- Published on Saturday, 22 January 2011 11:53 Peter Buckingham
I feel slightly ashamed to admit that I am not too familiar with this brand of airbrush – after all, it has only been going in the USA since 1904! I began my airbrushing apprenticeship using a Badger single action and then progressed to an Iwata double action brush with a trigger which I found much easier to use than the push down and pull back variety. Finger co-ordination is not my strong point.
One of the best modelling books I have read is, “The Master Scratch Builders” compiled and edited by John Alcorn, himself a very ‘seasoned’ modeller from the States. It is the type of book that either makes you want to pack up the hobby completely or become totally enthused by the sheer excellence of the modelling expertise. In my case, and I suspect with every other reader of this super book, it was the latter.
One thing I had been toying with from time to time, especially now that my modelling preference is the much larger 1/32 scale, was using a single action airbrush for the ‘big’ spraying jobs such as airframe all over primer, all over single colours, all over Klear and matt varnish. Double action brushes, in the right hands, are superb at intricate camouflage work and detailing, but not exactly a necessity for the ‘big pours’! Referring once more to “The Master Scratchbuilders”, in the chapter on ‘Finishing’, Pete Chalmers, was of the same opinion, and he used a single action ‘H’ series Paasche brush for this purpose.
Webmeister Jim Hatch informed me that he had just received a package from the Paasche Airbrush Company who operate from Chicago, Illinois, and were, for the first time, utilising the global publicity services offered by this website. Would I be interested in reviewing the single action ‘H’ series airbrush set? What could I say but, “Yes, please”!
The ‘H’ boxed set comprises the airbrush, a ¼ ounce metal cup, two 1 ounce glass paint containers – one with a tapered tube to connect to the airbrush and the other with a plain metal cap, a braided hose, a brush ‘stand’ to be screw fitted to a suitable location, an ‘Allen Key’ to release the needle locking screw and, most importantly, two further sizes of needle and aircap assemblies known collectively as the Colour Adjusting Parts. In addition, there are two A5 booklets, both in four languages – English, French, German and Spanish. One booklet is the ‘handbook’ for the airbrush with parts breakdown and operating and cleaning instructions, and the other is a 16 page ’22 Airbrush Lessons for Beginners’ with some very useful exercises to really get used to your new airbrush.
Some Paasche terminology explanation is required here:
The Aircap is the cap which screws onto the front of the airbrush.
The Colour Adjusting Parts are actually assemblies containing different sizes of Tips complete with their relevant Needles, and each needle fitted with secured packing washers.
To identify the different sizes, there are a series of rings etched onto the parts. 1 ring for H1, 3 rings for H3, and 5 rings for H5. These differing sizes enable the brush to be used for most thicknesses of fluids.
After photographing the various parts, the first thing I did was to strip the brush - and what a simple operation that was. Undo the set screw with the supplied Allen Key to release the needle body, then turn and gently pull back the assembly to free it from it’s housing. And that’s it – job done. The Tip (cone shaped item) just unscrews from the needle. Simple - it should be a ‘doddle’ to clean. There are no long needles to bend and thread through the length of the airbrush, in fact the red nylon handle that screws onto the rear of the brush body is just that, a handle. The airbrush body actually ends where the handle joins! If I was to be ‘picky’ I would have liked to have seen that handle in metal, but that is a very minor point. However, I have just noted from the Parts List that a metal handle is available as an optional extra! Hmm!
The Finger Button has a nicely weighted and smooth spring action. Although I didn’t strip down this assembly, it would appear to be a simple matter of unscrewing the cheese headed screw at the internal base of the exposed air valve thus releasing the spring, valve washer and plunger. Methinks this is a nicely engineered brush, M’lud.
The proof of the pudding……………………as we say, is in the operation. So, how did it (or was it me?) perform? The braided hose hooked up perfectly to my Iwata compressor and it was now just a case of putting some paint through and seeing how it behaved. I liked the simple way of adjusting the size of spray and the volume of colour by just turning the Tip (cone shaped part) clockwise to increase and counter clockwise to reduce. This action can be completed without the necessity to release a separate locknut and can therefore be accomplished ‘in action’, so to speak. Paasche have obviously ensured there is enough ‘interference fit’ of the parts for the tip to remain in the desired location during operation. Nice!
I have mentioned Pete Chalmers use of the Paasche single action airbrush in “The Master Scratchbuilders” book. He mainly uses the H1 Colour Adjusting Parts assembly, in other words the smallest jet size, for his work, so I changed my set over to that size initially and mixed up a ¼ ounce metal cupful of my usual strength of paint and thinners – roughly 30% paint and 70% thinners, using Tamiya acrylics and Tamiya thinners.
One thing I hadn’t noticed before about the ¼ ounce metal paint cup – it has the ability to stand up on the workshop table because it has a reasonably wide bottom. Other airbrush manufacturers please note!
The photographs you see here are the actual very first attempts at putting some paint through the system and were taken by my wife as I tried things out. I had played around with compressor settings and the Tip settings finding that the smallest size of H1 produced very nice dots and fine lines using the airbrush around 1cm from the paper. The next size, H3 was more ‘wider’ in it’s spread at the same distance, as was the H5, the largest of the assemblies. Unfortunately I ran out of my paint mix before I could ‘write’ H5, so I had to make use of a felt tip pen, sorry. For general priming and gloss/matt varnishing I will probably spray through H3 assembly.
The changing of the assemblies took place very quickly and clean up of the parts was made by using Tamiya thinners, Premiair Foaming Airbrush Cleaner and each assembly was given a final spray through with Windolene Glass and Shiny Surface spray liquid.
I liked this system very much because of simplicity in use, good engineering and a general overall feeling of quality. This was a case of out of the box and straight into a trial. With more practice, I feel sure my proficiency will improve, but I was very pleased with my initial results, which bodes well for the future. I have a feeling this brush will not only be used for ‘big pours’ but probably for more detailed applications. Luftwaffe mottling comes to mind.
What would I change? Having seen from the Parts List that a metal handle is available, I will probably go for that. What would I stock as spares? Most definitely the small Allen Key operated set screw – it is small enough to disappear into one of those inaccessible nooks and crannies and, of course, the dreaded carpet monster!
So what do we think?
An excellent single action airbrush set from Paasche and one that I would highly recommend even on the strength of my very limited use of the system. Three short statements says it all for me - simplicity, the ability to quickly change needle jet assemblies for different applications and ease of cleaning. I shall look forward to more use of the system in the very near future. This set is currently available in the UK at around £79 including VAT. Good value for money. Well done Paasche.
My sincere thanks to Paasche for supplying the review item used here. To visit Paasche's website, click THIS link or the banner below. For the UK Distrubutor, The Airbrush Company, click THIS link, or the banner below..