View Full Version : Airbrush Thoughts

5th May 2012, 05:52 PM
Hi all.
I was just hoping to get your thoughts on this airbrush kit: http://www.ebay.com/itm/370605309347?_trksid=p5197.c0.m619 Now, I know it's not going to be anything spectacular, but I would like to use it for light weathering, and completely repainting locomotives (yeah, two ends of the spectrum there). I don't have the money for a compressor, tank, and professional grade airbrush. Anything thoughts or concerns would be greatly appreciated. Note: this would be my first airbrush.


5th May 2012, 06:08 PM
I would say that set-up would be just fine.

5th May 2012, 06:33 PM
There is a customer service number on there that you might want to call and ask about replacement parts and extra jars and ect...
Find out how available the parts are and how expensive they are.

Looks like a nice set.

5th May 2012, 06:37 PM
I think you'll be fine.

5th May 2012, 07:05 PM
I'll agree with the other three but would recommend saving for the compressor. Im still saving for a compressor.

5th May 2012, 08:08 PM
It looks like a decent starter set.

If you have access to a Harbor Freight store or catalogue, take a look at the starter set they offer. I purchased one for my grandson for Christmas and have used it several times and find that it is an excellent choice.


5th May 2012, 10:24 PM
Okay I'm going to be the devil's advocate here I guess.
If you're going to save for a compressor down the road - and it's a worthwhile investment - then why not save for a better quality name brand gun as well? If you aren't in too big a rush to get started that'd be my advice. Badger, Iwata or Paasche are the three I've used over the years for model work. You'll find loads of parts, accessories and information on those brands. I've used dual action but I much prefer single action for model work. For high end work - cars, helmets, bike tins, art - I'll go with a dual action but they can take some getting used to especially if you're a first timer. Now some are simpler than others of course but I'm just saying that for most of what we do in this hobby you don't really need a dual.

A decent compressor is a priority if you're going to be doing a lot of spraying though. I've used spare tyres for air supply back when I first started and couldn't afford a compressor and in an emergency I've even used propellant cans but you just cannot beat a good, steady supply of dry air that a compressor can deliver. Sometimes you just need a lot of air to move the paint properly and you don't get that any other way really.

What you spend your dollars on now can last you for many, many years but buying budget items with the view that later you can move up is a false economy when it comes to your tools. Tools are meant to last and last keep on being useful till you turn to dust not them! Save your money for a while longer and then buy something that will work just how you imagine it should and keep on working for you for many years to come.

5th May 2012, 11:47 PM
So, 5-to-1, yay to nay. Aussie, this is going to be used once or twice a month at maximum; I'm not making a business out of this. This is kinda to determine if I think I want to get into airbrushing, and instead of dropping a couple hundred dollars on something I may never use again, I'd rather lose less money. Or, if I like it, I can sell and upgrade. Consider this my "test drive" of a car.


Michael Whiteman
6th May 2012, 12:09 AM
Scott, as the saying goes ..."You get what you pay for" and this is really true with air brush equipment. You've got a good point about a "test drive model" but if you're willing to toss it and get a better quality unit I would suggest this. The airbrush in this picture looks to be the same quality as the one from Harbor Freight. The one my friend purchased had to be taken apart and reassembled before I could make it work. I wasn't impressed, but you might be. A can of propelant and a HF brush would be the least expensive test drive. If you like it, buy a better compressor later. I've found a good selection in pawn shops. I power my Badger brush with a cylindedr of nitrogen. If you decide to upgrade, listen to Aussie in post #7. I think his advice is spot on.

Comfortably numb
6th May 2012, 01:02 AM
I got a Paasche off eBay for $40. bucks. and if you don't like it you can put it back on eBay.

6th May 2012, 01:41 AM
There are any number of on-line air brush suppliers offering starter kits from around $100 and up and that's with a compressor. Once you start using an air brush you won't know why you waited so long to buy one. Apart from spraying locos and rolling stock there's structures, track, trees even rocks that you can use it on and not having to just settle for what's available in a can and being able to mix your own colours if you want makes an air brush a great investment. Look around e-bay some more and you're bound to find a much better quality unit for the same price as that cheapie.

6th May 2012, 11:31 AM
I like your optimism aussie!


6th May 2012, 12:53 PM
I got a great little compressor from Harbor Freight for under $70.00, made for airbrushing, it is quiet, has a pressure regulator, moisture trap and shuts off when not triggering the brush to paint, looks and performs like one of the major name brands.

