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Airbrush upgrade, H and S to Iwata?


Doccur
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Hi everyone,

 

I am currently trying to talk myself into getting a new airbrush but thought i would ask the forum for opinions first, before i potentially waste my money!

 

So, I am currently running acrylics through an H and S Ultra (my first airbrush with either 0.2mm or 0.4 mm nozzles), can't say it has ever ran perfectly, although this is likely operator error! So my most recent build in 1/48th scale i am trying to do a freehand soft-edged camo, but just cant get my brush to play ball, even thinned appropriately with retarder, the paint just doesn't want to come out as an even stream or at all, leaving me quite frustrated.

 

So, having tried several times over the last 2 years to do detail work with this airbrush, I have decided to potentially upgrade, I am particularly keen on a brush which has a handle preset to enable better paint control for detail. So, on searching the internet I have come across two options that might take my fancy:

 

Either the Iwata Eclipse HP-CS (0.35mm nozzle) which I can purchase a handle preset for, this will cost me around £160-170.

 

Or, the H and S Infinity Cr plus, which comes with the handle preset as standard. 1 nozzle is ~ £170 , 2 in 1 ~ £215.

 

I am swaying towards the Iwata as i have read a couple of reviews claiming that it can spray acrylics better as opposed to the harder and steenbeck range.

 

So, before I spend my hard earned bucks, if anyone has two pence to add, I would be grateful.

 

Cheers

 

Ash 

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 I am a confirmed Iwata user my current main use airbrush Is a Custom Micron CM-B(2). Which I am completely happy with.

 

I will not use water based paints, my paints of choice are enamel with some cellulose brands.

 

I had a Harder and Steinbeck for a year or so but could not get on with it at all. I worked OK but I found it clumsy, awkward and agricultural to use.

 

When looking for a fine spray airbrush the choice was between the Iwata CM-B or the Procon Boy PS 771, I chose the Iwata because it was more compact and didn't have that awkward MAC valve up front.

 

However the Procon Boy parts , needle and nozzle, fit my CM-B with only a very slight, not noticeable unless using a eye glass degradation at the edge of the spray, so the Procon Boy airbrushes seem to be as near as damn it Iwatas.

 

There fore I would suggest that you consider the Mr Hobby Procon boy range, Iwata quality at less cost.

 

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I use two Iwatas, for general use, and the most used, a HP-C Plus with 0.4 needle/nozzle, works first time, every time, totally reliable [said he, now touching wood........] and an HP-B  Plus with 0.3 n/n for fine and detailed work.

 

The former I've used since I came back to modelling over 10 years ago and gets used at least 3 times a week, if not more. Gets a full strip down and clean once a month in an ultrasonic cleaner and has performed faultlessly.

 

The latter has less use but again, performs faultlessly. Cleaning is done on an "as required" basis.

 

I've tried many different brands of friends airbrushes and come back to my Iwatas every time. Said friends always swear by their own brand, of course, but they have yet to convince me to change brands.

HTH

Rog 

Edited by roginoz
PS I only use acrylics, Gunze & Tamiya through my airbrushes
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Asking which is the best make of airbrush is like asking which is the best make of car. Every brand has their loyal following who have had good and bad results with other makes. If possible try and get to use one at a modelling show or club.

 

I have had the H&S Ultra for ten years plus an Evolution ALplus and an Infinity CR Plus for quite a while. I only use enamels and I almost exclusively use the H&S Ultra even now as the other two can be rather temperamental, especially the Infinity CR Plus. The Ultra continues to do battle for me as this freehand camouflage scheme I did a couple of months ago shows. I probably spend more time cleaning it than using it as after every colour I strip it down and clean it. It goes into an ultrasonic cleaner four or five times a year too.

 

I did spend a couple of hundred quid on another make only to be really disappointed and that is preventing me from trying yet another make although I am tempted to try an Iwata.

