The Airbrush and Modeling Page.

A few links

Flex-I-file touch n flow applicator Runway 13 Tools, tips and tricks (soon) Don's Airbrush tips
Home made spray booth   Metalizer's compared.  
The BD-512 and HS-E420DC airbrush spray booths compared.

Airbrush Reviews
Badger 360 Paashe Talon Iwata HP.C plus Badger Krome
Iwata HP.M2 mini Harder & Steenbeck Evolution Silverline Harder & Steenbeck Infinity CR Plus Aztek A470
Harder & Steenbeck AL plus 2 in 1
     

 

Before I go any further let me say this page is intended for the modeler, I am not nor do I claim to be a expert on airbrushes, this page is intended to hopefully help anyone out that is considering buying a airbrush by giving my own opinions and hopefully in the future the opinion of others who may have something to contribute.

One site that has what I think are VERY helpful reviews and tips is by one of the nicest blokes around, Don Wheeler, Don is very fortunate to have reviewed many makes and types of brushes and has been kind enough to share his findings. Here is a link to his site:

Dons Airbrush Tips

I got back into modeling in 2005 and found that the equipment and tools had improved a bit since I last made a model some 25 years before that, all sorts of glue's, sanding tools etc and one thing I never had was a airbrush so of to Toyworld I went and bought the Aztec A4709 set and it has been and still is a fantastic brush. Only recently I thought it may be wise to get a second brush "just in case" the A470 gave out...that was the excuse anyway, it was more a new toy to play with which ended up being two new toys, a Badger 360 and the Paasche Talon.


The Badger 360.

Packaging aside which was a bit average the brush is very nice indeed and the idea to turn the head from siphon to gravity feed is very useful, the cup size is smallish but for doing those small parts that you forgot to do its perfect, I also have a cheap simple mod to turn the cup into a bucket, the mod is on Don's 360 review page but here is my version using a 60 cent rubber foot from Clark Rubber here in Australia.

OOPS   mod1   mod 2

It seals perfectly and is impervious to thinners etc. The piece that's cut off also doubles as a cap for the stock cup which makes me feel a lot better, I was surprised that a lid did not come with it because its so small, a slight twitch and there's paint everywhere if the cup is full.

mod 4

Things to consider with the 360, no needle stop screw which is not needed but if your a bit shaky or have come from a single action brush you may want to look into this detail, having said that, with the design of the 360 tail it is very easy to make a little setup with a screw or even a rubber block that will aid with limiting the needle. Second point is the needle itself, no protection at the tip so you must be careful, if your someone who treats there equipment a bit roughly this is not the brush for you, even the supplied cap is soft plastic which is more than enough for me but if it was dropped onto its nose on a hard surface I'm not sure if it would protect it, once again everyone treats there equipment differently, I keep all my equipment spotless but I know there's people out there (and I know one) that if they cleaned there needle at all it would be with sandpaper and then use it as a dart and curse the company because it sprays funny, anyway you get what I mean. Overall I think its a great brush and will give years of service, for the modeler the two feed options are a plus.


Second to arrive was the Paasche Talon.

paasche talon

First thing I noticed was that the box the TG set came in was attractive, the inside is a molded plastic with a furry black covering and chrome on black is always good looking,

talon in box

what has this got to do with the brush? nothing at all but its stuck in my mind unlike the plain white box of the 360 so there's a plus for the Paasche marketing team, back to the brush itself, if you have been researching the Talon have you seen a photo of the right side of the brush? I didn't give it a thought but when it arrived I was horrified to see that there is only one eagle on the left side!! ONE eagle, WHY? doesn't Paasche realize that the brush is now weighted wrong? sorry, just a rant there, I just thought it was strange they didn't put one on both sides, dose it matter? nar of course not. As for the brush, another winner for me, its lower priced slightly than the 360 and also at $133AU delivered the set comes with all 3 needle sets and the fan spray head to use with the .66 needle so all your needs for modeling and probably most other applications are covered, also parts are easy to get and cheap. Out of the box I found the Talon a little more easy to use as the trigger has a little more travel but that's just a personal thing, the trigger tension on both are adjustable of course. The cup on it is fairly large and I like that myself, the bottom opening where it joins onto the brush is large, if your someone who likes to mix up a few drops of paint and thinners in the cup there's plenty of string room both sides of the needle. The lid is metal not plastic as I thought it was before it arrived and mine fits very well, sit it on and a slight twist and its there to stay but also very easy to remove, I have seen a few people say there lid is a nightmare to get off but not in my case, its machined perfectly. One thing that I have not seen mentioned is that the edges of the cutout are quite sharp, again that's good machining but sharp against the web on my hand, this is not a problem because I just turned the tail 90 degrees and its as comfy as my couch. The needle stop screw is a handy feature for those who like it, it works fine but I noticed that after a few turns it marked the tail...picky I know but remember I like to keep my gear spotless and that is easily avoided in manufacturing, it also has a loose feel, a tighter feel like a micrometer would be better but again that's a personal thing and not important. The PTFE seal on my Talon is tighter than the Badger, I have to push a little harder when the needle reaches the bearing or packing on the Talon where the 360 needle I didn't feel the bearing at all. The needle tip is well protected with a three prong cap but there's plenty of room to see if you want to get up close to anything. It's very nice to use and sprays just as good as the 360, the best advantage is its price compared to others.


