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Advice on switching airbrushes - GP50/Neo TRN1 (now sorted), Eclipse CS alternatives


Tim Brangham
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Long time lurker, first post and bit of a waffle.

 

I build 1/20-24 racing cars with the odd 1/12 th. Use Tamiya Acrylics, Alclad and Zero paints.

Started again about 5 years ago but only occasional builds but now have more time and increasing the numbers.

 

Have an AS18 compressor and have been using an Iwata Revolution CR, also had an H&S Ultra 2-1 but didn’t get on with it 

and sold it recently and been just using the Iwata which I love but ideally like something else with slightly smaller than 0.5.

 

Have decided that I want to switch to a trigger grip to replace the revolution as now finding it a little painful on the joints 

during longer sessions, would love to get a Revolution TR2 but budget won’t stretch that far so looking for opinions of users

of Sparmax GP50 and Neo TRN1, I’m leaning towards the Sparmax because of price (see below) but bit worried about quality

and performance compared to Iwata.

Also on both these is there a defined position where the trigger switches from air to air+Paint I.e. can you feel when you 

get to the point for paint before actually pulling it further to start the paint?

 

Also want to replace the Ultra and ideally looking at an Iwata Eclipse HP-CS (joints not such an issue as would mainly be shorter

sessiosn with this one) but again makes budget very tight depending a bit on which trigger grip I get, so looking for opinions on

any slightly cheaper alternatives although my experience with my Revolution CR and Ultra have made me nervous of moving away from Iwata.

 

Advice an information greatly appreciated 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Tim Brangham
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I too would be interested in any helpful feedback on this.  I also suffer with painful arthritis in the knuckle when pressing the push down trigger of my airbrush.

 

Mike

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  • Tim Brangham changed the title to Advice on switching airbrushes - GP50/Neo TRN1/Eclipse CS

I use the Sparmax GO35 - bought on the excellent advice of Paul (Little Cars) at modellingtools.co.uk. I've been using it for a couple of years now and I must admit I really like the trigger system. In answer to your question - yes the trigger provides "feel" when paint starts to enter the airflow, also indicated by a change in sound. The trigger is extremely easy to operate, allowing the user to easily adjust paint flow from "barely open" to "full flow". The handle also has the usual adjuster which can limit the backward travel of the needle to consistently limit the paint flow for finer lines. It likes well thinned paint. I now use MRP laquers almost exclusively and love the results. Easy to clean too.

As you may have guessed, I'm a big fan of this brush, but I freely confess that I have no great experience of other alternatives for comparison. It was recommended to me as a beginner's tool, but I have no intention of "upgrading" to anything else, as I do not foresee any need. Additionally, I have never tried using it for free hand fine cammo patterns such as German / Italian N African schemes......my models tend to be 1/48 aircraft with modern / cold war schemes ie big areas of grey!

The GP 50 has a larger needle / nozzle and I expect it would be useful mainly for bigger areas of coverage, but I have no direct experience of that model and cannot advise how it would compare with the 35. I'm sure Paul would be able to advise better than me.

Hope the above observations are of help.

Q

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Thanks for the reply, the GP50 would mainly be used for priming plus base coats and clear on bodies and chassis plus alclad,

any multi colour schemes would be done with masking.

The second smaller nozzle brush would be for all the smaller parts and details and would prefer to stick to a top trigger and

paint cup brush for this one.

 

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I would recommend the Procon PS275, Iwata quality at a friendly price.

 

Air-craft.net quote £125.00

 

I use the larger PS 290 for a lot of work and it has .5 needle/nozzle, the 275 has the .3.

 

They are top mount gravity feed so easier to keep clean than a side cup type.

 

The finesse I can get from the 290 with the trigger and its "1 1/2" action with the .5 needle/nozzle never fails to impress me, the .3 should be just about perfect for most uses.

 

I got the 295 to compliment my 0.18 airbrush hence the big bore for doing 1/32 primers and "varnishes", the quality of atomisation is exceptional with enamels and lacquers.

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19 minutes ago, dromia said:

I would recommend the Procon PS275, Iwata quality at a friendly price.

 

Air-craft.net quote £125.00

 

I use the larger PS 290 for a lot of work and it has .5 needle/nozzle, the 275 has the .3.

