Monday 10 February 2020

Airbrush Adventures - and Tanks!

It's been a long time organising, but I finally managed to get everything together to airbrush a bunch of stuff that has been sitting around for a while. The saga of the airbrush has been going on since November, when I got a brand new shiny Iwata Eclipse for my birthday - hurrah! Unfortunately, when I tried to run it using my little electric air-pump from HobbyCo (Japan), no paint..   arrgghhh.

The model I was given was the BCS, which is a siphon feed, so I suspected that I needed larger volumes of paint or a higher air pressure.

In the meantime, I sent the airbrush back to the vendor: to be checked (and also to see if they would consider replacing with a gravity feed model). Of course, in their hands, the airbrush worked perfectly, so back it came. Tried various tests: yep, my little pump wasn't managing enough pressure to get the siphon effect working.  So I needed a new compressor.

Much research later, I decided a Sparmax for around £100 would do the trick, got back in touch with the vendor, who had been brilliant  - sorry, no Sparmax in stock, but they did offer me a demo Iwata PowerJet Lite shipped for £100. Ok, done!

So the siphon thing means a bit more mucking around than with a gravity feed airbrush, but it just works brilliantly. I like to use Tamiya acrylics for airbrushing. With the Tamiya X20 thinner, even with my old setup (cheapo airbrush & electric pump purchased online for about A$40), I had much less clogging and issues than with other brands. With the new Iwata brush and compressor, it's an absolute dream.

The whole session lasted about two hours, and I worked out a new technique that minimised issues and cleaning. I had purchased a whole bunch of small plastic bottles online, so I would fill these approximately 50/50 with Tamiya colour and X20. Shake to mix, then decant into the siphon bottle. Spray - NO clogging! not even once!  When I finished with one colour, detach siphon bottle, pour what was left back in to my plastic bottle, rinse out the siphon bottle, spray out the remaining colour with the siphon bottle detached, and repeat the process with the next colour.

Over this session, I used 6 main colours, 5 variations with added white, and it was absolutely trouble-free. This is how airbrushing should be!

You can judge the results for yourself, apologies for the photographs, but they were taken under artificial light.  And I can highly recommend whose customer service through all this was just great.

AFV, a blockhouse, hut and Malayan jungle des-res

Oh, and some more terrain - rocky areas, an oasis and some palms for desert games, on the left, MDF and clay making some paddy fields for my Malaya setup.

More terrain!


  1. I should get around to trying an airbrush one of these years.

    1. If you do, and they are great for terrain, camouflage, base-coating figures etc, my experience is that it's worth paying to get a half decent kit, much less frustrating.