The ultimate airbrush show and tell (I hope)


New Member
I have noticed a preponderance of airbrush question coming up on the forums. Both as side topics and as threads into them selves. What I propose with this thread is for all of <US> current airbrush users and abusers, show off your rigs. Even if it duplicates something already posted. Give us a blurb on what each tool in your arsenal does and does not do for you. In short share your opinion, I for one am NO expert, I struggle along like everyone else learning as I go. Anyway I'll start off:

First, when I first decided that I needed a airbrush, I went to the library and the book store and bought some books (this was LONG (early to mid '80) before this new fangled intrawebs thing came about). Anyway, do some research, on the web, in the stores, at schools, in magazines and books, Find out what your your needs are and buy a tool that suits those needs.

I then found out HOW MUCH a airbrush costs then coupled with the cost of a compressor or lugging around a spare tire (WTH) I but the dream aside until I got a job. More on this in a moment.

Now I seem on my way to a collection of airbrushes, In a moment I am going to give a blurb on each one and cover air sources and other things in my "box" That is one of my suggestions to anyone, get a tackle box JUST for airbrushing "stuff"


New Member
Re: The ultimate airbrush show , Compressors , sources of air

At first I think everybody starts off with the requisite "free" can of air that comes in every starter box.. You will go through these things like a drug addict, pretty soon after two sessions of modeling you spent enough to buy a compressor. Other disadvantages is as the air is used the can super cools as the gas expands freezing up the works, you can off set this by sitting your can O air in a room temperature bowl of water but the variations is pressure are still a pain and I ALWAYS ran out before I was done or done cleaning.

Next on the scale of cheap skate air sources is a tire, really, trust me this sucks, especially when your spare is a 35x12.50 R15 covered in mud.

and finally we get to compressors: I have gone through several compressors and I still don't have one that I like. Here we go though.

The old whirlwind II, this is a diaphram compressor made for airbrushing. I however had my issues with it. It is non adjustable, LOUD, no storage tank and the air pulsed out of it.

I then bought this: it is also VERY LOUD but it was adjustable and had a storage tank.

I was then spraying at the guild and my compressor was judged loud enough to wake <all> the dead so I got this rig, CO2 bottles and regulator,

Uploaded with
The regulator set me back $89 the refillable bottles at a mere $10, Initially I used more portable 5 .lb bottles but the 10 .lb bottle cost the same. The biggest advantages of this is it is QUIET and it is DRY, no water issues, it is also a constant pressure since it is regulated. The disadvantages are if it falls over you risk busting up you regulator, having fall on your foot (that smarts by the way) and reoccurring costs.

This is my current compressor, it is Loud (but quieter than my last two) it is regulated and has a moisture trap, it is not ideal but for $100 it was affordable and came with a air stapler.

I have two more INDUSTRIAL or TOOL air compressors, these are NOT suitable for airbrushing as they have oil injected into the pistons, so in addition to water you have to filter out oil too. They also are VERY VERY LOUD


New Member
A overview of some of what is in my box, space parts for various airbrushes, especially needles and tips as they are easy to bend. diagrams and owners manuals, spare color cups, extra bottles eye droppers, pipettes, a tea strainier and empty paint bottles.

In addition to various solvents and cleaners such as windex and 409, plain water I have a collection of cleaning tools including a bunch of small brushes, Q tips and pip cleaners.

This is a ultrasonic gem and tool cleaner that I actually bought for cleaning technical pens while in architecture school (who board draws anymore, stupid autocad ruins job opportunities for the talented ,rant rant rave) It works in a pinch to clean airbrushes too especially with a a appropriate solvent (plastic safe)


New Member
Re: The ultimate airbrush show, single action airbrushes

This was my first airbrush, I bought it at a flea market for $20 hard earned dollars as a a paperboy. This thing was obviously made by slave labor overseen by the anti Christ!, I don't think I ever got it to spray properly and It is patterned off a badger, I keep it around because it is expendable incase I NEED to fling some thing across the room. this is proof that you get what you pay for.

My ancient Testors (aztec) this thing consumes canned air like a crack addict NEEDS drugs, It was OK for the limitation imposed by the aztec tip system.

My badger 350, this is a good brush especially for base coating, kind of limited in its ability for fine lines and detail.

This is my Paache H this is a lot like my badger 350 with the same limitations, I find it better balanced and it is in my opinion easier to clean, Great for future applications.


New Member
Re: The ultimate airbrush show, double action airbrushes

Now we get into the nitty gritty, Double action airbrushes:

A pair of Paache VLs I bought my first on for $120 I liked this brush so much that when I found one on a "card" for $80 I snapped it up, This is my go to airbrush I have one set up with a #1 tip and the other set up with a #3. This is my current choice for a general purpose airbrush. I usually spray from a color cup, but bottles of various sizes are in my box, including a in bottle paint stainer for those cource pigment paints.

And last is my IWATA Eclipse, this airbrush is very fine and great for detail, its permanently attached color cup limits the amount for paint that is carried, it is also somewhat fiddly to clean and somewhat sensitive to course pigments.

I recently tried out some GREX airbrush and compressor at a convention and for the little I sprayed with it it looks promising, I was really impressed with the quiet ON DEMAND compressor though, I may get one of those in the near future, I would also like to try my hand at some of Badgers latest offerings. I would like to see the control I have with my Iwata with the easy of use and cleaning that I have with my paacha's

NOW, I look forward to every one else's show and tell on there airbrushes maybe we can collectively make this a good resource for other would be airbrush artists.


my head is falling off my head
Wow, Jeep, man, that is quite a collection! I feel as though I have lucked out as far as obtaining an airbrush rig. And I must say that I was a complete and utter noob when it came to airbrushing in the beginning, really had no idea what I was doing, and I've only been doing it for a year. I did plenty of research online about all the different brands and types of airbrushes and all roads seem to lead the beginner to the single action airbrush (you push the button and you get paint and air at the same time). I was leaning this way, so I went down to the hobby shop and I took a look at the double action airbrushes (you push the trigger down for air and at the same time pull it back for your paint flow, the further you pull back the more paint you get as well as a broader line). This allows you a lot more control and freedom with your painting. It can be a little awkward for a beginner but if you simply practice and apply yourself like they did in the dark ages then you can get the hang of it rather quickly. So I just went for it and picked up this one....

Badger Anthem 155 Double Action shown with color cup, you have the option of switching out a color cup with a jar, I prefer the jar because its easy to mix your paint and thinner right in it and it holds more paint. It was about 115 bucks worth every penny. I have definitely saved money in the long run from not buying dozens of spray cans.

Thinners. You have to thin your paint, different brands of paint behave differently, so I have stuck with the same two brands of paint since I started. When I started, I sucked, but over time you figure out how your paint works. For airbrushing I use Tamiya Acrylics and Model Master Acrylics and Enamels, I find that these paints behave best through an airbrush, for brush painting i use citadel and vallejo paints with fantastic results. So, for my acrylics I use 91% isopropyl alcohol from the drug store, for enamels, I use lacquer thinner, i get it at home depot, its as simple as that. Now for thinning ratios you just have to experiment with what your using on scrap pieces.

I lucked out again with my compressor. I got it for about 35 bucks at a harbor freight. its pretty loud its got your psi regulator there is no moisture trap but this has not caused me any problems yet. Its seems as long as I let the air out when I'm done painting it works fine.

I'm sure most modelers don't just throw away there empty part sprues. I cut mine up and use them for stirring sticks and super glue applicators

I hope this was informative! 8)

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