My model building came to an abrupt halt yesterday when my airbrush broke. You heard right. It broke…

The nozzle which forces the air/paint mix snapped off as I was trying to unscrew it for cleaning, rendering it unusable.

I’ve already bought another one but it’ll take a few days to arrive so looks like I’m back to twiddling my thumbs and playing metal gear online till it gets here.

At least I can take the opportunity to upgrade my airbrush. My, now dead, old faithful was a sparmax DH-125. A gravity fed double action airbrush which I bought in a set with a sparmax compressor when I was last in Hong Kong. Pic below. RIP…

Not being well versed in the names of manufacturers of such tools, I had no idea who sparmax were. But a quick google search shows that they are a Taiwan based company which specializes in budget tools. You can check out their website and have a look. For those interested, my compressor is the TC-501

THe DH-125 is a really cheap airbrush (if you can find it) but it served me well for 2 years. The airbrush/compressor combo set me back just over £100 and you can probably find this airbrush online for around £20 or so. You can do quite a lot with it but we’ll see how it compares to my new one when it arrives.

Here’s a pic of the complete set

For those who have never used one, I guess I should explain some of the terms I used above.

Starting with the airbrush, A gravity fed airbrush is one where the paint is stored above the main body, hence the name as gravity is used to force the paint into the main chamber as opposed to suction feed airbrushes which store the paint in bottles underneath and allow the pressure difference when air is sprayed out to suck the paint into the chamber. My DH-125 had parts which allowed for both but I stuck with gravity fed as it’s easier to clean.

Double action refers to the lever (or trigger depending on the airbrush type) which controls the air flow. For my airbrush, you pushed the lever down to start the airflow and then pulled it back to mix in the paint. Hence, double action. The double action airbrushes allow for greater control over the amount of paint which goes through.

And, of course, there’s the compressor. After speaking to a couple of would be modelers who were considering buying an airbrush, I was amazed to find that they were looking at the actual airbrushed but completely forgetting about the source of the main component of what makes them work, i.e. the AIR!!!

Compressors are somewhat large, heavy and noisy devices which provides the airflow to carry the paint. I wouldn’t recommend ppl to get one unless they plan to paint a fair few kits in their time due to their costs as well as the points mentioned above. My compressor has helped me get through 10 kits so far with a lot more waiting in the wings so, for me, it was a wise investment, but it won’t suit everybody. An alternative is to buy compressed air cans from model shops but they tend to run out very fast so are only good for one model, possibly less.

My current sparmax still works luckily, so I can use it for my new airbrush when it arrives.

And what is my new airbrush? An Iwata Eclipse CS. It was recommended by Cody Kwok on his site and given that he is a fantastic painter, I reckon he knows what he’s talking about. I bought it off ebay for £63, which is quite a bit considering what I spent on my set initially, but contrast that to the retail price from some websites (£115) I think I got a pretty good deal out of it, even if it is second hand. There are some real pant-staining priced airbrushes out there as well. One really has to wonder if there is a need for a £230 airbrush (remember that you will need a separate compressor on top of that).

In any case, my new Iwata airbrush should arrive by the end of the week and I can pick up where I left off after a little test run. If any of you have any questions about the topic of airbrushes, feel free to ask and I will try to answer with my limited knowledge and experience.