The Iwata HP.C Plus

hpcplus

Thanks to the exceptional service by Alana at Southern Airbrush (sadly now closed down), I am now the owner of one of these brushes, anyway to the brush itself. Well it's a very nice looking brush and the quality is what I was expecting going on reviews I have been combing through. The chrome finish is just beautiful, even inside the cup is great. The needle is well protected with a cone cap surrounding it, for close up work you may want the optional crown cap to see the needle or if your steady handed you can take the cover off and leave the needle exposed. The test paper that comes with it is a perfect example of what it can do, I kid you not I could not do those fine lines with a pen or needle sharp pencil, they are so fine and even and this is the .3 needle so a .2 must be minute. Here is a picture of it next to a mm ruler.

iwata hp.cp test paper

I would love to know if someone has actually done it by hand or there is a jig involved, would be interesting to compare a few test papers. The trigger is a little firmer than the 360 or Talon but it feels very nice a smooth. The lid fits perfectly as well and has the same fantastic finish on it, the trigger limiter is also smooth to operate and wont move when set. Now to try it out.

Well I had some parts to spray for the Minicraft Titanic model so I put it straight into action and I needed a small amount of metallic brass to spray so of I went, using about 40% thinners with the Humbrol brass it was not happy at a low pressure but I figured it would need a bit more and at 25psi it was great. The clean up with that was easy and after a good flush there was no sign of metallic paint left that I could see so I mixed up some matt white with 30% thinners and started spraying some scrap to see if there were any left overs of metallic, nothing and it sprayed very very well even at about 17 psi so I finished the parts that needed spraying, the smaller coverage of the .3 needle made the paint go miles so I had a bit of a practice on my beetroot tin I use for clean up and waste and wow its a nice tool indeed to use. Clean up was interesting, after my standard flush through with clean thinners I pulled the needle out and found no white or metallic paint left over BUT there was a small amount of black left from what I assume was from the test paper spray, here is what I removed easily with a bit of Acetone and paper towel, it looks a lot worse in the photo than it is for some reason, if I wasn't wearing my magnifiers I probably would of missed it.

black paint from nedle

While the needle was out I sat it next to the Paasche Talon .22 needle just to compare.

needle compare

The Iwata is on the right.

A few days later and I have given it a good workout during them, the one thing that sticks out about this brush is how easy it cleans up between colour changes, because of the polish finish no paint hangs around, it just flushes away. The Talon seems to need more flushing but it would only be a bit and I think the Talon has a bit more room to the bearing from the cup, a minor thing that wont worry most people. It sprayed flawlessly every time and I can see why they cost a bit more, it's fantastic to have one in the draw for that piece of detail work and about 25 to 30mm wide for broad coverage but how often would you need more than that anyway. You would not regret investing in one of these brushes and it will last forever.


Badger Renegade Krome.

krome

This is a hard to get brush at the moment and its no wonder, its a very nice bit of kit. The case as I'm sure you know is flash and very solid,

krome in box

the brush sits very firmly in the foam and needs a bit of a pull to get it out and with mine it grabs the plastic needle cover and pulls it off if your not careful but there's little danger of hurting the needle, its well protected. The cap was very hard to remove when I got it but once off you don't need to push it right on in order for it to stay on, slight pressure and a twist and it stays on the brush no problem and is just as easy to get off. The finish on it is good, not quite Iwata standard but it costs a lot less than a Iwata as well but its still a good finish indeed. The needle limiter is the best one I have used yet for feel, I believe it sits in a O ring and it feels like it, just the right firmness for me. The trigger at first had a very slight grinding feel to it but I put a drop of lube on it and it now feels as good as the Iwata, the Badger has the shortest travel in the trigger to get the air flowing. The finger rest is fantastic, who ever starts making them to add to other brushes will make a fortune, it just makes it so much more comfortable to use.
It got a workout today and I'm impressed, it certainly sprays a nice even coat and I was doing fine lines on my beetroot tin with little effort, dare I say the easiest brush I have used so far, I could do a fine even line without the help of the limiter quite well. Once again I must say this is just my modeling opinion but I have no doubt the Krome would do a great job on what ever your doing.

