Please recommend a good airbrush rig for 28mm-35mm miniatures
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Thread: Please recommend a good airbrush rig for 28mm-35mm miniatures

  1. #1

    Default Please recommend a good airbrush rig for 28mm-35mm miniatures

    Hey Guys,

    So, I am a 10 year painter. I have not gotten around to posting anything yet because I have not set up a photo rig. But mostly, I paint because I enjoy it. That said, with kids and a busy business, I have less and less time to paint. I got the Miniature Mentor speed painting program and one of the things Thomas David shows is a way to prime, in color, with an air brush. He then glazes. He paints a miniature to a decent standard in about 20-30 minutes. It is pretty wild. While simple, I can see how it would dramatically improve my time in painting. So... I need an airbrush.

    I know that you get what you pay for. I am not looking to do this on the cheap. I want an airbrush and compressor rig that I am going to be happy with for at least 10 years. If I don't like it, I'll sell it on ebay to one of you guys! But, I think that it will take.

    In addition to regular gaming scale miniatures, I also have that gorgeous Rackham Dragon that I want to paint with this airbrush. So, it should be able to handle the rare large job too. I'd also like that incredible Heresy Dragon for instance...

    I also need the compressor to be quiet since my painting time is 8:30pm to 11:00pm (when the kids are asleep).

    I would not be surprised to spend $300-$500 if necessary to meet my requirements. So, any ideas??? I have heard that Iwatas are good. Are Aztek any good? And, I would love specific brush and compressor recommendations. For example, Iwata makes maybe 20-30 airbrushes, so saying "Iwata" is less helpful than "I love my Iwata X-Y-7909 for painting gaming size miniatures."

    Thanks in advance! I appreciate your advice!


  2. #2



    I've been fiddling with airbrushing for the last 6 months or so and I'm happy with the results I'm getting. My rig is the Infinity 2 in 1 I'm pretty sure its the same as the one Thomas David uses in the MM tutorial. It has 0.18mm and 0.4mm nozzles and needles that can be interchanged. I use mainly the 0.4mm because its fine enough at the moment for what I am doing and also the one time I used the 0.18mm I had plenty of issues with tip dry and blockages. I have learned a bit since then though so I may give it another go on my next project. It was also pretty reasonably priced and as I said does a great job.

    I'll have to have a look at my compressor when I get home to find out what make and model it is but its pretty quite. Definitely get one with a reserve tank on it.

    The warhounds here were done mostly with the airbrush. The fur had some extra brush work afterward but the flesh is straight airbrushind.


  3. #3


    I'd avoid the Aztecs...not a fan. Infinity 2 in 1 is an amazing brush by all reviews but it's a bit of overkill if you're just going to prime and basecoat. You can get a Badger 100G with the medium tip (think they're .35mm?) for $60 US and you'd never know the difference (parts are cheap and all Badgers come with lifetime warranties). Iwata HP-C is another popular all rounder many beginners choose, but it's double the initial cost, parts are more, warranty is less, etc, etc.

    Any well known name brand compressor will do you fine, make sure to get one that can maintain a WORKING pressure of 25 psi or more. If you aren't going to be using the airbrush that often or for extended periods, just about any airbrush compressor will last you an eternity so don't get too caught up in the hype. Also, consider if it's worth the extra expense to get a silent compressor, if you only run it for a couple minutes once in a while, might be a good place to save some cash, most smaller AB compressors don't get too loud anyway (check the decibels before you buy though).

  4. #4


    Thanks! This is super helpful. Very specific and a good bit of trivia to boot. If Thomas David is using it, it has to be good. Look at his results! Thanks Stew!

  5. #5


    QuietiManes, thanks. This is helpful as well. Aztek seemed like a good deal, but not if it is a substandard tool. I'll check out the Badger 100G, the Iwata and Infinity lines. That is interesting about air compressors. I had no idea that they had DB ratings. Thanks!

  6. #6


    Hi Nosrcaman,

    My compressor is this one Im pretty happy with it though I have it in a room thats separate from the house and use it during the day so noise is no issue for me. That said it's pretty quiet anyway. It was also expensive. My airbrush rig and a set of Vallejo Model Air paints cost me just over AU$1000.

    As Quietimains said the infinity probably is overkill (I paid AU$320) for priming and base coating. That said I'm getting better with it and I expect its good enough to do more than that, at least on slightly larger models like Dreads and things that size. I'm planning to try it out for some freehand flames on the FW Bloodthirster I'm working on (after a few trials on plasticard).

  7. #7


    Quote Originally Posted by Norscaman
    I have heard that Iwatas are good. Are Aztek any good?
    Yes and yes. Lots of previous threads mention both (as well as a few alternatives); well worth doing a search and reading through them to get you started (plenty of specific AB recommendations on models, where to get them as well as the same for compressors).