 

They are top mount gravity feed so easier to keep clean than a side cup type.

 

The finesse I can get from the 290 with the trigger and its "1 1/2" action with the .5 needle/nozzle never fails to impress me, the .3 should be just about perfect for most uses.

 

I got the 295 to compliment my 0.18 airbrush hence the big bore for doing 1/32 primers and "varnishes", the quality of atomisation is exceptional with enamels and lacquers.

I would definitely need the PS 290, interesting that you get an optional cap for fan pattern although don’t think my compressor could handle that,

what compressor do you use?

Would want the grip as well and that makes it a bit pricey compared with the Sparmax and the Neo.

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I use a Bambi BB24V Silent Air Compressor.

 

Aye the Procons are not the cheapest but then the superior quality costs a bit more, I suppose it depends on how much hammer it is going to get as that is what sorts out the men from the boys.

 

The 290 is built like a tank, the needle is more like a knitting needle than an airbrush needle, the fan head does a genuine looking fan pattern to my uneducated eye and give a fine finish. It does hose the paint on though and you need to keep it moving, I retrospect that for my needs I suspect that the PS275 would have sufficed admirably.

 

It should be remembered that needle size across makes is a poor comparator when it comes to spraying performance and one makes .3 could equal another makes .5.

 

I got the handle when I ordered the airbrush and after receiving it I felt 'twas a nice but unnecessary purchase as holding by the connection and hose was very comfortable which I suspect is due to it greater overall bulk, I use my second finger on the trigger, but then I don't have grip issues yet.

 

It is never easy to get the critical pre purchase experience that choosing an airbrush really needs, a hands-on side by side comparison, which this current pandemic situation makes nigh impossible.

 

Good luck in your search and I appreciate the strictures of finances but I am confident that if you did manage to stretch to the Procons you would not be disappointed

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2 hours ago, dromia said:

I would recommend the Procon PS275, Iwata quality at a friendly price.

 

Air-craft.net quote £125.00

 

I use the larger PS 290 for a lot of work and it has .5 needle/nozzle, the 275 has the .3.

 

They are top mount gravity feed so easier to keep clean than a side cup type.

 

The finesse I can get from the 290 with the trigger and its "1 1/2" action with the .5 needle/nozzle never fails to impress me, the .3 should be just about perfect for most uses.

 

I got the 295 to compliment my 0.18 airbrush hence the big bore for doing 1/32 primers and "varnishes", the quality of atomisation is exceptional with enamels and lacquers.

 

I'm also a fan of the Gunze brushes, and of Martin @ Air-craft.net, he's a stand-up guy and keeps good stock level.  He's also on BM as @Jetblast and dishes out good advice :yes:

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Both the PS-275 and the 290 are excellent airbrushes. The 275 is probably the best choice for the average modeller, but for modellers who want to paint large areas like large scale cars, the PS-290 probably is the better choice. It behaves like a larger nozzle airbrush/spraygun with its blunt needle. I've never had any tip dry problems with it, which is quite helpful laying down large area glossy paint.

 

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  • Tim Brangham changed the title to Advice on switching airbrushes - GP50/Neo TRN1 (now sorted), Eclipse CS alternatives

Again look at the Procon range say the PS 274.

 

They seem to be Iwata's in all but name.

 

My main airbrush is an Iwata Custom Micron CM-B and it is exceptional and robust, the Procon PS-771 is supposed to be just as good the only reason I went for the Iwata was I wanted a more compact lighter brush without that clumsy MAC valve up front. Any way just for the hell of it I had an order in with Air-craft.net and decided to order the Procon PS-771 nozzle to see if it would fit the Iwata. Yes it did with no problem and functioned almost as well as the Iwata nozzle, bearing in mind that this airbrush sprays very very fine with much finesse, the difference was marginal and only really noticeable as some raggedness on the periphery of the spray when doing the finest work and not noticeable for most of its work. That was with the original Iwata 0.18 needle as well

 

Bearing in mind how finicky airbrushes can be and especially the mythical status of fine tolerances and needle/nozzle mating that the Custom Microns have gained this shows that if Procons aren't Iwatas and Iwata's aren't Procons then they are pretty damned close on the internals so as to make hardly any difference.

