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Master G48 Airbrush - cheap with a twist(and good out come)

Discussion in 'Airbrushes' started by DaveG, Jan 5, 2017.


  1. DaveG

    DaveG Needle-chuck Ninja Very Likeable!

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    Airbrushing on a (tight) budget?!

    First, I must say that I have some very nice airbrushes [​IMG] I also have an odd compulsion that I feel I must try everything - so, my collection runs the range from top dollar, to bottom drawer. I also use what I have, or I get rid of them.

    I get that not everyone can jump into the game by spending 100's of dollars for the top of the line stuff. So, I thought to try some of the more entry level (or lower) offerings available.

    I opted to try a Master G48 (copy of the Iwata Micron CM-B+ with a MAC valve). I do have a pair of Micron's, but I will not compare the Master to the Iwata - they are not in the same class, nor should they be considered to be, by virtue of price alone (Under $40 to over $400 [​IMG]).

    I ordered the Master G48 blindly off ebay after searching for the lowest price I could find on it. It took about a week for it to arrive, and came in translucent plastic box with a nice cut out foam, and a tip wrench, as well as a hose connector. Albeit, with a barbed hose end, rather than a male quick connect. I used an Iwata QC fitting I had in my parts drawer. I took the brush out of the box, hooked it up to my air hose, and added a few drops of Createx Illustration color to the cup. The lines it produced looked much like the lines that one would produce with a small diaphragm compressor - in that it looked like it was pulsating. The line width was relatively thin, though. Sorry, I did not take a pict of these - I removed the needle, and found that it has a rather rough texture to it, and feels like it is covered with fine machine marks running in rings down the length of the needle. Knowing (from experience) what kind of paint flow issues this would cause in daily use, this condition would be an excluding factor from my wanting to keep this brush in my arsenal. But, do read on...

    Knowing the needle is advertised as .2, I compared it with an Iwata needle from a trusted HP-B+, and they seem to be about the same size, and length, similar taper - so, I installed the Iwata needle. Right away, it was obvious the brush would at least work in this condition. On my scrap paper, I got a series of decently fine lines, and some nice gradient tones using the Illustration color right out of the bottle. At this point, I've seen enough to know I can get this brush to do what I want it to do, so...

    At this time, I took the opportunity to tear the brush down, and do some basic prep work that I would do on just about any new brush. I adjusted the needle packing, which was at least a full turn loose, checked the head assembly for air leaks - which were completely eliminated simply by adding a very slight twist to the nozzle cap. I also clipped 2.5 coils off the air valve spring (to lighten trigger push), and was able to adjust the needle spring (without clipping it) to get what turns out to be a very nice trigger feel. I lubed just about everything with K33 airbrush balm (from Foxy Studio). Reassembled, and spent a couple of days pushing paint through the brush.

    Considering that I have about $48 invested into the brush, with the Iwata HP-B+ needle, I am quite happy with the results. The brush actually feels pretty good in my hand. Since getting the trigger adjusted more to my liking, I do not find it fatiguing to use. It is by no means a perfect airbrush, nut it works well enough to use. I have zero idea how it will hold up over time, and to be fair, I think I would have to purchase at least one more to see if I could get the same results this one is producing, before feeling 100% confident about recommending this set up - but, so far, I think it may be worth a look if one's budget will not allow for something higher dollar to get started with. I find that even with Iwata needle installed, the spray pattern is a little oblong in shape (taller than wide), but atomization is really quite nice, and even. Pretty sure this is due to the nozzle being a hair off center in the air cap - but color lay down is very nice, and color gradients come out really smooth. The lines produced in the photo's were done with this set up - and while not being the best sample of "hairlines", at least it is continuous - I did it really fast without thinking that I was going to document any of this.

    I am going to play with this brush more, and will update with additional info (good or bad) as I have it...


    master-g48-4.jpg master-g48-1.jpg test1.jpg test2.jpg master-g48-3.jpg

    Since I originally posted my initial experience with this particular brush, I have played with it a BUNCH more. I replaced the trigger spring with a softer one, as well as the needle spring, and adjusted the spring guide. The trigger feel on this is amazingly good, with just a tad of slop to deal with, but certainly acceptable.

