by: Is a secret [ ]
Badger, Badger, Badger
The editorial staff here at Kitmaker have a sense of humour. Since my profile states that I have yet to actually use an airbrush, I was asked to review 3 different Badger brushes, and 3 sets of Badger airbrush-formulated paints. Each of the 3 brushes is gravity fed, with a built-in paint cup on top of the brush. The cup holds a goodly amount of paint, and has a cap to keep the paint contained as you tip the brush while painting. The cup does make it quite difficult to put the brush down while it's filled with paint. Some sort of hangar or stand is necessary to prevent spills. Each brush is a dual action, internal mix brush. I did all my test spraying at 10 PSI.
Badger 105 Patriot
This brush appears to be the lowest range brush. It feels nice to hold, and disassembles fairly easily, but I sense a distinct lack of refinement. The needle tip is exposed without any guard against accidentally bending it, and when I disassembled it, the trigger popped out without provocation. Getting it back into the brush took a little doing. Ever since I had it apart, the rear portion of the needle holder turns loosely within the barrel of the brush, and when I did the test spray, bubbles of paint came up out of the trigger slot and dripped all over the place. If an airbrush newbie can so discombobulate an airbrush on her first try, I can't expect it to last very long. You're supposed to be able to remove the needle without taking off the rear half of the barrel, but because the needle holder rotates so freely now, I can't do that.
EDIT: I've learned that I re-assembled the brush incorrectly. I should have screwed the rear portion into the barrel more completely. Now that it's set correctly, the paint does not bubble and there are fewer clogging problems caused by paint trying to go where it shouldn't. I've learned that increasing the air pressure will allow a smaller spray pattern. I've also learned that having even tiny drops of water left in the brush causes funky spidery splatter patterns.
I wasn't as fair to the 105 as I could have been. Knowng how to correctly assemble your brush is an important part of airbrushing.
I held the brush about 15 cm away from my test sheet and sprayed a few mottled blotches. I tried a wide swath as though I was painting a surface, then sprayed the “105” to identify the sheet. Then I came back and held the tip only a couple centimetres away from the plastic and tried a few squiggles and dots. The spray pattern was not very tight with quite a lot of overspray and spattering. Then it started pulsing and clogging. I'll admit that I was spraying watercolour during a warm July afternoon, but it shouldn't be clogging this quickly. I'm less than impressed with the spraying habits of this one.
Badger Omni 4000
This brush appears to be a mid range brush. It feels nice to hold, and disassembles fairly easily. It feels a definite step up from the 105. The needle tip is slightly guarded against accidentally bending it by the shape of the nozzle. Removing and reversing the nozzle is supposed to make the spray pattern slightly wider, but that does expose the needle tip. I didn't manage to break it when I disassembled it, so I have to count that as a win.
I held the brush the same 15 cm away from my test sheet and sprayed a few mottled blotches. I tried a wide swath as though I was painting a surface, then sprayed the “4000” to identify the sheet. Then I came back and held the tip only a couple centimetres away from the plastic and tried a few squiggles and dots. The spray pattern was not very tight with quite a lot of overspray. I reversed the tip and sprayed “wide” (I didn't do too well on the “e” though). Thee was less spattering than the 105 did, but still the spray pattern was not very tight, and covering the wide area needed several passes back and forth.
Badger Renegade Krome
This brush appears to be the highest range brush. It feels very nice to hold, and disassembles easily. It has a definite heft the other two brushes lack. The needle tip is exposed but it has a two prong guard against accidentally bending it. The paint cup has a metal cap rather than the plastic one the other two use. It doesn't fit too tightly and is prone to falling off if you hold the brush at an extreme angle. Disassembly was easy, as was putting everything back together properly. Of the three, I'm happiest with this one.
EDIT: I've learned something new again! The Renegade has an adjustable stop, set by the screw handle at the rear of the body. The stop may be set at any position desired so as to achieve a consistent spray pattern. Set all the way to the rear, it allows the trigger to be pulled all the way back, opening the paint flow as far as possible. Set at an intermediate position, it allows the trigger to be pulled only that far back, so no matter how many times you stop spraying, you will always only spray with that pattern, preventing accdental excessive spray. The screw head has numeric graduations which you may set against an engraved marking n the airbrush body, so you may be sure of setting consistent spray widths. The photos show the stop set almost fully forward, and fully back allowing maximum trigger movement.
I held the brush the same 15 cm away from my test sheet and sprayed a few mottled blotches. I tried a wide swath as though I was painting a surface, then sprayed the “REN” to identify the sheet. Then I came back and held the tip only a couple centimetres away from the plastic and tried a few squiggles and dots. The spray pattern was tighter than the other two, but still not as tight as I've seen in demonstrations. There was still a lot of overspray, but less than the other two brushes.
badger Modelflex paints
I was also sent three sets of Badger paint. These paints are formulated and mixed for spraying, eliminating the need to thin them. They're water based, non-toxic and presumably formulated to spray through Badger airbrushes. The sets sent for review were:
SCENERY AND STRUCTURES COLORS # 1702:
Insignia Yellow, Antique White, Primer Gray, Concrete Gray, Sand,
Signal Red, Light Green
MILITARY COLORS #1704:
Forest Green, Olive Drab, European Dark Green, Armor Sand,
Field Drab, Medium Green, Camouflage Gray
WEATHERING COLORS #1706:
Grimy Black, Weathered Black, Rust, Mud, Earth, Rail Brown, Roof brown
(Amusingly, the label of the Grimy Black bottle is spelled “Grimmy Black”. Maybe Badger knows something we don't?)
I used the Weathered Black for my test spraying. It covers well, dries rapidly, and sprays without drama (except through the 105, where my botched assembly made it bubble all over the place). The paint cleans up with plain water without drama. It has very little detectable aroma, a useful feature for someone allergic as I am to particulates like finely atmoised paint vapours.
I'm sure that anyone familiar with airbrush operation would be able to make any of these 3 brushes perform well. I think that even a newbie like me can eventually learn to make them sing and dance. I'm most impressed by the Renegade; its solid heft makes me feel as though I'm holding a serious tool.