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hey guys, im looking at investing in an airbrush, but know fk all about them, anyone out there know about them, got a butdget of around £100 ($160)
£100, for the airbrush, or £100, for everything.
Hell of a difference.

what you need:
Air Source.

the air source is just as important as the brush - a shitty 12v compressor will never give you a consistent air flow.

you can get little freon air cans. they're shit, and a false investment.
if you're insane, I can reccommend going shoppingin your local industrial workshop wholesalers, and ask about CO2 tanks. you know, the 2 metre high, 70kg bottles of industrial CO2 that you can rent. initial outlay is high, but its good for longterm work (I used to work in the business as a photo-retorucher, before digital stuff killed it stone dead. yes, I'm that old...).

that being overkill, however, changes are you want a compressor.
you really dont want a direct compressor, but one with an air tank - the compressor feeds air to the tank, which means it has an even pressure to the brush. far better.

Ideally, you want at least a 2l air tank, preferably3L volume, with a moisture trap, and at least a 125w 240v motor. The moisture trap is essential. that's a little device that captures water that forms in the air. without it, your brush can "spit" water, which will ruin your work.

How much you spend on a compressor is down to you, but I woul'dnt reccommend anything under £60-70.

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>>22642529 ctd

Now, the brush.
you've got several types of brush to choose from before you even start looking at manufacturers etc.

the first choice is internal mix, or external mix. when you spray, the paint gets mixed into the airflow, and jets out. External mix brushes suck the paint up, and it mixes in the air, they generally consist of a nozzle that air scoots out of, and a tapered cone that the paint container (bottle or a cup type device) connects to.

the pro is they're cheap (the GW branded airbrush is an external mix) and really simple. its extremely hard to make an external mix brush go wrong.

the con is, they're shit for detail the spray is very rough and granular, so you cant do dine lines, you cant do tight details, and its very hard to get a smooth finish. they're good for undercoating, but that's about all.

pic is an external mix brush.
so internals are better for detail spraying?
So, as far as I can tell, getting an airbrush just makes you an amazing painter.

When I picked up a paintbrush, I knew that I may well be absolute shit (Yay, I wasn't... Completely.) but from what I've seen posted, getting an airbrush is basically the Konami code of painting. As far as I can tell OP's pic could well be considered the worst airbrush job I've ever seen...

The fuck gives with that, do bad airbrush jobs even exist? If so, how come I've never seen them?
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>>22642609 apologies for the delay there. had a cat-shaped distraction.

the next set of choices are internal mix brushes.

these are the real deal. Unlike the external mix, the paint and air are combined inside the airbrush itself, meaning the mixing is far finer. net result is, you get a much better spray from them.

You now get choices of "action" in your brush: there's again, two types, Single-Action, and Double-Action.

in an internal mix brush, the flow of paint is controlled by a fine needle, with allows paint to flow - move the needle back, and more paint can flow. move it forward, and only a tiny amount can flow. with that, you can control both how fine a line you're spraying, but by controlling the distance, how much coverage you're doing. so you can set low levels of flow, at a distance, to "mist" paint over a surface subtly, or run it close, and spray fine-line details.

when you hold the brush, you can see there's a trigger button on the top (usually), that you press down. that releases air. most are digital, open a valve, and air flows. a few brushes have enough control that you can regulate how much air is flowing through, but they're rare beasts indeed, so you dont really need to know about them at the moment.

anyhow, with the button press down, you get the airflow.
in a single action the needle is controlled by a screw, screw it back to get more paint flow.
in a double action, you get a movable lever, so you can pull the needle back and let it slide back by pushing your finger back or forward. Far, far more control to the flow that way.

pic is an internal mix, single action - note the screw thread at the back.
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so, lastly, you've got the Internal-Mix, double actions.

these are the sort you want to be shopping for. much more control of the flow, much finer mix of the paint. they're consistent.

but they're also fickle creatures, witha lot of maintainance needed. all the needle mechanisms need to be very finely cleaned, and acrylic paint is the most hostile medium you can run through an airbrush, as it dries so fast. you've really got to tend it carefully.

that said, if you can treat it obsessively, they're rock solid. A single-action internal mix is your best bet if you just want to spray fine even lines, or cover large areas well. the double-action is if you want the control to be able to taper off lines along an object, or spray in the shadows into a cloak, so they fade out, or similar actions like that.

so its a case of deciding what sort of purposes you're going to put it to, and decide accordingly. I would reccommend a double-action, internal mix as the best investment, rather than a single-action and finding its not adaptable enough.

pic's an internal double-action, a de vilbiss super '63. beautiful brushes, but incredibly hard to get spares for.
Not OP but thanks a bunch old anon.
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now, what brands to get?

in all honesty, avoid the ebay ones for £20 like a crack-whore with ebola. they're shit. total shit. you cant get spares, the manufacturing tolerances arent very high, so you get pressure problems all the time with them. they're a false investment.

I would strongly reccommend a name branded brush. of those, you've really got three or four choices:
Paasche, Badger, Iwata, or possibly DeVilbiss.

Passche are good, but I personally dont like their manufacturing methods. a number of their head assembly systems are real hassle to dismantle and reassemble, and the parts arent very easy to find.

