Airbrush selection tends to be personal. Decisions made on a variety of factors from how good it looks to the action. Spray patterns and a myriad of of other features. For me it is function and cost of the unit but with the variety of paints and primers out there I wanted to get something that could handle the heavier viscosity of primers like Vallejo's polyurethane surface primers and the new Stynylrez. While these primers work well thinned with many of the available concoctions out there I still wanted to be able to just spray straight out of the bottle.
I have used many different brands of air brushes in the past few years but none has done the job for me as well as my Sparmax Max 35.
This is a .35 mm gravity fed dual action brush that is on the order of Iwata and Grex. I came upon this brush by accident while looking for a suitable brush that tickled my fancy. I was surfing through some ads and noticed that Tamiya had their own airbrush system so I did a little more research and found out that at the time Tamiya was using Sparmax for their systems.
Sparmax manufactures an extensive line of air tools out of Taiwan. Large scale industrial as well as home and hobby uses can be dealt with using their products. I happened to stumble upon my Max 35 at one of the national hobby chain stores with a 40% discount coupon and I walked out with this brush for a grand total of about $47.00 plus tax. I have been using it for about 7 years now with only one part that needed to be replaced because of aggressive cleaning. That little .35mm tpm only ran me about $5.00 shipped.
Now I needed a bigger tip size to handle the heavier paints that I wanted to use so I decided to go looking again and came across the Sparmax GP-50 spray gun. Guaranteed to be compatable with my 2 gallon compressor and a nice .50 mm tip. This pistol grip airbrush can be had for anywhere between $70 and $120. Still much less that the higher cost brushes. It looks nice and surprisingly it has a good solid feel.
It is a side feed dual action brush with two sizes of color cups. 15cc and a 7 cc.
I couldn't wait to give this thing a go so I stripped it down and cleaned as much of the manufacturer's lube out of it then assembled it together again. It comes apart rather simply and most of the parts reflect the .50 mm size. The tip to me looks robust almost huge. All of the threads are sharp and the chrome plating is done rather well with no peeling.
I put some cleaner in the smaller cup and shot it through the gun and out came a rather forceful cone of spray. Man this should cover very well. I then tried some Vallejo paint directly from the bottle and this is where I ran into a problem. The brush started sputtering and spitting and left quite a bit of material in the cup. I took the cup off and did some examining and found out that the channel thet runs through the cup to the brush is of a real small diameter. OK, so now it won't spray the thick stuff. I thinned it out to about 60/40. Then I shot it again and had a much better result. I sprayed some black paint on an old plastic sign card and with just a couple of passes it proved to spray and cover a given area in just a couple of passes.
All in all Even though this brush is a disappointment in that I can't use it for what I wanted to I am sure that with the right pressure that I can get some good coverage in a larger area. I did come away from this thinking I can really use it for thinner paints Like the AK Xtreeme metal lines for covering a larger areas but I kind of think that won't be too often though.
I will have to wait until later to get the proper spray system for those heavier colors and primers. They're out there.