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Author Previous Topic: Letterbashing Topic Next Topic: Slowly working away on my HO Sawmill
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Premium Member

Posted - 09/04/2007 :  8:50:49 PM  Show Profile  Visit slimrails's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Well, Crew, I finally decided that it's time to say goodbye to my ol' Paasche H and VL airbrushes. After years of service, I just can't stand using the poorly positioned color cups and the impossible fit between the air supply line and a siphon bottle. I have been looking at airbrushes in the next higher price bucket, around 130-150.00. This range includes the Iwata Eclipse and the the Iwata High Performance and the Grex Genesis.


Two of these rigs are side siphon feed and the third is a top gravity feed. I'm curious to find out what members' experiences have been with different feed systems, if you have more than one rig (one for enamel, one for water-based, etc.), what the good points and bad points are about what you're spraying with, etc. Thanks Guys!

Country: USA | Posts: 8486


Posted - 09/04/2007 :  10:57:02 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

I originally had the Paasche H airbrush and a little cheapie compressor that I bought as a package for about 80 bucks, back in about 1979. It served me well up until it was stolen in a burglary a few years back. The H airbrush did everything I wanted except fine lines. It was easy to keep clean and working properly.

A couple years ago I bought an Iwata Eclipse SBS with the side cup feed and 0.35 mm needle. At this time I have not used it in over a year. My limited experience with it was frequent clogging, sputtering, or nothing but air coming through. I spent ten or twenty more time fiddling with it, disassembling it, cleaning it, etc, than I ever did painting with it.

It is capable of very fine lines during the brief moments when its functioning. The 1/8 ounce side cup holds very little paint, and the airbrush requires some sort of holder to rest it in or the paint will spill from the open cup when you set it aside.

From what I've seen on the forum, of your fine work with rolling stock kit-builds, I think you have way more experience with air brushes than I do. I'm just giving you my history with this particular one. The Paasche H was an external mix, and the Iwata Eclipse is internal mix, and that difference might be at the root of my problems and frustrations with it.

Anyway, take this for what its worth.....

Oh you might want to check out dixieart.com for really good prices and deals on airbrushes and art supplies. Mostly free shipping on airbrusheslast time I checked.

Stevie O'D

Edited by - essodee on 09/04/2007 11:00:06 PM

Country: USA | Posts: 1561 Go to Top of Page

Engine Wiper

Posted - 09/04/2007 :  11:09:11 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I don't know if going up in price range is going to help you. Those high end brushes are designed for high precision work, and can be fussy.

Some years ago I got a top of the line Paashe. Then on a whim I got an Aztek, all plastic, well under $100 and a variety of nozzles, including one for spatter effects.

Now I almost never use the Paashe. The Aztek does everything, except super fine lines, which I almost never need in railroad modelling anyway.

BTW one dumb thing about the Aztek is the instructions that come with it. They say not to disassemble the nozzle when cleaning, that is complete BS! The nozzle breaks down completely, and snaps right back together. Its a brilliant design that cleans up with ease. Almost all the complaints I hear about the Aztek are due to people following the cleanup directions DOH!

The Aztek compared to the Paasche is like a reliable pickup truck, compared to a Porsche that sits in the garage.


Country: USA | Posts: 456 Go to Top of Page


Premium Member

Posted - 09/05/2007 :  12:03:05 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Well, I don't know about either Porsches or pickup trucks, since I've never owned either (and one of them I can't afford anyway....) But I'll second the vote for the Aztek. As I've posted here several times over the last 5 years, I went from a pair of well used Badgers (which could no longer be repaired because replacement parts were hard to find, and Badger's customer service never replied to several emails I sent them) to an Aztek A470 set. The Aztek has seen only limited use since the time I got it, because I don't airbrush as often as I used to. However, I've used it enough to know its flexibility is far superior to what I used to use and the sprayed results are at least equal to - if not better than - what I used to use.

