I use an Iwata Eclipse HP-CS and like it very much. I use mainly Freestyle paints which come fairly well airbrush ready but when I need to thin it I have been using Testors acrylic thinner. However just tonight my compressor decided to die on me and really wanted to do some painting on my Superman and Frankenstein. I bought it 3 or so years ago from Airbrush City and it was noisy. But now I am airless until I can order a new one. That stinks!
I have a Paasche dbl action and it is a pain changing the tips. It's only been used about 5 times now and something just doesn't seem right. I'm wondering if my compressor is going out or if it is the SEARS pressure regulator attached to it. My compressor is about 20 years old.
To get back into airbrushing the other year, I picked up a $25 'generic' single action. Good thing too because soon afterwards I mixed the wrong thinner for the paint I was using and globbed it up solid. So I picked up another and have been careful since.
If you are starting off learning, there's no point in spending $100-200 or more. Ease your way in is my thought. Once you get comfortable, then invest.
I gotta get a pressure regulator for my compressor now. The constant 17psi is generally good, but you really need to ramp up and down. My next brush will be ~$100 dual action. Then when I'm really hot with that, I will step into a 'top-end luxury model'
I started with Paasche VL and it wasn't too bad but I definitely like the Iwata much better. I didn't like the suction cup too much on the Paasche. I still use it if I have a large surface to paint but use the Iwata most of the time. I also find the Iwata a bit easier to disassemble and clean when necessary. But believe me, from my minimal experience air brushes are not exactly simple to use and it takes a lot of practice to really use it for the tricks and things. And they are very sensitive to paint drying in them and gumming them up. Still, now that I am getting some time under my belt I really do enjoy using it and you can definitely do neat things that you couldn't do any other way.
I use a Badger 150 for general large area spraying and an Iwata HP-C for more detailed spraying. Both are double action and have been in-service for many years. I mainly use Tamiya acrylics and some Model Master Enamels. - Denis
I use the Badger 200 and Badger 175 double action. The two brushes are very similar, aside from single vs dbl action. For air I use a small Campbell Hausfelt tank compressor with moisture trap. Works great and is fairly small for that type of compressor.
I think most of my paints with lacquer thinner. Tamiya acrylic paints, Gunze Acrylics, Gunze Mr. Color lacquer paints and Testors, Humbrol, etc enamels can all be thinned with lacquer thinner. Gunze Mr. Color Self Levelling Thinner is VERY good, as it has a retarder that makes lacquers and acrylics dry slower and clog the brush less. It is also plastic safe (you could soak a part in it). Regular hardware store type lacquer thinner will also work for airbrush use in most cases and its much cheaper. If I am not thinning my acrylics with Lacquer Thinner I use Isopropyl/Rubbing Alcohol. It works well and evaporates off faster than water.
OK - I've had my Iwata Eclipse HP-CS for about 5 years now and LOVE it. :thumbsup: Tom who else Iwata tought me how to use it. Back in 05 at Wonderfest he sat me down and showed me everything about the Eclipse for about 2 hours. Yes, he made a sale. And it's been great. It has never failed me. It's easy to clean and very fast to change colors. I use brake fluide to spray through it to clean it fast so I can run another color through it. I use the Liquitex bottles for paints. It's easy to mix and clean. I just mix it in another jar with rubbing alcohol. When I airbrush the area I then hit it with my blowdryer and the paint goes on very nice. The blowdryer evaperate the alcohol leaving the paint afixed. This leaves a very even area with no lines. It flows! And I teach airbrushing at my local IPMS and I always tell them - go with what makes your hand feel good. But I always teach with the Iwata Eclipse.
I've had my Badger 175 double action for about 15+ years now. I love it. I have a Badger 150 I have never used.
Depending on the paint I am using I try to stay with their thinner. If I use automotive paint, which is most of the time, I use generic lacquer thinner from Wal-mart. I'll use Testors airbrush thinner if I happen to have to use their paints.
With Tamiya Acrylics I use their thinner X20. Although you can get away with using some alcohol in a pinch.
After complete usage of whatever paint and after what I call quick cleanup, I will disassemble the whole airbrush and clean with lacquer thinner.