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Sparmax Zeta Compressor with Smart-Stop Hanger Airbrushes.com Sparmax is a well-known manufacturer of airbrushes, compressors and accessories based in Taiwan. Their products enjoy a reputation for quality and durability and are popular amongst modellers and other users alike. The Zeta is an all-new compressor which features a world first - Sparmax's unique smart stop technology. Unlike conventional auto stop compressors, which activate through defined pressure values, Sparmax's design uses an electronic sensor that detects when the airbrush has been placed into the holder and switches the compressor on and off automatically. The system is compatible with pressure regulators and bleed valves and maintains your preferred working pressure even after the compressor has been paused and re-started. The Zeta system comprises a conventional low maintenance, oil-less single piston air compressor. It has a single outlet which connects to the new Smart Stop Hanger set. The Smart Stop Hanger clamps onto a desk or table (or even the outer case of the compressor itself), but unlike conventional hangers it also features a pressure regulator, moisture trap and an electronic sensor which detects when the airbrush has been replaced. The hanger connects to the compressor via a 4 meter PU hose and an electronic cable which plugs into a socket on the compressor itself. A 2 meter braided hose is also included, which is a nice touch. The compressor arrives packed into a sturdy cardboard box which features a picture of the product on the front. The compressor is secured inside the box with sturdy foam pieces which prevent it from moving around inside and also provide adequate cushioning against any bumps or shocks. The hoses are sealed inside plastic bags, while the Smart Stop Hanger slots inside a pre-cut foam sheet. The on-off switch is located at the back of the compressor, which all the other controls are on the Smart Stop Hanger. The pressure regulator is easy to use and precise in operation. The compressor can output a maximum 60 PSI - enough to blow your model off the desk - but a more suitable working pressure can be obtained by pulling up the collar of the regulator and twisting it until the desired pressure is achieved. The pressure gauge is clear and responsive and has a reassuring, quality feel to it. The moisture trap is on the underside of the regulator and operates with a simple spring-loaded valve. The compressor itself is quiet in operation and vibration is extremely well controlled (particularly when compared to my off-brand Chinese compressor, which vibrates so much it scurries across the table like a jack russell chasing the postman). The Smart Stop Hanger works extremely well, switching the compressor on and off without any fuss or drama. You can also stop the compressor yourself just by pressing down on the hanger. If for any reason you want to disable to Smart Stop feature, you can just unplug the electrical connection on the front of the compressor. The airflow is smooth and consistent, lacking the pulse associated with cheaper, less well made compressors. As implausible as it sounds, I swear it has breathed new life into my Iwata brush, producing fine atomisation of paint and buttery smooth application. Conclusion Scale modelling is often described an an inexpensive hobby (usually by modellers seeking to justify their latest purchase to their better half), but a compressor is one of the few 'big ticket' purchases that a modeller will need to make. While a cheap compressor can be had for below £50, it will quickly show its limitations and is unlikely to prove to be durable in operation. This compressor, with its 2 year guarantee, will prove to me a much more sensible investment. The Smart Stop feature, far from being a gimmick, is a genuinely useful feature that will save energy and also save you from having to reach around to the back of the compressor to switch it on and off. Overall this is a high quality item that can be highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
Wilder Aqualine Products Wilder has developed the Aqualine range, a water based acrylic product that can be reactivated at any point during your weathering process. The Aqualine range of products are non-toxic, dry quickly to a matt finish and you can still use your enamel products over them. Aqualine colours are very thick and this provides the modeller with a wide range of opacities, also making them very cost-effective. White Winter Camo is for white wash and camo effects, combine it with other Aqualine colours, Textured Snow, Textured Earth or pigments to alter its colours and texture. You can also use enamels over the Aqualine colours after they dry. Black Smoke is great for burnt or smoke effects; combine it with other Aqualine colours, Textured Earth or Gunpowder pigments to alter its colours and texture. You can also use enamels over the Aqualine colours after they dry. Conclusion I’m looking forward to trying these out, and from the quick trial run I have found that they are very fine and you don’t need much to create an effective weathering look on whatever you’re building. As stated earlier I will be using these on a couple of builds and update this review shortly. But for now, from my brief experiment I think they will be great to work with. Review sample courtesy of
