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Discussion Starter #1
Whether you need to repair a smudged area, custom-paint a car, structure or locomotive, do some weathering, or color your scenery, an airbrush will usually be the best way to go.
There are many brands of hobby airbrushes, and a few that are well suited to model railroading.
There are also different types to consider:
Single action.
Dual action.
I recommend the dual action.
Siphon type.
Gravity type.
There are advantages and disadvantages to both the Siphon & Gravity types, largely in capacity vs convenience. I prefer the gravity feed.
It'd be wise to do a Google search for YouTube videos and/or ratings and reviews.

These are probably the three most popular brands. Prices range from $65 to $150, depending on where you find them, and if they're on sale.
Iwata
Badger
Paasche
 

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i have both the badger single, and an iwata double.. and i find myself reaching for the badger much more often, it's just easier to use ..
 

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Discussion Starter #3
i have both the badger single, and an iwata double.. and i find myself reaching for the badger much more often, it's just easier to use ..
A dual action does take more practice to master.
The primary advantage of dual action is control of the amount of paint flow.
If you need to fade or feather a spray, (as in weathering) a dual action is best.
A single action can achieve a fade if you're good at pulling away.
A dual action is also useful for fineline effects, like 'drips' in weathering.
 

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actually the only one I use for weathering is the Badger...the Iwata is just used to paint entire rolling stock or sub assemblies .. it boils down to personal preference
 

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I bought an iwata. It's dual action. I read a note somewhere that it was a tad easier to clean that the others. But I have a badger compressor. So far they make excellent doorstops.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I have a Harder & Steenbeck InfinityCR-2 (don't hate me, it was a birthday gift).
It excels at everything, but it's especially good at controlling paint volume, within the parameters of both miniscule lines and broad areas, and between a concentrated spray and a faint fog.
It'll do everything from a wide swath of scenery, to the sash between individual HO scale window panes.
I can sign my name with it, and you won't be able to tell that it wasn't done with a fineline ballpoint.
I now tend to reach for it instead of any of my brushes.

HarderSteenbeckInfCR2_002.jpg
10010472a~2.jpg
 

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looks pretty sweet. this is one i have --

and not the technique I have. frankly looks a tad pia-sy.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
looks pretty sweet. this is one i have
I tried-out the Iwata Eclipse at an art store demo...
It's a very nice airbrush. I was very impressed.
I bought the Badger Patriot because it was cheaper on sale.
 

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Truth is I got a little snookered by hobby lobbys 40% off coupon but (in a whisper) -- not for airbrushes. In fact originally some months back I was sure the neo or some other cheaper simpler airbrush was the way to start plus maybe a can or two of compressed air... But... I didn't stick to it. It helped I had a little santa money, and then I stumbled upon the badger air compressor at a going out of business close out price. Then, I had to get something...
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Some time ago, I had a Badger TC910 (Aspire?).
But it was very noisy, and only lasted a month or so.
 

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That's what I have. I read the reviews and there's some real negatives on it. On the other hand a lot of positives. I tend to be skeptical of items with that have a "U" shaped review pattern... a lot of very negative reviews relatively speaking tends to make me wonder about it. I figure that while it can be a good thing, that there's some quality control issues or other aspects of it that make it a poor product. In this case though it was at a substantial discount and I so, went ahead with it. Now if it breaks... not entirely sure what I'll replace it with. Further its really far too much for me right now. It's oriented toward a heavier user. I need something far less....
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I now have a TriCity TC20T.
$88 on sale.
Awesome so far.
 

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I'm going to be a contrarian here...I think we can be way too picky about the 'needs' a hobbyist has to satisfy in his first airbrush. Like somebody's first car, it sure beats walking no matter the make/model. I think the same for airbrushes. I've bought Harbor Freight knockoffs of the Badger 350 and for ten bucks. less with a coupon or on sale, they represent wonderful value. Can they be criticized? All day. They also work and they're a very inexpensive entry into airbrushing. I suggest starting there and making more informed choices later.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
... I suggest starting there and making more informed choices later.
Been there, done that...
Back in the day of Floquil, my first airbrush was a Japanese shelf-item from the local art store.
That, and a can of Propel were all I used for half a decade.
[Edit]:
Over that 5 or 6 years, I painted four brass locomotives, about 20 cars, and over 40 structures... all with that Japanese airbrush and Propel combination.
Since then, I've made a few "informed choices".
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Spray-out pot
One item you'll need for airbrushing is a spray-out pot. They're available at hobby shops and online retailers.
It's a dedicated jug that you purge the airbrush into before cleaning it... unless you're using only acrylics, and your hose will reach a sink.
Where you dump the pot is up to you. If you're not spraying acrylics, it's likely subject to state and local regulations.
 

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I've bought Harbor Freight knockoffs of the Badger 350 and for ten bucks. less with a coupon or on sale, they represent wonderful value.
I paid $8 for one of HF's single action Badger 350 knockoff's, and it gets more use than my other two airbrushes combined! If it ever dies, I'll probably get a genuine 350, but this thing just won't quit!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I advise a paint booth
Airbrushing almost necessitates a paint booth, preferably one with an exhaust hood that vents outdoors.
Whether it's a built-in affair that you can frame and sheetrock, or a portable unit you can get online, it's a necessary essential, especially if you spray lacquers or some enamels.
An alternative in the case of lacquers is to spray outdoors, and even then you should wear a protective mask.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Turntable
One of the best additions to any paint booth is a good turntable...
Some folks use a cake-decorating 'lazy susan', which is okay, but not likely to last very long, and unless it's very high quality, it may stutter and grind in rotation, especially cheap plastic ones.

A few years ago, I purchased an ultra-high quality turntable on eBay for $8, and it's since been marketed by MicroMark.
It has legitimate rollerbearing action, and literally glides in rotation.
It's not plastic. It's well assembled, heavy, and quite sturdy. The rubber top-pad is a nice touch... a good non-slip surface.
86107_R-1~2.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #20
And the best turntable... is a turntable.
With a few modifications, you won't find a better, smoother, rotating disk for airbrushing models than an audio turntable (unpowered of course).
Some however, are just too big, even if you strip away the cabinet and chassis.
The best (and least expensive) audio turntables are the kid's record players, still found at yard sales.
 
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