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Airbrush for children?

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My 8-year-old is getting into modeling and wants to airbrush. His hands are probably too small and weak for a regular double-action. I'm contemplating getting a pistol grip if I can find one. Something like the Badger Marksman single action, or even a regular external-mix single action, which is basically just a push button. Any parents out there with advice?

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I would start him off with a dual action A/B, it will be better to have something that will spray in a predictable manner,I don't think there is a learning curve or baby steps in using an A/B but there is in technique.Have you tried to fit him to any A/B's you already have at home? Take him to your local Hobby shop and try some on for size, that's the best recommendation I can give.

Cost wist you could try something like THIS or the Harbor Freight Badger 100 copy, same size and feel, but cost effective. (the H/F brush is a bit clunky but I've tuned them up and they do perform well, our Club bought the six pack, so I went through all of them and did some massaging to the innards,,,)


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Unless your son is going to be doing free hand camouflage, I doubt whether he needs a double action. I would start him with a Badger 350. It's a small, light, tough, easy to use, but capable airbrush. It will be useful for years. Please don't get a cheap look-alike copy. They really aren't the same. You could see my review here.


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I've decided to get him a Badger 350 (Thanks, Don!) since it's the price range I was looking for and would be a great starter brush for him. I have the HF brush so once he gets bigger he can practice with that one to get used to the double action. (Then maybe, just maybe, I'll let him use the Iwata). I never thought to clean the HF up, so I appreciate you posting the steps, Curt.

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From experience, I can highly recommend the Grex Tritium TG.

We had friends, with two 8 year old girls, visit our home earlier this summer. As soon as they saw my workshop they wanted to try an airbrush. I loaded up my Grex with child-friendly water-based craft paints and turned them loose. Neither girl had any trouble controlling the brush, even though it's heavier than a conventional one, and were writing their names and drawing flowers on sheets of printer paper in no time. :)



Edited by Eric Larson
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My ten year old daughter has been using my H&S infinity for over two years now. She might not be able to keep it up for hours, but I don't think it's necessary. It's an expensive piece of kit, but together with learning how to handle an airbrush, she learns to take care of something expensive. There haven't been any issues in those two years. We airbrushed flowers and sheep on her bike last weekend. A great father daughter project.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi, just my 2 cents: I gave my 3 year old nephew my airbrush so he could spray a bit of water at my window. He was chuckling with joy and it was fun to watch, really.

I also thought: why not give him paper and some paint? But the answer was obvious: without a proper mask (not the cheap dust masks professional illustrators used up til the 80s

that let a thin streak of fumes and pigments crawl into the mask) you risk nose and lung cancer. My Dad died from it and the rule is: if you smell it, you breathe it. Even if you

cannot smell it as with Acrylics, that stuff is not good for lungs. A proper silicone mask with active filters easily costs 25-50 bucks, but you cannot buy a new lung. Trouble is,

kids can't really wear these or understand the necessity. Some parents even teach them: safety is for the weak; we are tough folks. Cancer is not a thing that only happens 'to others',

neither is asthma etc.

Happy modelling nevertheless, but don't underestimate this factor! :)

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What about an Iwata Neo CN? Aren't they about 30-40 bucks?

Amazon Neo

While I have never used one, I have heard decent things about them being a good starter brush, plus it's gravity feed, so that would teach a child not to sling the thing around, it's dual action so it's "Growable".

I was thinking of getting one for myself.

Of course you would need an Air Supply (I'm all out of Love?) no no no...Not that Air Supply.

And Paint, and Paper (or a model!) and a mini mask for kids.

Just make sure to wear yours, and draw teeth or something on it with food coloring.

I have found that if you wear one, and make it look cool, they are far more interested in doing it.

Same thing with Helmets. Make it look cool, and show them that you do it too, and it's no problem.

In fact if they catch you without it, they will ask you where your safety gear is.

Kids are not dumb. If they like doing something, they will use the equipment to do it.

When they are little they are like little sponges, soaking everything up ,

when they are Teenagers they are like Sieve's leaking everything out.

Then the Brain Fairy Brings their Brain back when they are 21-24...

Just an observation...


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  • 2 weeks later...

If he's just getting into modelling, and he might like it now, but kids can be rather whimsical with their interests, so I wouldn't get an airbrush just yet. Better to share one for now. At least thats how I'm doing it.

My 10 year old son has modelled on and off for a few years now, and recently indicated that he wants to airbrush aswell. I have two airbrushes, both double action. A Badger 150 and a H&S. I mainly use the Badger and as he won't be spraying complex camouflage, at least not yet, he'll be able to use my Badger. As the sprayarea is next to my contruction site, I'll allways be near to help and keep an eye on things. If gets the vibe to do more and do more complex stuff, then I'll see about getting him his own airbrush. But that will also mean an own compressor or another form of airsupply, workspace, etc.

One thing I forgot about, and glad I just read in this post, is the need for a proper mask. Thats something you need to get, everything else is optional.


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