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Earnest

Initial impressions from a Badger Sotar 20/20 V

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Summary: A good airbrush for its job but with some peculiarities that can be a deal breaker.

 

Yesterday I had my first painting session with my new Badger Sotar 20/20 V, which I bought directly from Badger with the 2020 Birthday discount.

The V has a 0.3 nozzle / needle and a larger cup (sort of - I will explain later).

 

 

For reference, I have been an owner of an Olympos side-feed airbrush (0.3) for something like 20 years, and a Harder and Steenbeck Evolution (0.2 / 0.4) for one and a half year.

The Olympos is a great airbrush but the side feed always bothered me, and the H&S is also great but I cannot get comfortable with the position of the trigger.

Both the Olympos and the  H&S are manufactured like precision surgical instruments. 

 

Upon taking the Sotar out of the pouch it came with, two things impressed me:

 

First, how it fit in my hand. Like the shoe that you will not throw away even though it is falling apart because it is soooo comfortable. I got an immediate similar feeling from the Sotar.

 

Second, that any movement of the needle felt rougher than what I was used to. I took the needle out to find that it was well lubricated, so I attribute the roughness to the back-and-forth friction against some sealing o-ring. Which I do not consider a bad thing, given that my H&S will, when backflushed, send paint back to the trigger section.

 

During painting, the Sotar gave me good atomization, even though I noticed that I needed about 5 PSI more in all scenarios, which I attribute (probably because I am physics-illiterate) to the smaller aperture of the air inlet (which also delayed my enjoyment of the airbrush as I had to find the appropriate adapter!)

I am not a big detail painter but in my fooling around with the Sotar, it seems that details wouldn't be a problem.

 

Also, I have to point out that Badger does not provide any protection for the needle while in use and only a badly-cut rubber tube thingy like a cap for when not in use. I understand that this is a discount item but it makes the whole thing feel a little cheap.

 

What is weird in this airbrush is the cup. The Sotar V, being a more general purpose airbrush, has a bigger cup than the other Sotars. However, the cup has a cutaway on its back side from the top to half the height of the cup which makes a significant portion of the cup useless. 

 

Deal breaker: The airbrush is great so far but I will not buy another Sotar. The deal breaker is the miiiiniscule nozzle. Smaller than my H&S (of course, since H&S have comparatively huge nozzles - which was its selling point for me, compared to my Olympos) but also smaller than my Olympos which I understand is Iwata-sized and for me was already marginally too small but thankfully has two flat surfaces on its two sides that made it much more handlable. Sotar nozzle is so small that I can barely hold between my fingers - and I have normal fingers. But I also have a standing relation with the floor monster (no carpet) so I am sure that one of these days this small small nozzle will disappear never to be found again.

 

So a good airbrush for its job but with some peculiarities which can be a deal breaker.

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