What Airbrush Should I Buy For Painting Toys?

I've made a lot of toys over the years. Most of the toys I made were not finished or had a little polyurethane on them. I didn't paint any of them.

Then one day I saw some painted toys. that looked really nice. I decided that I wanted to try this out for myself. It seemed to me that air brushes would be the way to go. I had an airbrush that I had picked up at a yard sale years ago and an air compressor. I also went to school to learn autobody painting and worked as a painter for a short time. How hard could it be?

It didn't take long before I realised that airbrushing toys was a lot more complicated than I had expected. The paints were very different and worst of all I could not just google up some videos about how to airbrush toys. Most people that were finishing toys were using mineral oil concoctions or rattle can paint. I didn't find a single tutorial how to about painting toys with an air brush. I was going to have to figure this all out for myself.

I started with the airbrush I already owned soon discovering that it needed a bit of help. Fortunately for me it was a Badger and they have parts and support for old air brushes and I was soon able to get it up and running. I wanted to use acrylic paints mainly because the others I looked at required the use of expensive solvents with warnings on the labels about brain damage from inhaling fumes. They were also flammable.

My yard sale airbrush didn't work. I started buying airbrushes and trying them with a variety of acrylic paints. Most of them just didn't work with the paints I wanted to use.

I now own about 10 airbrushes. Badger and Chinese imports. The Chinese airbrushes work if you want to use the expensive paints made for airbrush artists. They didn't work for acrylic house paint or the $0.99 bottles of craft paint they sell at WalMart.

After lots of experimenting, the airbrush I recommend you start with is a Badger Anthem 155. It will spray anything you might want up to and including acrylic house paint and automotive paints. It will spray them all with the same needle. Badger airbrushes have seals that will stand up to lacquer thinners and other harsh solvents. Parts are available cheap from Badger, Amazon, eBay and other sources. You will break something. Drop the needle on a concrete floor and it will be toast. Parts and support are important. Badger will rebuild your air bush for the cost of the parts. Badger is a US company and all their parts are made here.

Badger 155 Anthem Airbrushes
Badger 155 Anthem Airbrushes

Parts for Chinese air brushes are hard to come by and believe it or not expensive. I broke the tip in one of mine and the replacement cost more than I paid for the airbrush. In some of the Chinese air brushes lacquer thinners and other solvents will eat the seals. Good luck with finding the seals. Essentially they are disposables. If you don't mind buying a new airbrush everytime you breaks a part these may be just the thing you need.

Master Brand Made In China Air Brush Purchased On eBay
Master Brand Made In China Airbrush Purchased On eBay

I spent way more time and money than I should have to to figure all of this out. The biggest problem was that most of the information that was available on the internet was totally unrelated to what I wanted to do or posted by people that really did understand paints and how they work.  I spent money on things I didn't need just to try them for myself. I have lots of airbrush stuff that I will probably never use again. Save your time and money.

Buy the Badger Anthem 155.

I don't work for Badger and they are not a sponsor.


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