The A470 can be switched from single action to double action with just a simple twist of a knurled ring on the barrel. That in itself is worth noting. But when you combine that with the interchangeable tips (nozzles) for different paints and mediums, it really becomes a very flexible tool that can be used for almost any application. Cleanup is very simple, and as Dave has already said, the nozzles can be disassembled for cleaning if necessary - but I've never had to do that yet.

I don't know what the A470 is selling for these days. I bought mine about 3 or maybe 4 years ago from 1st Place Hobbys for a good price. I've used it perhaps a dozen times since then.

Country: USA | Posts: 21584 Go to Top of Page


Premium Member

Posted - 09/05/2007 :  01:49:06 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Russ, . .Some 4-5 years ago, I shopped around after discussing the matter with a former club-member who spent a lion's share of his modeling time with his airbrush. I ended up selecting a single-action Binks Wren, and I have since been very please with the results. I only found one business in the Metro area that carried them. As I recall, the price for the complete set was a good one at $125. Of course, if you are into double-action brushes, that's another story.

Originally posted by hudsonelectric

Modeling the East in the West on the Northeastern Pacific RIM, Oregon, that is!

Country: USA | Posts: 7259 Go to Top of Page

Engine Wiper

Posted - 09/05/2007 :  02:25:58 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Gentlemen: I have a Paasche air brush that was not pulling the paint from the cup. At the shop, I was told that the threaded tip covering the needle end had to be tightened with a small wrench to prevent excess air leakage and ensure a venturi effect. It has worked perfectly ever since. That may be the difficulty with other air brushes, also.

Country: USA | Posts: 372 Go to Top of Page

Karl Osolinski

Posted - 09/05/2007 :  08:42:12 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote


I have to put my vote in for the Aztek A470. I've got several Badger 200's, 175 Crescendo, 360 Swivel and a Paasche VL and the Aztek is the only one I use anymore. I spent more time cleaning the others than I did painting.

In the past few days I've built about twenty Jordans and each one got a black primer coat using the A470 with the high flow acrylic tip (the white one) and I had no clogging of the tip or runs in the finish.

One of the Jordans is the 1932, Ford 3-window that I chopped the top on it. I had to fill in some spots with body putty and then sanded the entire car with 1500 grit wet/dry sandpaper. I then sprayed six very light coats of primer on it with the Aztek and the finish is smooth as glass.

The simplicity of cleaning the Aztek is just unscrew the tip, remove the needle assembly from the tip and put them in a cup of thinner.

Karl O.
Berkley, MI

Country: | Posts: 1974 Go to Top of Page

Crew Chief

Posted - 09/05/2007 :  12:20:21 PM  Show Profile  Visit hvig's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I love my Aztek's (430 and 470) but I don't have anything to compare to. I bought in on my LHS's recommendation, and have never tried anything else.

The only problem I had with either of them is with dry paint when I got a big lazy, not in the interchangeable tips, but in the valve assembly. A little time in the ultrasonic cleaner got rid of that problem straight away, and other than that, they have preformed extremely well.

Country: USA | Posts: 986 Go to Top of Page

Engine Wiper

Posted - 09/05/2007 :  3:25:44 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Wow, this has been a really positive response to the Aztek!

A few years back, I noticed if anyone said something good about it on a scale military models bulletin board, he'd invariably get "flamed" by a rugby pile-up of people who were totally frustrated by the Aztek, citing clog problems.

If they'd calm down enough to diagnose the issue, it almost always went back to not "field stripping" the nozzle for a good cleaning. I guess either word has gotten out, or us model railroad guys are just more technically adept.

I use water base acrylics, so to clean I just blow a bunch of tapwater through my Aztek then follow up with a shot or two of CVS window cleaner (cheapo version of Windex ). Every once in a while I'll break it down for a full soaking in a solvent cleaner. After a little scrubbing she's always good as new.

Anyway, its really good to see such a fine tool getting its due!