 

Dave

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I have the H&S Infinity CR Plus 2-in-1, Iwata HP-CS, Iwata HP-B Plus and use them all regularly.

 

I bought the H&S 2-in-1 at a good price giving me a good option for 0.15 and 0.4 needles. I find the 2-in-1 format a problem (leaking at the front nozzle seal that you need to seal with beeswax), overly complex air brush, much more difficult to clean than IWATA. However, the 0.15 does spray beautifully and is still my go to for extra fine lines and mottle. I do prefer the feel/balance of the Iwata due to the solid chromed brass rear handle which H&S do as anodised aluminium.   

 

The Iwata HP-CS 0.35 needle has been my Trojan airbrush for years, still has the original seals, no parts changed (touch wood), sprayed everything through lacquers, enamels, acrylics (alcohol and water based). Easy to clean and still does most of the work. I love this airbrush. I do prefer the finer needles in the H&S and HP-B Plus for fine work only because I have them. Did a lot of spraying with this one airbrush doing mottle and fine work (1/48 and 1/35) before adding the others. Teaches you good trigger control and optimum paint/thinner ratios. My recommendation for a first airbrush.

 

Iwata HP-B Plus 0.2 needle another excellent airbrush that gets a lot of work. Another favourite. I like the small cup on this one for small paint jobs. Easy to get into tight spaces. 

 

I agree with @roginoz Having used H&S and Iwata, Iwata are my first choice - simple, reliable, easy to clean.

 

Does Iwata spray better than my H&S? I do not think so.

 

Does Iwata spray acrylics better? I do not think so. All paints have a learning curve and thinning ratio remains key and will vary based on needle size. I agree with @dromia, I find aqueous acrylics too temperamental. Yes, you get them to work however, I just find the lacquers available today has meant largely end of problem. 

 

Would I buy another 2-in-1? No. If you have the money buy a single size airbrush. Eliminate another thing to go wrong. I realise this is not the OP question and just included my thoughts in case anyone else comes upon this thread.

 

If I had one airbrush and looking to upgrade, and you can afford it, the Iwata CM-B would be my choice. Or, come down the range and decide on what needle and cup size you want and choose a cheaper IWATA model. You cannot go wrong.

 

Ray

 

 

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No-one has really addressed your reason for wanting to change, so maybe I can.

 

I found most aspects of airbrushing easy to learn, except for spraying soft-edged camouflage patterns. I tried the usual advice: very low pressure, thin paint, etc. but it never worked. I wasn't going to blame the paint, because I was pretty certain that it wasn't the paint's fault... I often suggest that people should experiment, so I took my own advice.

 

I wondered if it was wise to change three variables at once: distance, pressure, and viscosity. The first is necessary and I spray close anyway, so that left the other two to be reconsidered. First of all, I should have read the manual for my airbrush, which states that its optimum pressure for effective atomisation is between 25 and 35psi. I had been trying to use 10-12psi with very thin paint because that’s what people recommend. And I read a tip in Finescale from a reader who used a normal paint viscosity and increased pressure until only a small pull was needed to begin flow. Most people thin the paint to suit the pressure; but that guy was upping the pressure to suit the paint.

 

My third change was to buy a preset handle, as you’re considering. I found forum threads in which the majority said “don’t bother, I never use mine” but I was 100% right to buy one and I always use it for tight patterns. It’s also very useful for metal paints.

 

I tried this method and found it to be much more progressive -- no more problems with inconsistent flow and a sharp transition between no paint and "OMG!" -- and no more spiders and other mess. Of course, it will not work for everyone. What does? Anyone who is happy with the conventional method can safely ignore me, and probably will. That's OK.