 

So if you are an Iwata devotee like myself then I don't think you will be selling yourself short looking at the Procon range.

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2 hours ago, dromia said:

Again look at the Procon range say the PS 274.

 

They seem to be Iwata's in all but name.

 

My main airbrush is an Iwata Custom Micron CM-B and it is exceptional and robust, the Procon PS-771 is supposed to be just as good the only reason I went for the Iwata was I wanted a more compact lighter brush without that clumsy MAC valve up front. Any way just for the hell of it I had an order in with Air-craft.net and decided to order the Procon PS-771 nozzle to see if it would fit the Iwata. Yes it did with no problem and functioned almost as well as the Iwata nozzle, bearing in mind that this airbrush sprays very very fine with much finesse, the difference was marginal and only really noticeable as some raggedness on the periphery of the spray when doing the finest work and not noticeable for most of its work. That was with the original Iwata 0.18 needle as well

 

Bearing in mind how finicky airbrushes can be and especially the mythical status of fine tolerances and needle/nozzle mating that the Custom Microns have gained this shows that if Procons aren't Iwatas and Iwata's aren't Procons then they are pretty damned close on the internals so as to make hardly any difference.

 

So if you are an Iwata devotee like myself then I don't think you will be selling yourself short looking at the Procon range.


Both the Iwata CM’s and the PS770-series are based on the Olympos MP-series. In the 80’s Iwata obtained a license for producing and selling them in the US (maybe worldwide, outside of Japan). I don’t know if that license is still in effect, but Olympos stopped producing Microns years ago.

The reason you get the raggedness with the different nozzles is that each nozzle has different height compared to the nozzle cap. This is the reason Iwata states that the heads are “matched”. It’s all about finding a specific nozzle that has the correct height, which reduces turbulence around the spraying cone. It’s possible to make the adjustments yourself, but it’s a bit fiddly, and theres a risk of making the performance worse if not done properly.

This is why I love the original Olympos Microns which came with two complete heads with matched sets. Always another set to work and compare with.

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On 2/28/2021 at 6:07 PM, Tim Brangham said:

Well first part of the question now covered, just managed to pick up an Iwata TR2 at a very reasonable price.

 

Still interested on any thoughts for a cheaper alternative to the Eclipse HP-CS.

 


If you are ever in the US or know someone going to the US (once lockdown is over) then a good place to get a CS is Hobby Lobby.  Usually quite expensive, it is like Hobby Craft in the UK, but they always have 40% coupons (just print one off from their website).  They don’t sell many airbrushes but they do a pack with the CS and and inline water trap which depending on the exchange rate can works out pretty cheap using the coupon.  My CS complete with inline water trap cost £85.

 

Cheers,

 

Nigel

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Not much chance of sourcing one from the US.

 

Had another think about what would be the best second brush to compliment the TR2, at the moment I don’t do a lot of fine detail

spraying but would like something that would be good for this if I need it in the future. At the moment it would mainly be used 

for acrylics so not sure going for a 0.2 is the best option so am thinking a 0.3 might be better.

 

Was tempted by the Sparmax Max3 which would leave me some money to put towards a new compressor with a tank 

but reading/watching reviews am now leaning towards the Mr Procon Boy PS 289.

 

Id be interested anyone’s opinion if they use a 0.2 for acrylics, mainly Tamiya before I make a final decision.

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That Hobby Lobby 40% off thing must have burned them before because now that deal is restricted to only items that are not marked "Your Price" in a little red flag. The 40% off thus does not apply to high value items like airbrushes. I'd post a screen grab but I can't figure out how to post pictures on this site.

 

Hobby Lobby Iwata Revolution Ad

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12 hours ago, Pappy35 said:

That Hobby Lobby 40% off thing must have burned them before because now that deal is restricted to only items that are not marked "Your Price" in a little red flag. The 40% off thus does not apply to high value items like airbrushes. I'd post a screen grab but I can't figure out how to post pictures on this site.

 

Hobby Lobby Iwata Revolution Ad


 

That makes sense, it did seem to be a little crazy to be honest.  Between 2012 and 2017 I was doing regular business trips to the US.  Then the coupon worked on anything, more to the point, although it said limited to one per customer there were no checks done at all.  So over a two week trip I would visit a number of times using a 40% coupon each time.