    I also have an extensive parts bin that I can play with ;-) , and have found that both Iwata Micron, and the new Olympos L3 Head assemblies screw right on to the brush, and work very well. I find that I prefer the Iwata head and needle over the Olympos pieces on this particular brush. I also replaced the needle packing with a silicone o-ring seal that I use even in my Micorns, and the feel and response on this brush is really impressive. I find that I have actually been using it a BUNCH in my rotation of brushes.

    I also tried testing a larger version of the the brush in a Master G444 (copy of the Iwata CM -C+), but found while branded the same, the actual brush has to be made by a different manufacturer. The head assemblies between the two look the same, but with enough differences that it would make no sense to make them side by side. As well, some of the threads that should have been the same between the two models are not... I tried working with the larger brush, but found I did not get along with it anywhere near as well as the G48, so discarded it. I have ordered the larger model from another source branded with another name (for $20) and am waiting to compare it with this sample of the G48...
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2017
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  2. Vladimir

    Vladimir Needle-chuck Ninja

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    It seems like I had a brush from the same manufacturer as yours AB.
    I can say that their needles are made with good steel. I've sanded and polished the needle and it was not bad at all after that, I'd say similar to Iwata's. But the spraying was not.
    Interesting idea is to install there japanese micron's head:)

    I wonder what you'll say about the possibility to install original micron's head in the AB that's on the way.

    Here's how mine looked. Polished needle is also there.

    P1040934.JPG P1040933.JPG
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  3. DaveG

    DaveG Needle-chuck Ninja Very Likeable!

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    Vladimir, the second brush I tried looked like the one you have pictured - with a few subtle differences. It had a shinny rear handle vs. the frosted one on yours, as well as a few other minor visual things. I am certain it was from a different manufacturer than the G48 that I have, as well as the brush that you have displayed...

    Yes, with the Micron head and needle installed, the brush is a mighty fine performer. I am hoping the new one coming in will be of similar construction, so that I can eventually try a .23 set on it.
  4. Vladimir

    Vladimir Needle-chuck Ninja

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    Dave, I wouldn't agree. The manufacturer of shiny handle AB is different than mine. I'm saying that mine was manufactured by the same as yours. I judge on the design and red O-ring, this ring is installed by the manufacturer of our ABs. Mine shown is like 6 years old.
    The manufacturer can laser engrave just anything on the AB bodies, so we wouln't take into account the "brands" engraved:) As the brand is the one and only Buda Machinery;)
    Here they are:

    http://www.cnbida.com/products_detail/productId=99.html
    http://www.cnbida.com/products_detail/productId=87.html

    Mine is also from Bida, but O-ring was black when I bought it. They started to put red one there a few years ago.

    I think it will be fun to experiment with chinese body and japanese micron's head. I've got spare heads, but do not have chinese AB body:)
  5. Malky

    Malky Pencil Pushing Protagonist Elite Member! Very Likeable!

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    These cheapies are all made by the same Chinese company and just engraved (branded) to suit the client which could master, fengda, veda or many others, here in Holland they were called black bull but basically the same brushes, the black bull ones had red metallic back handles like the infinity form Harder & Steenbeck, for beginners and people who don;t understand how they work they can be ht and miss, usually the later but those i the know can make them perform quite well, I didn't many problems with mine the early days other easily damaged nozzles and needles, and difficulty finding parts, I think the biggest problem with the knock offs is that they tarnish very quick, but I also had and H&S evolution silverline that did that tooo_O
  6. markjthomson

    markjthomson Very happy! Staff Member Mod

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    lol... with your skills Dave I would expect a good stable of brushes. We support a group here for AAD - Airbrush Acquisition Disorder. Although we feel disorder is too much, and we encourage rather than cure....

    Cool review, and someone who knows what to look for in a brush.
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  7. DaveG

    DaveG Needle-chuck Ninja Very Likeable!

