Adventures with a Battery Powered Airbrush!

For those following my progress on my Finnish Infantry you may remember a new piece of kit I mentioned in my first article; a battery powered airbrush.

Now, airbrushes are something of a specialist piece of kit.  They take time to learn how to use them properly to maximise your return on investment which, for a new gamer is not really what you want.
However, over the years, I have spent quite a bit of money on rattle can coloured spray primers which are great products but are becoming ever more expensive and, currently, hard to get. 
With that in mind I recently purchased a cheap low pressure battery powered airbrush retailed by Neat and Handy.

The airbrush kit – image from Neat and Handy

This has proved a rather nice addition to my painting arsenal.  Whilst operating at a low pressure (20PSI is listed), I have found it works well for priming and base colour applications on tanks and infantry. If you have used Plastic Soldier Company sprays before its behaviour is very similar and you the advantage is you can use whatever colour you want! They actually market this at wargamers (especially 40k players) on this basis.

The Airbrush has a 0.2mm needle and a dual action trigger. However, as the battery powered compressor is putting out a low pressure, I’ve generally been using it more like a single action airbrush (i.e. paint flow control only) which is fine for the above mentioned tasks.
It also comes with a number of different sized paint containers all of which have lids to help maintain the pressure level.  I used the middle sized clear one for primer and the small one for colour; paint is more expensive than primer and you don’t want to waste it!
You can also get a spare needle if you damage the one it comes with.

The airbrush itself is very light compared to more expensive ones but, even with the compressor unit attached directly rather than through a hose, it is still more than light enough to hold in the hand and is fairly comfortable when doing so, even if, like me, you have fairly small hands. I also tested my other airbrushes with the compressor unit but found they were a bit too heavy to hold for long (H&S and Badger).

The Battery – Image from Neat and Handy

It comes with a single USB charged battery but you can get an extra one which is a smart idea; there is nothing worse than running out of power mid paint! The USB cable has lights to tell you when the battery is charged which is a nice touch on such a cheap product. Overall, the battery provided sufficient power for 30 minutes which is more than enough time for most of us. Even with setting it up, I managed to prime 42 infantry teams in a session before my 60 minutes was up.

It is very quiet to operate; my wife couldn’t hear it in the next room unlike my regular compressor. It can also safely be used indoors without need of a proper spray booth and extractor unit. I just use a spare cardboard box to catch any over spray with and my regular painting desk lamp for light. I  always wear gloves and using a disposable mask for safety is sensible.

My primed Finns using Green Stuff Word Matt Surface Primer

Clean up is straight forward; it can be fully disassembled just like any other airbrush and there are loads of videos on the net showing you how to do that. It does come with a short instruction leaflet but that is a very light on detail and is text only.

So, if you want to try out airbrushing and don’t want to spend a great deal of money initially, or only want one for limited tasks, this could be the ideal tool for you.

If you get one let us know how you have got on- Martin

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Article by: martin turner