Update.

I hooked both the Iwata and the Krome up today to spray some railings on the Titanic. The krome was first and it sprayed very well and was the easiest to use out of the two in my opinion. I then used the HP.CPlus to do identical work with same paint and air and the first thing I noticed that I had forgotten all about is the air flow, fair bit faster with the Iwata and so much so it actually blew the masking tape away and I got a little over spray on the deck, not a big deal I know but the less pressure the better for this particular job, both brushes performed pretty much the same despite the air difference.

The left over paint was used on a bit of paper doing crosses, dots, names etc with as fine a line as I could get them down to, pencil line was about it for me and the Krome was a little better but the needle is a tad bigger so that probably makes them even.

Clean up was about the same with both except the paint had traveled further up the needle on the Iwata for some reason, it's a lot looser in the PTFE bearing than the Krome which is quite a tight fit in it. Both tips and regulators looked new. On the outside the Iwata is a bit easier to get clean because of the high polish but both are no problem to get back to new looking.


Iwata HP.M2

I was very curious to see how the short single action brush would perform so I gave this one a good run. As you expect from Iwata it's a nice bit of kit with a nice finish. The packaging was very ordinary but keeps it safe for transport. This is quite a heavy brush at 179 grams but it's also solid, the needle is nothing like the normal delicate one's, you can use this sucker as a ice pick I think.

HP.M2 needle

As for spraying, well it does the job well remembering it's 0.4 needle so best suited for base coating but I was able to get a fairly small line regardless. I did wonder how a .4 needle would go with Alclad and it was not happy with it at all where the HP.C plus is great. The needle screws in and out to adjust flow and is a very nice tight feel, the flow adjustment was fairly course and just a small amount of turn changed flow quite a bit so the you have to be careful. Trigger action was typical Iwata and quite smooth. While on the trigger here is small a down point with the brush, when replacing the needle, the trigger is free to turn in the body and if you don't notice you will put the tip of the ice pick into the solid side of the trigger and not through the hole in the trigger as intended.

This is a nice brush and it performs well but I can't get used to the way you have to hold it, sounds silly and would not worry most id say but for me its just not comfortable so I'm afraid it's not my favorite brush and it will have a new home shortly.


Harder and Steenbeck Silverline (Evolution) 2 in 1

(Thanks to Christian at Harder and Steenbeck Germany an AL plus review will be coming soon.)

Dare I say this is my new favorite brush and there are a few reasons why. First of all it's by far the easiest brush I have ever used, the first time I used it I had my normal Humbrol enamel with around 40 percent enamel thinners (normal hardware thinners) and it just sprayed without any issue which is a bonus but the trigger is so nice to use, I found controlling the flow (pulling back of the trigger) very easy to control, I have not used the needle limiter as yet and normally its a must for my shaky hand. I think the taper on the .2 needle is why its so smooth with the flow, here from bottom to top is the .2, .4 and the HP.C Plus .3 needles. The trigger travel suits me much better. I think the taper is what some try to do by fine tuning there needle.

Another bonus for me is the nozzles, there big and easy to handle, once again here it is compared to the HP.C plus.

no tool needed either, just do it finger tight and of you go. Before I bought this brush I researched as much as I could as you do and read that many H&S users liked pulling the needle out the front so as not to drag any left over paint through the brush, makes sense I thought and I now do that very quickly, I don't think I would do that with other small nozzle brushes.

Another big plus for me is that most of the parts are interchangeable with other H&S brushes, that really is a big advantage as far as I'm concerned. The paint cups screw onto the body which is handy at times BUT because they screw off you can buy the side fitting connector set so you can use a 15mil jar, put a .6 needle into the same brush that uses a .15, .20 or .4 needle and use it for large area coverage. The set costs under $30US and you get two 15ml jars with 3 lids. I have also read that parts are expensive for H&S but thats just not true, I found they are around the same price and some times a bit cheaper than Iwata parts, needles and nozzles, are about the same price for both, H&S full sets are a bit cheaper but remember if you have a .2 or .15 brush then you wont need the air cap for the other so you only need buy the needle and nozzle. Seals seem to be cheap for H&S, a full seal kit that suits the Infinity, Evolution, Focus and Grafo is just $8.91US. Parts for the H&S range are much easier to find and understand because of the interchangeability I find compared to others.

