Iwata Airbrushes & Smart Jet Compressor

Andrew Dextras


Iwata Revolution HP-CR

The newest member of the Iwata family is the Revolution line designed to be an economical, yet high performance airbrushing solution.  This is not a low-grade machine, it is precision machined instrument that is capable of achieving some very good painting effects.  Construction is very similar to the higher end Iwata airbrushes, brass components with a hard chrome finish.  Overall finish and feel would put some much higher priced airbrushes to shame.

Nozzle and needle on this double action brush are .5mm, which is a good all-purpose size for this price range.  This combination is capable of achieving large coverage for general basecoating, yet still getting good results for camo finishes.  Paint cup size is 1/3 ounce and is integral to the body.  This is a better option for scale modelling compared to bottom feed siphon airbrushes in regards to balance, weight and overall feel.

For anyone looking for a first airbrush or upgrading from their old single action brush, this is a good choice as it is both easy on the wallet and still gives good performance.

Modeller's Comments:  Dan Oldfield - Badger 150 user - "The sprayability and feel of the Revolution completely outclasses my current brush.  I like the fact that one needle/nozzle assembly covers all my modelling tasks.  The Revolution is so sturdy, it feels like it's machined out of one solid piece of metal!  The Revolution's gravity feed is a lot less cumbersome than my current airbrush which has a bulky siphon feed."

Iwata HP-C

2nd from the top of Iwata's airbrush family is the HP series.  The HP-C is machined from brass (then coated with a hard chrome finish), which gives it a balanced weighted feel.  The nozzle is .35mm and the paint cup is integral to the body and has a 1/3 ounce capacity.  This is more than sufficient capacity to handle any modelling tasks you might throw at it.

Atomisation is excellent using Tamiya or Gunze acrylics, the .35mm nozzle is able to generate very fine lines with no overspray provided that you keep the paint thin (I generally use 65% thinner to 35% paint).  This brush is also capable of very good general coverage such as basecoating a large 1/35 tank.  In comparison to "hobby" brushes like the Aztek A470 the HP-C is capable of generating lines ½ the width, but more importantly, it throws out a lot less paint and with superior atomisation.

Options include a pre-set handle (see here) which can be used to restrict how far you  can pull the trigger, therefore restricting the amount of paint that be sprayed.  This comes in very handy during long painting sessions and is a good idea for anyone who wants the added security afforded by this device.

Overall, the best multi-purpose airbrush on the market.

Modeller's Comments:  Darrel Miller - Paasche VL user - "The HP-C is a very comfortable airbrush to use. Paint capacity is more than enough.  The gravity feed design is much more conformable to use than a siphon feed system.  I can spray much finer lines with better repeatability using the HP-C than my current airbrush, but it's still flexible enough for general use."

Iwata HP-B

Essentially very similar to the HP-C, this airbrush is a high-end instrument capable of delivering professional results with a minimum of fuss.  Nozzle is.2mm and paint cup capacity is 1/16 ounce.  The paint capacity may seem small at first, but the atomisation is so good that very little paint is needed to cover a relatively large model.  A 3/4 full cup of paint is more than enough to paint the secondary colours on a 1/35 tiger tank.  Extremely fine lines with no overspray is possible to the point where you might think that the pattern was hardedge! 

Painting complex camo patterns on 1/72 or 1/87 armour is a breeze, even tricky techniques on small scale amrour such as post shading are within your reach with an airbrush like this.  Lines easily 1/3 the width of that which an A470 can achieve are easily repeatable with no overspray whatsoever.  As with the HP-C, a pre-set handle is available as is a crown cap for closeup work (see here).

This is the airbrush of choice for anyone with experience using double action airbrushes and who wishes to pull off complex camo schemes and small scale armour at will.

Modeller's Comments:  Nick Cortese - Aztek A470 user - "This airbrush feels much better balanced than my current airbrush, the plastic brush feels like a toy compared to the HP-B.  The Iwata allows me to spray very fine lines, much finer than any airbrush I've tried.  Cleanup is relatively easy too.  The HP-B feels like a well tuned sports car!"

Iwata Custom Micron B

The Killer Whale.  The African Lion.  Tyrannosaurus Rex.  The Custom Micron.  What do these all have in common?  They are at the top of the food chain.  This is the pinnacle of Iwata's airbrush line and comes loaded with top of the line features.  The .18mm nozzle assembly is custom machined and matched to its needle.  The airbrush is machined out of brass and coated with a hard chrome finish.  A pre-set handle and crown cap are included as to be expected in such a high end instrument.

Before trying this airbrush I didn't really think it was possible to beat the precision and atomisation of the HP...I was wrong.  There is no comparison between the two.  To be fair there is also a 200% price difference, but for those who are searching for the ultimate in fine lines and precision spraying this is it.  Comparing any "hobby" brush to the Micron is like comparing a rubber mallet to a samurai sword.

Complex 3 colour schemes on 1/72 armour or 1/144 aircraft are child's play.  Paint must be kept quite thin in order to maximise the potential of this airbrush, I use 75% thinner to 25% paint.  The pre-set handle comes in very handy when spraying for long periods of time at small needle openings.  While experimenting with the Micron B, I was able to paint a post-shade line so thin and faint on a 1/72 scale Cromwell that I couldn't see it clearly with the naked eye on the green basecoat.  Only after photographing the model with 5x zoom enabled on my digital camera was I finally able clearly see the line.  Incredibly subtle effects are possible with this "weapon" and once mastered there would literally be nothing stopping you from creating masterpieces in any scale.

In summary...the ultimate.  Makes everything else look like a garden hose.

Iwata Smart Jet Compressor

Iwata’s Smart Jet compressor is a 1/8 hp oil-less piston type compressor designed for single airbrush use.  Included with the compressor are an Iwata hose, airbrush holder and a pressure regulator integrated into an excellent moisture separation system.  Instead of having a simple moisture trap, the Iwata system includes a large coiled hose.   The reasoning behind this is that optimum moisture separation occurs when air temperature is cool, as opposed to a simple moisture trap, which tries to extract water from warmer compressed air.  As air travels through the hose it cools down and then optimal moisture separation can occur.

Operation is quiet for this compressor type and I never found the need for an air reservoir tank when spraying some models as there are no pulsations. One thing that impressed me about the Smart Air is its' compact size and light weight.  Having such a small footprint, it won't be getting in your way under the workbench.  The Smart Air also has an auto-shutoff feature (plus an on/off switch), which eliminates noise when you’re not spraying.

In summary:  typical Iwata quality in an economical and compact package.

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