I held off buying an airbrush for a long time. They were expensive for a "hobby," and I didn't want to learn a new technique. Hand brushing and spraycans "did it" for me, for a long time. However, eventually I got to where I wanted to do some special finishes, and these means just wouldn't cut it anymore.
I went through a few airbrushes - all Testors or Aztek. I'd seen my brother's Badger years ago, and while it seemed durable, I didn't want to go through the hassle of a complete disassembly between colors to clean it. It also didn't look all that comfortable. I decided, at first, to go with something simple. I went to WalMart, plunked down $15 or so, and got what amounted to a spray gun - single action (paint and airflow controlled with one press,) that screwed onto a jar. It worked... sort of. It had no fine control, which was fine for a single or dual color paint job... but I wanted more. I went back and bought a $20 single action brush... This worked, but leaked the first time. I still couldn't get the fine control I wanted, but it was a step up. I could go out and buy nozzles at $10 each, and go from fine, to middle, to wide area spray. I could get a bit more detail, but I just wasn't happy. In addition, I was starting to get into WWII Luftwaffe aircraft, with their fine mottle patterns, and this just wouldnt' work. I bought a third airbrush - a cheap, double action airbrush I'd much rather forget. $30 at WalMart, still Testors, and no longer in their catalog.
One day, I figured enough fooling around was enough. I'd heard good things about Aztek's airbrushes - they didn't need to be disassembled, and could handle anything from "hot" laquer and its solvent through mild acrylics and ink. In addition, it used the same nozzles I'd already purchased. I went to the hobby shop and plunked down $95 or so. What I got, I've used since...
In a nice, sturdy wood case, I got an airbrush, four nozzles (more recent kits come with six,) an air can adaptor, a cleaning/tightening "wrench," two color jars (one of which was the same size as Model Master Acryl, enamel, and metalizer jars - not to mention Aeromaster and PollyScale,) and four color cups. Niiice... and a nice long air line too.
The brush itself was different from the "pen" shaped airbrushes I'd seen before. It was softer than the metal used in them, had a comfortable grip, and everything fell close to hand (or finger.) The air line fed in at the very back of the brush - no more tangling on my arm. According to the instructions, the airbrush could be set from single to dual action, as needed. Looking at the brush, there's a knurled "nut" about 1/4 way up the body that you set this with. I tried it out, of course, spraying air through the brush with some water... works fine. I haven't ever set it that way for use, though, preferring to keep it at dual action for the control given.
The trigger isn't "sloppy," nor is it overly tight. It takes a little getting used to, as does any brush, but it does have a wonderful feel to it, and gives very positive control.
I've sprayed metalizers, thinner, acrylics, and enamels through this brush. There was no problem with any of them, and cleanup was a snap. Unscrew the nozzle, run water through, disassemble the nozzle (Testors says you don't have to - but it helps) and rinse the last bit of paint out, clean out the cup, reassemble, check for a clean spray. 5 minutes, tops, and you're done.
There are many good nozzles, as well, which change the nature of the spray you get. You can get acrylic-specific fine and wide area nozzles (which lack the "crown," making it easier to deal with acrylics' faster dry time,) reglular fine, mid, and wide area nozzles, ink nozzles, and splatter nozzles. The full line is shown at Testors web site.
I've used the brush for a year and a half now. The only problem I've had was a pinhole in the line, from winding it too tight. Testors replaced it, no questions asked, in a matter of days. The brush itself comes with a lifetime warranty. I can't see myself switching any time soon. Reccommended, highly.