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Mike

Mr Airbrush Custom 0.18 (PS-770)

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Mr Airbrush Custom 0.18 (PS-770)

Mr Hobby via Air-craft.net

 

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I've reviewed a few of these airbrushes from Martin at Air-Craft.net, and I'm a big fan, using the PS-270 as my main airbrush for a while now.  We were talking about it the other day and he suggested I might want to try their new detail airbrush as he thought I would like it.  He's right.  I do.  Very much.  It is an up-market specialist airbrush that I think really has wider appeal, and I have used it for more than just detail work in my recent tests.

 

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The airbrush arrives from Martin in the usual sized box, with a plastic case within that is protected during shipping by a disposable sheet of clear plastic so that your storage box doesn't arrive marred by ugly scratches.  The lid is transparent, and inside is the airbrush and nozzle key in a tough grey foam insert, with another white insert behind that contains the hose with threaded ends that is largely useless outside the Far East, as they're non-standard and won't fit much we get here in the UK.  If you're buying a detail airbrush however, you're highly unlikely to be using bottled propellant anyway, and more likely to be hooking up to a compressor.  A quick disconnect (QD) bayonet is included, but again it's a Mr.Hobby specific one, so put it in the drawer with the hose and use a standard hose, or pick up a relatively inexpensive QD adapter that's suitable for your hose.  I love them, particularly as I'm always swapping and changing airbrushes, with a few on the go at any one time.  Under the useless QD connector is an industry standard 1/8" BSP air valve, so your hose or QD will just screw right onto it.

 

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The airbrush itself is finished in satin chrome, which looks a bit strange compared to all the shiny airbrushes out there at first, but grows on you as time goes by and sets it apart from the rest.  It has a quality feel, and the pre-set screw at the rear of the handle gives a definite "precision instrument" impression, as does the finger relief scallop just behind the cup, which is present on both sides to cater for left and right-handed modellers.  The min-MAC valve under the cup allows fine adjustment of air pressure without ducking under the desk to adjust your regulator, although I seldom use mine and tend to leave them wide open.  The nozzle is narrower than other brushes in their range, which gives an idea of the finer needle, but also allows you to get closer to your model without removing the crown in theory.  It has the same type of castellated crown as the others and unscrews, but will not be compatible due to the difference in diameter.  The nozzle and needle are of similar construction, although the pull-back of the needle seems very slick and fluid, even compared to others from Mr. Hobby, which helps reinforce the feeling of quality.  A small silicone cap is provided to protect your crown/needle, but it is a bit tight, so tries to jump off if you leave it on the crown outside the box.  Fret not - You don't have poltergeists!

 

The 10ml cup is more than adequate for most purposes, and as it is a detail brush by name, it has plenty of space in there for mixing in situ, or you can fill it to the brim for minimal disruption to your workflow, with the lid ensuring you don't spill it everywhere.  Because the needle is much narrower than your average 0.3mm airbrush, you will need to take care when deciding which paints to use it with, and those with a coarse pigment ground will doubtless give you some trouble, as will paints that haven't been properly mixed, or have clumps of pigment or dried paint in them.  If in doubt, test your paint choice with a clean airbrush that is dry so you can rule out any blockages due to incompatible thinners or paints congealing with each other.  I have used it with Alclad primer, Mr Color Aqueus and Lifecolor so far, and all have sprayed well.  When you are spraying fine lines you need to ensure your mix is perfect, as even the smallest foreign contaminant (did you just read that in the voice of the cleaning 'bot from Wall-E?) will cause a momentary "Morse code" stoppage, so if you're attempting squiggle camouflage (a task that this brush is born to do), it's worthwhile considering straining your paint through muslin or a fine straining mesh used by car bodyshops.  It will pay you back with fewer problems.  I'm actually looking forward to seeing how they perform with the new Real Colours from AK Interactive too.