Another simple idea that makes life easier is this:

The needle clamping nut as H&S call it has a funnel arrangement the same as the capture cone on the space station for docking, it makes replacing the needle extremely easy for me.

As for the quality of the brush once again I compare it to my HP.C Plus and find there both great quality. There is a CR model with triple plating but I can't see the advantage for the average modeler.

Update. There is advantages to the CR plus models, see the Infinity review below.

Here is a quote from there advertising for CR models:

"The advantage is primarily the reduction in the allergy risk. Contact between nickel coating and hand perspiration can lead to an allergic reaction among some users."

Photo's can't really show much but here is a few anyway.

Although they seem different shades, the inside of the cups are pretty much identical, the H&S is a slightly better finish and seems a fraction more chrome coloured for want of a better word but its very slight. The weights with the Iwata quick set tail are within a gram of each other without lids at 94 grams. All in all I would say there as good as each other from what I can see with the eye.

When I bought mine I also bought lids for the two cups which don't come with the brush which I find odd and the two prong air cap that suits the .15 and .2 setup. You can remove the top from the air caps to expose the needle but that is not a smart idea for me, most would be fine with it. You also get a air hose quick release half that screws onto the brush, I would of included a complete quick release myself and lids to suit the cups provided if it was up to me but I can see where there coming from. The thread is the Iwata thread or the Iwata thread is the same as the H&S thread, not sure who had it first, H&S is 101 years old as of 2014 and I can't find out how long Iwata have been going but does it really matter? nope, the hose fits.

Here's a picture of the cap taken apart.

I forgot to mention the case, best one so far, metal pin hinge and sliding locks, everything sits well inside, there's room to keep the lids on the cups and room for extra air caps etc in there little cases. You can tell I love this brush, only had it a couple of months so don't know any long term usage problems if any. Don't worry Iwata fans I still love my HP.C plus but I confess the Silverline gets just about all the work now.

German Precision airbrush is where I bought mine, Mikes service is first class, was on it's way well within 24 hours and his site is what I used for parts prices. I hope to get my hands on the infinity some time in the not to distant future and see how that performs, it looks a lot prettier so it will have to be better. In the mean time I really hope someone gets some benefit from this review.

http://precisiongermanairbrush.com

I used Chicago airbrush for Iwata parts prices.

chicagoairbrushsupply.com


 

Harder and Steenbeck Infinity CR plus.

Well here is the H&S Infinity CR plus, I went for the CR plus because it's currently about $12 ( Aug 2014 was $30ish when I bought mine) more than the stock Infinity so a great chance to see what it's all about. The CR models have the triple chrome coating and tri needle seals. The extra chrome is for allergy sufferers they say but apart from that it is smoother and shinier inside as well as being more chrome colour than the Silverline and cleans up a fair bit easier to, by that I mean paint and thinner seems to wipe away easier with cotton buds etc inside (mainly) and out which is another plus for the smoother chrome finish, Don's pipette pump cleaning method seems a lot more effective as well. Here is how the Infinity CR plus (left) and the stock Silverline paint chamber compared side by side.

The photo on left is with just natural light, the right is a little led lighting. I'm sure theres a good reason why they make the two different versions but for a $12 difference I would just produce the CR plus models myself, anyway for $12 I highly recommend the CR plus models.

The three needle seals last longer and also make a tighter seal between the rear of the brush and paint chamber, keep in mind you can buy the 3 seals and the housing to suit them for less than $10 and it will fit all H&S brushes except for the Colani.

The Infinity has the adjustable trigger which has a simple to use, out of the way external screw and has a pretty good range of tension. The quickfix handle also works very well and lets you switch between unrestricted and adjustable preset flow of paint by a needle stop, it reminds me of a Swiss army knife when it clicks, has a quality feel about it but then so does the rest of the brush as well.

Now as for how it works, as I always do I used it straight out of the box with the .15 setup and it just worked beautifully first up with my Humbrol enamel about 70/30 mix and as with the Silverline I had the best control out of all the brushes I have used. Painted a few parts on a M113 and then had some fun on a few scraps, I had no problem spraying a lot of very thin consistent lines and various size dots and even a pussy cat.

Overall I love the Infinity as well, it and the Silverline are VERY similar to use and the main body's are pretty much identical inside and out "I think", but the extra couple of features on the Infinity and the gold and red parts are a nice edition for customization and make it look very elegant.


