The Airbrush and Modeling Page.

Southern Airbrush Runway 13 Tools, tips and tricks Don's Airbrush tips
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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 incase" 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 moulded 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


Thanks to the exceptional service by Alana at Southern Airbrush in Melbourne I am now the owner of one of these brushes, not only was it here (North Coast NSW) within 48 hours of ordering but you also get a sweet little thank you treat as well as the brush which I think is a great touch, ten points Alana. 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. hers 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, probably not essential for kit modeling but fantastic to have one in the draw just incase you need that piece of detail work done but keep in mind about 25 to 30mm wide is about it for broad coverage.


Badger Renegade 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 which I personally like. 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 (for my shaky hands) without the help of the limiter quite well, I will set all 4 brushes up one day with the same mix of paint, air etc and try them all one after the other just to eliminate possible variables that might be changing results. 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.


I hooked both the Iwata and the Krome up today to spray some railings on theTitanic. 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.


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. 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 adaptors 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.