Monday, May 29, 2017

Badger 105 Patriot - Review

Hello once again plamo nerds! It's a fine day for a review, and today I'll be sharing my thoughts on the Badger 105 Patriot airbrush! It's a pretty old product from Badger, and there are tons of reviews on it already on YouTube, but I thought I'd throw in my two centavos on this seasoned veteran anyway. At the very least I can give you guys some insight on how it compares with Chinese generic airbrushes and it's younger but more expensive cousin, the Renegade Krome. Let's go!



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I've been wanting to get my hands on a Patriot ever since I got the Krome, because it offers a larger head size (.5) that isn't available for the Renegade line. The Patriot is sold in a number of configurations, but the one I got came with the .5 head setup in a nice plastic box that also included a spare nozzle.



Unboxing


Opening up the box, the airbrush rests on a nice thick pad of foam. It has a plastic cover for the cup, and a rubber cap protecting the front end. There was no badger to 1/8 adapter in the box, so it will have to borrow the one from the Krome for now.




The Patriot is a gravity feed airbrush with an open tip design similar to the Renegade, but the regulator on the Patriot is completely open, leaving about 1.5mm of the needle protruding from the nozzle cap. This makes it easier to detect and clean tip-dry, but also makes it easier to damage if you catch it against something.




Features


The body of the airbrush is nicely polished, but a little yellowish compared to the finish on the Renegade Krome. The trigger on my Patriot is also coated in Badger's "glide coat" for smoother trigger operation, and makes it appear grayish compared to the rest of the body. It measures about an inch shorter than the Krome in total length, but the cup and body appear to be of similar girth and size.



Towards the rear of the airbrush, you'll notice the end is cut off, showing the butt of the needle encased in a plastic colored ball. This design allows removal of the needle from the rear without having to take off the handle, saving you a bit of time when cleaning between color changes. The color indicates the size of the needle - blue means "Fine", which is the one I have and is stated to be .5mm.



Also available for this model are a silver (medium) needle which is .7mm, and a black "super detail" needle which measures .33 and is said to be able to produce as fine a line as the Krome's .33 configuration. Each setup has it's own nozzle and regulator, but the hold-down ring is standard for all setups. The Patriot does not have the needle limiter feature, but it sports a similar needle chuck cut-out and spring tension adjustment as the Renegade.


Performance


In terms of performance, the Patriot atomizes paint really well, and is less sensitive to under-thinning than the Krome becuase of the larger head size. It can cover a wide areas much faster while still being able to do pretty fine lines with proper trigger control. Pulling the trigger all the way back can empty the cup in just a few seconds if your paint is well diluted.




Trying out some lines on paper, the Patriot was capable of tight scribbles almost as narrow as what I could achieve with the Krome's .33 setup. It took more control to achieve thin lines without a needle limiter, but it wasn't hard to do once you get familiar with the trigger sensitivity.



Disassembly / Assembly


Where the Patriot does outclass the Renegade is in nozzle size. Like the Krome, the Patriot's nozzle is also thread-less and self centering.  The head assembly came finger-tight and was easy to unscrew with just my fingers. Assembly is similar to the Krome, but the parts are larger with beefier threads. The nozzle sits in a cup shaped depression, and a ring screws in over it to hold it in place. The regulator then screws onto the hold-down ring to complete the head assembly.




Cleaning


The Patriot is the easiest to clean out of all the airbrushes I've used. A quick scrubbing with an interdental brush and it is good to go. The channel inside the body is also bigger, so any standard pipe cleaner can fit. There are no rubber o-rings in the head assembly, which means everything is precisely machined to make an airtight seal. Backflushing can be done by covering the front end with the plastic cap or by loosening the head assembly slightly.



Here is the Patriot's nozzle next to the Krome's. The size makes all the difference when it comes to cleaning.



And before we conclude, here's a video of the airbrush in action...


Summary


With the Super Detail, Detail and Medium configurations available for the Patriot, it seems to be the most general purpose airbrush in the Badger lineup, and as such, it gets the most attention from the hobby scene. The larger nozzle size makes it easier to clean than the Krome, and the 0.5 needle is less prone to clogging when using pre-thinned or metallic paints, so it's a better choice for beginners as long as extra care is taken for the exposed needle tip. It was nice of Badger to include a spare nozzle in the box, but I think a spare needle would have made more sense as the nozzle looks pretty sturdy. Either way, spares are inexpensive, and I purchased a spare fine needle for peace of mind.



Badger's ergonomic hand rest, metal cup lid and high-roller trigger can also be fitted onto the Patriot for a bit of customization. Price wise, this tool goes for about $80-90 on Amazon plus shipping (unless you have Prime) as of writing, but it's probably one of the cheapest airbrushes out there with a thread-less self-centering nozzle, which, if I haven't emphasized enough, is what you want in a plamo airbrush. If you've been considering an unbranded Chinese model as your first airbrush, I recommend saving up a bit more and getting a Patriot, to avoid the stress of dealing with a misaligned nozzle, cleaning issues or stripped threads.


That's it for now, until next time, keep building plamo!




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