Agreat amount of Airbrush sets have been released to the market over the last few years. This makes it challenging if you are looking for the right airbrush for miniature and models. Due to many products copying each other, it has become even more difficult to find a miniature airbrush that is truly the best in its field. This guide will provide detailed information on how to choose the best airbrushes for models and miniatures. We have focused on the top manufacturers like Iwata, Badger, and more in order to bring you the best options for a miniature painting airbrush.
Table of Content
- 1 How to Choose: A Guide to the Best Airbrushes for Models
- 2 The Best Airbrush for Miniatures and Models
- 3 Different Types of Miniature Painting Airbrush Guns
- 4 Other Important Miniature Airbrush Parts
- 5 Airbrushing Miniatures – Getting Started
How to Choose: A Guide to the Best Airbrushes for Models
There are several features and attributes of airbrushes. Airbrush systems also come in a range of different specialties. Airbrushes have different capabilities, for example, you get airbrushes for painting detailed artworks, or for painting houses. That is why it is important to get the correct airbrush that is best suited for the type of work to be done.
Price is a very important aspect that you should also take into consideration. On this note, you will find that the best airbrush for models can be very affordable. For under $200, you can get excellent value for your money by purchasing a quality, capable system. The most popular brands when it comes to airbrushes are Badger, Iwata, Paasche, Harder & Steenbeck, Grex, and so on. Always buy an airbrush compressor for powering and boosting your airbrush system. This is necessary if you have not purchased an airbrush kit.
When buying the best airbrush for models, the airbrush will probably only come as a single piece. You will also need to get a compressor for the airbrush to work. Getting a smaller compressor with the right amount of pressure is important for model airbrushing.
The Best Airbrush for Miniatures and Models
When looking for the best airbrushes for models and miniatures, try to choose one that is specially designed for this purpose. This will ensure that you get the best product available.
The Pro’s Choice: IWATA High-Performance HP-C Plus Airbrush
If you want the best value for your money, then this is the perfect brush for you. This model is possibly the best airbrush for models thanks to its high-quality features. This Iwata airbrush is highly rated for being able to do more than what most models offer – making it a versatile option for many uses.
Painting miniatures usually require many precise details, which is something that this airbrush really excels at achieving. The airbrush has been designed in such a way that it can be used continuously without causing fatigue, but rather by offering unlimited comfort to the user.
You get long-lasting quality and durability with this airbrush. It uses a gravity-feed cup for easy paint changes and mixing. The parts are very durable, and can withstand all kinds of paints – including solvents. Overall, this is a versatile, precision airbrush made to satisfy any serious users.
Best Value for Money: IWATA-MEDEA Revolution Airbrush
Airbrushes from the Iwata Revolution line are best known for three things. This combination includes quality, performance, and value. Considering its high-quality features, this product is one of the best miniature airbrush options available.
The Iwata Revolution airbrush is a dual-action airbrush most suitable for beginners who would want to excel in model painting. It has a 0.5mm needle which comes together with a large nozzle, making it suitable for versatile projects. This design enables it to work well with thicker paint. The replaceable solvent-proof PTFE design can be used with either solvent or water-based paints. If you are looking for an airbrush that you can use for a very long time with no issues, then this is the brush for you.
- An internal mix, dual action top-feed airbrush with ergonomic handle design
- Larger nozzle and needle combination (0.5-mm) that makes for easier spraying of thicker or heavier paints
- Redesigned trigger mechanism and larger needle-chucking nut for easy assembly
Best Budget Choice: NEO Dual-Action Airbrush
This is the cheapest product on the list of all the airbrushes manufactured for Iwata. The Neo Airbrush is may offer good value, but it is still one of the best airbrush for models available thanks to its quality features.
This airbrush is a great choice for beginners. It also comes with a unique nozzle and needle combination which is perfect for spraying fine lines. The airbrush comes with swapping paint cups which are suited for both small and large capacities. This airbrush is very easy to clean which is why most beginners use it. It has been designed in such a way that every beginner can manage to clean it up with no hassle.
Complete Model Airbrush Kit: VIVOHOME Complete Airbrush Set
This 11-piece airbrush set works well with the compressor, and it is our favorite set manufactured by Vivohome. Besides possessing an excellent compressor, the set is very affordable and comes with three different airbrush options. The combination of light, compact compressor, and versatile spray guns make this set the perfect choice for miniature airbrushing.
This is the kind of set that will enable you to brush primers and fine details because it includes three different airbrush guns. The oil-free compressor consists of a pressure regulator, pressure gauge, and an air filter. It operates very quietly and can work noiselessly with a larger tank for longer periods.
Different Types of Miniature Painting Airbrush Guns
An airbrush has different aspects when it comes to how it operates and what it can handle. These aspects also include how the paint for the airbrush fits into the nozzle, how the paint is mixed with air before completing its intended use, and how the airbrush is universally controlled.
Airbrushes are manufactured depending on a combination of different styles. These are the paint feed, styles of control, and mixing methods. These different styles will be discussed in more detail, clearly showing which kind of airbrush is most suited for scale model builders. However, the choice of the best airbrush for models depends on the artist.
Airbrush action is best described by the flow of air and paint when released by the button or lever. This also determines the amount of control you will have when operating and painting your models or miniature figures.