Universal Airbrush Accessories Iwata from Airbrushes.com Lube Everyone wants to keep their airbrush in top condition, after all they are not cheap. This is a non toxic silicone free lubricant from Iwata which can be used on all moving parts. In particular they recommend applying it to; The Main Lever, Needle Packing, Valve-piston packing, along the needle and the needle cap to enhance paint flow and prevent tip drying. This is a new formula and is now clear. This new formula does not evaporate and maintains its viscosity. Recommended to keep your Airbrush in tip top condition. Spray Out Cleaning Pot This is a universal pot to allow spraying out paint and cleaning products from your Airbrush. This is a glass pot the lower part of which is covered with a removable rubber sleeve. This stops the pot from sliding of your work bench, and if it does in someway will offer some protection from breaking. There is a hanger which will fit all gravity-side-bottom feed and trigger style brushes (sp pretty much all of them then!). There is a filter cap which holds small foam type filters of which you get two spares in the box (these are also available to buy separate). The cap can even hold small parts if you dont want them rolling around. The pot eliminates over-spray when cleaning and its easy to clean up afterwards. The glass bowl when removed from its sleeve is even dishwasher safe. Highly recommended, especially if like me you have just been using an old jar for this. Airbrush Holder / Hanger As the name would suggest this is holder to keep your brush(es) safe on the bench. This is universal and will hold two brushes of any combination. The design holds your brushes securely and prevents them from being accidentally pulled off. There is a heavy duty clamp which will open up to 3 inches (75mm). The box also includes a bracket to attach the cleaning pot to the stand. Workstation As mentioned the Spray out pot can be attached to the airbrush holder to create a Workstation. In addition there are tapped holes and a screw to mount a pressure regulator here as well if needed. If purchased as a work station there is a cost saving as well. Conclusion These are some handy tools from Iwata which will fit most airbrushes out there and will help keep your equipment in good condition. Recommended. Review samples courtesy of
Studio Series Compressor Iwata via Airbrushes.com This is a development of the previous Studio compressor, but is smaller, lighter with a relocated outlet and a new style of filter/regulator. The compressor arrives in a fairly small box, with only a poly bag to protect the contents. Included is a two metre plastic hose with a female 3/8" fitting at either end, and a three-pin plug that is already attached to the integral power cord. The compressor is enclosed in a painted metal housing which is open at both ends, with a simple on/off switch on the top, pressure adjustment knob and air outlet, complete with moisture trap on the front, along with a pressure gauge and airbrush holder. The unit also comes with a number of adaptors for use with Badger, Paasche and Aztek airbrushes and a spare airbrush holder. A carry-handle is bolted to the top of the unit. The whole unit measures 25.7cm x 24.1cm x 14m. It weighs in at 5.6kg (12.4lbs in old measures). The compressor operates between 1 and 35psi from the 1.8hp low maintenance oil-free piston motor with the pressure being shown on the clearly marked gauge and controlled by the large knob next to the gauge. Whilst the unit could perhaps been more useful with the addition of a pressure tank, the quietness and full pressure on demand feature means that it’s not such a worry, although you can buy separate tanks should you wish. I’ve been using this compressor for a month or two now and haven’t had any problems with pulsing as can be found on other compressors without tanks and the quietness means that sometimes the only way of knowing whether it’s working or not is by operating the airbrush. It is so much quieter than my old Iwata compressor, which had the air tank built into the handles, that I’ve consigned it to the garage as my spare, as this is now my compressor of choice. Conclusion This is a superb compressor, being easy to use, but with a lot of features that others don’t come with. The moisture trap and pressure gauge being particularly welcome. But it’s the quietness during operation that really is noticeable, being able to hold a conversation on the phone or on Skype whilst using the airbrush is a great improvement over my old model. The only thing I would like to have seen is the replacement of the plastic hose with a nice braided one instead, as the plastic one really didn't like being unwound. Review sample courtesy of