience with the wonder of airbrushing. I use a double action brush and a simple "put-put" compressor (no tank or regulator). I've talked to a friend of mine recently who uses an airbrush alot. I gleamed this from him.

The compressor is only dependent on what you want to do. If you are just looking for a fast way to base coat, a compressor with out a tank is fine. Not having a tank means that when you press the button on the airbrush the pressure changes for a second and you can get inconsistent sprays. Having a tank, with a regulator, fixes that (something i will be investing in soon).

For the brush, everything depends on what you are using the brush for. If you are doing simple highlights or just adding a bit of blending to a big area like on a vehicle you can most likely get away with a single action. At the time he was telling me all this he was using a single action to add a black trim to the edges of some eldar tanks. However, if you are going with fine detail on models like a marine or using it to do a mural or some other really detailed piece, you really need a double action.

Since I am using it only for base coating and simple highlights on a large piece like vehicles, im fine with my setup, but i will need a tank compressor to do finer details.

Also, a place you may look for cheap compressors is Harbor Freight. Not sure on the airbrush, I got mine on sale plus a coupon at Michaels.

Again, I have a limited experience with air bushes, but I'm happy to share. Its a hard tool to use and takes a bit to learn.
 
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Kadris - you put out very sound advice. I was a professional illustrator for years and have a number of airbrushes - from cheap Harbor Freight single actions to one of the finest dual-action, gravity fed Iwata brushes you can buy - it can be used with a single drop of ink...

What brush do I use the most? The cheap single action for large coverage. I use this for all of my basing (and in the predominate color - not just black or white!) There are a number of previous threads where we talk at length about this exact subject. However, here are my tidbits:

- A tank is almost mandatory. It does give you a much more even flow and will last inifinitely longer than just a simple compressor that blows air without going into a tank. When you release the button on your airbrush and a tankless compress starts to make that funny 'brapt!' noise, it is forcing air out of the diaphram and that is not a really very good thing for your compressor. You can go to Harbor Freight and buy a 2.5 gallon 100 psi compressor for about $49. You are only going to be shooting at about 15-35 psi. Just attach a moisture trap in the line and you are set. And ALWAYS release the bottom pressure valve on your tank after EVERY use to blow out the moisture - this will keep the tank from rusting. Leave the valve open and just get in the habit of closing it before you start it up.

- I only shoot thinner-based enamels through my airbrush, never water-based acrylics. Sure, it is a little more fumes and you must do in a ventilated area, but the clean-up is so much easier. Wait too long to clean your brush after using acrylics and you might as well throw out the brush. Also, you have to thin acrylics in order to shoot cleanly through the brush too much for my tastes to cover properly. Lots of people have no problem using acrylics, so it is just my personal preference.

- I found that in the rare cases that I use my good brush to detail a figure, it does not bring anything to the figure that I could not achieve with some good attention from a normal paintbrush. It almost feels like cheating in some cases! But, if you have a dual-action brush, give it a try; however, it will take lots of practice to get the air/paint/flow mixture correct to put the paint exactly where and how you want it.

All in all, go cheap to start, because you will be able to get 100% use out of what you buy. You can always upgrade later when your skill and desires increase.

Good Luck!!!
 

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Cheers to both of you! It just so happens I have a Harbor Freight like 5 minutes away from my house.
 

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I'm with MDSW on this, you can't really go wrong with Iwata and a compressor with a tank. Perfecting your technique is more important than your equipment at the beginning stages. When you're confident you can upgrade your kit. It took me ages to get my technique reasonable enough to be able to see the benefit of my paasche turbo.

For just blocking out colour you can get a reasonable cheap single action suction fed spray gun (under 20 notes) with quick change pots from humbrol etc.

handy in that you can build a range of colours premixed in pots, and also a cleaning pot which you can just bang in immediately after you've finished, but MDSW has said it all really.
 

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A compressor with a tank is by far the better investment. The $59 Harbor Freight will not only power any airbrush you will ever have for the rest of your life, but it can air up your tires, all sorts of pnuematic tools - heck, you can even buy a nail gun and build a house. It is just not big enough to spray paint your house (I could talk all day on compressor sizes, etc.) HB also usually carries a cheap airbrush kit for about $10.

Wait to get a dual action brush until you get a little practice with the cheaper one. A dual action brush will not normally put out the paint volume you need to do large base coats or coverage, so you will want a cheap single action anyway and may find it suits your purposes great and you never need to get a better brush.
 
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