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2 hours ago, Doccur said:

So, having tried several times over the last 2 years to do detail work with this airbrush,

I think this is the problem - fine work with an airbrush, any airbrush, takes a LOT of practice. I had similar frustrations getting consistent results with soft edges, mottling etc. (I use a H&S brushes), but got there in the end. Changing airbrushes is unlikely to be the quick fix - the same balancing act between paint/pressure/distance will apply. By changing airbrushes you will also be adding the new brush characteristics to the variables. An Iwata brush MAY be better for you in the long run but it will still need the practice - think 'dozens of times' rather than 'several times'

 

2 hours ago, Doccur said:

just cant get my brush to play ball, even thinned appropriately with retarder, the paint just doesn't want to come out as an even stream

Unless your brush is defective (or perhaps in need of a really good clean) this should not be a problem. The issue will be with the thinning of the paint or pressure - a new brush will not solve this.

 

As to preset handles ... I don't think you need one, but I use mine as a sort of safety feature ... nothing worse than to have sprayed a fine mottle only to spoil it with a finger slip in the final stage!

 

Cheers

Colin

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Thankyou all for your comments, I think that although I do still want to purchase a new brush, (after reading most likely an Iwata eclipse or Hp-B), I may wait and treat myself for Christmas however.

 

I agree wholeheartedly about Acrylics, they are very temperamental @Ray_W, unfortunately my current living circumstances prevent using anything stronger except on a very limited scale.  I do intend to migrate to lacquers etc, I have used MRP and was gobsmacked at the difference in quality of finish.

 

@Ade H thanks for your suggestion, I may have to try this. I have always thinned significantly and lowered the pressure (10-15psi) to attempt close up work. Having looked at the H and S ultra manual it recommends 29 psi, so spraying way under this may explain some of the issues i am having. As for the preset, I have now discovered my brush doesn't support one! drat.

 

Thanks again for everyone's input.

 

Ash

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I’d also point out that just cos your compressor says 15psi “it ain’t necessarily so”.  Most compressors come with a very cheap gauge which probably wouldn’t meet any proper testing, plus the length of your hose will also affect the pressure.  Also the pressure is different spraying or static.  You just have to find the pressure that works by trial and error and then use what your gauge says as YOUR baseline if you need to vary for different paints or effects.  

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@Doccur 

 

Hi Ash,

 

I think there are a couple of comments I would add. As I spent many happy years with my HP-CS, without a preset handle and MAC valve, I learnt to use the airbrush without these and I am glad I did. However, importantly, @dromia is an advocate of the MAC valve. Based on his comments, I decided to do some experimentation of late and as a result, if I was to purchase a new airbrush I would purchase the IWATA with a MAC valve. For the bulk of our work I think it is unnecessary and yet it has some advantage in close up work and I have found it useful.  Artist's also use it for stippling effects. With some further experimentation I expect I will find it even more useful.

 

I also appreciate the fact that I learnt trigger control without a preset handle and yet I agree with @ckw it does have value as an over travel safety stop. It can be a useful addition if you can afford it. I usually have it backed right off, and yet it is there if needed. 

 

Ray

 

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Yes I am a MAC valve advocate and user but don't like them on the airbrush where they are clumsy, restricting and a spilt paint magnet with the exposed  threads being a chew on to clean.

 

My MAC valve is fitted to the quick connect on the air hose like this Air volume control quick connect. so that I have the benefits of the valve on all my airbrushes.

 

A help in appreciating its uses is to remember that it does not control the pressure the regulator on your compressor does that, the MAC valve controls the volume of air going into the airbrush, regardless of the MAC valve setting the air will always be at the pressure set on the regulator.

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Out of interest which is more useful on the CS - the cut-out to pull back the needle for flushing or the preset - on the CS you can have either (at a cost) but you can’t have both.

 

There was (is) the triple action handle but most of what I read seemed to find fault with it in one way or another.

 

Cheers,

 

Nigel

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@nheather Hi Nigel. I have a handle with both features added to my HP-CS. It's the Iwata preset cut away handle, number IWS1556, about £37. But if I had to pick one feature, it's the travel preset, hands down, no contest, 100%! Even though it's great for the problem discussed here, the even bigger value to me is not flooding metal paints any more...

