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Model Railroading > Aztek airbrush line discontinued by Testors

Date: 06/26/20 20:11
Aztek airbrush line discontinued by Testors
Author: tmotor

I've been an Aztek airbrush user since the late 1980's.  Their main attraction for me is the ease of clean-up.  The plastic nozzles are considered "consumables", so I need one every few years.  I thought that after Testors acquired Aztek that would guarantee the longevity of the Aztek supply chain.  Apparently not.  Why did they bail?

When they were introduced, most airbrush users were not sure a mostly-plastic airbrush would last long compared to the all-metal models, so they weren't willing to risk giving it a try.  As a marketing move, the Aztek was given a Lifetime Warranty. Sales increased.  Since opening the airbrush body to perform maintenance would void the warranty, when they stopped operating properly they came back in droves to Testors for warranty claims.  The warranty was eventually throttled-back to 3 years.  Now they have ceased production.  I hindsight, a Lifetime Warranty on an Aztek was not real smart.  Iwata has a 5 year warranty on their all-metal airbrushes, so to expect a mostly plastic airbrush to last a lifetime is really pushing it.  That said, I am an occasional user and still have my original Aztek from 30 years ago, and it still works.  If there were nozzles still available, I wouldn't be posting this thread.  However, if a person uses it daily for their profession, I can see it wearing out in a matter of years.

I have been searching for the popular Gray "general purpose" nozzle.  I was able to find some of the Black "acrylic general purpose" nozzles, which have the same light gray color on the rear of the 0.40mm needle.  I purchased some of those with the idea of swapping the inner sleeve/needle assembly into a Gray nozzle body, which seems to work.  They are both 0.40mm needles with gray ends, so theoretically they came off of the same assembly line and are interchangeable.  It's not the solution I prefer, but don't exactly have much choice in the matter.

As I have been purchasing different nozzles, I noticed some have a "C" and/or "X" appended to the part number.  (So a 9305 is now a 9305C, or 9305CX.)  The description seemed the same as the earlier nozzles, so I didn't give it much thought.  Big Mistake.  It isn't clear what Testors did to the X nozzles, but I can't get them to work consistently; whereas the non-C/X nozzles work fine.  The 9305 and 9305C have a light gray body, but the 9305CX has a dark grey body.  Reading the fine-print on the packages, it does state the specific model numbers of the airbrushes the nozzle fits.  Lesson learned.  Avoid any X nozzles.

Going on the assumption that the supply of nozzles is going to eventually dry-up, it gave me an excuse to purchase an Iwata side-feed.  The Aztek cups and bottle adapters will fit the Iwata Eclipse.  (The fit is a tad too tight, but a little sanding on the tube on the Aztek cup produces a decent fix.)  The side-feed version will ease my transition, since it matches the Aztek.  If I have to learn a new airbrush, I wanted to at least retain the side-feed.  The all-metal construction is of course much heavier, but it does feel good, and sprays very consistently and predictably.  It is obviously a precision instrument, with excellent fit and finish.  I rarely have airbrushing sessions that last more than an hour, so the extra weight shouldn't be an issue.    

I did purchase some spare Aztek airbrushes.  I prefer new ones, but the only new ones left are in those fancy wooden cases with all of the cutouts for nozzles and cups.  These run well North of $200, which helped make up my mind to give the Iwata a try.  When I want the convenience of fast clean-up, I will reach for the Aztek.  But if it will be a long session, or require precision (such as for weathering), then it is time for the Iwata. 

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/26/20 23:47 by tmotor.

Date: 06/27/20 10:14
Re: Aztek airbrush line discontinued by Testors
Author: BNModeler

I worked for Testors at a couple of trade shows in Long Beach Ca. The Testors rep gave me a me top of the line Aztec after the first show and wanted me to use it as hard as I used my Paasche VL. I went thru several tips and finally gave up on it. Did another show for Testors and just used the brush at the show. I was showing the brush and all the other products in the Testors line. Almost got invited to the big toy and hobby show in Chicago.  

Date: 06/27/20 23:21
Re: Aztek airbrush line discontinued by Testors
Author: tracktime

Testors now discontinues Aztek airbrushes.  Well... I can't say that I'm surprised.

RPM International Brands - a multi-billion dollar conglomerate which owns Testors, along with Rust-Oleum, Varathane, DAP and dozens of much bigger brands, has discontinued the following hobby lines over the past few years:

Polly Scale
Model Master
...and now, the Aztek airbrush line..

Anyone see a pattern here?   Testors, are you next?


Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 06/27/20 23:29 by tracktime.

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