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    just putting this out there, you may take it for whatever it may be worth - I know a little about manufacturing, so would say that the two brushes I have, regardless of what name may or may not be on the side, came from two different manufacturers. My reasons for this conclusion are many, but the most notable would be this - the thread on the head assembly to the body are common between the two brushes. So, on the head assembly alone, the remaining threads and parts are different - not by a little, but a lot. There is also a material difference involved in part of the build of the head assembly Although they "look" the same. Even if you had more than one line making parts, they would at least be the same. On these two, the air caps are a different size and thread, the head is a different thread and size, the number of serrations around the circumference of each piece varies, the diameters of the components is different, etc... The threading on the air stem vary, the threading of the spring guide to brush body vary...

    I am hoping that the new brush I ordered is closer to the first one I have, and not the second - ;)
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  8. Ronald art

    Ronald art Detail Decepticon! Very Likeable!

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    first off all I admire the fact that you tested the cheap stuff , but by adding a micron head and changing the needles doesnt make it a beginners low budget airbrush and I for one will not advice these knock off's to any beginner for the price of a micron head and fitting needle you can buy a decent eclipse ;)
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  9. DaveG

    DaveG Needle-chuck Ninja Very Likeable!

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    I'm pretty sure you skipped the part where this particular brush works really quite well with simply the substitution of a better needle. A grand total of $48 invested. In this condition of operation, I would use this brush all day long next to brushes like my Iwata HP-B+, Badger Sotar, Patriot Extreme (which all give me finer detail than my Eclipse with less effort ;)) . Now, this particular sample had a bit of an oblong spray pattern with the original nozzle, but not so much that it would have kept me from using it - I used it to do the entire 14X18 illustration in the background of the photo's and never once felt like I could not get it to do what I wanted. I did eventually correct the spray pattern with the use of a brass tube slipped over the nozzle boss and some careful manipulation (read gently bending ;)) to center the nozzle in the air cap. For $48 I have a brush that I now use at least as often as my Iwata HP-B+... No, there is no comparison in quality between the two - but, this thing works - which is what an airbrush is supposed to do.

    Now, I shopped around for a .18 Micorn head and needle, and wound up getting set for $125 delivered/ $103 for an Olympos .23 Micon set. So, I have either $10 less or $15 more total invested in this brush than my Eclipse, and I use it far more often than the Eclipse... Everyone is different, and what works for them, is what works for them. Would I straight up recommend someone go buy this set up right now? Probably not, but I am letting them know that they could start out dirt cheap and make out OK in the end.

    Wild Phlox in spring.jpg
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  10. DaveG

    DaveG Needle-chuck Ninja Very Likeable!

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    Thank You, Sir!
  11. Nessus

    Nessus Gravity Guru

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    Actually, please DO compare. Actual point-by-point comparisons of different brushes are incredibly useful. The trend in reviews seems to be to deal mostly in vague, isolated, and subjective terms, which usually comes across just as a really verbose way of saying literally only "I like this brush". To someone trying to figure out what to buy, this is maddening. Actual spec and mechanical rundowns, abilities and shortcomings described in clear non-subjective terms, comparisons to other brushes, etc, are the truly useful info, but are too often hard to find.

    You might think comparing a master with a Micron is unfair, but the market surrounding Chinese brushes is so awash with vagarity and often conflicting hearsay that a detailed side-by-side comparison, both OOB and of their relative performance, would actually be immensely helpful in clearing the the air. With soooooo many vague testimonials that read like inflated one-line opinions or principles, an actual nitty-gritty, hands-on comparison would be worth the brushes' weight in gold.

    Especially since, as others have noted, we're getting into some potentially interesting territory here with the idea of using micron heads & needles on a Chinese brush to create a (relatively) low cost Frankencron. This could be a terrible idea, or it could be a great idea, but as long as there's no actual comparative breakdown the only tool we have to asses the idea is whatever nebulously qualified prejudices we might already have individually.
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  12. DaveG

    DaveG Needle-chuck Ninja Very Likeable!