  8. #8


    I would avoid Aztek. Iwata is my airbrush of choice. I own 3 of them but I generally use my eclipse which I've had since the mid 1990's I think. Used it all through the production of Starship Troopers and have been using it still. It's a great all-around brush. - Commission Miniature Painter
    My YouTube Channel - My Flickr Photostream

  9. #9


    Again, thanks guys. Especially Griffongames!

    Einion, I did check the dozen or so and got the distinct impression that Azteks were favored for a while as a good cheap alternative, but that many now think that they are not worth the money, even though they are relatively inexpensive.

    So, what about this rig:

    Bottle or gravity fed???


  10. #10


    I think Azteks just didn't stand up to the hype of their advertising they were doing when they launched. Hence, the attitude change.

    Usually you'd need to go to the companies website to see the DB ratings for their compressors but it's worth it because you never know what you're getting. Silent isn't always as quiet as you'd hope and some of the regular ones will hurt your ears if they're in the same room.

    Generally, for what you seem to want to do, you should go with gravity feed. Bottles are for doing very large projects where lots of paint is being used OR for production environments, like t-shirt shops and body painting gigs, where the quick colour changes and large volume of paint comes in handy. It also takes more air pressure to 'pull' the paint out of the bottles, which is not so good for fine detail and control.

    Looks like a good set, most everything in it you would end up buying separately anyway. Not sure the paint will be all that useful on miniatures (anyone know how big the pigments are?)...but it would be great for terrain at the very least, so ... yeah.

    Have a look at the other airbrush sites though, they all have regular sales and deals, find the best one. <-store from your amazon link.

    I feel like I'm missing one...hrm...I can't remember the other good one though.

  11. #11
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  12. #12


    Quote Originally Posted by Norscaman View Post
    Einion, I did check the dozen or so and got the distinct impression that Azteks were favored for a while as a good cheap alternative, but that many now think that they are not worth the money, even though they are relatively inexpensive.
    Yes, many do. And the reverse. Different strokes for different folks.

    People who don't recommend Azteks, or specifically advise against them, tend to be those who have used them (usually briefly!) and didn't get on with them. But there are of course many people who did get on with theirs and are still Aztek owners and therefore would recommend them.

    I stand by what I've said before: for the absolute newbie and the occasional user Azteks are the airbrush of choice. Period.


  13. #13


    Thanks guys! This was very helpful stuff. I think that I have settled on a gravity fed Iwata, but the details are yet to be decided. Not sure on the compressor, but I will buy the most silent one that I can meeting the basic standards above. Thanks so much!


  14. #14


    I have found the Iwata eclipse to be a great allrounder. the suction feed bottles are easier than the gravity in that you can have more paint and easier to change colours. Just spray cleaner (water,thinners ) then plug in another bottle with your new colour .Gravity is a bit more fiddly with changeing colour ,cleaning.

  15. #15


    Since you're going with an Iwata be sure you familiarise yourself with the fundamentals: how-tos on use and the basic cleaning procedures before you use it for the first time. Otherwise you're much more likely to damage the needle and/or nozzle.

    There are a few posts here from Airhead on cleaning, reassembly and tips to avoid tip crash that would be a good place to start.

    If you do end up bending a needle tip (happens to everyone) you should look into 'regrinding' it and polishing it, since you have nothing to lose if it doesn't work out properly.


  16. #16


    I bought a grex
    I know nobody ever mentions them, I think they are still fairly new. I was at a modeling show when I saw and demoed it a couple of people at the show had it and loved it. The trigger grip is very nice to work with and it's easy to clean. I am still in my learning curve with it but I was very happy with the atomization of the paint. Got the side siphon model which you can mount from left or right if your a lefty. Cups are big enough if you want to prime your whole army. Plus lid is nice and secure so no oops. As for the compressor at the show it was very quite it may have been on a piece of rug on the table. In my painting room i thought it was loud but my wife never complained about it being noisy. But the noise may be room related, since it is a small room in an old house with wood floors and smooth plaster walls and I have the compressor sitting on the floor.
    One last thing get a spray booth. Got mine on eBay for under $100. I don't notice the compressor noise when I have that running and still no complaints from outside the room.

  17. #17


    I doubt a pistol grip is going to help most folks with the small details. Imagine doing your signature with a handgun that has a Bic stuck in the barrel. The few things I've heard about Grex have been positive though.

  18. #18


    This is the Grex kit i got. It's their entry level kit, but it's plenty for a beginner like me. They've done a few demos at my FLGS so i got to check them out pretty well before buying. They even had one station where we got to spay food coloring at a cookie using a stencil and eat the cookie. They have little adapters for the hose so you can use any brand brush with their compressor or any compressor with their brushes. They have like 6 or so pencil type brushes to choose from as well as the pistol grip ones. The pistol grip took some getting used to for the smaller details since your hand kind of wants to hold it like a normal brush when you start to concentrate for the smaller details.

    I like it though and the compressors aren't too load.

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