6th May 2012, 01:24 PM
Check out your local pawn shops for a compressor. A small compressor should be able to be found for $50-75. If you have a large compressor, just run a separate line with a dedicated regular (and moisture trap) to you paint booth. Just make sure to buy a quality regulator and moisture trap (often the same unit). Ebay can be a great place for airbrushes on a budget. I got a dual action badger (150) with a slew of accessories for 45 shipped. I used to work for a museum and got my badger compressor for free... BUT I also have a second decent airbrush compressor that was had for $5 at a yard sale. I'd sooner buy a better second airbrush, but there is something nice about buying new... most of the time,

6th May 2012, 07:47 PM
I also bought the Harbor Freight compressor with the pressure regulator and moisture trap. Be aware they sell the same compessor without the pressure regulator, you want the one with the regulator. Then I bought the cheap Harbor Freight airbrush kit, I think it was on sale for $14.95. I used the cheap airbrush for several months and then bought a Badger airbrush. I knew I would need a good compressor and the Harbor Freight one has proven to be a winner. I learned on the cheap airbrush, but it really isn't that much worse than the expensive brush. Hope this helps, have fun, Mark.

12th May 2012, 09:57 AM
I would agree. My first airbrush years ago was the testors version. Though a single action I actually got pretty decent results AND it was far superior than a brush for even coverage.

13th May 2012, 07:53 AM
I have a similar set up, but a Paashe air brush. Got a deal from a co-worker (2 air brushes, 1/8 HP compressor with moisture trap, tubing and manifold). The little compressor provides 40 psig when the air brush is not being used. Not noisy. But, when the air brush is in use, the pressure drops to 30 psig. For a first time air brush user, I learned how to reduce the splatters with acrylics. Once you get to use the air brush, you might desire to get a better compressor.

13th May 2012, 11:00 AM
Well fellas, I've been too busy to post on here, but I bought it last weekend, and it arrived in the mail Wednesday. I can't believe I lived without an airbrush before! It's so much better than spray paint, brush paints, dry brushing, etc. I love it!!! It works better than I expected; not a single problem. I'll post a picture sometime soon. Thanks for all the feedback!


13th May 2012, 11:28 AM
In most cases 30psi should be more than enough for airbrushing. I rarely go over that except when blowing cleaner through the brush.

29th Aug 2012, 08:48 AM
I use a Badger Patriot 105 gravity feed airbrush and the Harbor Freight compresser and I just love it. Relugated my Porter Cable pancake compresser to the garage because of the noise.


17th Nov 2012, 05:45 AM
I rarely shoot over 20 psi.
I have to admit a good airbrush is nice to own, but I truly don't feel buying a cheap brush will derail your painting experience.

I own 6 brushes, a VL, Talon, Badger 150 and 175, and 2 Precision Aire Treo XF brushes. The VL I have owned about 25 years and it still works perfect. The two badgers I had nearly as long and they still perform well. (badger will also repair their product for free if needed).
The Paasche VL is by no means a professional brush and you can buy these at Hobby Lobby for about 60.00 USD with the weekend coupon they offer. the brush sprays well, although very fine lines are not it's high point but for painting rolling stock and engines the brush will hold it's own. So a cheap brush will work just fine, I truly don't see a need to spend 300.00 on a Iwata when all your doing is painting rolling stock.

I build aircraft and do figure modeling also, that's why I ended up buying the 2 Precision Aire brushes, I just felt like I needed a bit more control in the fine line department.

For model railroading my VL works just fine.

My Badger 150 and 175 and my VL


My Talon which you can also buy for around 80.00 USD


My two upper scale Precision Aire Treo XF brushes.


17th Nov 2012, 11:29 AM
Yeah but you can buy a Iwata for 80 dollars , with the easy cleaning and very high build quality in materials,machining and ergonomics.They also come with a fine warranty .

17th Nov 2012, 04:18 PM
Yeah but you can buy a Iwata for 80 dollars , with the easy cleaning and very high build quality in materials,machining and ergonomics.They also come with a fine warranty .

I dont wave the flag for any brand name, there are many good airbrushes on the market that are easy to clean and maintain. My Talon is a breeze to clean and easy to get replacement parts, my Badger get fixed for free by Badger if they break, my XF brushes are beauts but pricey (somewhat like an I wata in price range).

The cheap Iwata's are no better than anything else.

There are many options. You dont need to spend big money on an airbrush to spray rollingstock and engines.