 

I always thought it was pretty crazy - seems like they have finally cottoned on.

 

Cheers,

 

Nigel

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On 08/03/2021 at 19:52, Tim Brangham said:

 

 

Id be interested anyone’s opinion if they use a 0.2 for acrylics, mainly Tamiya before I make a final decision.

I recently bought a new airbrush, the Infinity 0.2mm from Harder & Steenbeck. I saw your question earlier today and decided to put it to the test. I use a few different brands of acrylic paint (Ammo, Vallejo Model Air, Vallejo Model Color, AK Interactive) and also Tamiya acrylic and Mr. Hobby Aqueous. 

 

When I've used "pure" acrylic from Vallejo and the others, I have had some problems with tip dry. I probably have to thin it a bit more for 0.2 (other airbrush is 0.35) and maybe adjust the pressure. It works, but needs to be tweaked a little.

Tamiya and Aqueous, on the other hand, works absolutely perfect! I thinned it 1:1 with Ultimate Thinner and sprayed at about 12 PSI. The paint went down nice and easy, and no problem whatsoever with tip dry. Really pleased with the result. In fact, I'm so pleased that I will be changing to these two brands over time. When a Vallejo or the others run out I will replace it with Tamiya/Aqueous.

 

I also paint miniatures for wargaming, and nothing beats Vallejo there, let me tell you. Absolutely marvellous! But that's with a brush 🙂

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Well looks like back to square one on the trigger grip as Hermes appear to have lost my bargain TR2 in transit somewhere.

 

So now thinking of getting a Procon Boy PS-290 instead but understand they need a bit more flow from the compressor if you

use the fan pattern, I have just bought a Sparmax 610H compressor does anyone use one of these or similar with a PS90?

 

Still thinking over the smaller one but will wait till the trigger grip sorted before deciding.

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I have an Eclipse HP-CS as well as the Procon PS 289. If I had to choose between them, I'd go with the 289 for sure. It's very versatile - I used it for every aspect of this Dauntless build; Stynylrez primer, Vallejo and Lifecolor top coats, even the markings (this build doesn't have any decals, besides the instrument panels).

20200410_154425

 

My only complaint about the PS 289 is that it has the tiny delicate 'Iwata' style nozzle that can be difficult to clean - just like the Revolution. The Eclipse is one of the few Iwatas that has a large nozzle similar to H&S brushes that's easily removed for cleaning. Oh, and the Procon brushes are very ugly compared to their rivals, but are ergonomic and spray wonderfully.

 

On 3/1/2021 at 4:41 AM, denstore said:


Both the Iwata CM’s and the PS770-series are based on the Olympos MP-series. In the 80’s Iwata obtained a license for producing and selling them in the US (maybe worldwide, outside of Japan). I don’t know if that license is still in effect, but Olympos stopped producing Microns years ago.

The reason you get the raggedness with the different nozzles is that each nozzle has different height compared to the nozzle cap. This is the reason Iwata states that the heads are “matched”. It’s all about finding a specific nozzle that has the correct height, which reduces turbulence around the spraying cone. It’s possible to make the adjustments yourself, but it’s a bit fiddly, and theres a risk of making the performance worse if not done properly.

This is why I love the original Olympos Microns which came with two complete heads with matched sets. Always another set to work and compare with.

Very interesting, thanks for this information.

I've replaced the air cap, nozzle and needle on my Olympos MP with Iwata Micron parts and it works great.

I can't decide which I like better, the Olympos or the Procon PS 770, but I do know that my 770 will spray even water based acrylics, like Vallejo, like a dream, whereas the Olympos must stick with finer lacquer and enamel paints, despite both having 0.18mm needles.

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Posted (edited)

After reading replies here and watching quite a few online reviews plus some advice from Martin at Air-Craft.net I now have 2 Procon Boy airbrushes the PS290 and PS289 plus upgraded my compressor to a Sparmax  610h.

 

My next job is base coat then clear on a 1/20 McLaren MP4/5b am very interested to see how the PS290 works for this.

Edited by Tim Brangham
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