by: Roman [ ]
Although you can paint your armour models with paintbrushes nicely (especially the distinct type camouflage) the airbrush seems to me an obligatory tool for various actions like basecoating, priming and even weathering! There are several brands of airbrushes on the market and each brand has different price categories. The cheapest ones could be bought in supermarkets or construction stores and these are usually single action, poorly made no name airbrushes from China. I had one of these when I was starting to use airbrush and I can’t say that it was that bad, but when I upgraded to a dual action Mr. Hobby airbrush (GSI Creos, Japan) I realized that I could do much better paint job. The only trouble was that it had paint reservoir underneath, so you end up wasting a lot of paint. Last year, I got to know Badger airbrushes after a contest where I got one of the Badger Velocity airbrushes as a prize. I was really impressed by the quality of assembly and ease of use. Moreover, I started feeling that with different airbrushes you can do different things. So, when the review samples from Badger were sent to Armorama I knew that I have to try another one.
The Patriot 105 is a dual action, gravity feed, internal mix airbrush that comes without a box (maybe it was only for review sample?) but with a black rubber needle protection cap and paint cup lid. What is for sure is that you get a nice booklet (can be seen here http://www.badgerairbrush.com/PDF/105 Fine Patriot.pdf) that contains safety precautions, parts numbers and airbrush scheme, some “how to” hints on basic airbrushing, cleaning the airbrush and assembling it. What I like especially about the booklet that it has airbrushing exercises with figures, these would be useful for everyone!
The Airbrush In Action
I tried using the Patriot 105 with different paints – Tamiya and Mr. Hobby isopropanol-based acrylics, Vallejo Model Air acrylics and Tamiya enamels. All paints performed excellent and even Vallejo that tends to block the airbrushes in my hands worked OK this time. The control of the paint flow is very easy and I could do lines and patterns of different thickness without any problem. The paint cup is located on top and this allowed using minimal amounts of paints (even drops), mixing straight in the cup and easy cleaning. The paint-thinner ratios were different each time and it was not a problem to control the process. Model Air was used straight from the bottle. For the cleanup I tried usual isopropanol in case of Tamiya and Mr. Hobby acrylics, water in case of Vallejo and corresponding thinner for enamels. Only Model Air was difficult to remove, but I put some Tamiya airbrush cleaner afterwards and the airbrush was as brand new. I’ve read in other reviews that people are interested how the airbrush is disassembled – to be honest I haven’t tried that, but the needle itself is easy to take out, just loose the needle chuck at the end of the airbrush. In case you are interested in how to completely disassemble the airbrush – there is a scheme in the manual. However, not all parts are named in the text so you have to guess or go to Badger’s website for further instructions.
The model of the Panther (as per images) was painted with the help of Patriot 105 – priming, basecoating, pre-shading and camouflage were easy to perform. I also tried it on small bits, like resin stowage, etc. So far, I don’t see any flaws in it. While some comment that there is no needle protection I can just say that you need to take care of the equipment you are investing in. Airbrush is not a toy; it is a precision instrument which gives you a lot of fun and joy with proper use and care. The Badger 105 is a very good tool both for beginners and advanced modelers (and not only modelers, of course!). If you would feel that you want to upgrade it – the company has an extensive list of parts like needles, nozzles, fast change equipment, etc.