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DMC

New KMoon Airbrush: and another + thinner

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I’m prefacing this mini review/opinion by stating that I am not an expert on airbrushes or airbrushing. It is simply about my recent purchase of an inexpensive Chinese made and what I think of it.  No doubt there are quite a few BMs that have many more hours of experience than I do.  If you are one then please feel free to jump in with any comments, suggestions or criticism. 

 

A few few weeks ago, my 35 year old Badger 150 became unusable.  Coincidentally, I had be researching inexpensive airbrushes on YouTube and the KMoon brand was brought to my attention.  Mr K Moon, if there is a mister Moon, manufactures a lot of airbrushes.  Many  thousands, in fact, and they sell very inexpensively.  I happened across one I liked the look of but couldn’t find a review of it on YouTube.  I bought it anyway....for under a tenner.  Under a tenner, how does he do it?  The eBay vendor had a 100% positive feedback rating and the brush arrived pdq.  I spent a little time familiarising myself with it and then had a trail shoot with it.

 

Here are a couple of photos and a few comments.

 

My airbrushing set-up

TL: my compressor, a birthday present.  So far it has worked ok.  This type starts out at about £50, sans tank, on eBay. With a tank, and a lot of other stuff, it goes for around £80, or more.

TR:  the brush itself.  I like it so far.  It has a little heft to it and is comfortable to handle.  The hose came with the compressor and has a quick release connection.  Very useful and recommended.

BL:  secs and a parts breakdown.

BR: paints and thinners, etc.  I use Vallejo acrylics and thinners.  They go on pretty smoothly and dry quickly.  Care must be taken when shooting as they can dry up in the brush and clog it up.  I use a few drops of Vallejo retarder to, well, retard the drying time.  

 

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The KMoon’ features:

TL:  the #1 needle cap and the exposed needle.  I am embarrassed to admit that I never knew an airbrush could be used without this cap.  Apparently, it is there to prevent damage to the needle and and to the user from the very sharp needle.

TR: This knob at the end of the brush controls the trigger through.  Screw it and there’s less needle travel and less air, and paint. Screw it out and you get more air and more pain

BL:  the 2cc cup.  Pretty small compared to some but it will hold enough for my needs.  Anything large would be wasted capacity. However, if painting, say, a large airliner a 5 or 7cc cup would probably be necessary.

BR:  backing off the knurled knob permits the needle to be removed for cleaning.

 

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Early results:

More in a minute.  I’m going to post this before I lose it.

Top:  first shoot, right from the box.  I did check the needle to see if it was in the correct position.  It was.  The paint was Vallejo Air out of the bottle.  Around 20 lbs psi.

Bottom:  I tried different needle positions and trigger throws.  Also added a few drops of thinner and retarder to the paint.  Same 20 lbs psi.

 

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Conclusion:

Well, I know it works okay.  Just need to work on settings and paint thickness a little more and I think I’ll do just fine.  There is a YouTube video on tuning up an inexpensive airbrush.  Polishing the needle and replacing the needle cap grommet with beeswax.  I’ll polish the needle and think about the beeswax before trying it.  Removing the grommet would probably destroy it so don’t want to do that.  This is not a cheap, as in cheaply made, airbrush.  It has the look and feel of something more expensive.  At under £10, postage included, it is a mystery to me how they do it.  Not sure I want to know either.

 

If I were just starting out airbrushing I’d choose an inexpensive brush like this one.  Later, as my skills improved, and I wanted a named brush, I might upgrade to a Badger, etc.

 

Thanks for your interest.

 

Dennis

 

 

 

 

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May it bring you hours of enjoyable painting sessions :)

 

One minor "objection": the screw at the back only controls the needle travel, it doesn't affect the air coming out. That is a constant. On some airbrushes if you have perfect control over your fingers you can control the airflow by how much you push down on the trigger, but that's incredibly uncomfortable and very tiring. You can just buy one of those quick release valves with air adjustment. I think you can pick one up on fleabay for a pound or something (haven't bought one in a while). If you do buy one better get two. Last time I bought one it had a flaw. 

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14 hours ago, bmwh548 said:

May it bring you hours of enjoyable painting sessions

The jury is still out on how enjoyable they’ll be and I don’t know about the hours but we’ll see.

