August 28, 2012

Paasche's Turbo airbrush

Today I thought I would fire up the Turbo again. I had not used it for years, but the thing still spins and screams like a dentist's drill. Not an airbrush for beginners or for artists that forget how to adjust it after not using it for too long...

Paasche Turbo

For making delicate fine lines of varying color intensity it is unbeatable. Controlled spattering is also one of its fortes. Spraying larger surfaces is best done with other type of double action brushes. The Turbo allows the artist to adjust every facet of airbrushing separately, no compromises like with normal double action airbrushes. But at the same time the shipload of options makes it difficult to understand and handle.

I use a magnifying glass to set up the airbrush correctly, since a few microns out of range makes it behave differently. The air jet has to be aimed at the center of the needle that always has the same travel distance, but can be bent more or less by the needle tension knob. More tension means more paint per sequence that the needle passes the column of air ejected by the air jet. Less tension probably requires the paint cup to be adjusted towards the turbo house to avoid too little paint being picked up by the needle. And artists do not want to tilt the paint cup to angles (during the adjustment process) that will cause the paint to flow out of it in instances that they do not expect and can not predict.... On the other hand they do not want to tilt the cup too far backward to avoid the needle from running dry.

The above probably makes no sense at all to those who are not familiar with the Turbo's quirks and special requirements. And these are just a few of all possible adjustments one can make to the Paasche. The best way to explain the workings and adjustment of the Turbo is through visual demonstration. For airbrush maniacs who have an interest in it, I will conduct special classes.

The Turbo is no longer produced. Airbrushes like Iwata's Micron SB are able to produce equally fine and stable lines, while this and other airbrushes are able to produce controllable and predictable spatter patterns. It actually is possible to hear what type of stream (continued or spattering) and how much paint this airbrush is producing. The Turbo's adjustability remains unique, but it has been overtaken by easier to operate tools. Paasche has some time ago taken this brilliant tool out of production, since only die hards in a small niche still used it.