Portable airbrush recommendation
November 23, 2022 3:39 AM   Subscribe

I'm a railway modeller looking to buy a portable airbrush for weathering, simple paint jobs, etc. Do you have any recommendations for me?

It seems to me that portable airbrushes have gotten pretty good these last few years, and as I live in a small apartment and do all my hobby painting outside I'm intrigued by this developement.

What I'm looking for is a kit that works out of the box, on Swedish voltage. I'd also like it if the kit came with a hose and nozzles in the 0.2 mm-0.5mm range (I tend to work in small scales).

My price range is about 80-100 USD and I live in Sweden, so it'd be nice if I could buy it from a Swedish shop, thus avoiding toll fees and stuff like that.

Let me know if you need any additional information to answer this question - as you probably can tell I'm quite new to airbrushing so I don't really know what to look out for and so on. Thank you!
posted by soundofsuburbia to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (2 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I bought this airbrush based on this YouTube video and it has worked out well so far. I've run primer, paint (both acrylic and alcohol based), and varnish through it with no problems, provided that I keep it clean and use enough flow aid and thinner. It has a 0.3 nozzle and recharges via USB, so you'll need to buy a separate charger, if you don't have one already. It's definitely not a high-end airbrush, but it should handle basic painting and weathering just fine, and because it runs on a battery pack you can take it anywhere.
posted by Woodroar at 4:06 AM on November 23 [2 favorites]

Reply by my friend max, an avid model railroad guy ...

"Seeing as how the airbrush I own is about 25 yrs old (a Badger Crescendo 175), I'm not a good one to ask on current models. I CAN tell you that almost everybody I talk to in the model train biz says Paasche is the brand to buy. They certainly look like beautiful instruments when I see them, but I have never used one.

As for features and price.
Double action, siphon feed.

Double action:
- allows you to control the air and the paint density independently by how you push and pull the trigger. The better versatility compared to a single-action brush (where you can just pull the trigger and spray) is important. With a double action, you can let out mostly air and very little paint, or more paint and less air, just by how you pull on the trigger as you depress it. It is really helpful for avoiding runs, laying on a fine mist or weathering effect, and for overall having more control over the way the paint goes on.

Siphon feed - If you go with gravity feed, you are stuck with having just a little cup of paint stuck in the side of the unit. That might be okay if you are just painting one or two N Scale boxcars or one engine. But if you plan on doing anything larger, it can be a real pain having to stop and keep filling that cup with a pipette. Even when spraying a single engine in N Scale, I have to refill the cup more than once to get the job done if I use the gravity cup (my airbrush can do gravity or siphon feed).

Something like this in a Paasche is going to cost more like $175 US, but you won't be sorry.

If you are looking to spend $100 US, you are already fairly serious about this, so spend some more and get a really fine airbrush.

As for what I myself use, it is a Badger Crescendo 175 that I bought way back in the 1990s. I love it.
It has a heavy barrel, cleans up well, and comes with 3 different size needles (they call them fine, medium, and heavy... I don't know what mm they are). A full kit with hose, needles, jars, etc, is about $200 these days.

Another thing you need to consider is your source of air. You will need to buy a small compressor or use compressed air canisters. I strongly urge you to seek out a compressor. The canisters are a tremendous pain and their pressure always seems to fade just when you need them the most.

You don't need to buy an "airbrush compressor". Any small compressor that can do 20-25 psi will be great. You will need to put a regulator, filter, and water trap on it to keep the pressure controlled, dirt out of your paint, and water out of your paint."
posted by ZenMasterThis at 8:01 AM on November 25

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