 

14 hours ago, bmwh548 said:

One minor "objection

Thank you for sorting that out for me. Never too late to learn something.   I had assumed that restricting or enlarging the size of needle cap orifice, by shifting the needle, would affect the volume of air, or paint, passing through it.  

 

Yes, I had considered getting one of those quick disconnects with the air control valve but the disconnect is an integral part of my hose so I’ll just make do with it. 

 

Dennis

 

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The air path and the paint path are distinct. Air passes through the opening between the nozzle tip and the nozzle cap. That is a fixed size and can not be influenced by how much you move the needle. From time to time you should check it to make sure there's no blockage from dried up paint (it can happen sometimes under certain circumstances).

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9 hours ago, bmwh548 said:

it can happen sometimes under certain circumstances).

It already has.  I believe 0.2mm to be too small for acrylics.  I’m looking for an 0.5 needle and nozzle set that will fit the brush.  I will try polishing this one up a bit.

 

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These two airbrushes came with the compressor.  Unused so far as I was happy with the Badger.  Actions are a bit stiff.  There is a varnish-like substance on the threads.  

 

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The KMoon and the side-feeder are very much alike.  Looks like the same size needle, measuring from the shaft,  that is.  

 

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More to come.

 

Dennis

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You can get kits on fleabay (nozzle, needle and nozzle cap) in various sizes. You can get 0.2, 0.25, 0.3 and 0.5. Always make sure you get the whole kit because the larger the nozzle the larger the nozzle cap needs to be as well.

I have all the sizes, I found that the 0.3 is the best workhorse on the Chinese airbrushes. To be honest I don't use the 0.2 nozzle on any of my airbrushes (Ultra included here) unless I use MRP lacquer or automotive paint (thinned to roughly MRP consistency). For everything else I just use 0.3 or 0.4 nozzles. Then again I don't do tricky freehand camo or anything like that.

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I am (don't throw rocks at me) an Aztek user. For about 20 years now.

I purchased thereabouts last year two Chinese airbrushes. The first never worked from the start, all was sort of locked in place, nothing moved smoothly, and was returned, and had to chase my money back a bit.

I purchased a second that looked better, it worked erratically, for no reason I could find. I returned it too. The appearance on both externally was good, the fine details were crap (eccentric or poorly machined needles, poorly done threads, etc. )

I finally bought an Iwata. Used it for a while. It works fine, but I went back to my Aztek.

Hope yours (there are many, many brands of Chinese airbrushes) work better.

I never buy anything Chinese if I can avoid it. No tools, clothing, or any electronics (I am aware though that some of my electronics are actually either partially or completely made in China, but I hope to better standards).

 

The Airbrush troglodyte.

 

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I have a few Iwata's and can't fault them, but also have two Tamiya airbrushes which imho are just as good.

 

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10 hours ago, Moa said:

I am (don't throw rocks at me) an Aztek user

Had to look that one up, an unusual design.  The finishes on your builds can’t be faulted, however, so what ever works for you, Moa.  No rocks from me.

 

I used my old Badger quite a bit in days past without really understanding how it worked.  No Internet back then so it was a case of learn as you go.  Paint goes in here, air goes in here, push down on this trigger and magic!, paint comes out here.  I know a little more now thanks to the Internet and advice from @bmwh548.   Cheap Chinese Airbrushes, if a label must be put on them, are not what I, in my limited experience with them, would necessarily call cheap, as in shoddy.  Inexpensive would be more like it.  They seem to lack that little bit of extra care in finish and assembly that more expensive makes have.  They can be improved upon, however (does anything work right out of the box first time?)  And for someone like me, whose tally of finished models is a big fat 0, a more expensive brand would be a waste.  Also, as I have disclosed elsewhere,  Father Time is hot on my trail and gaining fast.  So inexpensive Chinese will do. 

 

And I’ve managed to get this KMoon one working pretty well.  I’ll take a few more photos of what I’ve done to improve it tomorrow and post them here.  A couple of things I’d change but for under £10 I reckon it’s a bargin.

 

Dennis

 

 

 

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38 minutes ago, DMC said:

does anything work right out of the box first time?

 

Well my Ultra didn't work right out of the box and needed tinkering and that did not cost 10 pounds. If you don't mind messing around with the internals every now and then the Chinese brushes will do the job. Like I said, I still have two of them and they see regular use. 