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    Nessus, because you asked - The build quality of the Chinese G48 is not in the same ballpark as the Iwata or Olympos Micron airbrushes. With this being said - In comparison, the trigger on the G48 feels some what mushy, with a small amount of side to side slop. With simply clipping @2.5 coils off the factory spring, and lubing the pass through seal with K33 Needle Balm, the feel of the trigger improved dramatically. The height s a bit lower than the Micron, and I actually prefer the position on the G48. The trigger feel is far better on the Micron's, but I would put the feel of the modified G48 trigger ahead of many other brushes I have. It is soft, and responsive compared to brushes like any of the Badger models I have, better than the Eclipse trigger, I even prefer it over my H&S Infinity - keeping in mind that there is a bit of slop involved with the G48 - but the overall feel of the trigger is quite agreeable to me.

    With just replacing the needle with an Iwata needle (from HP-B+), provided the pattern was fairly close to round, I would use this brush in daily work ahead of all of the other brushes I have already mentioned. I have it in a stand along side one of my personal favorites, an Iwata HP-B+ that I just adore. There are of course times I would grab something else, like a Badger Sotar for fine detail, if paint was less than perfect consistency, or was giving me fits - the Sotar seems to handle a broader range of paints with less fuss. But, on a good flow day, I am happy using the G48. It handles well for me, and like I said, is quite responsive.

    Once I installed the Iwata Micron head and .18 needle, it became a different ball game. It works like I would expect a Micron to work. Of course a real full blown Micron "feels" like a higher quality piece in ones hand. The trigger on the Microns is better/smoother, and the Micron balances in ones hand like a dream... but the detail on the paper will be about the same. If one expects to put this combination together, and get a Micron, well, you are not getting that, but you are getting a combination that works exceptionally well for me.

    I did not have the same feel good experience with the Olympos .23 set up, on this G48. It worked well, and provided some extremely fines lines. However I found that I needed to work at a higher air pressure, which caused problems with spider-ing I did not experience with the Iwata .18 set up. I did not experience the same problem mounting the Olympos set up on a real Micron.
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  13. MarcosD

    MarcosD Gravity Guru

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    With all do respect to a great airbrusher as you are .If I understood you well, You bought two chinese airbrush, so your real numbers will be $165 0 $145, if we bring to the equation that one work well and the other don't, you end up with a bet with a ratio of 50-50. So, if you buy a HP-CS you will save 20$ and no bet at all. Then when you got some confident in yourself and the knowledge, you could move up to a better airbrush and sell the HP-CS and get some money or don't, just keep it if you want!! Can't really undestand your way of thinking, beside, one of the best theachings of life is that always, the cheaper end expensive (sorry but don't know the exact sentence, but you get the idea).

    You could never compare a Chery Tiggo with a Toyota Rav4, no matter if one is the copy of the other and even if you put the toyota engine in the Chery.
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2017
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  14. Vladimir

    Vladimir Needle-chuck Ninja

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    I think that Eclipse would never beat original microns head even if it's installed into chinese knock off;) As it's not the airbrush body that produces spraying but both air and paint nozzle and a needle, and if you use micron's head it will definitely spray like micron. Any other thing work for some convenient work but not for the spray pattern.

    I would not agree, that there's only one chinese manufacturer of airbrushes. I'd say, at least two or three.
    Someone on the forum had issues with knock offs that visually were similar, but as Dave has said those ABs have different threads and some other differences. Why would one manufacturer produce visually identical brush with different threads and other parts?
    I think, that Dave has two ABs from different manufacturers.
    I've recently bought another chinese knock offs just to try and can state that they aren't the same quality as Bida's products. These brushes (models with threaded nozzles) do not have any rubber O-rings on the nozzles, like Iwata's. It was a surprise actually. Also, their hoses are better than Bida's. Models with self centering nozzles have good quality nozzles. Bottles are also different.
    I don't know why this brand isn't sold in the US widely (I haven't seen it on TCP site or smth), I can see Bida and another manufacturer's products.