 

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Cleaning the airbrush should be simple enough, and I have been successfully using the backflush method to clean up between colours with no sign of any blockages so far, which is a testament to the design of the airbrush, as this is definitely the lazy way of cleaning an airbrush.  Dismantling for a proper clean is straight forward as the brush breaks down in the de facto standard manner, with the nozzle screwing off with the crown, and the provided spanner allowing you to remove the paint nozzle, which is tiny and easily lost, so take care of it.  The rear of the handle screws off too to allow better access to the needle nut than the cut-away sides give, and the trigger tension is adjusted by screwing the body of the needle carrier in or out.  Personally, I screw mine all the way in for a nice firm trigger.  With the nut undone the needle can be withdrawn either toward the back or front, and here again I prefer to use the front as it doesn’t risk contaminating the rear seals and beyond.  The nozzles are best flushed with cleaner, and a standard reamer will cut through any residue in the nozzle, but remember not to push too hard for fear of splitting the delicate part.  You can complete the cleaning with a dentist's paper point (available cheaply from eBay in various sizes – get a variety pack to see which one will work best for you) to pick up any last debris and ensure everything is spotless.  Reassembly is the reverse, and when you have become used to the task, should take less than a couple of minutes.

 

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Note: The weathering and soot staining on this model were painted with this airbrush, as were some of the smaller parts.  The rest was done before it arrived for review with the Mr.Hobby PS-270.

 

As mentioned above, the airbrush is capable of very fine lines and having noodled it over my test sheet on the front of my spray booth, I can well believe that.  It is also capable of spraying larger areas too, so don't dismiss it as a specialist tool with limited usefulness.  I got it too late to spray the main colours of my recent Me.262 build, but I did use it to paint some of the ancillaries such as the bombs, RATO pods and to prime some elements of this and other builds, as well as to add dirt and staining to the airframe after main painting was over.  You can see the rest of the pictures for that build here.  It gives the modeller very finely tuned control over the paint flow, and is a joy to use, which is saying something when I think back to how good my PS-270 has been since I started using it.  The Pre-Set handle at the rear of the airbrush can be useful if you are trying to spray a continuous width line, and it allows you to dial-in a preset trigger stop from the outset that removes any guesswork associated with finding your "bite point" and attaining the same width that can be tricky.  The knurled dial screws in and out, and if you wish to return to that setting later, you can undo the set-screw in the numbered ring, push it up to the back of the handle, re-tighten it and then dial it back in whenever you want to.  One slight issue with this is that the slot on the screw is very narrow, and all but one of the blades of my precision screwdrivers were too thick (note: Not to be confused with width) to fit in the slot.  Ensure you have one that fits, or adapt an old screwdriver by thinning it with a Dremel before you need it to avoid frustration.

 

Everyone eventually either bends a needle or splits/wears out their paint nozzle, so having spares available is crucial for a long-term purchase such as an airbrush.  Previously this was a bit hit and miss, but Martin has made it his business to improve the situation, so any consumable parts you need are usually available from stock, and if you've really done a number on your pride-and-joy, other parts can be ordered if you've not totally wrecked it beyond economical repair, and if you have, what were you doing???

 

 

Conclusion

I can't recommend the complete line of Mr. Hobby airbrushes highly enough, and this one in particular is the jewel in the crown, which I can see myself using regularly from now on, providing I get time to do any modelling that is!  Martin from Air-Craft is also one of the most friendly and helpful sellers of airbrushes and equipment I have come across, so knowing he's backing you up with good service and keen prices makes this a complete no-brainer, as long as you're not planning on respraying your 1:1 car.  That might take a while!

 

Extremely highly recommended

 

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Review sample courtesy of

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I've got the same aribrush Mike and have to agree with your review. It is a wonderful piece of equipment.

 

I've heard that it's actually made by Iwata and is compatible with their Custom Micron line as far as parts are concerned. They certainly look similar.

 

https://www.iwata-airbrush.com/icm-4502-custom-micron-cp2.html

 

Carl

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7 hours ago, FG2Si said:

I've got the same aribrush Mike and have to agree with your review. It is a wonderful piece of equipment.

 

I've heard that it's actually made by Iwata and is compatible with their Custom Micron line as far as parts are concerned. They certainly look similar.

I wouldn't know enough about the background to speculate Carl, but I do know that there's a lot of re-branding that goes on in the airbrush and compressor industry.  That's all I'm actually sure of :)

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Very nearly went for this as my 'go to' detail brush but went for the Iwata CM instead after watching video comparisons. While both are amazing the CM appeared to be a lot smoother straight off the bat and at lower PSI than the PB. So I figured it might be worth the investment but the PB would definitely be the runner up and may still be on the list for the future.

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