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A few more “tweaks” and were done.  Polishing the needle is probably the most frequently mention improvement to make on an inexpensive Chinese airbrush.  Using 4000 grit with a drop of water for this picture.  The blue bar is metal polish that I’ve had for so long I can’t remember buying it.  I’d have the needle chucked in my Tamiya drill to for these steps but not for these photos. A close look at the needle revealed that I had somehow bent the tip slightly.  Easy to do, very fine point.  I straightened it by spinning it between the blade and the ruler. Worked fine but I’ll be more careful with it from now on.  Not evident in the final photo but the finish is almost chrome-like.

 

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Next I chucked half a cotton bud/q-tip with a scraping of the blue metal polish in my Tamiya drill and polished everything I could, cap, needle cap, bowl, every thing.  The Tamiya drill is not a high speed drill so I used a wire brush to carefully clean up the threads of the end cap.  The threads get a very light coating of hair clipper oil.  That’s it not much more I can do to the brush.  Except, perhaps, replace the nozzle grommet with bees wax.  Giving that some thought.

 

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The brush sprays very nicely now.  I used Vallejo Air Scarlet with a few drops of own brand thinner and retarder on the M.39.  PSI set at about 15.  The finish is very smooth and should only take a bit of polishing to get a little sheen to it.  

 

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The needle throw is a little long on this airbrush and takes some getting used to.   Also, a domed trigger would make it a bit more comfortable to use.  Maybe a small cap for the cup too as it’s easy to spill the paint until you get used to it.

 

Pleased with it now.  Does the job, all I need.

 

Thanks for your interest 

 

Dennis

 

 

 

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Thanks for the tips on how to get 'more' out of these airbrushes. 

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On 02/08/2019 at 15:02, DMC said:

Mr K Moon, if there is a mister Moon, manufactures a lot of airbrushes.  Many  thousands, in fact,

As K Moon died 41 years ago I don't think there can be a mister Moon. 😉

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4 minutes ago, Whofan said:

As K Moon died 41 years ago

Ah, yes, Moonies.  I remember them.   On the way to Switzerland, back in the 70s, I sat next to a girl on the plane who was, if I remember, on her way to marry someone she’d never met. Or something like that.  Obviously not the same K Moon.

 

Dennis

 

 

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I did meet Keith Moon's wife once, in a hotel near London.

 

I was staying in the hotel in a course, and she'd just left him for good, and was staying at the same hotel.

 

Suffice to say the meeting was fleeting and stilted.

 

 

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As yes, yet another Moon.  So we have Reverend Moon, Keith Moon and even Daphne Moon and her crazy brother Simon, from Frasier.  Simon was one of 8 Moon brothers.  None of Who(m) have anything to do with airbrushes.  This could get out of hand.

 

 

 

 

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The ‘brush that I started this thread with is, after a little tuneup, ok for what I need it for.  However, at .02/3 the needle/nozzle is that little bit small to use with Vallejo acrylics over larger areas.  Also,  as I’ll not ever be spraying fine lines or camouflage patterns, I thought a single action ‘brush with a larger needle/nozzle might be a better bet for just, say, spraying a wing or fuselage.   Not with this ‘brush, however.  It was listed on eBay as having a .04 needle/nozzle which would have been just right for my needs but the parts/instruction bumpf had it has .02/03, same as the  KMoon.  So, disappointed as I am, I can’t really complain that much as it only cost £8.95 and that includes postage from, you guessed it, China.  I’ll fool around with it a little and see if a single action ‘brush is what I needed, or not and post my thoughts at a later date.  Note: the brush, top one in the photo, is not at all plastic, it’s all metal and heavy for its size.  Haven’t been inside yet but I’ll have a look in a day or so.  And one final note on this post:  some of you may be wondering “what is this guy doing wasting his time fooling around with these cheap airbrushes”. True enough!  If I were much younger and had, say, 20 or more years of modelling ahead of me I’d probably go for something a little more upmarket.  But I’m an old geezer, on the wrong side of 70, and might not have that many years of modelling ahead of me.  Depending on your age, something for you to consider.

 

I’ve also bought a bottle of Ultimate airbrush thinner.  I’ve read several positive reviews and thought I might give it a try as soon as I have something to paint.  Our own @Mike gave it a good review a while back. Might be just the thing.

 

Dennis

 

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5 minutes ago, DMC said:

Our own @Mike gave it a good review a while back. Might be just the thing.

I did, and I use it whenever I'm airbrushing traditional acrylics :yes:

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