Badger are not the very best brushes in terms of value. but they really make up for that in ease of spares. its incredibly easy to get replacement needles, tips, and the likes. and that is a value far better than the extra few pounds you might have to pay.
they do a number of models - of the newer ones, the "crescendo", "sotar 20/20" and "anthem" models dont really impress me. they're good - the Sotar is a world-class brush, but they dont wow me. perhaps I'm just old.

the 100 and 150 models, however? they impress me. they're rock solid, they're really good value (well within your budget if you shop around), and they've lasted me the last 20 years and still run well. infact one of mine, a custom ordered lefthander, is so well worn that the blue anodising has rubbed away on part of the handle. still works like a dream.
there's a few models, the 100-g and 100sg are great for ultrafine work, the 100-sidefeed is a brilliant illustrator/painter's brush, but it can be tempermental about pressure feeds - sometimes ends up with air bleed into the paint reservoir and is a swine to get working when it does. but all brushes are like that at times.

the 150 is a brilliant brush for large scale modelling or painting. but to run it well, it has to run a higher pressure than a gravity fed cup like the 100-sg. that extra pressure can cause problems on minis.
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De Vilbiss are the 3rd manufacturer. they do everything from tiny brushes to stuff for respraying ships.

They make two of the best brushes out there, the Super 63, and its successor, the Super 93. yes, the design is 50 years old. no, its not dated at all. the super 63 is a dream to use, it feels like an extension of your hand. fantastic control.
But... it is a total bitch to maintain. spares are like hen's teeth, they're hard as hell to get hold of, and they're not cheap.
I would not reccommend a devilbiss to a beginner, its more trouble than its worth.

Lastly, you get Iwata.
Iwatas are the airbrush gods, nowadays. The Custom Micron brushes are even better than the top-end badgers. you can spray 1/4mm thick lines with them. But, they cost 4 times the price of a Badger, and in that respect, they're not worth it, certainly not for a first-time buyer. its like learning to drive in a lamborghini. sooner or later you will end up wrapped round a telegraph pole.

so again, I wouldnt reccommend them for a new user. but I would reccommend that you look at them and drool.

I've used one, but frankly, I'd rather buy 3 Badgers, and have a range of choices, than 1 iwata custom micron.
So, the TL:DR version

1: Get a decent compressor with an air tank and a moisture trap. A direct mini compressor or little air cans is a waste of money.

2: Get a "Double Action" "Internal-mix" brush.

2.b: Do not get the cheapy chinese knock-off airbrushes that cost £20 - you cant get spares for them, and they're a waste of cash.

3: I would reccommend a Badger, model 100 series. the 100 side-feed, 100-G and 100-SG models in particular are well suited to small miniature painting. A Badger model 150 is good for painting vehicles or larger figures with a lot of paint needed.
This is a good thread.
I demand someone screencap the cascade of airbrush knowledge from this sage gentleman and scholar for future generations.

I did this instead.
now a couple of notes and tips that might help.

Thin your paints.
no. really. thin your paints.
You cannot use Citadel or the likes in an airbrush, unless its watered down to hell and back. so you're going to have to be shopping for much more liquid paint. Badger have their own brand, air-opaque, which is good. Rowney FW inks work, Golden fluid acrylics will work when thinned more. Artists acrylic too...
you want it to be no thicker than water, really. if it has any globs or thick bits, it will clog the brush.

Always clean your brush after use - spray water through till it runs clear, then a dab of paint thinner. and repeat. let paint dry inside the brush, and its 2-3 hours to repair it and manually strip the paint off the parts.

Always have a spare needle and tip - never force the needle into the brush. the tip is foil-thin metal, and can easily tear, which will disrupt the airflow, and make it splatter.

for spraying you want to make shileds- straightedge and curved plastic sheets of thin acetate or plasticard, that you can hold in your third hand. and use to cover parts of the model when painting stuff.

Always airbrush light to dark then overspray with small highlights, if you're using translucent paints.

for figures, a side or gravity feed (paint cup on top) type lets you use a lower air pressure. that in turn makes it less likely that paint will be blown off the surface of the model when held close.
No OP or the guy who also isn't OP. I found this very helpful and I owe you a drink for the amount of knowledge you shared here today.
Not op, but thanks for the detailed advice.
Saving for when I have the dosh to buy a decent airbrush
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>that in turn makes it less likely that paint will be blown off the surface of the model when held close.

this effect is called "centipeding". - you can see it in this photo, and work out why it got the name.

its effectively caused by four factors: air pressure, paint volume, surface material, and distance from the surfaces

Surface material is fixed with models - its a primed or pre-painted surface of hard plastic. that does not absorb paint, so it sits on the surface. - making centipeeding very easy when painting figures. Paper or bristol board readily absorbs the paint, making it harder to centipede.

the amount of paint is the next issue - too much paint will build up on the surface. its better to do three or four light dustings than one over-heavy coat that stays wet.

the pressure in the airline is the next cause - too much pressure will blow the paint away causing centipeding. so drop the line PSI for details, as low as you dare. remember though too low a pressure, and the paint wont mix as well. so adjust accordingly.

the last is distance - always keep the brush an even distance away, and try to avoid being too close, unless you're doing very very fine work with almost no flow. that minimises the risk of ruining your work.
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This kinda asburd and surreal thing is great. Some guy asks a simple question and we get one guy who knows his way better around an airbrush than most people do with their own dick. The wonders of an anonymous image board can still surprise you after so many years.
Here's to you, big guy.
I own the Iwata NEO CN (HP-CN-E), what is your opinion on this piece?
I'm using it mainly to paint larger projects like gundam/armored core model kits. I don't really have an indoor area where I'm ok with atomic paint particles poisoning the air I haven't had the weather to get cracking on my miniatures yet. I can't really talk about its (or my) ability for very fine detail work.
Using Iwata's own Com-Art colors

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