Harder and Steenbeck AL plus 2 in 1

Well here it is, the AL plus review. As you can see in the photo it has two needle sets, .2 and .4 as well as the 5ml cup. I have given this brush a pretty good workout over the last month or so and I'm happy to say that this H&S brush is every bit as good as the others but it's only half the weight of your average airbrush. Its like holding a decent quality pen and I must say it's a delight to use and I can see where people using there brush all day would be grateful for the reduced weight but even the modeler will appreciate the comfort. Again out of the box I just added paint and started using it, performance is pretty much the same as the other H&S brushes but as they all use the same interchangeable needles and nozzle sets so thats not a surprise. Cleanup is also is very much the same routine except it's all black inside (not the needle and nozzle) and you will need to be a little more careful that you don't miss any dark coloured paint but that's not really a problem of any sort.

I was thinking that as the H&S brushes are fairly similar in performance this would be a shortish review and was wondering what I could add to make it a little more interesting so I decided to buy the seals and seal tool as well as the three seal screw to put into my Silverline and have a look at the setup inside which remember is the same in most of the H&S brushes. Well here is were the fun began, first seal I removed was in the AL plus just to see how easy it was and see if it actually had the three seal screw in it, yes it does ( I knew that...) and while I was having a look at it I dropped it on the carpet, no problem I say and rolled my chair back and picked it up, well the seals were gone, no prizes for guessing where they went....yes under the wheel on my chair. Learned two things at this point, the seals are surprisingly loose in the screw and they are very soft. So now I'm really glad I bought spare seal kits, got the three new seals and was VERY thankful I also bought the screw driver from H&S and here's why.

On the left is the three old seals still together after being run over and the three new seals. I actually thought I had the wrong seal kit, two seals just fit inside the screw so what about the third one? I got onto the people in the know and they say just compress all three into the screw, ok, now is when I found the proper screwdriver is a "big" advantage for H&S seals, the screw and three seals just sit over the needle size spindle and screw it in, I held it pointing upwards so it all didn't fall under a wheel and it screwed in easily, so far so good, I put the needle in and it was very tight, to tight to use, out with the super lube and that improved things greatly but it was still tighter than the seals I ran over, I got in contact with H&S and here is what they told me.

"I am sorry to hear about your issue with the needle. At first you can loosen the screw (#126470) a little bit. The new seals have yet to be softer. If you have an old needle you can push the needle in the Airbrush body back and forth. Otherwise you can push the needle through the front side of your AL but use the back of the needle so that your needle does not bend. I hope I could help you with that and wish you furthermore a lot of fun. "

No worries, the next day, less than 48 hours after installing the seals, I found the brush had gone very tight again so I decided to clean out the lube and do what H&S advised, after running the cleaning brush through a couple of times with thinner I went to run the needle through the brush a few times and see what happens, well I put it in for the first run and it felt like it did with the original seals?? I put it all back together and its been perfect ever since (no lube of any sort), I can only assume there was a bit of gunk or maybe the red stuff that is on the new seals in the hole and was making it sticky tight. Alls well that ends well and it's extremely easy to change seals when you know what to expect.

A very big thank you to Christian at Harder and Steenbeck who supplied the AL plus for this review.

 

A couple of video's you will find interesting.

A tour of the factory.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=YTpHIUgqi8g&feature=plcp

 

and I found this very helpful when researching but please note that all seals in all brushes are now solvent resistant.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j2cor7woA3U

 

 

 

 


 

Old faithful, The Aztek A470.

This was my first airbrush and I have used it for some 8 years without any problems at all. Some love them and some hate them. All plastic, sealed and very low maintenance, sprays in my opinion just as good as the others for general coverage modeling, fine detail with it is not the easiest. The screw off tips make clean up quick and simple, throw the tip (which contains the needle) into a bit of thinners and a quick flush with a dropper is all I have done over the years and you wont find any paint inside or out on mine. Its very lite and the air connects at the back rather than the middle, side feed means cup or jar. If you want a airbrush that works great, is versatile and easy to look after then this is for you. not the cheapest on the market new but I just bought a A470 kit with one extra nozzle for $12 on ebay, lucky yes but they can go cheap at times. They also have a small lite plastic air hose which works just fine and no sign of wear after 8 years. It's also the only brush that I know of that comes with adapters for most compressors.

After all that the brush that's right for you is the one you like and are comfortable with, I'm not trying to sway anyone's choice just simply passing on my opinions on what I have had hands on experience with, I hope to one day use a Iwata, Harder and Steenbeck and even a cheap Chinese job just to see what difference is between them all, the more opinions that can be accumulated the better.

A quick word on air, always get a compressor with a tank, compressed air will cool in the tank and you wont have any trouble with moisture or constant air flow, most of them have traps anyway with a gauge but a tank is a must in my opinion.

If you would like to add or ask anything I can be e-mailed here.

Ill be updating this page when I get more information and photo's

Cheers from Mick.