Tools of the trade

Just a quick post today. In part to answer a question Jon posed, but to be fair it’s something I’ve been asked a few times now; what airbrush and compressor do I use? Technically there isn’t one I use all the time, but switch between three depending on what it is I’m trying to achieve. The one I use the most is an ageing Revell Flex. A dual-action gravity fed brush it isn’t actually one that’s particularly well renowned or rated, but nevertheless I’ve found it to be a sturdy and reliable workhorse for 80% of what I do. I swapped out the spring a few years back to a stiffer one which gives me a smoother return action and even with a medium needle it’s my “go to guy” for most tasks whether it’s priming, base-coating, highlighting or pre-shading. All of the initial airbrush basing and pre-highlighting/shading on the Deadzone Plague was achieved with the Flex.

For the rest of the tasks, namely all the fiddly camo in 15mm I use an Iwata Custom Micron C Plus. There probably isn’t much needs to be said about the CM-C Plus as it’s a joy to use. Overpriced? Possibly and I certainly  wouldn’t recommend it as a brush to start off with! That said I know Iwata also make much more accessible airbrushes price wise and have heard the Revolution is well rated in terms of bang for buck.

Finally, I also have an equally elderly Badger 200G single-action which I used to use for laying down panel lines consistently. To be fair I don’t tend to use it all that much these days as it has been superseded now by the Custom Micron, but it’s still pretty handy when I want that consistency in line density or I’m experimenting and don’t want to risk the more expensive Iwata. For completeness sake I do also have a Revel Master Class Vario kicking around somewhere, but as I didn’t find it half as good as the cheaper Flex, it doesn’t get a look in. Between the Flex and the Custom Micron I find all my needs are catered for.

Compressor wise, it’s a rather noisy Ripmax T-RCP104 Tank Compressor. I would love the have a nice quiet compact and pretty compressor, but as this one has provided sterling service for years and years there’s no real need to replace it. It’s a pretty standard affair with double water trap (the other one is at the airbrush end). I only have it fitted for one airbrush at a time and just swap between the Flex and the Iwata using quick release sockets. Rarely ever have the need to run two brushes at once.

That’s pretty much all there is to it. I’m not sure how illuminating that was, but hopefully it answered a few questions. I would just add at this point I am no Airbrush black-belt and am just about competent enough to know one end from the other and can use one without injuring either myself or the brush (too badly). As such don’t take any of the above as expert recommendations or anything. The kit above is simply what I use day-to-day and I have found it serves me well. If I had to offer any advice to the would-be speculative airbrush purchaser it would be to go for a dual-action pretty much all the time. They are far more forgiving to the beginner compared to a single action. I would also look to a gravity (cup) fed rather than a suction. Unless you are planning on airbrushing the  entire deck of an aircraft carrier in one sitting, gravity fed means you can use a lot less paint and clean between colour swaps much easier. Even when I’m priming up a dozen Panzers at a time, I’d still rather have a gravity feed.

So there you have it. Until next time, have a great week.


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