My AAD Journey

Tonka Crash

Double Actioner
In January of this year this was my airbrush collection.
The light blue handled Badger is a Sears branded model I've had since I was a kid in the early 80s. The next was the HP-C which was still bone stock in January and barely used since I got it in 2004. I had a hard time adapting to the double action. It seemed like my fingers cramped as soon as I picked it up and I didn't like the paint cup on top. To deal with the cramping I picked up the Grex not long after. It was better, but so bulky I never developed much control beyond using it as a spray gun. I did learn that I don't like threaded on paint cups for cleaning the paint cavity and still didn't like big gravity cups. Finally I got the 200SG around 2010 for more detail work and just when I didn't need to spray a lot of paint. I had pretty much resigned myself to just using single action brushes which was fine for my needs.


In January I needed to replace the Teflon parts in my old Sears brush and was browsing eBay for parts when I found a complete Sears Airbrush kit for $28 shipped that didn't look like it had ever been used.


It had a plastic handle and my old Sears brush had 40 years of dings and scratches so I just swapped over the handle from my old brush and it replaced my old brush. Before the Sears kit arrived I also found an old Badger 200 that was in sad shape for under $20, but figured I could get working with leftover parts from my old brush.
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It was worse than I thought. The needle was wedged into the nozzle and someone had used pliers to try to pull the needle out severely twisting it in multiple places and had stripped the nozzle threads completely, not the head, just the nozzle into the head, and it was missing the air valve internals. But, the needle bearing was in good shape and really it just needed a clean and polish. Cannibalizing my old brush returned it to working order.
To Be Continued...
Love that Mirage!
The 200 is very popular among us modelers for its consistency.
I saw that bent needle one on ebay multiple times and tried to make a lowball offer for parts. :)

Now, you are aware of the many variations of the 200, right? You need a screw jar type, a NH, 200-20 detail, Mobile Tech, 200G, etc.... Come on! Don't be a slacker! lol

Sometime in February I ran across a post on a Facebook group where a modeler was asking about the Sotar Slim and the consensus of the Peanut Gallery was that the paint capacity was so small the brush was useless for models. That's a load of BS, I'd been using a Badger 200SG for over a decade and knew the small capacity was no issue for a detail brush and my 200SG probably saw more use than my old Sears brush.

I really hadn't paid much attention to airbrush design, all modelers talk about are C-cup style gravity feed brushes, so was intrigued to try an A cup style double action. I was ready to pull the trigger on a brand new Sotar when I learned of Iwata's clearance on the HP-AH. That was too good a deal to pass up.
Compared to my 200SG the paint capacity is huge.
First time trying it out. The two splotches of green on the plane were done with one fill of the paint cup. At this point I'd need to reposition the model anyway, so the capacity isn't a problem for me. PXL_20240217_204719085.jpg
But, the cramps were still an issue. That got me me doing some research and I think it's about that time I ran across this place and @DaveG Facebook page. I don't think I've owned a car in 30 years I haven't modified in some way, but it never occurred to me that you could modify an airbrush.

I picked up Micron triggers and a Blair Soft Spring for both of the Iwata's I had at this point and a new cut out handle for my old HP-C after I checked that the handle on the HP-AH fit. The Micron triggers let me more easily ride the trigger under the first joint in my finger and it takes no effort to hold the air on. That did wonders for comfort.

Up to now everything was pretty much justified as a need every brush was to fill a gap or improve the tools I had available to me. Next up was a pure impulse buy of an an old T&C Model A. I bought this more for a display piece than to use as I had no idea if it would even be usable.PXL_20240124_160115929.jpg
Using info from here and DaveG's page I did a full teardown and it cleaned up nice. It works fine, but I need practice with how the spray regulator works before I'd really want to use it. For now it's in the display cabinet with my completed models.
To Be Continued ...
That was my hook into collecting, too - I purchased a 1947 Wold Model A-2 for a decoration in my studio. To my surprise, with a mild cleaning the brush worked really well. They just kind of accumulated after that ;).

On the TC - the regulator(needle cap) is generally set 3.5 turns out from all the way in as a baseline setting. So, when you put it on the brush, you screw it all the way in until it won't turn any more. Then back it out 3.5 turns, and you should be close. Test spray, and make adjustments based on your results. In very general terms, the mist should get finer when you turn it out, and coarser when you turn it in. It will only take a few minutes of playing to get a good sense of what it is doing.
As March rolled around I was curious if a B cup would be small enough to not annoy me like the C cups do, so I started keeping an eye out for a cheap HP-B. After I had some issues getting the T&C Model A apart I also ordered the Iwata tool kit and a SharpenAir.

It took a couple weeks, but I snagged one for $47 shipped. It was a just the brush, no box or anything else. When I tore it down it looked to be in pretty good shape. I was able to glue the air valve O-ring back on it's piston. I used some black cyanoacrylate glue that has rubber in it to be a little flexible. The air valve body was also missing the O-ring to seal it against the bottom of the body.
Since I'd been reading Dave's Facebook pages I also ordered a Pointzero brush at the same time to use as parts donor for the needle spring adjuster. I like the spring soft enough to just hold the needle closed. I really like this brush set up like this. Side-by-side with it's big brother.

