August 18, 2012

Testing 1

After repairing my compressor (Sil-Air) I was able to begin testing the Paasche V#1 airbrush and the Createx Wicked and the Inspire paints. The air pressure regulator / moisture separator unit of the compressor was broken. In order to change it the pump unit had to be removed, because there is not enough space to unscrew the above mentioned unit and screw the replacement back on. After replacing it, the Sil-Air worked as if it was new again.

A drawing of the Paasche V#1 (V, VV and VJR are also included) for identification of the parts, to which I refer in this blog entry, is placed below. Please click the image to see the larger actual size version for readability.

Click to see a larger image

The Paasche

The spray gun did not perform well as it came out of the box; the needle jammed and did not return to closed air and paint position while the spray mist was pulsating. Solving the first problem by deduction:
  1. take the gun apart
  2. mount the rocker assembly (19) and see if the needle travels smoothly - just move it to and fro in the airbrush (this was the case)
  3. mount the finger lever assembly (14 - also called the trigger) and see if that obstructs needle travel (which was not the case)
  4. mount the air cap body (4) that fixates the nozzle and move the needle in and out to see if it moves freely (this was the case)
  5. mount the air cap (3) and move needle again (I was able to move it smoothly)
  6. inserted the paint cup to the side (this jammed the needle!)
Conclusion: the stub that connects the paint cup to the airbrush housing was too long... ground off one millimeter and the needle traveled freely and jumped right back when releasing the trigger, shutting off air and paint flow. Additional adjustment: I stretched the spring (23) somewhat to make the gun more responsive. Paasche used to accompany each gun they sold with a small card on which a spray test result was shown. I guess they no longer bother to spend money on such type of quality control...

Paasche V#1 siphon type paint cup

The problem of the pulsating spray cone was resolved by tightening the air cap body (4) with the little wrench that comes with new V#1 guns.

In the beginning of the eighties of the previous century I started airbrushing with the V#1. I have the impression that the gun from that time was of better quality than the current generation of products - it felt more sturdy and as if tolerances were more accurate without causing parts to jam.

I always liked Paasche guns for the following reasons:
  1. Shortest distance of all airbrushes between trigger and air cap tip which allows a grip close to the surface on which the artist sprays (better control)
  2. Less expensive while having equal quality of spraying in comparison to more costly airbrushes brands
  3. I like the V#1 in particular because the siphon paint cup to the side does not obstruct the view on the art work in progress
  4. The nozzle, that is tapered at both ends, centers itself - no awkward messing with tiny threaded coils that easily become damaged
  5. The V#1 handled thinner based paints (for custom painting) excellently since it had no rubber or plastic rings that were affected (bloated) by thinner solutions
  6. It was the next best thing to the legendary Paasche Turbo, but had a larger paint cup volume and was suited to spray larger areas as well beside allowing to do very fine and precise type of work
Unfortunately the current V#1 does not seem to be of the same quality as Paasche airbrushes used to be. Nevertheless, with some tinkering and fitting the V#1 with a commercially available polished needle, the gun is still quite good and available for a very low price (I saw that Bear-Air sells it for just over 50 USD...). Compared to my other gun, an Iwata HP-BH, the V#1 is less predictable and requires more dexterity (which used to be the other way around in older product generations of these brands). BTW, the V#1 discussed here is the type without the adjusting wheel in front of the trigger that Paasche for some reason unclear to me discontinued.

Original photo from Don's Airbrush Tips

The new V#1's materials seem of lower quality and weight, while the factory's machining feels less accurate. In doing so Paasche runs the risk of losing its carefully established reputation as a producer of quality products. The newer types of airbrushes, like the Millennium and Talon guns, have less logical constructions than the old models. The triggers are too far away from the tip, which means decreased control for artists resulting in less accuracy. The artist's grip of the tool is not as close to the tip as Paasche has proved to be able to successfully construct in models such as the VJR and V#1 and #2.

Createx Wicked paint

After reading many advertisements and cheerful user experiences on the web, expectations were high, although the quality of former Createx paints could never really convince me. I prefer to use Holbein Aeroflash and Lukas Illu-Color for fine art and House of Kolor (HOK) for custom paint jobs. Although the Wicked paints are of better quality than previously released Createx paints, they are still no match for my preferred paints. Both the Lukas and Holbein paints contain finer pigments that allow more precise and longer spraying without tip dry and nozzle clogging.

Inspire paint

I did not expect this paint to match the handling quality of HOK, but after some fiddling with mix ratios I must say it came very close. Perhaps additional testing will put it right next to or beyond HOK paint handling properties. European artists may find Inspre attractive, because its price is lower than HOK paints since it is produced in the UK, which significantly reduces shipping costs. These type of (thinner based) paints are considered to be dangerous goods and therefore are not allowed to be transported by air.

Although it is claimed to be usable straight out of the bottle, I would not recommend to do this. 1 part paint to 2 parts of thinner resulted in much better handling while 1 : 6 gave excellent results while the paint then obviously becomes less opaque. I will have to do more testing with Inspire, but the first impression is quite good. I will post my experiences with this paint as soon as I have new test results.