Are cheap mini spray guns/compressers any good?

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incomt65xwing

New Member
Hi all, I've never used a spray gun before (have always just used cans or paint brushes), but would like to up my game and move into using a spray gun, but I have both limited funds and limited space, so I can't really afford a proper compressor set up, and wouldn't have any place to put it even if I did. Ebay has some really cheap sets that supposedly include both a compressor and the gun, but I'm not sure if they are any good. Obviously a proper set up would be far better, but all I build are small models, so I don't need something that is going to paint large areas or get used all that often. For that purpose, are these worth it, or just a total waste? Anyone have any experience with these cheap sets? Thanks

Here's an example Mini Compressor 0.3mm Nozzle Air Brush Spray Gun Kit Airbrush Paint 7cc Nail Art | eBay
 

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nkg

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Spray gun? Or an airbrush? You'd probably want an airbrush for modelling purposes.

The superduper cheap mini compressors don't have tanks, and so can't supply a constant airflow without running constantly. They also lack moisture traps. You can get cheapass compressors with tanks pretty inexpensively, though.
 

incomt65xwing

New Member
Spray gun? Or an airbrush? You'd probably want an airbrush for modelling purposes.

The superduper cheap mini compressors don't have tanks, and so can't supply a constant airflow without running constantly. They also lack moisture traps. You can get cheapass compressors with tanks pretty inexpensively, though.
Good question. I actually didn't realize that the two terms weren't interchangeable (sorry, pretty new to this). The ones I was looking at are advertised as "spray guns", but I think are actually airbrushes.

How important is the moisture trap?

Thanks
 

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nkg

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
You want a spraygun if you're painting cars or fences or suits of armour or whatnot.

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Whereas airbrushes are small and delicate tools for model making, miniatures, makeup, etc.
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Moisture/water traps prevent humidity in the air from ending up in your paint or on your models. If you live in Arizona or Tibet you won't need one.
 

incomt65xwing

New Member
Ah, I see. It is indeed an airbrush I'm looking at then.

"If you live in Arizona or Tibet you won't need one." haha, well I live in the tropics, so probably a good call to have a moisture trap from what you're describing. Cheers
 

Krest

Well-Known Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
some of the super cheap ones seem to come with moisture traps now... but the missing tank may still be an issue. Depending on the pump used the airflow will pulse and that might be visible in the application of the paint.
 

Krats

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I trained as an old-school technical illustrator and spent a couple of years being taught by some amazing airbrush artists. We had some of the best equipment available at the time, high end airbrushes and huge compressors in every room.

Fast forward through twenty five years of non-airbrush based work and out of interest I acquired one of the cheap airbrush setups you are describing. I was prepared to be disappointed as it was bound to be a big step down after the high end equipment I'd used in my youth, but I ended up being surprisingly impressed. The one I bought came with a moisture trap and has worked pretty well since day one. Best of all, as it's so cheap I have no reservations about putting solvent based paint through it.

I think if you're starting out with an airbrush there is no reason not to get one of these cheap packages. If you find it useful you can always upgrade later on.
 

incomt65xwing

New Member
I trained as an old-school technical illustrator and spent a couple of years being taught by some amazing airbrush artists. We had some of the best equipment available at the time, high end airbrushes and huge compressors in every room.

Fast forward through twenty five years of non-airbrush based work and out of interest I acquired one of the cheap airbrush setups you are describing. I was prepared to be disappointed as it was bound to be a big step down after the high end equipment I'd used in my youth, but I ended up being surprisingly impressed. The one I bought came with a moisture trap and has worked pretty well since day one. Best of all, as it's so cheap I have no reservations about putting solvent based paint through it.

I think if you're starting out with an airbrush there is no reason not to get one of these cheap packages. If you find it useful you can always upgrade later on.
Thanks for the input. Hearing from someone who has actually used one of these is really helpful
 

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itsgreg

Well-Known Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
The cheap airbrushes & guns nowadays are absolutely fine, you won't get the fine precision that a good iwata or devilbiss will give you but you won't know what you're missing if you've never tried one!

I go through tons of the cheapest airbrushes I can find because I'm rough on tools & don't deserve nice things..

Cheap compressors can be hit & miss & tend to burn out quite quickly with heavy use. I'd definitely try to buy one with a tank as constant charging ones mean heat, & heat means moisture in the airlines.
IMG_20210112_192507_382.jpg
 

incomt65xwing

New Member
The cheap airbrushes & guns nowadays are absolutely fine, you won't get the fine precision that a good iwata or devilbiss will give you but you won't know what you're missing if you've never tried one!

I go through tons of the cheapest airbrushes I can find because I'm rough on tools & don't deserve nice things..

Cheap compressors can be hit & miss & tend to burn out quite quickly with heavy use. I'd definitely try to buy one with a tank as constant charging ones mean heat, & heat means moisture in the airlines.
Thatnks for the input. Are there any specific requirements for a tank/compressor, or will basically anything work?
 

itsgreg

Well-Known Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Thatnks for the input. Are there any specific requirements for a tank/compressor, or will basically anything work?
Anything will work, you can even use a full size compressor ( although you'd need an adapter as airbrush compressors use 1/8 bsp fittings, while full size compressors use 1/4 bsp.
 

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acesh007

Well-Known Member
As far as airbrushes go, invest in a good one if you plan on using it or doing more work with it. I started off with a cheap $20 airbrush a long time ago and Ive upgraded over the years to Iwata Eclipse HP-CS which I now have two with different nozzles. As far as compressors, Im still using the Harbor Freight compressor I bout maybe 5-6yrs ago. Ive just added a pressure regulator and an moisture trap and Ive had no issues.

Spray guns, you can get touch up guns but you are going to need a full sized compressor to run right, you could run it on a 15gal but youll hate life and it'll take forever to get anything done.
 

holtaa

Active Member
Everyone will have a different recommendation - modelers tend to be very opinionated and there will be no shortage of suggestions. Airbrushes and compressors are simply tools - and although high quality tools are great to work with, a cheap screwdriver or wrench (spanner) will usually get the job done everytime.

Go ahead and get a cheap setup now and start using it. Be prepared for a bit of a learning curve as you work out the bugs in paint thinning and air pressure for your particular equipment. The most important thing is to not give up. Airbrushing is an acquired skill and requires practice. As your skill improves, you will be amazed at the jump in the finish quality of your models.

Single action airbrushes tend to be a little easier for beginners as you are only controlling one thing - air flow, the paint flows on its own. Double action gives you more control and more diverse finishes as you control both air flow and paint flow separately. Either type will take your models to a new level.

Use the cheap setup to develop your skills and then upgrade over time to higher quality brushes.

One more thing - keep it clean. A dirty airbrush just doesn't work well and will be much more frustrating as you learn.

Go for it, I bought a cheap setup 30 years ago - which was much worse than what is available today - and have not looked back.
 

kermet

Sr Member
Master air makes a nice airbrush they are a copy of Iwata of course Iwata is top notch I have been custom painting for years. Also know its all about how you mix your paint you can't just spray paint through a airbrush not thinned properly you will clog it up quick, and how well you clean you equipment. You can find moisture traps that fit airbrushes on the bay and price is reasonable. A tank compressor would be the best choice.
 

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