Death of an airbrush

well folks it looks like my trusty Aztek airbrush hash died after approximately 25 years of loyal service.
i just can’t get it to spray paint anymore. I’ve tried everything but it won’t even spray water out of the detachable paint cup. I’ve cleaned inside and out along with the detachable nozzles and nothing…plenty of air coming out if.

so if no one has any useful suggestions, then it looks lime i will have buy a new airbrush…if that is the case i need a simple to operate and more importantly simple to clean double action airbrush that doesn’t have 500 working parts like some of these fancy Japanese Iwata airbrushes i’ve seen on the net. suggestions welcomed on that front as well.

kind regards


Seeing how Testors, makers of the Aztek brand have pretty much kicked serious modelers to the curb regarding the products due to their Rustoleum overlords, your odds of getting the airbrush repaired are slim to none.
That being said, I really like my Badger airbrushes. My current go to’s are a Model 105 and 155. Both are internal mix, double action types, with one being gravity fed and the other siphon fed. Neither has a high parts count, both clean easily, and give excellent performance. Not to mention that Badgers have company lifetime guarantees.


Which model of Aztek was it? I started with the A220 that came with a can of propellant. Lasted quite a while as did the old A470 I don’t use but still have knocking around somewhere.

If no nonsense is what you are after I recommend Sparmax- quality pieces, well priced and rugged.

Badgers are workhorses! Parts are easy to get.
My 200 is about 55 years old. The 150 about 50. I replaced a needle on the 200.
If I were to buy another one it would be an Iwata just out of curiosity.

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Iwata Eclipse, Great relatively simple airbrush.


The Aztek airbrush saga.

His experience seems to match mine. I had issues with Tamiya acrylics (user error of course) so I fell for the promises of the Aztek 470. Special nozzle for acrylics, yee-haw! It will save me!
The special acrylic nozzle clogged up even faster than my Badger 150.
I tried the Aztek with water and noticed that the spray was always off-center, each time I pulled back the trigger the spray pattern went in a new unexpected direction.
It also leaked, when I took my finger of the trigger it just kept on fizzling and dripping water.
Didn’t matter how much I fiddled around with the adjustments.
I probably received a mismanufactured one, in Sweden we call it ‘Monday item’ (produced on a Monday by tired and hung-over workers).
My learning curve with the Badger 150 (or actually a cheap Korean clone of the 150) from total newbie to good coverage of surfaces lasted 30 minutes. After a while I bought a real Badger 150.
Never had any issues that wasn’t 100% my fault.

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Hi David,

I’ve been using a Badger Renegade Krome for quite a few years now and it’s a very fine beast indeed! The only downside is the tiny nozzle that needs to come out for cleaning, without dropping it to feed the carpet monster! I’ve got the post-session strip/clean down to a few minutes after lots of practice, with the aid of some paper-towel twists of different sizes, and on rare occasions (semi-annually?) it gets a xylene-based flush to remove all the crud. Can’t recommend it enough!

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Badger 150

Iwata Eclipse

Badger 200


My suggestion.

Harder & Stenbeck airbrushes are quality tools, easy to disassemble without tools and quick to clean. Either the Evolution or the more expensive Infinity should be fine, available with different needle sizes.


Ah the old Aztek. I have one, the A408 I think, still tucked away in the garage storage. Like Robin, mine seemed to spray everywhere but centrally… I gave up on it eventually.

When you say air comes out but no paint, that suggests the paint is not feeding. Have you tried a different nozzle to check?

Your consideration is not just the AB, but the airline, etc, and how you will use it too. My Iwata HP-CP Plus needed an Iwata hose with their particular fitting. A lot of guys have an AB for base coating and larger areas, and a different AB for finer detail and camo work. think about your needs.

I find the gravity feed suits me better than the siphon feed of my old Badger 150. However, the Iwata takes time to cover large areas with a base coat.

No matter what you get, cleaning and maintaining it will not be a 5 second process.

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I’m surprised that your Aztek lasted that long! I had one that lasted at most 4 - 5 years. Too much plastic (or delrin) and not enough metal interior parts. The linkage from trigger to air control broke. I repaired it (and voided the warranty) and it broke again a few months later. Kept having to replace spray nozzles and brand-new ones were not always reliable (defective). Got fed up with the piece of expensive junk and got an Iwata.
:grin: :canada:

Depending exactly when you bought it you might still qualify under the lifetime guarantee, although there may not be a replacement available as the Aztek brand went the way of the Dodo. Broke mine about 5-7 years ago when I stood up to look for something I dropped and put the chair down on it and sat and heard a crack. Called them and told them exactly what happened. They told me to send it in and 4-6 weeks later I had a brand new 470. Good luck.

@petbat yep tried different nozzles, and siphon jars/paint holders and it’s not happening. i cleaned the inside of the airbrush nose as well as the hole to connect the paint holding cups and still no joy.
i did notice that when i pressed the trigger it sometimes jumped or didn’t engage properly and since it is a sealed plastic unit i can’t get into it to check it out.

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@TopSmith i like the look of that Badger 150, do you gave to take all apart as you see in that diagram in order to clean it?

i have found another aztek 470 online which i might go after

@Klaus-Adler i know you mentioned in lead post that you wanted to avoid complex high part airbrushes, but I wouldn’t discount an Iwata.

You definitely get what you pay for with them. I have an Eclipse HP-CS and is extremely versatile. It’s also very easy to clean. In between colour changes mid paint session it only requires flushing through with a bit of airbrush cleaner. I have an old paint brush I brush around the cup and the bottom of the well while the cleaner sits in the cup then blast it through. 20 seconds max.

A full clean at the end only requires cleaning the cup, needle and nozzle and takes less than 5 mins. I haven’t owned a badger, but imagine cleaning also doesn’t require a total breakdown of all parts.

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I have to agree with the Iwata Eclipse, it’s a jewel, it’s even easier for me to clean than my old Paashe that only had three removable components. Best of luck on your next selection but remember you get what you pay and the Eclipse is reasonably priced and works like a charm.

Cajun :crocodile:

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@D1GG3r321 @agincajun i just need something that is simple to use and maintain and is idiot proof and doesn’t require a degree in engineering to disassemble to clean.

i will take a look at that eclipse airbrush, thanks for the info

i came across this but i think it is only for fine work which i don’t really need

My only experience is with Aztec and then Iwata, wish I had moved to the Iwata years earlier. Do most things with my Revolution 0.5mm, and fine work with the hi-line HP-CH, the mac valve is very useful to control the air flow while working.

If I didn’t have either I’d be buying the Iwata eclipse and probably the 0.5mm needle/nozzle/cap too for primer/base coat work.

The nozzle set up on the eclipse does indeed look easier for cleaning although never had an issue with my current brushes.

I think you are in for a very pleasant surprise when you do get a new brush, and any of the suggested will be great. Look forward to hearing what you go for.