Iwata- better build quality, better materials, reliability, over all performance, "wear" parts hardly ever need replacing... There's a reason almost every knock-off airbrush coming out of China looks like an Iwata model, not a Badger. The basic design and layout started by Olympos (and used with permission by Iwata) has become the "standard" for a reason- it works well, and does it every time.
I have both. The Iwata is prettier, but I would choose the Patriot. The trigger action is just as smooth, the head assembly is easier to maintain, and I can draw finer lines with the Patriot. And, 0.35mm parts are available and cheap if I need still finer. See my reviews for details.
Given that I own a Badger Patriot 105 and have never held or used an Iwata Revolution CR, I would have to say the Patriot. My Patriot has been put through the ringer and its a work horse. I can cover a 2ft canvas in nothing flat or I can drop the psi and do some very fine detail work with the Patriot. Im sure the Iwata can do the same. I do own both brands, I have the Iwata Micron CM-C and its precision machine, pricey, but very precise! It will all boil down to what feels best to you as we each have our own preferences. Out of all the brushes I own, the Badger Krome and Velocity has the best feel in hand to me, that's not to say its better than Iwata, its only to say its what is most comfortable in my hand. You'll get mixed reviews on both brands, but I will say this, they are BOTH well machined tools and you can do pretty much the same with either of them. You really need to go to a hobby shop that stocks both and put them in your hand and see which feels more comfortable in hand to you, after all, YOU will be the one using it, and it will be a brush that will last you a lifetime either way you go as long as you take care of it. So my decision is based entirely on the fact that I have used and abused my Patriot and its survived everything Ive put it through, and for $70 bucks, its a hell of a deal. Now, let me throw a curve ball atcha, if Im not mistaken, Amazon still has the Badger Sotar 20/20 on sale for $71!!!!! That's a freakin steal for one hell of a brush. Not to throw a kink in it, but for that price, that's one hell of a machine. Either way you go, you wont be wrong as long as it feels good in hand to you, wish you the best of luck!!!
Actually Russ, I expected about a 50/50 response over all but I tend to agree with you...I paid $50 for my Master 233 so for the $70 range either badger(patriot or sotar) would seem to be the way to go ..especially at the price and quality. Unfortunately no place even remotely close stocks any quality brushes to even look at, another reason I don't want to break the bank sight unseen so that's why word of mouth is an important factor right now.