Saturday, May 1, 2010

Choosing an Airbrush Part 2

In the market for an airbrush I narrowed my choices to a select few that are tailored toward models and model painting. I narrowed my list to six choices with a widely varying price point. The Badger 150 and the Paasche VL are both described as entry level airbrushes- great investments for their relative price! However, both of these brushes were siphon fed, whereas I want a gravity-fed airbrush. Iwata brand airbrushes became increasingly attractive to me the more I researched airbrushes. With sudden recollection, I dug up an old email from Brandon Palmer, of Gray Matter Musings fame.
Brandon had taken time out of his busy schedule to answer a few of my noobie questions regarding airbrushes- including the model and brand he was using at the time. It was that email that led me to the Harder and Steenbeck line of airbrushes. With their sleek design and superior German engineering, the H and S line caught my eye and would later hold my attention. Following is a quick break-down of airbrushes I contemplated purchasing:

Paasche VL
Siphon-fed, dual-action airbrush. The Paasche VL can be purchased for under a 100 dollars, which makes this airbrush a serious contender for those just getting their feet wet (like me)! I almost purchased this brush, but quickly became enamored with the Iwata line.

Badger 150
Siphon-fed airbrush. Many modelers swear by this airbrush. This airbrush is relatively inexpensive and is a great entry level airbrush.

Iwata Eclipse HP-CS
More than one source suggested this gravity-fed airbrush as an excellent starter brush for painting models. A little further research uncovered that I would personally benefit from a brush that could achieve even finer detail and lines.

Iwata HP-C Plus
Another gravity-fed brush that boasts a much wider range of capability and precision, ranging from fine detail to the ability to handle larger projects. The HP-C Plus is capable of finer detail than the Eclipse HP-CS. However, various sources have stated that either airbrush are adequate for painting models. I read artists that have used Iwata and Harder and Steenbeck claimed that the H and S airbrushes button(s) required less tension to depress and were much more fluid.

DeVilbiss DAGR 501G-35
Tony from Dampf's Modeling Page mentioned this airbrush, and I thought I would include it in this list, so that anyone considering an airbrush purchase won't miss this model. The DAGR boasts a dual-action trigger, three interchangeable paint cups ranging in size from 1/3 oz. to 1/2 oz and a five year warranty. This brush is made in the U.S.A and DeVilbiss offers a rebate for vo-tech students! What makes the DAGR even more attractive is the price. I found this brush on for 129.00 bucks! Craig over at Kustom Kulture Lounge (KKL) actually wrote a review on the DAGR. Read it here.

Harder Steenbeck Silverline FPC 2 in 1
A gravity fed airbrush that boasts an external air valve which H and S claim can change air pressure from 20% to 100%. The Evolution Silverline fPC 2 in 1 has many similar qualities as it’s big brother, the Infinity 2 in 1 for a reduced cost. The Silverline has two interchangeable gravity-fed paint cups. The Silverline boasts a 10 year limited warranty.

Harder Steenbeck Infinity 2 in 1
The Infinity 2 in 1 boasts a unique tip guard that many users absolutely swear by. This airbrush is capable of precision that benefit fine artists as well as modelers. The Infinity offers quite a few bells and whistles including a distance cap, the “quick fix” paint limiter, and adjustable trigger tension. The Infinity boasts a 10 year limited warranty.

Closing thoughts:
It is sad that in whole or in part, due to this recession, there isn't an art store in my local area where I could try the different brands and brushes to get a better idea how each model felt when painting. In the end I had enough money to purchase a Harder and Steenbeck Infinity 2 in 1. The Infinity will allow me to paint models as well as graphics and fine detail. I also purchased cleaner, a couple of extra needles, one cap for each of the paint cups that come with the Infinity, and a braided hose with a quick-connect part.

I also purchased a 3 gallon 1/3 HP oil less air compressor at Harbor Freight for 59.00 dollars and a regulator for 30 bucks. I purchased a 2 year warranty for 20.00 dollars. I rarely purchase warranties on item(s), however, Harbor Freight's policy are as such that if I don't have to utilize the warranty, I can return the air compressor just before the warranty's expiration and have a new model (or like-model) exchanged for my current air compressor- no questions asked! So, in two years, I'll exchange my air compressor for a brand-new model- not a bad deal for 20 bucks!

The regulator I purchased comes with a reusable filter, which will help keep my line clear of water and particles- The last thing I want is to screw up a job or damage my airbrush.

If you missed the first part of this article, click here.

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