I was always taught by my elders (no, not the pointy eared ones) to spend the most money possible on tools. In the long run the cheap tools will break and you will be constantly replacing them and spending more money. I’ve owned around 6 airbrushes in the past decade. I’ve had failures ranging from clogged, to split nozzles to bent needles all of which are operator error. It’s the 180lb chimp hanging off the end of it that causes them to break. Each of these previous airbrushes has only cost me £30 to £40 and I do get a couple of years use out of each one. So when I saw an airbrush on eBay for less than £13 with free delivery, I thought what the heck. It’s worth a shot. Find out what I think of it after the jump.
So the dual action KMOON airbrush is a Chinese copy of the more expansive Japanese iwata airbrushes. It’s completely metal and doesn’t feature any plastic components. All the threads are true and the build and quality feels really solid. It’s fully adjustable with an air regulator at the bottom and a needle stop at the back. The paint cup is a nice big large capacity so you won’t be constantly refilling it. The front end fully strips down making cleaning a doddle. The nozzle is 0.2mm so a good size for miniature airbrushing. The kit includes a nozzle spanner and a hose adapter.
So what’s the catch? Why does this airbrush cost slightly more than the price of a GW undercoat aerosol can? I honestly don’t know is the answer. I know Chinese labour is cheap but the cost of materials, plus postage from China to UK and eBay/paypal fees there can’t be much money left for profit? Obviously they’re saving money by cutting out distribution and retail.
The Iwata HP-C Plus is 10x the price of the KMOON and has identical features. Knowing that I go through 5 airbrushes in a decade I can buy 10 KMOONS that will keep me going for 20 years compared to the cost of one Iwata. All my airbrush failures are my fault so I would be really nervous trying to get 20 years worth of work out of a single Iwata. I have nothing to lose breaking a £13 Chinese copy.
So how does the KMOON perform? Well I was expecting it to explode in my hands but it is constantly surprising me! I spent a good hour the other night base coating Space Wolves without a single clog. The second night I was working on Stormcast and that was headache free even when switching from white to black undercoat for the different components.
So, initial impressions are very promising. I’ve actually ordered a second one!
You can get one from eBay by clicking here. (Link worked at time of publication).
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I watched that guy for years check his channel he purchased a Harder and Steenbeck Evolution in a studio update and swore off cheap airbrushes the difference is the parts don't misalign after a short time.
- Cadian 127th
I use a Neo by Iwata so at the cheaper end (still around £40) and so far have avoided breaking it. Always wondered whether there was much difference between the different priced airbrushes. It'll be interesting to see how your KMOON is getting on after a few months.
What compressor do you use? I bought a cheaper airbrush and compressor set from amazon last Christmas for undercoating but have really struggled to get it right so it now just sits in its box. Do you think the compressor is the deciding factor for good quality airbrushing?
definitely, ideally you want one with an air tank and enough horsepower (typically 1/5 for hobby use) to create excess pressure behind the regulator to ensure that it has enough grunt to deliver a consistent 10 – 30psi depending on what and how you are spraying.
Also what size needle and paint are you using, if its .2mm and your trying to use vallejo surface primer or normal acrylics thinned then it will probably clog, a .3 or .4 mm needle is much more forgiving to beginners and is ideal for base coating
looks to be annother varients of the "veda 180" which i swear by, after fiddling with the seal tension nut (the bit the needle goes into after the trigger) other than the trigger button it self i cant tell the difference in action between my badger and that.
You should be able to get spares from bartsharp.co.uk or everythingairbrush.com too boot 🙂
I say if it works for what it's needed for at that price it's a bargain. Way cheaper and obviously a ton more effective than that god awful flamer style plastic gun that GW has had sitting on the shelves for a decade. How they still try and sell this I will never know. I remember even the staff at one GW store highly advised me from not purchasing it.
I think this is also good for people new to airbrushing. Biggest thing I hear from folks is that they go out spend a fortune on a new airbrush and compressor and then say they feel scared about using it as they don't really know what to do and they are afraid of ruining the purchase. This way you can mess around and if you ruin the airbrush you can always pick up a new one. When I began years ago I had one like this for several years and it was quite durable for the stress I put it through. I would recommend it.
Is there a good way of practising? I've tried vallejo air black primer and ended up with (imo) quite a think and very shiny finish, so I've just bought more citadel black spray instead. I'd love to get better, but not at the cost of my models!
@nakchak I've no idea what power it is but I suspect it's not huge (look at the kits around £35 on amazon and it looks like that, little black box with a red button).
- Rob Hale
Vallejo Polyurethane Black Primer dries to a Satin finish. It's supposed to be shinier than the GW black spray. It's the only primer I use and so long as the paint isn't pooling when you apply it it's not too thick as it will actually self-level as it dries.
- Spanner Boy
You need an air gun not an air brush for a primer. And you will need a fairly powerful compressor for that. Make sure the paint is the consistancy of milk and hold maybe at arms length. Smooth back and forth motions. Put on a thin quick coat to start and keep applying like that to build up one solid even coat. But to be honest, if you're just painting minitures use a spray can. Try out your technique on some paper until you get it down really good. Same as with an air gun. Smooth back and forth but far enough away to 'dust' it. And build it up to get a nice solid even surface. Do your painting and I promise it will look awesome. Then laquer it. A gloss is harder but the matt looks better. You can do a layer of gloss then matt to get the matt effect. For large models I suggest you put as much laquer as you dare on. The more laquer, the richer the paint will look
- Rob Hale
I've owned 2 Iwata Neos and about 5 Random Chinese no-name airbrushes. Honestly there is no real difference as far as I can tell between them except the brand name. For the last 2 years I've been using a Frankenbrush I built out of the remains of my dead Chinese Airbrushes that actually out-performs all of them. Spare parts for branded Airbrushes cost more than buying a new unbranded airbrush too.