Edited by - DaKra on 09/05/2007 3:29:35 PM

Country: USA | Posts: 456 Go to Top of Page

Engine Wiper

Posted - 09/05/2007 :  3:42:41 PM  Show Profile  Click to see cpetersonmd's MSN Messenger address  Reply with Quote
I'll add my.02 for the aztec as well. i have not tried any other brands, but being a novice at airbrushing, I have not had any difficulties with its use and have seemed to produce good finishes, even on my small n scale rolling stock.

Country: USA | Posts: 280 Go to Top of Page


Posted - 09/05/2007 :  4:02:21 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'm going to give one more vote for the Aztecs. I also have some Badgers but I keep coming back to my single action Aztecs. Keep it simple is my motto.


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Posted - 09/05/2007 :  4:14:24 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Another vote here for the Aztek - I use the A4809 metal version. I use it often and really like it. Recommended.

Country: Australia | Posts: 3090 Go to Top of Page


Posted - 09/05/2007 :  6:42:43 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Russ, you mentioned the Iwata series. I own and use the Iwata Eclipse. It is a siphon feed with a bottle and operates as a dual stage spray gun. I found it to be an EXELLENT FINE LINE Air Brush. A local modeler uses his to paint stripes on his "n"scale locomotives, He has a very steady free hand. I Highly recommend it!!! The High performance model I am sure it is a fine brush but I dont have any experience with that model. With Iwata you cant go wrong.
My rating for the Iwata Eclipse is

Edited by - Sodbuster on 09/05/2007 6:45:32 PM

Country: USA | Posts: 2284 Go to Top of Page


Posted - 09/05/2007 :  9:43:43 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Aztek A470 gets an A+ from me. I love it when I get a chance to use it.


Country: Canada | Posts: 1044 Go to Top of Page

Tim Kerkhoff

Posted - 09/05/2007 :  9:55:45 PM  Show Profile  Send Tim Kerkhoff a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote

I had a Pasche and it worked ok, but then I bought a Badger 360, that rotates. I like it much better and I don't find cleaning hard at all. I normally use the cup that is on the airbrush and never get the bottle out. Most of what I spray is acrylic.

I never owned an Aztec, and am not familar with the models. Are the ones you all are recommending Internal or external mix?

Country: USA | Posts: 5879 Go to Top of Page


Premium Member

Posted - 09/06/2007 :  07:04:34 AM  Show Profile  Visit slimrails's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Thanks for the input, Guys, I appreciate the comments. I can see that Aztec is the most popular and there are definitely reasons for it. We look for ease of operation, the ability to spray a number of mediums, be adjustable, and easy to maintain. My airbrush experiences are the same as my 1:1 spraygun experiences. Materials have to be properly reduced, the equipment needs to be kept clean, and adjusted for whatever is being sprayed. Many of us spray several mediums...water-based, lacquers, inks and dyes, etc.

This requires a range of settings...fuller throttle for thicker paints like the water-based and enamels, tighter adjustments for the thinner materials like lacquers and stains. Features that I like are the color cups with a cover....there's a lot of movements that I go through moving the airbrush and the model both in order to get the right spray angle and I've accidentally dumped paint on myself and in my booth. I like the idea of the side-mounted syphon cup and the top-mounted gravity feed cup, too.

The issue with an airbrush spitting and clogging usually comes into play at finer settings when a thicker-bodied material may be carrying some undissolved or unstrained lumps....a good case for straining paints prior to loading up the airbrush. Paint incompatability is also an issue with me and may require that I have two rigs...one for lacquers and one for enamels. The contamination of paints caused by residues remaining in the airbrush caps and nozzles has driven me crazy in spite of my best (sometimes) efforts to keep the parts clean through the use of solvent sprayed through the rig right after finishing up a paint job.

I like the ability to be able to direct the paint where I want it to go instead of having to repeatedly painting a surface hoping that the overspray will fill in the details and adjacent areas. That means that I really have to be able to go from a wider 'fan' or volume setting to a finer setting...tough when spraying thicker materials. Of course, there's always the touch-up brush. This thread has given me good food for thought. Thanks again!


Country: USA | Posts: 8486 Go to Top of Page
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