This airbrush allows you to control the airflow by using the trigger or button. You have to adjust the depth of the needle in the nozzle to make the necessary adjustments for paint flow. It is quite limited and requires some extra effort for making adjustments. This is because at times you will have to stop working to make those adjustments. However, this airbrush is very easy to use, best suited for beginners, and easy to maintain. Most people who use this type of miniature painting airbrush will upgrade to a double-action model pretty quickly.
Unlike the single-action airbrush, this airbrush allows you to control both the air and paint flow using the trigger or button. When you first press the trigger down, air will begin to flow through the airbrush. The second action is done when you slide back the trigger allowing the air to follow through. When you push further down or back, there will be an increase in the paint or airflow. You will require some practice to master controlling this method. You should consider the amount of fixed paint and airflow when choosing your preferred method to use.
Gravity or Siphon Feed Airbrush
Another important factor to consider when choosing an airbrush is to consider how the paint is delivered. All of the methods have their pros and cons, so it is up to you to choose the one that perfectly fits your needs.
This is a method of paint delivery that works well by placing the cup at the top of the airbrush. Gravity will pull the paint into the mixing chamber. Gravity-fed chambers have an added advantage when it comes to painting fine lines because it gives room for lower air pressure to be released. This advantage will enable the user to avoid problems of over-spraying. The only drawback is the size of the cup used for storing paint. These cups are often very small in size. This will require the user to refill the cup more frequently when working on larger scale models.
Siphon feed airbrushes have been designed in such a way that the paint bottle is below the unit with a tube that connects to the mixing chamber. The paint is siphoned out when air passes into the mixing chamber through the attached tube. Siphon feed systems have the advantage of having a larger storage container for the paint. This is ideal when painting bigger projects. However, Siphon feed airbrushes use a slightly higher amount of paint and require more extra time on cleaning. When using a siphon feed model, you should consider the amount of paint supplied, the amount of air pressure being used for fine lines and to cover large spray areas. The cup sizes for this range from 0.9 ml to 15ml.
Internal vs External Mixing Airbrush
This is the point where the air and paint mixes. The point of mixing will have an effect on the finish of the paint. Internal mixing also requires less cleaning time.
Internal mix refers to the chamber of an airbrush where paint mixes with the air. This internal part usually produces the most preferred smooth and fine finish. Most model builders prefer this finish and will choose this style as the best airbrush for models.
Unlike the internal mixing process, in this process, the paint does not come into contact with the airbrush. This is because the paint will be flowing outside the nozzle and is mixed with air when the air exits the nozzle. Airbrushes that are externally mixed often produce a flatter finish that is not really smooth. This can be easily remedied by proper practice and experimenting with the paint mix.
Other Important Miniature Airbrush Parts
The following are some of the important aspects when it comes to miniature airbrushing. These parts are important for deciding on the best airbrush for models, as they will have a major effect on the outcome of the painting.
The nozzle has a direct effect on the spray pattern. Short nozzles have the ability to draw wider patterns that are able to cover a larger area. Narrower spray lines are produced by the long and narrow nozzles. These nozzles are ideal for spraying precision lines. Always ensure the compatibility of the nozzle upon purchasing, although most of them are sold with compatible needles.
- Fine Nozzle – is best suited for spraying thinner paints and watercolors
- Medium Nozzle – this is the top-rated and most popular of the three because it has the ability to spray any type of thinned paints.
- Heavy Nozzle – suitable for paints like latex and glazes, since it has the ability to handle heavier paints. It is always a good idea to purchase a variety of nozzle and needle sets to enable you to work on different styles of miniatures.
Needle size is one of the most important features when choosing and comparing airbrushes. Smaller needles enable you to draw fine lines that require more details. However, fine needles will not be suitable when painting larger objects. You should thin your paint though because fine needles tend to clog. A needle of sizes between 0.2 to 0.5 mm is ideal for miniature painting. If you are a beginner and can only afford to get one airbrush, then it would be advisable to get a 0.3mm needle.
Compressor for Airbrushing Miniatures
The compressor is another important piece of equipment after purchasing the airbrush. The compressor is important because it provides a steady air supply to the airbrush. A steady air supply will help in maintaining the ideal pressure and airflow. This means that it minimizes fluctuations which would greatly affect the final finish. Consider the PSI when choosing, which explains the amount of pressure to be delivered. A minimum of 30 psi is ideal for miniatures and models.
Airbrushing Miniatures – Getting Started
As soon as you have the best airbrush for models ready, it’s time to find the right workspace. Choosing the best place for working and keeping your equipment and supplies is very important. The process should not be taken likely. A basement or an empty garage would be ideal if they are available. If you have a small home, claim and organize a corner of the room as your airbrushing area.
The next step is to purchase a suitable station that is specifically designed for miniature painting. Better still, you can create a DIY painting station. Your area of choice should provide you with an adequate light supply, enough space for painting, space for keeping supplies, and so on. You can either customize your own workstation according to your needs or purchase an already-made one on the internet.
When you have your space and supplies ready, you can now purchase your paints and miniatures. You can save a lot of money by using paints you already have rather than purchasing new tins. Get a lighting source if your work area does not have enough natural lighting.
Finding the best airbrush for miniatures involves a few specific elements. A miniature painting airbrush needs to produce fine lines, details, and create a quality spray finish. We hope that our complete airbrush miniatures guide has helped you to find the perfect product for your project. Have fune airbrushing miniatures!