Back in April, I scored a really good deal on two Badger airbrushes – the 105 Patriot and the Renegade Velocity.
When I first picked them up, I was impressed by their solidity and their balance. They felt substantially different from the Iwata and Harder & Steenbeck airbrushes they joined in my stable, much in the way that Japanese, German, and American cars have subtle yet decidedly different personalities.
Yet, today, I sold both Badger brushes.
It’s simple. Or complicated. Or both.
Basically, it comes down to feel. An airbrush, like any other tool – a paintbrush, scalpel, hockey stick, game controller, cavalry saber, nerf bat, etc – ultimately has to serve as an extension of the body to get the job done.
And some tools just “feel” better than others. More natural. More easily extensible.
Back in my offroad days, when I was doing a ton of wrenching, I became a big fan of Kobalt wrenches from Lowe’s. They were designed in such a way that the just gripped bolt heads better than the old set of Stanley wrenches I had. Similarly, I have favorite pens, a favorite spoon for eating cereal…I’m even picky about the cars I drive based on steering feel.
Holding the Badgers – both the Patriot and the Renegade Velocity – feel great in the hand. They are solid with good balance and a taut trigger pull.
But…in use…the feel changes. My Iwata and Harder & Steenbeck airbrushes use single-taper needles. That is, they form a single “cone” from the point of the needle back to the main cylinder. Badger needles, by contrast, employ a double taper.
Some people love the double taper. Not me. I’ve long grown accustomed to the linear paint flow associated with single-taper needles, and I just could not get a feel for that tipping point in the double-taper needle. I kept going from no paint to way too much paint without the ability to balance precariously in the middle.
Ultimately, I just found myself far more comfortable with my linear flow, single-taper airbrushes.
But, I’ll also stress that, while I was not particularly taken by the Badger Patriot and Renegade Velocity, the reasons are entirely subjective, and your mileage may and probably will vary.