 

EDIT: Found a link in case it helps anyone. https://www.air-craft.net/acatalog/Iwata-Preset-Cut-OutHandle-IWS-1556.html

 

Edited by Ade H
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I have used an H and S Infinity Cr plus for about ten years. It's a good quality brush with a limiter which I don't often use now but which was very useful in my earlier days. The needle, nozzle, aircap and tip guard are removable for cleaning in seconds without tools, and are all large enough for ease of handling. This makes it very easy to keep the brush perfectly clean, which is essential for the fine work you describe. Additionally, there are now four needle/nozzle sizes available which can be swapped out in seconds again without using tools. The sizes are 0.15, 0.2, 0.4 and a massive 0.6 - for painting Vulcans and B-52s I assume.

 

Before the H&S I had an Iwata Revolution with the pistol grip which was very comfy to use and gave reasonable results, although I wasn't as experienced then. Unfortunately the nozzle was miniscule and required a tiny spanner to remove and fit it. In my pig's udder fingers, cleaning it properly was very tiresome. 

 

I have only recently, after near 20 years of learning, reached the level of skill with my airbrush where I don't get anxious about using it. (I didn't practice every day, you'll understand!) In my opinion the skills of the operator are far more important to the result than the qualities of the brush, above a certain specification. (Think of it as being more important that Eric Clapton is playing the guitar than that it cost £10,000 or £1000, but even he might struggle with a £50 instrument.) I've never used an Ultra but I see how cheap it is compared to the rest of the H&S range and I do wonder where they cut the costs. 

 

 I would suggest that you do upgrade, but that your transition to your new brush might be easier if you stick with the brand that you know. That aside, both Iwata and H&S make excellent airbrushes in their more expensive ranges. Whatever you buy, practice! Get some artist's watercolour inks, which are simple to clean with water. You don't need to thin them and because they are the correct consistency for spraying anything through an airbrush, you will get used to the using paint this incredibly thin. Then practice on a sketch pad until you can sign your name in an even fine line, shade a drawing of a sphere, paint shadows around a drawing of a church - all that boring stuff your art master taught you in the first year. Then you take it to a model. A cheap one at first!

 

Oh, and learn to clean it properly, because together with consistency of paint, cleanliness of equipment is the other major cause of airbrush difficulties.

 

I hope that helps. Merry Xmas!

 

 

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44 minutes ago, Ade H said:

@nheather Hi Nigel. I have a handle with both features added to my HP-CS. It's the Iwata preset cut away handle, number IWS1556, about £37. But if I had to pick one feature, it's the travel preset, hands down, no contest, 100%! Even though it's great for the problem discussed here, the even bigger value to me is not flooding metal paints any more...

 

EDIT: Found a link in case it helps anyone. https://www.air-craft.net/acatalog/Iwata-Preset-Cut-OutHandle-IWS-1556.html

 


Big thank you, didn’t know that existed, is it a recent introduction.  Definitely getting one for Christmas.

 

Cheers,

 

Nigel

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I bought an H&S Ultra 1 in 2 last year to replace my budget airbrush. Unfortunately it constantly had what I guess was a sticky valve, so there would, not all the time but at least with every two or three presses of the trigger, still be some air coming out when I released the trigger. Sometimes it was a really obvious flow, close to full strength. Other times it was almost impossible to feel but could be seen if I aimed the brush at a glass of water. You'd see the indentation from the air pressure. It was like that from the start and, after sending it back and having it repaired, it still had the problem. If it had been my first airbrush I wouldn't have known any better at first. As it is, it never saw any paint in it and was replaced with an Iwata Revolution CR (0.5mm needle in mine, but also available with a 0.3 needle). A fair bit more expensive than the H&S but better quality finish, more durable seals and it worked properly straight out of the box and still does.  Downside is you can't swap needles in it. Or you can, but it's not as simple as the H&S and the parts are a fair chunk more expensive, so it's not practical. I see the prices of both have come down a bit since I bought mine but the difference is about the same still. Still a lot cheaper than an Eclipse.

