Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Badger 105 Patriot - review

I took an opportunity to get myself another airbrush from Chicago Airbrush Supply, an airbrush I've wanted for a while now, the Badger 105 Patriot. It was on special at CAS, and thanks to one of their periodic holiday vouchers I got it even cheaper. So, score! It got here very promptly too — just five days from ordering to appearing on my doorstep here in New Zealand.

The stand doesn't come with the airbrush. That's a soldering-iron stand.
 It's a double-action gravity feed brush with an integral paint cup. It also comes with a plastic push-on cap for the paint cup, for those who are likely to be moving the brush around a lot while they're painting, though that's not likely to be much of an issue for me.

It's roughly equivalent to the Paasche Talon I bought a while ago, but so far I'm finding it superior in almost every way. The machining of the components is excellent, the action of the trigger is smooth and easy, and the open tip makes it easy to get in very close without back-scattering air and paint from the painted surface into the tip cup. The Talon uses a skeleton tip shroud to achieve the same thing, and that does work OK, but I still found myself having to be very careful about the amount of air and paint I put through in close-up work. The cup of the Badger has a lower profile than that of the Paasche, so it interferes less with one's sight-line while working in close — for my purposes, it could be even lower. The weight and balance in the hand is very nice, and the skeleton back-cap gives instant access to the needle for pre-set paint flow adjustments and the like. Plus, for maintenance, you can dismount the needle without having to disassemble the whole brush, which is a bonus.

I've added a converter to this airbrush's valve stem so that I can use it on my Paasche hose.

Speaking of the Badger's open tip, here it is right here. And this is one place where one has to be a bit cautious: the needle stands proud of the tip, and like all airbrush needles it's a delicate thing, easily damaged. You do need to take care not to ram it into your paint surface, or inadvertently drag it across your sleeve or anything. It is often possible to re-straighten a bent needle tip, but it's not all that easy.

When not in use, the tip is protected by a spring-fit metal cap, which you can see in the first photo. It goes on and off very smoothly, and stays on firmly. It's nice.

Badger claim this as a "universal" brush, that will paint a line from pencil-thin to broad, heavy coverage without the need for changing tips and needles. That seems to be true, up to a point. It will certainly paint a nice fine line, but I find the spray pattern to be a bit more granular than that of the 150 or 200 with XF (extra-fine) tips and needles mounted.

Overall, I like this airbrush a lot. It's very flexible, and it's easy to clean and maintain, which I appreciate a lot. I think it'll be my go-to airbrush for just about everything bar ultra-fine or super-broad painting.