Now that I had a B & C cups it's only natural to go looking for an A cup. I had the HP-AH, but it really feels like a bigger brush with the MAC valve and being based on the body diameter HP-C+.

Next came my first failure. I bought an eBay Olympus HP-100 for $48 shipped advertised as "Nice like new condition, I don't know if it was ever used". It looked good on eBay and clean. It was only when I got to tearing it down did I find catastrophic damage.

It looks like someone ripped off the nozzle with pliers. There's not enough of a post left to figure out how much is missing. It still has threads from the nozzle embedded in there. The seller who was familiar with airbrushes said he'd got it second hand and never took it apart before listing it. He me refunded me immediately and didn't want it back. I cleaned the exterior and it now sits in the display cabinet. It wasn't all bad, turned out to be a good source for spares for a later brush.PXL_20240320_183507934.jpg
To Be Continued ...


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I got an Iwata hp-ah as my second brush under the same closeout deal and that was also a big push toward the rabbit hole for me too. Lovely brush and I use mine for model painting too. A cups are underrated really, they are light, balanced, and allow great visibility. I like the color of your Sears, and the T&C has you caught in that AAD net for sure. No getting out now. Looking forward to what you get/get next. :)
Toward the end of March Badger had their Adepticon sale and I was able pick up the Sotar Slim for $75 that I wanted to buy back when I got the Iwata HP-AH instead. It's interesting. It seems to be more responsive than the Iwatas with paint starting much faster on the trigger. It took a few weeks for Badger to get the orders from their sale shipped, so it was later April by the time I got it.

I really like the short nose.

Around this time I also ran across the Ginza GP-B and ordered one of those sight unseen. It works fine, but compared to my modified HP-B I don't think I'll ever have a need to pull it out of the box again.

Rolling into May, I picked up a second later version of the T&C Model A. This one has a Teflon head gasket and needle bearing more in common with Badger brushes. Where my first is really an antique that I'm hesitant to use, this one I plan to throw in the mix to use.

I finally found an A cup brush since the Olympus brush was a bust. I found a Rich AB-100 for around $70 with a spare needle. PXL_20240507_203345926.jpg
It was in good shape, but filthy. Lacquer thinner seemed to barely touch what ever was in it. Tamiya Airbrush Cleaner that's acetone based seemed to work better. I still had to pretty much ream out the gunk in the nozzle.

FFKM O-Rings from @DaveG showed up the same day, so all my Iwatas and the Rich were updated.

The Rich brush also had pitting on parts I haven't seen before in an airbrush. The auxiliary lever was pitted where it rubbed against the needle chuck and the springs were rusty. I also ran a sanding stick over the sides of the trigger slot a little where they felt a bit rough.

This brush is where the damaged Olympos came in useful for spare parts. WIth the Olympos springs and the spring adjuster loosened as far as it can go it feels very similar to my HP-B with the Pointzero spring adjuster. I also had ordered a new handle and trigger. I like being able to grab the chuck without pulling the handle during color changes.

Compared to my 0.2mm Iwatas this has the shortest nose of all of them.
To Be Continued ...
To bring us up to the present I saw a filthy old style Sotar 20/20 on ebay that I added to my watch list and the seller made a lower price offer, I made a lower counter offer and he accepted it. It showed up last weekend and it was the filthiest I've seen a brush. It had so many layers of paint on it I don't know how it worked to get the later ones on it. The head was pretty much a solid block of paint. The previous user had also coated all the moving parts with a red grease that was literally oozing out of places. I think the grease kept paint from sticking in the body of the brush, it cleaned out easier than I expected. PXL_20240525_204113745.jpg
Tearing it down I found the front looked like it had been hit with a grinder. I just ordered a new head to be safe. I'd planned to replace the dinged part with the style with the protective arms anyway. The front hole around the nozzle is out of round and the nozzle had been dinged by whatever did the damage partially sanding down one side and leaving a burr on the opposite side. The tip of the needle was bent, but that was fixable with a SharpenAir. I don't think it was in the brush whenever this damage was done or it would have been cut off.

The finish is a bit scuffed up, but it's fine for a working brush compared to a collectible. The new nozzle showed up yesterday and the brush works fine. I'm a little concerned the needle bearing might need replacement, but that is fairly easy. I added O-rings to the handles on both Sotars.

Here's the current collection, big change from just four airbrushes in January. There has barely been a week go by this year that I haven't had a brush or parts for a brush in the mail. Friday I put in $60 on an auction for an HP-SB that looks like it's missing a side feed plug that was around $40 and was surprised to win at $56.

To Be Continued ...
They add up quick, don't they?

I went on a bit of a spree this past year hen I feel down the rescue old brushes rabbit hole. 3 T&C Model As, a few Binks Wrens, a few Paasche, an Aerograph 93A and an Olympos 200A. One Model A I got for $23 shipped is my second favorite brush behind my Micron Takumi.

Which leads into howI ended the span, a 771 and a two Takumi.

But I swear, that's it.

Nice collection, but be warned, if you keep frequenting Dave's Twilight Zone of airbrushes, it'll never stop. I think every time one of us buys an old brush, two magically appear in his display case.