 

So maybe it is your technique / pressure, but I see a couple of posts above also describe H&S airbrushes that have never worked properly so it could be that too so I wouldn't discount the airbrush as the problem.

 

My story is anecdotal, there are plenty of happy Ultra users, but even so, I'll be paying the extra and sticking with Iwata for the future. I see fewer problem stories about them.

 

 

Edited by kiseca
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Yeah I've read about that too! Similar for the H&S, they can dry up and need lubricant from time to time. I wasn't expecting it for a brand new product though. My worry was it might just need lubricating, but if it's been missed straight out of the factory when mine was built, what else did they miss on it? And I'm not experienced enough with airbrushes to start tinkering with it and trying to get it working from day 1. If I know it works now, then at some time in the future when it stops working I can start troubleshooting. I know what the baseline feels like, if that makes sense.

 

With an airbrush that doesn't work properly from day 1, I have no idea what it should feel like to use as a reference point. The H&S trigger action felt grainy to me, for instance, but the seller said it felt normal to them. So was that a part of the problem or was it how the brush should feel? For me, I didn't trust I'd got a good one so I switched.

 

EDIT: Also I did go up a price bracket when I switched, which probably makes a difference too. Iwatas have problems too, but my anecdotal impression is that their quality control is a bit stronger than H&S.... or it could simply be that they are less popular airbrushes than Ultras because they are more expensive. If more people have Ultras, we'd hear about more problems. I must say the price of Ultras has dropped quite a bit since I got mine, it looks like a very good deal at the moment.

Edited by kiseca
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I think the Ultra was a terrible idea for H&S. They really cut corners to keep the costs down for a budget model and spoiled their reputation by it. 
 

I use a home made cleaner. It’s one half isopropyl alcohol with water and a few drops of washing up liquid. It’s indistinguishable from Vallejo cleaner apart from their  nice perfume, works well, doesn’t damage seals, is cheap enough that you can use lots of it and the washing up liquid/dish soap is a lubricant too of course. 

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Ive got three (3) Iwata’s and would say they're consistently pleasing to use. My two main brushes are my .35 Neo and .20 HP-B+  I also have a .50 HP-BCS. However with a 2oz jar its really for big jobs. I could probably spray a 1/24th kit, Helmet, or a motorcycle with that one. The .2 is great for free handing camouflage as I can outline then fill in. It is a bit finicky though, mostly lacquers and enamels. The Neo will eat all kinds of paint and not really fail. Though my needle/nozzle have been replaced as I sometimes drop them when cleaning. They tend not to like such abuse. 

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3 hours ago, Bertie Psmith said:

I think the Ultra was a terrible idea for H&S. They really cut corners to keep the costs down for a budget model and spoiled their reputation by it. 

Depends how you look at it. Lots of people could afford a relatively inexpensive Ultra as a 'starter', then when time comes to upgrade, there's a good chance they'll stick with a brand they know. Of course if problems with the Ultra are common, then this plan won't work. But I'm not aware that's the case (or anymore than other airbrushes). My Ultra worked fine from the outset, and still does - though now relegated to final coats (Future/varnish) with the ,4 needle.

 

cheers

 

Colin

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As I said in an earlier post, I have had an Ultra for over ten years and it has always produced good results. Other H&S ones and other makes have been a disappointment but I am not somebody who sticks to one make. I just want airbrushes that work for me and if I end up with three airbrushes from three different manufacturers then so be it.

 

One make that I had never tried is Iwata but that is due to change (courtesy of this thread). Sitting on my desk right now is an Iwata Revolution HP-CR3 that has just arrived courtesy of Mr Postie. I will be giving it a go later in the week.

 

I have also purchased an extender so that I can put the back-end of my H&S Infinity CR Plus onto my Ultra to give it just a little more control as arthritis is becoming an increasing problem.

 

Dave

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