- Rob Hale
A big mistake a lot of painters make is putting "agitators" like ball bearings in their airbrush paints. All these are doing is dislodging dried paint from the sides of the bottle and adding large flakes which will inevitably clog your nozzle. It's actually best to roll your bottles between your palms rather than shake them also for this reason (it also stops paint spooging out of the top when you open them).
- From The Fang
I was really hoping you'd conclude that these cheap airbrushes are crap. If not then it must just be me that's incompetent! Was considering a more expensive brush to hopefully fix my issues.
Thanks to the comments above though. Maybe my clogging issues are down to needle size since I'm confident it isn't the paint itself.
From the Fang, it really depends on what you are doing. I have a lot of airbrushes, some are very expensive and you can see the differences between them. I guess its like comparing cars, you can get a Ferrari or a Fiat. The difference really comes down to what you want. Some of mine can do a hair line, but if you are just using it for general use I would just start with one of the cheaper ones. I know when I first got into airbrushing years ago I used to watch a video by Les Bursley on Youtube about airbrushes. I found it really helpful. Saying that I really think it comes down to what you are comfortable with and what you prefer. Me personaly I prefer Iwata and Harder and Steinbeck, but cannot stand Badger.
Totally agree with this Thirdeyenuke. I got a Badger kit as my first airbrush (it was a siphon feed too – what was I thinking?!), and it is seriously garbage. I wouldn't even give it away. I do use cheap airbrushes though and have had a few, and couldn't recommend them more highly so long as they are well designed gravity feed, dual action brushes. I would be wary of cheap airbrushes that you can change the needle size with, only because they are more delicate and as a beginner it would be very easy to break the nozzle, particularly by over-tightening. For the journeyman painter who isn't doing commissions for a living, I reckon they're great.
Tallifer, well I purchased a Badger Patriot 105 from a UK stockist about a year ago and it lasted for about 4 months before falling apart and being unusable. I tried calling a UK Badger represented company and was only met with hostility trying to say it was my fault as I did not know how to use airbrushes and that I needed to pay a heavy sum for it to be repaired. It really annoyed me as I had the belief that Badger was a good company that always looked out for its customers. I have a lot of airbrushes and have never encountered this sort of customer service before. Little to say I will no longer purchase anything Badger again and would not advise them as a credible company.
A link to your work and an email containing only the word "dumbarse" was in order I think!
Hey From the Fang, I meant to reply more directly to you also. I felt exactly the same with my first airbrush (which was more expensive than the one I'm currently painting my Imperial Fists with). I don't want to be condescending because I don't know what you've read and watched about airbrushing, but there's a lot of good stuff on youtube – when I was starting I found Kenny Boucher and CruxTerminatus (both on youtube) really helpful (I'm not sure why, I think I just enjoyed listening to them and so picked up a lot of tips and ideas). I also read A LOT of conflicting or overly directive 'ways to airbrush'. Most people like fairly low PSI, but when I was starting I could not do that at all, and ended up with great results between 25-30, sometimes even higher. I'll often go higher than that now and just put less paint through. So don't be scared to pump some air out of the thing. I know that Kenny Boucher sets his compressor to max and gets great results. I found with my first brush that if I didn't get the psi up, nothing happened, such bad results. I also read heaps about thinning all the paints so much. I only thin about half the airbrush paints (mostly Vallejo air) I use now, and those I do, only a little with a bit of watered down flow improver. So don't be scared to just use the paint as is (so long as it's airbrush paint). Basically, everyone's got a lot of different ways to do it, and you'll find one that works if you try enough. Also, it could just be, that like me, your first cheap airbrush is actually just crap, and you need a better cheap airbrush. Anyway, keep at it and good luck, it's worth it, and you'll crack it soon enough!
- Ross Graham
As a separate point, your wolves, the dude at the front is your Ragnar Blackmane isn't it?
I can see you have Used the Krom Dragongaze Body with the Space Wolves Upgrade Kit head. but what have you used for the Backpack, Shoulderpad and Frostfang?
I'm making my own Ragnar soon and this is a fantastic interpretation (whether it was intended to be or not). Any chance of a post looking at this in more detail, perhaps ask people to share their own Ragnar conversions?
Hi Garfy, just wondering how this airbrush is doing after a few months of use? Looking into buying one! Thanks.
I've only used it to undercoat and base coat around 40 figures dos far but it's like new. I bought a second one as well I so impressed. I'll be using them for my Boba Fett life size armour project I'm 3D printing soon.
Greetings from the Philippines, Be careful of the needles and nozzles the alloy is soft as compared to the Iwata and Sparmax needles and nozzles. If the tiny rubber o-ring around the nozzles are damaged, you can replace it with two-layers of teflon seal tape (the stuff we use for plumbing repairs).
Does it work well? Are there any downsides?
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There is a youtuber called Buypainted. Does all these great airbrush tutorials. When people asked him what airbrush to buy he always said buy the cheapest one you can find on ebay.