    Bida has some bodies of different type where micron's head can be used. So I think maybe...:)
    Real interesting idea was to use micron's head in knock off, never heard of it! Thanx for review!:)
    I remember that I liked the trigger action of my knock off, but I did definitely not like spraying with "original" knock off's head. So I've sold them as soon as I've tried my first Iwata. But now it's time to experiment, maybe;)
  15. MarcosD

    MarcosD Gravity Guru

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    Acording to your oun words air is a key factor in the spray patern, now, the air come from the air valve and goes trhough the airbrush body and then trhough head asembly, so yes the airbrush body, the air valve and the head assembly, are essencials parts of the spray patern, so, like it or not, a chinese knock off will never be as good as any branded airbrush no matter how many part we change. Because the quality of the finishing, the used materials, and the tools are not the same, and all of that make that some machines works better than others and not one or two parts.:thumbsup:
  16. Malky

    Malky Pencil Pushing Protagonist Elite Member! Very Likeable!

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    It's only the Micron's head design that makes the spray pattern and performance as good as it is not the air channels that feed it, until it gets to the head it is just air, so a complete micron head assembly including needle on any body at that it all could fit would provide the same performance, the main problem with a cheap Chinese body is as I said earlier is that they tarnish very easily from inside, those I had were turning black due to the moisture in the air passing through them, I expected this to affect the head and therefore performance which is why I stepped up to Iwata, but at the end of the day if Dave here or anyone else likes to experiment with set ups of any kind, I see no problem, my theory is if people are happy to do it and I don't have to pay for it, it's all good, I agree that the economics may be questionable, but if folks enjoy playing around with ideas, how can anyone have problem unless it actually comes out of their pocket, what's happening here is just the same as airbrushing itself, we will never know how it will go unless we actually first try.

    I just read somewhere else here that cheap Chines needles work better and are stronger in an olympos than the originals, so if that's possible, why not with other parts and brands, every time I bought a new Iwata I replaced the nozzle/needle protector cap with those form my cheapies because they looked nicer being an actual crown than the closed ring type which I didn't like the look of at all.
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  17. DaveG

    DaveG Needle-chuck Ninja Very Likeable!

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    Actually, I do not see it this way at all - this is your opinion, and you are certainly welcome to have it. I am kind of sorry that people are getting hung up on just the Micron head part of the original post - the brush is quite competent as it came, with some very minor and easy tweaking. The substitution of a better needle really brought the brush around, and I would have zero issue continuing to use the brush just like this for as long as it lasts - that is $48 total invested. Now I have used it, will continue to use it, even though I own dozens of other brushes (this is the first Chinese brush). If you wouldn't, well, that is A-OK, too...

    The two brushes I bought were different, like having a "a" and "c" brush, with the intention of having one .18-.2 set up, and one .23-.3 set up, depending on what needle I eventually use in them, so I would also not combine their cost... The fact that I just happen to have a BUNCH of other parts I can play with, well, that is what it is. I'm not tellin' anyone they have to do it too ;).

    If someone can afford to buy top shelf stuff from the get go, then so be it. But, I know lots of people that are drooling and waiting to maybe one day buy an Eclipse (or something similar) just so that they can try airbrushing...
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  18. jared pittman

    jared pittman Spider Splatterer

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    Chinese airbrushes do what they are supposed to - a little rough around edges - started with veda now 3 microns deep- if I needed big needle I would order a master!
  19. Vladimir

    Vladimir Needle-chuck Ninja

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    The funny thing is I wanted to say what Malky and Dave have just said.
    As Dave said, it would be good option for people who can not afford any micron, to try micron's head installed in cheap AB body. Thanx again for this thread!
    I'd say it's a bit overpriced thing that CM-C+. What makes this model to cost this amount of money? It has the same quality parts as any High Performance, the only difference is the head and in my opinion it can not have such a price. It's an item of mass production but not something exclusive and hand made. It's just a product of high precision machining.

    About chinese needles Greg Stith mentioned and I use chinese needle instead of original Olympos needle in one of the microns. Those original spare needles I bought in plastic case are going to be for collection:) As it's better to buy dozens of chinese that will last for entire life of one airbrush and would work as expected.
  20. AndreZA

    AndreZA Elite Member! Elite Member! Artist of the Month!

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    The thread issue with not knowing if your gun is the one that will take a Micron head or not will be catastrophic. Imagine reading it here, spending all that money and then it does not work. I know I felt bad when I suggested a few years back to put the Badger parts on a Chinese Badger knock-off and it did not fit the version he had. Now imagine that person spending Micron head money.

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